This was a great short write up about Gallaudet and ASL.

Books, Health and History

By Paul Theerman, Associate Director, Center for the History of Medicine and Public Health

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, n.d., in Henry Barnard, Tribute to Gallaudet. (Hartford: Brockett & Hutchinson, 1852), frontispiece. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, n.d., in Henry Barnard, Tribute to Gallaudet. (Hartford: Brockett & Hutchinson, 1852), frontispiece.

Today’s blog post commemorates Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, born December 10, 1787. A founder of the American Asylum for Deaf-mutes (now the American School for the Deaf) in Hartford, Connecticut, Gallaudet was a pioneer educator. His name lives on through Gallaudet University of Washington, D.C., the only U.S. institution of higher learning for the deaf.1

Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc, a Parisian instructor from the French National Institute of Deaf-Mutes (Institution Nationale des Sourds-Muets à Paris), became founding figures in the creation story of deaf culture. As Oliver Sacks put it in his 1989 book, Seeing Voices, both were instrumental in nurturing American Sign Language, a rallying point for the deaf community.

The French sign system imported by Clerc rapidly amalgamated…

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