Robert Stein was born in Silesia, Prussia, on January 9, 1857. He began teaching after he came to the United States in 1875 and he received an M.D. degree in 1886 from Georgetown College. He was a translator for the U.S. Geological Survey and was well known for his Arctic explorations.
He explored Ellesmereland and his plan for this exploration received the attention of American and European geographers. He was on one of Admiral Peary's expeditions to western Greenland and spent two years teaching the Eskimos linguistics on Ellesmereland. Mr. Stein wrote about his work in the Arctic and on other subjects including international peace. He was also employed at the Bureau of Statistics in the Department of Agriculture. He collaborated with James Geddes, Jr. on phonetics reform and in particular on an International Phonetic Conference. They advocated a universal alphabet and a simplified spelling method. Mr. Stein died in 1917.
James Geddes, Jr., born in 1858, was a professor of Romance Languages at Boston University from 1887 to 1937. A member of many language and educational societies, he was on the Simplified Spelling Board. He was the editor of French, Spanish and Italian text books and the author of several French language books. Mr. Geddes wrote articles on the Romance languages, in particular, the Canadian and Acadian French dialects, and on Italian and Spanish subjects for the Encyclopedia Americana. Mr. Geddes
died in 1948.