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Title: The Deaf

Author: Harry Best

Release date: November 4, 2007 [eBook #23320]

Language: English

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Copyright, 1914,

Published April, 1914.

Transcriber's Note:
Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note. Significant corrections have been listed at the end of the text.






The aim of the present study is to ascertain as far as possible the standing of the deaf, or, as they are so often called, the "deaf and dumb," in society in America, and to examine the treatment that has been accorded to them—to present an account of an element of the population of whom little is generally known. In this effort regard is had not only to the interests of the deaf themselves, but also, with the growing concern in social problems, to the fixing of a status for them in the domain of the social sciences. In other words, the design may be said to be to set forth respecting the deaf something of what the social economist terms a "survey," or, as it may more popularly be described, to tell "the story of 'the deaf and dumb.'"

The material employed in the preparation of the work has been collected from various documents, and from not a little personal correspondence: from the reports and other publications of schools for the deaf, of organizations interested in the deaf, of state charities, education or other departments, of the United States bureaus of education and of the census; from the proceedings[vi] of bodies interested in the education of the deaf, of organizations composed of the deaf, of state and national conferences of charities and corrections; from the statutes of the several states; and from similar publications. From the American Annals of the Deaf the writer has drawn unsparingly, and to it a very considerable debt is owed. Valuable assistance has also been obtained from the Volta Review, formerly the Association Review, and from papers published by the deaf or in schools for the deaf. Other sources of information used will be noted from time to time in the work itself.

For all that has been set down the writer is alone responsible. He is, however, keenly mindful of all the co-operation that has been given him, and it would be most pleasant if it were possible to relate by name those who have been of aid. Mere words of thanks could but very little express the sense of obligation that is felt towards all of these. Indeed, one of the most delightful features connected with the work has been the response which as a rule has been elicited by the writer's inquiries; and in some cases so courteous and gracious have been the correspondents and informants that one might at times think that a favor were being done them in the making of the request. To certain ones the writer cannot escape mentioning his appreciation: to Dr. E. A. Fay,[vii] editor of the American Annals of the Deaf, and vice-president of Gallaudet College; Dr. J. R. Dobyns, of the Mississippi School, and secretary of the Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf; Mr. Fred Deland, of the Volta Bureau; Mr. E. A. Hodgson, editor of the Deaf-Mutes' Journal; Mr. E. H. Currier, of the New York Institution, and Dr. T. F. Fox and Mr. Ignatius Bjorlee, also of this institution; Dr. Joseph A. Hill, of the Census Bureau; Mr. Alexander Johnson, formerly secretary of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections; Dr. H. H. Hart, of the Russell Sage Foundation; Professor S. M. Lindsay and Dr. E. S. Whitin, of Columbia University; and to the officials of the Library of Congress, of the New York Public Library, of the New York State Library, of the New York School of Philanthropy Library, of the New York Academy of Medicine, of the Columbia University Library, of the Volta Bureau, and of the Gallaudet College Library.



