Discovering Alexander Graham Bell’s Voice
Alexander Graham Bell is most famous for inventing the telephone. Even though his invention allowed us to hear each other’s voices, no one has heard his voice until now.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, through a collaborative project with the Library of Congress and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has identified Bell’s voice for the first time.
The museum has a collection of the earliest sound recordings ever made from Bell’s Volta laboratory. In the collection was a loose piece of paper with a transcript of a recording. The transcript was signed and dated by Bell and ending with “in witness whereof, hear my voice, Alexander Graham Bell.” This transcript was matched with a recently identified wax-on-binder-board disc that carries the initials “AGB” and the same date—April 15, 1885. The sound was recovered from the disc and matched to the transcript.