National Geographic : 1963 Oct
PAINTINGBY TIMOLEONMARIE LOBRICHON, 1881 At age three, Elsie May Bell showed the winsome beauty that would win so many hearts, including my own. Her father, Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, saw his newborn baby as "a funny little thing, perfectly formed." Because his wife Mabel was deaf from a childhood illness, Dr. Bell feared for his daughter's hearing and tested it by blowing on a trumpet near the baby's bed. "The child is quite all right," he said. "[It] flung out its arms and legs and shrieked in terror." Visiting Japan in 1898, Elsie gathered material for the first of many lectures to entertain her clubs. Like her father, she has a talent for public speaking. Before Elsie's trip to the Orient, my mother invited the Bell daughters, Elsie and Marian, to our home in Amherst for commencement week. When Mrs. Bell tele graphed her husband for his consent, he wired back, "Children may go if they won't flirt too much."