Part I
I. The Deaf in the United States3
Meaning of Term "Deaf" in the Present Study—Number of the Deaf in the United States—Age when Deafness Occurred—Ability of the Deaf to Speak—Means of Communication Employed by the Deaf. 
II. The Deaf as a Permanent Element of the Population13
Increase in the Number of the Deaf in Relation to the Increase in the General Population—The Adventitiously Deaf and the Congenitally Deaf—Adventitious Deafness and its Causes—Possible Action for the Prevention of Adventitious Deafness—Adventitious Deafness as an Increasing or Decreasing Phenomenon—The Congenitally Deaf—The Offspring of Consanguineous Marriages—The Deaf Having Deaf Relatives—The Offspring of Deaf Parents—Possible Action for the Prevention of Congenital Deafness—Congenital Deafness as an Increasing or Decreasing Phenomenon—Conclusions with Respect to the Elimination or Prevention of Deafness. 
III. Treatment of the Deaf by the State63
General Attitude of the Law towards the Deaf—Legislation Discriminatory respecting the Deaf—Legislation in Protection of the Deaf—Legislation in Aid of the Deaf—Tenor of Court Decisions Affecting the Deaf—Present Trend of the Law in Respect to the Deaf. 
IV. Economic Condition of the Deaf75[x]
The Extent to which the Deaf are a Wage-earning and Self-supporting Element of the Population—Views of the Deaf as to their Economic Standing—The Deaf as Alms-seekers—Homes for the Deaf—Conclusions with Respect to the Economic Position of the Deaf. 
V. Social Organization of the Deaf91
Social Cleavage from the General Population—Desirability of Organizations Composed of the Deaf—Purposes, Activities, and Extent of Such Organizations—Newspapers of the Deaf. 
VI. Popular Conceptions concerning the Deaf99
Viewed as a Strange Class—Viewed as a Defective Class—Viewed as an Unhappy Class—Viewed as a Dependent Class—Need of a Changed Regard for the Deaf. 
VII. Private Organizations Interested in the Deaf107
General Societies Interested in the Deaf—The Volta Bureau—Parents' Associations for the Deaf—Church Missions to the Deaf—Organizations Interested in the Education of the Deaf—Publications Devoted to the Interests of the Deaf. 
Part II
VIII. The Education of the Deaf Prior to its Introduction
into the United States
IX. History of Education of the Deaf in the United States129
Early Attempts at Instruction—Beginning of the First Schools—Early Ideas concerning the Schools for the Deaf—Aims of the Founders—Extension of the Means of Instruction over the Country. 
X. Organization of the Institutions and General Provisions171[xi]
Arrangements in the Different States—Semi-Public Institutions—"Dual Schools"—Provision for the Deaf-Blind—Provision for the Feeble-minded Deaf—Government of the Different Institutions—Procedure in States without Institutions. 
XI. The Day School for the Deaf187
Inception and Growth of the Day School—Design and Scope of Day Schools—Extent and Organization of Day Schools—Arguments for the Day School—Arguments against the Day School—Evening Schools for Adults. 
XII. Denominational and Private Schools202
Denominational Schools—Private Schools. 
XIII. The National College206
XIV. Provision for Education by States209
XV. Constitutional Provisions for Schools242
Extent of Constitutional Provisions—Language and Forms of Provisions. 
XVI. Question of the Charity Connection of Schools248
Institutions Sometimes Regarded as Educational: Sometimes as Charitable—Charity in Connection with Schools for the Deaf—Arguments for the Connection with Boards of Charities—Arguments in Opposition to the Connection—-Conclusions in Respect to the Charity Connection of Schools for the Deaf. 
XVII. Provisions concerning Admission of Pupils into Schools262
Rules as to the Payment of Fees—Provision for the Collateral Support of Pupils—Age Limits of Attendance. 
XVIII. Attendance upon the Schools268[xii]
The Proportion of the Deaf in the Schools—The Need of Compulsory Education Laws for the Deaf—Present Extent of Compulsory Education Laws. 
XIX. Methods of Instruction in Schools277
The Use of Signs as a Means of Communication—Rise and Growth of the Oral Movement—Present Methods of Instruction—Courses of Study and Gradations of Pupils—Industrial Training in the Schools. 
XX. Cost to the State for Education293
Value of the Property Used for the Education of the Deaf—Cost of the Maintenance of the Schools—Form of Public Appropriations—Cost to the State for Each Pupil. 
XXI. Public Donations of Land to Schools299
Grants by the National Government—Grants by the States—Grants by Cities or Citizens. 
XXII. Private Benefactions to Schools303
Donations of Money—Gifts for Pupils—Present Tendencies of Private Benefactions. 
XXIII. Conclusions with Respect to the Work for the Deaf in
Table with Respect to Homes for the Deaf in America. 
Tables with Respect to Schools for the Deaf in America. 
I. Public Institutions326
II. Public Day Schools329
III. Denominational and Private Schools331



Society as a whole knows little of the deaf, or the so-called deaf and dumb. They do not form a large part of the population, and many people seldom come in contact with them. Their affliction to a great extent removes them from the usual avenues of intercourse with men and debars them from many of the social activities of life, all tending to make the deaf more or less a class apart in the community. They would seem, then, to have received separate treatment, as a section not wholly absorbed and lost in the general population, but in a measure standing out and differentiated from the rest of their kind. Thus it comes that society has to take notice of them. By reason of their condition certain duties are called forth respecting them, and certain provision has to be made for them.

The object of the present study of the deaf is to consider primarily the attitude of society or the state in America towards them, the duties it has recognized in respect to them, the status it has created for them, and the extent and forms, as well as the adequacy and correctness, of this treatment. Hence in our study of the problems[xiv] of the deaf, the approach is not to be by the way of medicine, or of law, or of education, though all these aspects will be necessarily touched upon. Nor is our study to deal with this class as a problem of psychology or of mental or physical abnormality, though more or less consideration will have to be given to these points. Nor yet again are we to concern ourselves principally with what is known as the "human interest" question, though we should be much disappointed if there were not found an abundance of human interest in what we shall have to consider. Rather, then, we are to regard the deaf as certain components of the state who demand classification and attention in its machinery of organization. Our attitude is thus that of the social economist, and the object of our treatment is a part or section of the community in its relation to the greater and more solidified body of society.

