This two-part series attempts to compile a brief account of recent discoveries surrounding the origin and development of the alphabet. Volume I covers the Semitic alphabets. Chapters cover the inventors of writing, the origin of the alphabet, the primitive letters, the Phoenician alphabet, the Aramean alphabets, and the South Semitic Alphabets. Also includes several tables depicting examples of 20 alphabets discussed including the hieroglyphic, Semitic, Greek, Phoenician, Aramean, Hebrew, Syrian, Mongolian, Syriac, Arabic, Persian, South Semitic, and Ethiopic alphabets. Detailed illustrations are also contained within the volume, as is a full list of Kegan Paul, Trench, & Co.' Publications.