Friday, July 16, 2010

Thomas Gallaudet and the School for the Deaf

Thomas Gallaudet graduated from Yale in 1805 and casted about for a career.  For a time he became a preacher.  When he met a nine-year old deaf girl, Alice Cogswell, his career turned in another direction. 

The girl's father was a wealthy Hartford surgeon who encouraged Gallaudet to travel to Europe to learn the advanced techniques of the day for teaching deaf children.

Gallaudet returned to Hartford after his European travels.  With financial support from Dr. Cogswell and other local philanthropists, in 1817 Gallaudet founded the first school for the deaf in this country, now called the American School for the Deaf.  Today ASD occupies 55 acres in West Hartford. 

Gallaudet was the school's longtime principal.  His son went on to found a college for the deaf in Washington, D.C., now known as Gallaudet University.

Here is a link to a brief biography of Gallaudet:  Gallaudet Bio

Here is a brief history of the education of the deaf in America, from the ASD's website:  Deaf Education

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