More particularly, our purpose is twofold. We first consider the deaf, who they are, and their place in society, and then examine the one great form of treatment which the state gives, namely, the making of provision for their education. This we have attempted to do in two parts, Part I treating of the position of the deaf in society, and Part II of the provisions made for their education. As we shall find, the special care of the state for the deaf to-day has assumed[xv] practically this one form. Means of education are extended to all the state's deaf children, and with this its attention for the most part ceases. It has come to be seen that after they have received an education, they deserve or require little further aid or concern. But it has not always been the policy of the state to allow to the deaf the realization that they form in its citizenship an element able to look out for themselves, and demanding little of its special oversight. They have a story full of interest to tell, for the way of the deaf to the attainment of this position has been long and tortuous, being first looked upon as wards, and then by slow gradations coming to the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship. In this final stage, where the state provides education for the deaf only as it provides it for all others, and attempts little beyond, the deaf find themselves on a level with citizens in general in the state's regard.

In Part I, after we have ascertained who are meant by the "deaf," and how many of them there are, we are to find ourselves confronted by a question which is of the foremost concern to society; namely, whether the deaf are to be considered a permanent part of the population, or whether society may have means at hand to eliminate or prevent deafness. After this, our discussion will revolve about the deaf from different[xvi] points of view, regarding them in the several aspects in which they appear to society. We shall examine the treatment which the state in general accords the deaf, how they are looked upon in the law, and what changes have been brought about in its attitude towards them. This may be said to be the view of the publicist or legalist. Next, we shall attempt to see how far the deaf are really a class apart in the life of the community. This will involve an examination, on the one hand, as to whether their infirmity is a bar to their independent self-support, that is, whether they are potentially economic factors in the world of industry, how far their status is due to what they themselves have done, and to what extent this result has modified the regard and treatment of society; and, on the other, how far their want of hearing stands in the way of their mingling in the social life of the community in which they live, whether the effect of this will tend to force the deaf to associate more with themselves than with the rest of the people, and what forms their associations take. These will be the views respectively of the economist and the sociologist. Then we shall consider the regard in which the deaf are popularly held, the view of "the man in the street," and whether this regard is the proper and just one. Lastly, we shall note what movements have been undertaken in the interests[xvii] of the deaf by private organizations, and to what extent these have been carried.

In Part II we shall consider the provision that has been made for the instruction of deaf children. First we shall review the attempts at instruction in the Old World, and then carefully follow the development of instruction in America, considering the early efforts in this direction, the founding of the first schools, and the spread of the work over the land; and noting how it was first taken up by private initiative, in time to be seconded or taken over by the state, and how far the state has seen and performed its duty in this respect. Public institutions have been created in nearly all the states, and we shall examine the organizations of these institutions and the general arrangements in the different states. The development of the work also includes a system of day schools, a certain number of private schools and a national college, all of which we shall consider, devoting especial attention to the day schools and their significance. Following this, we shall consider how each state individually has been found to provide for the instruction of the deaf, observing also the extent to which the states have made provision in their constitutions, and the extent to which the schools are regarded as purely educational. Next, we shall proceed to inquire into the terms of admission of pupils into[xviii] the schools; and we shall particularly concern ourselves with the investigation of the question of how far the means provided for education by the state are actually availed of by the deaf. The great technical problems involved in the education of the deaf will be outside the province of this work, but we shall indicate, so far as public action may be concerned, the present methods of instruction. This done, we shall mark what is the cost to the state of all this activity for the education of its deaf children, noting also how far the state has been assisted in the work by private benevolence. In the final chapter of our study we shall set down the conclusions which we have found in respect to the work for the deaf on the whole in the United States.[1]






Meaning of Term "Deaf" in the Present Study

By the "deaf" in the present study is meant that element of the population in which the sense of hearing is either wholly absent or is so slight as to be of no practical value; or in which there is inability to hear and understand spoken language; or in which there exists no real sound perception. In other words, those persons are meant who may be regarded as either totally deaf or practically totally deaf.[1] With such deafness there is not infrequently associated an inability to speak, or to use vocal language. Hence our attention may be said to be directed to that part of the community which, by the want of the sense of hearing and oftentimes also of the power of speech, forms a special and distinct class; and is known, more or less inaccurately, as the "deaf and dumb" or "deaf-mutes" or "mutes."


In our discussion it is with deafness that we are primarily concerned. Deafness and dumbness are, physically, two essentially different things. There is no anatomical connection between the organs of hearing and those of speech; and the structure and functioning of each are such as to preclude any direct pathological relation. The number of the so-called deaf and dumb, moreover, who are really dumb is very small—so small actually as to be negligible. Almost all who are spoken of as deaf and dumb have organs of speech that are quite intact, and are, indeed, constructively perfect. It comes about, however, that dumbness—considered as the want of normal and usual locution—though organically separate from deafness, is a natural consequence of it; and does, as a matter of fact, in most cases to a greater or less extent, accompany or co-exist with it. The reason of this is that the deaf, particularly those who have always been so, being unable to hear, do not know how to use their organs of speech, and especially are unable to modulate their speech by the ear, as the hearing do. If the deaf could regain their hearing, they would have back their speech in short order. The character of the human voice depends thus on the ear to an unrealized degree.[5]

