Mabel Hubbard Bell, 1857 — 1923

The Alexander & Mabel Bell Legacy Foundation

Improving Lives

Mabel Hubbard Bell, along with her husband, the famous inventor Alexander Graham Bell, are further proof that one does not have to be born in Nova Scotia to love the place — or to make a lasting mark.

Mabel's extraordinary efforts were often overshadowed by the fame of her husband, although her wisdom and companionship played a significant role in Alexander's successes. Mabel was from a prominent Boston family and had gone deaf at age five. She initially met Alexander while working with him to improve her speech, then married in 1877.

In 1885, the couple visited Cape Breton for the first time and fell in love with the island. They purchased land to build a summer home at the point of the Red Head Peninsula in Baddeck. With sweeping views of the Bras d'Or Lake, Beinn Bhreagh Hall was built as a summer home where the family would spend most of their years between 1893 and 1923.

Mabel Bell was not one to sit idly by while Alexander busied himself with experiments. She became keenly involved in the local community at Baddeck as an inspiring and tireless advocate for women's and children's education and rights. Mabel encouraged home industries and founded the first Canadian women's club, first chapter of the Canadian Home and School Parent-Teacher Federation and first Montessori school in Canada. She established the public library in Baddeck; and in 1907 she was the first woman in the world to form and manage an aviation company. That venture was the Aerial Experiment Association, which Mabel Bell headed and financed. The AEA was responsible for the flight of the Silver Dart, the first manned aircraft in Canada. In addition to all the above accomplishments, Mabel Hubbard Bell was a beloved wife, mother and grandmother.