Number of the Deaf in the United States

According to the census of 1900 there were 37,426 persons in the United States enumerated as totally deaf;[2] and according to that of 1910 there were 43,812 enumerated as "deaf and dumb."[3] Hence we may assume that there are between forty and fifty thousand deaf persons in the United States forming a special class.[4]

The following table will give the number of the deaf in the several states and the number per million of population, according to the census of 1910.[5]



 No.No. Per
Million of
 No.No. Per
Million of
United States43,812476 Montana117311
Alabama807377 Nebraska636531
Arizona53259 Nevada23281
Arkansas729464 New Hampshire191443
California784329 New Jersey667263
Colorado243304 New Mexico177540
Connecticut332297 New York4,760522
Delaware59291 North Carolina1,421644
District of Columbia114344 North Dakota239414
Florida216286 Ohio2,582539
Georgia956366 Oklahoma826491
Indiana1,672619Rhode Island208383
Iowa950427South Carolina735485
Kansas934552South Dakota315539
Minnesota1,077519West Virginia713584

From this table the largest proportions of the deaf appear to be found in the states rather toward the central part of the country, and the smallest in the states in the far west and the extreme east. The highest proportions occur in Kentucky, North Carolina, Utah, Indiana, West Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, Virginia, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, New York, and Minnesota, all these states having over 500 per[7] million of population. The lowest proportions are found in Wyoming, Arizona, New Jersey, Nevada, Florida, Delaware, Connecticut, Colorado, Montana, Washington, Massachusetts, California, District of Columbia, Idaho, Vermont, Oregon, Alabama, and Rhode Island, in none of these states the number being over 400 per million. Why there should be these differences in the respective proportions of the deaf in the population of the several states, we cannot say; and we are generally unable to determine to what the variations are to be ascribed—whether they are to be set down to particular conditions of morbidity, the intensity of congenital deafness, or other influences operating in different sections; or, perhaps in some measure, to the greater thoroughness with which the census was taken in some places than in others.

Age When Deafness Occurred

The vast majority of the deaf lost their hearing in early life, and most of them in the tender years of infancy and childhood. More than ninety per cent (90.6, according to the returns of the census) became deaf before the twentieth year; nearly three-fourths (73.7 per cent) under five; over half (52.4 per cent) under two; and over a third (35.5 per cent) were born deaf. Deafness thus occurs in a strongly diminishing[8] ratio with advancing years.[6] These facts may be indicated by the following table,[7] which shows the percentages of those who became deaf at different ages.


At birth35.5
After birth and under two16.9
Under two years52.4
2 and under 417.1
4 and under 67.3
6 and under 84.5
8 and under 102.8
10 and under 121.8
12 and under 141.6
14 and under 161.3
16 and under 181.0
18 and under 200.8
Under five73.7
5 and under 1010.5
10 and under 154.0
15 and under 202.4
Under 2090.6
20 and under 405.7
40 and under 602.4
60 and under 801.1
80 and over0.2

Ability of the Deaf to Speak

We have just seen that "dumbness" frequently follows upon deafness, or that it is usually believed to be an effect of deafness. It is true that with the majority of the deaf phonetic speech is not employed to any large extent; but[9] there is at the same time a fair number who can, and do, use vocal language. This speech varies to a wide degree, in some approximating normal speech, and in others being harsh and understood with difficulty; and it depends in the main upon three conditions: 1. the age at which deafness occurred, this being the most important factor; 2. the extent to which the voice is cultivated; and 3. the remaining power of the ear (which is found but seldom).[8]

Of the deaf persons enumerated in the census,[9] 21.5 per cent were reported able to speak well; 15.8 per cent imperfectly; and 62.7 per cent not at all. In other words, somewhat over a third of the deaf can speak more or less, one-fifth being able to speak well, and one-sixth imperfectly, while over three-fifths do not speak at all. The dependence of the ability to speak upon the age of becoming deaf is clearly in evidence here, the proportion of those not able to speak showing a[10] great decrease with the rise of this age. Thus, of those born deaf, 83.5 per cent cannot speak at all; of those becoming deaf after birth and under five, 74.6 per cent; of those becoming deaf after five and under twenty, 26.5 per cent; and of those becoming deaf after twenty, 3.4 per cent.

Some of the deaf are able to read the lips of the speaker, or as it is better expressed, to read speech, or to understand what is being said by watching the motions of the mouth. This in reality is a distinct art from the ability to speak, though popularly they are often thought to be co-ordinate or complementary one to the other. Like the ability to speak, it varies in wide degree, from the ability to understand simple and easy expressions only, to the ability to follow protracted discourse; and like the ability to speak, it is found in increasing frequency with the rise of the age of becoming deaf. According to the census,[10] 38.6 per cent of the deaf are able to read the lips. Of those born deaf, 28.0 per cent have this ability; of those becoming deaf after birth and under five, 37.1 per cent; of those becoming deaf after five and under twenty, 64.3 per cent; and of those becoming deaf after twenty, 43.6 per cent.[11]


Means of Communication Employed by the Deaf

If the larger number of the deaf do not use the speech which is used by those who can hear, how is it that their communication is carried on? The chief method is a certain silent tongue peculiar to the deaf, known as the "sign language,"[12] a part of which may be said to be the manual alphabet, or the system of finger-spelling,[13] the two usually going hand in hand. In this way most of the deaf are enabled to communicate with each other readily and fluently. But this language, or at least the greater part of it, not being known to people generally, the deaf frequently have to fall back on writing to convey their ideas in communicating with hearing persons. This, while slow and cumbersome, is the surest and most reliable method of all. In addition, as we have seen, a certain number of the deaf are able to use speech, which of course has manifold advantages. These are the several methods, then, of communication employed by the deaf; but they are not usually employed singly, as most of the deaf are able to use two or more. According to the census,[14] the sign language alone or in combination with other methods is employed by 68.2 per[12] cent, or over two-thirds of the deaf; finger-spelling by 52.6 per cent, or over one-half; writing by almost the same proportion—51.9 per cent; and speech by 39.8 per cent, or some two-fifths. It is probable, however, that the proportions employing the sign language, finger-spelling and writing, either singly or with other methods, are really somewhat larger. In this case, likewise, we find that the lower the age of becoming deaf, the smaller is the proportion of the deaf with speech, which shows again the connection of the ability to speak with the age of the occurrence of deafness. Of those born deaf, speech alone or in combination with other methods is used by 18.2 per cent; of those becoming deaf after birth and under five, by 27.4 per cent; of those becoming deaf after five and under twenty, by 75.3 per cent; and of those becoming deaf after twenty, by 97.7 per cent.


[1] There are no sharply dividing lines between the different degrees of deafness, but it is only those described that really constitute a special class. Persons whose hearing is such as to be of use even in some slight degree are rather to be distinguished as "hard of hearing."

[2] By this census both the partially deaf and the totally deaf were enumerated, or 89,287 in all. The former should not have been enumerated, the enumerators being instructed not to include those able to hear loud conversation.

[3] For the census returns for 1900, see "Special Reports of the Census Office. The Blind and the Deaf," 1906. This report was under the special direction of Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, who has long been interested in the deaf. The returns of the census for 1910 are yet to be revised, while at the same time additional data are to be secured to be published as a special report like that of 1906. As yet the census office has for 1910 only the actual enumeration of the deaf and dumb in the various states, and the returns with respect to other particulars regarding them are yet to be completed. See Volta Review, xiii., 1911, p. 399. Hence in our discussions we shall, except for the number by states, deal with the census of 1900. For a review of this census, see American Annals of the Deaf, Sept., 1906, to May, 1907 (li., lii.). In a number of states certain county officers are required from time to time to enumerate the deaf. For a census in one state, see Bulletin of Labor of Massachusetts, July-Aug., 1907.

[4] Included in the census of 1900 were 491 deaf-blind persons (totally deaf), and in that of 1910, 584.

[5] From statistics kindly furnished by the Census Bureau.

[6] This is just the opposite of the case with the blind.

[7] Special Reports, 1906, p. 79. Some 2,000 cases were thrown out for indefinite replies, leaving 35,479, upon which our percentages are based.

[8] A somewhat frequent classification of the deaf in respect to their power to speak is to regard them roughly as falling into three great divisions: 1. "Deaf-mutes," who come nearest to being deaf and dumb. They have always been deaf, and have never had natural speech. What speech they may possess has come from special instruction, with the result that it is more or less artificial. 2. "Semi-mutes," who are deaf, but who have once had hearing as well as speech; and this speech they are able to use to a greater or less degree, though in time it is likely to become more and more astray. 3. "Semi-deaf" persons, who are only partly deaf, and possess a little hearing, though it is too slight to be of real practical use; and who have voices most nearly approaching the normal. They belong somewhere between the really deaf and the hard of hearing.

[9] Special Reports, pp. 82, 240.

[10] Ibid., pp. 87, 240. For 8,966 no returns were made.

[11] On the subject of lip-reading, see especially E. B. Nitchie, "Lip-Reading: its Principles and Practice", 1912.

[12] This "sign language" is referred to at somewhat more length in Chapter XIX.

[13] Sometimes called "the deaf and dumb alphabet".

[14] Special Reports, pp. 89, 240. For 2,365 no returns were made.




Increase in the Number of the Deaf in Relation to the Increase in the General Population

Are the deaf to be a permanent element in the constitution of the population? Are they always to be reckoned with in the life of the state and the regard of society? Would it not be well to inquire whether or not deafness may be eliminated, or at least reduced to an appreciable degree? These are questions that present themselves at the outset in a consideration of the relation of the deaf to society, and to them we now devote our attention.

Our first inquiry in the matter is directed to the question whether deafness as a whole is increasing, decreasing or remaining stationary, in relation to the general population. To determine this, we have recourse to the census returns of the deaf in connection with those of the general population. Unfortunately, however, comparisons of the different censuses respecting the[14] deaf are not altogether to be depended upon, for the reason that they have not always been taken on the same basis, and conclusions from them consequently have to be accepted with qualifications. Special census returns of the deaf have been made since 1830; but the censuses of 1830-1870 purport to be of the deaf and dumb; the census of 1880, of the deaf who became deaf under sixteen years of age; that of 1890, of the deaf and dumb; that of 1900, of the totally deaf; and that of 1910, of the deaf and dumb. The results thus obtained are in the main analogous, but there are a certain number of cases included on one basis that would be excluded on another, and vice versa.[15]

Taking the statistics as they are, we have the following table,[16] which gives the number of the deaf as found in the several censuses, according to the bases upon which they were made, together with the ratio per million of population.



YearNumberNo. per
Million of
1830 (the deaf and dumb)6,106475
1840 (the deaf and dumb)7,665449
1850 (the deaf and dumb)9,803423
1860 (the deaf and dumb)12,821408
1870 (the deaf and dumb)16,205420
1880 (deafness occurring under sixteen)33,878675
1890 (the deaf and dumb)40,592648
1900 (the totally deaf)37,426492
1910 (the deaf and dumb)43,812476

From this table there appears to be a steady decrease in the number of the deaf in relation to the general population from 1830 to 1860, this latter year seeming to be the low water mark. From 1860 to 1870 there is a slight increase, and from 1870 to 1880 a very large one, due to some extent to the method of taking the census. From 1880 to 1890 there is a certain decrease, though the proportion is still very high. From 1890 to 1900 there is a very considerable decrease, probably indicating a return to true conditions; and a not negligible decrease from 1900 to 1910.

On the whole, with respect to these statistics, probably the most that we can safely say is that deafness is at least not on the increase relatively among the population, while there is a possibility that at present it is decreasing. For further determinations, we shall have to seek other means of inquiry.[16]

The Adventitiously Deaf and the Congenitally Deaf

We may perhaps best approach the problem of deafness as an increasing or decreasing phenomenon in the population, if we think of the deaf as composed of two great classes: those adventitiously deaf, that is, those who have lost their hearing by some disease or accident occurring after birth, and those congenitally deaf, that is, those who have never had hearing.[17] In regard to the former class, it follows that we are largely interested in the consideration of those diseases, especially those of childhood, which may affect the hearing, and in their prevention or diminution we can endeavor to ascertain how far there are possibilities of reducing the number of the deaf of this class. In the latter case we are called upon to examine some of the great problems involved in the study of heredity, especially in respect to the extent that the offspring is affected by defects or abnormalities of the parent, and to see what, if any, means are at hand to alter conditions that bring about this form of deafness. We shall first discuss the causes of adventitious deafness, together[17] with the possibilities of its prevention and the likelihood of its diminution, and then consider the questions involved in congenital deafness.

Adventitious Deafness and its Causes

From three-fifths to two-thirds of the cases of deafness are caused adventitiously—by accident or disease. To accidents, however, only a very small part are due, probably less than one-fiftieth of the entire number.[18] Nearly all adventitious deafness results from some disease, either as a primary disease of the auditory organs, or as a sequence or product of some disease of the system, often one of infectious character, the deafness thus constituting a secondary malady or ailment. The larger portion is of the latter type, probably less than a fourth resulting from original ear troubles.[19] In either case deafness occurs usually in infancy or childhood, and does its harm by attacking the middle or internal ear.

From diseases of the middle ear results over one-fourth (27.2 per cent, according to the census) of all deafness, and from diseases of the internal ear, one-fifth (20.7 per cent), very little (0.6[18] per cent) being caused by disorders of the outer ear. Of the classified cases of deafness, according to the census, 56.3 per cent are due to diseases affecting the middle ear, and 42.7 per cent to diseases affecting the internal. Of diseases of the middle ear, 72 per cent are of suppurative character, often with inflammation or abscess, and 28 per cent non-suppurative, or rather catarrhal in character. Of diseases of the internal ear, 89 per cent are affections of the nerve, and 10 per cent of the labyrinth. It is to be noted that when the affection is of the internal ear, the result is usually total deafness.

By specified diseases, the leading causes of deafness are scarlet fever (11.1 per cent), meningitis (9.6), brain fever (4.7), catarrh (3.6), "disease of middle ear" (3.6), measles (2.5), typhoid fever (2.4), colds (1.6), malarial fever (1.2), influenza (0.7), with smaller proportions from diphtheria, pneumonia, whooping cough, la grippe, and other diseases. A large part of deafness is seen to be due to infectious diseases, the probabilities being that fully one-third is to be so ascribed, with one-fifth from infectious fevers alone.

After birth and under two years of age, the chief causes of deafness are meningitis, scarlet fever, disease of middle ear, brain fever, and measles. From two to five scarlet fever and[19] meningitis are far in the lead, with many cases also from brain fever, disease of middle ear, measles, and typhoid fever. From five to ten scarlet fever alone outdistances all other diseases, followed in order by meningitis, brain fever and typhoid fever. From ten to fifteen the main causes are meningitis, scarlet fever, brain fever, and catarrh; from fifteen to twenty catarrh and meningitis; from twenty to forty catarrh, colds and typhoid fever; and from forty on, catarrh.

The following table[20] will show in detail the several causes of deafness and their respective percentages.


Total classified48.5
External ear0.6
Impacted cerumen0.2
Foreign bodies0.1
Middle ear27.2
Scarlet fever11.1
Disease of ear3.6
Other causes1.7
Other causes2.4
Internal ear20.7
Malarial fever1.2
Other causes0.6
Brain fever4.7
Typhoid fever2.4
Other causes1.8
Brain center0.3
Old age0.3
Military service1.0
Falls and blows2.8

In fairly approximate agreement with the returns of the census, are the records of the special schools for the deaf in respect to the causes of deafness in their pupils, with information also as to the amount from the minor diseases. The following table will give the causes by specific diseases, as found in one school, the Pennsylvania Institution, for two years:[21]



  Per Cent Per Cent
Total number510100.0500100.0
Born deaf21341.820641.2
Scarlet fever438.2479.4
Diseases of ear and throat132.6234.6
Catarrh and colds132.6
Brain fever173.3163.2
La grippe102.071.4
Accidents (not stated)91.871.4
Whooping cough71.471.4
Typhoid fever71.461.2
Dropsy of blood20.4
Chicken pox10.210.2
Intermittent fever10.210.2
Blood clotting on brain10.2
Cholera infantum10.2
Gastric fever10.2
Sickness (not stated)102.081.6

Possible Action for the Prevention of Adventitious Deafness

In respect to present activities for the prevention of adventitious deafness, we find the situation very much like that of marking time. Deafness, since the beginning of time, has largely been accepted as the portion of a certain fraction of the race, and any serious and determined efforts[22] for its eradication have been considered for the most part as of little hope.[22] With the auditory organs so securely hidden away in the head, entrenched within the protecting temporal bone, and with their structure so delicate and complicated, the problem may well have been regarded a baffling one even for the best labor of medicine and surgery. Hence it is that after deafness has once effected lodgment in the system, a cure has not usually been regarded as within reach, though for certain individual cases there may be medical examination and treatment, with attempts made at relief. For deafness in general, it has been felt that there has been little that could be done in the way of prevention or cure beyond the preservation of the general health and the warding off of diseases that might cause loss of hearing.

As a matter of fact, however, altogether too little attention has been given hitherto to the possibilities of the prevention of deafness. Without question there is much at the outset that can be accomplished towards the prevention of those diseases that cause deafness. A large part, perhaps fully a third, as we have seen, are due to[23] infectious diseases, and it is probably here that measures are likely to be most efficacious. A considerable portion likewise are the result of diseases affecting the passages of the nose and throat, and help should be possible for many of these if taken in hand soon enough. In certain diseases also, as scarlet fever, measles, typhoid fever, diphtheria, and others, there are not a few cases which, so far as deafness as a development is concerned, would prove amenable to skillful and persistent treatment. At the same time due attention to primary ear troubles would in a number of instances keep off permanent deafness. Indeed, it is possible that some thirty or forty per cent of adventitious deafness is preventable by present known means.[23]

Aside from direct medical treatment for those diseases that cause deafness, there are other measures available in a program for the prevention of deafness. One of the foremost essentials is the report to the health authorities of all serious diseases that are liable to result in deafness. In this way proper medical care may be secured, and due precautions may be taken to isolate infectious cases. Even with meningitis, which is so hard usually to deal with and which is[24] so severe in its ravages, there is often some concomitant trouble, and if made notifiable in all cases deafness from it might be checked in no inconsiderable measure. The report of births is also especially needed, and as it becomes obligatory in general, with the consequent detection of physical ailments or disabilities, early cases of deafness may come increasingly to notice, and timely treatment may be availed of. Particular attention is likewise necessary in respect to the medical examination of school children. The proportion of such children with impaired hearing is not slight, even though no great part of them become totally deaf. A committee on defective eyes and ears of school children of the National Educational Association in 1903 found that of 57,072 children examined in seven cities, 2,067, or 3.6 per cent, were extremely defective in hearing.[24] An investigation of the school children in New York City has disclosed the fact that one per cent have seriously defective hearing.[25] Under proper and adequate medical inspection of schools, not only would the need of treatment for adenoids and similar troubles be brought to light, with the result that a number of incipient cases might be stopped in time, but in some instances of deafness already[25] acquired beneficial treatment might be possible.[26]

There is thus a considerable sphere for action towards the prevention of adventitious deafness both by legislation and by education. For the ultimate solution of its problems, however, we have to look mainly to the medical profession. In recent years medical science has won some great triumphs, and in the field of the prevention of deafness no little may be in store to be accomplished in the years to come.[27] Even now, with more particular attention to the diseases of children, and with stronger insistence upon general sanitary measures, the probabilities are that there is less deafness from certain diseases than formerly—a matter which we are soon to consider.

Though as yet there has been little direct action for the prevention of adventitious deafness, there is an increasing concern in the matter, and in this there is promise. By medical bodies in particular is greater attention being given to the subject,[28] and in the widening recognition[26] of their part as guardians of the public health it may be possible for them to do much for the enlightenment of the public. In one state legislative action has been taken expressly for the protection of the hearing of school children. This is Massachusetts, which requires the examination of the eyes and ears of the school children in every town and city, the state board of education furnishing the tests.[29] In some states also general inspection of schools is mandatory by statute, and in others permissive, while in several there are local ordinances with the force of a state law.

In combating adventitious deafness, then, our attack is to be directed in the largest part upon those diseases, especially infantile and infectious diseases, that cause deafness; and it is upon the checking of their spread that our main efforts for the present have to be concentrated. At the same time the better safe-guarding of the general health of the community will insure a proportionate diminution of deafness. Beyond this, we will have to wait upon the developments of medical science, both in the study of the prevention of diseases and of their treatment; and can trust only to what it may offer.[30]


Adventitious Deafness as an Increasing or Decreasing Phenomenon

Our main interest in the problem of adventitious deafness lies in the possible discovery whether or not it is relatively increasing or decreasing among the population, and in what respects signs appear of a diminution. We have just seen the likelihood of a decrease from certain causes; but we are to find what is indicated by statistical evidence.

To be considered first is adventitious deafness as a whole. Respecting it our only statistics are in the returns of the censuses since 1880, the different forms of deafness not being distinguished before this time. The following table will show the number of the adventitiously deaf as reported by the censuses of 1880, 1890 and 1900, with their respective percentages and ratios per million of population.[31]



PercentageRatio per
Million of

From this it appears that adventitious deafness is increasing in relation to total deafness, which is most likely the case, as congenital deafness, as we shall see, is evidently decreasing. Whether or not adventitious deafness is increasing in respect to the general population, the table does not disclose definitely. The statistics probably are not full enough to afford any real indication yet.

Our next inquiry is in respect to the increase or decrease of adventitious deafness from the several diseases individually, which is, upon the whole, the more satisfactory test. Here also, unfortunately, our statistics are very limited, and our findings will have to fall much short of what could be desired.

The following table, based on the returns of the censuses of 1880, 1890 and 1900, so far as the approximate identity of the several diseases can be established, will give the respective percentages found.[32]



Scarlet fever7.911.811.1
Catarrh and catarrhal fevers0.93.33.6[33]
Abscess and inflammation1.02.5[35]
Whooping cough0.50.8[34]
Malarial and typhoid fevers1.71.83.6
Other fevers1.12.0

In this table the most noticeable thing is perhaps the persistency with which we find most of the diseases to recur, with apparently no great change, while in certain ones, as catarrh and malarial and typhoid fevers, there seems to be rather an increase. It would be best, however, not to place very great confidence in these figures, but, so far as the census reports are concerned, to wait for more precise and uniform statistics.

We have, further, the statistics published in the reports of certain schools for the deaf. While these are perhaps not of sufficient extent to warrant full conclusions, they may be regarded as quite representative;[36] and though to be taken with something of the caution as the census figures, they may serve to throw some light upon[30] the situation. Comparison of the proportions of pupils deaf from the several diseases at different times may be made in two ways: by finding the respective proportions over a series of successive years from a certain time back down to the present, and by contrasting the proportions in two widely separated periods, one in the present and one in the past. These will be taken up in order.

The following tables give the percentages of cases of deafness in pupils from the important diseases as found in six schools in successive years: in the New York Institution in the total annual attendance from 1899 to 1912; in the Michigan School in the total biennial attendance from 1883 to 1912; in the Pennsylvania Institution in the number of new pupils admitted quadriennially from 1843 to 1912; in the Western Pennsylvania Institution in the number admitted biennially from 1887 to 1912; in the Maryland School in the number admitted biennially from 1884 to 1911; and in the Wisconsin School in the number admitted biennially from 1880 to 1908.[31]


 1899190019011902 1903190419051906 1907190819091910 19111912
Total Number466476481477 464503508510 543555565570 546518
Congenital36.027.1 26.840.936.2 33.334.434.9 32.834.636.6
Scarlet Fever11.410.18.9 5.75.0
Meningitis9.59.4 7.911.012.2 16.818.617.7 17.919.019.7
Brain Trouble10.19.2
Typhoid Fever3.
Various Fevers2.
Whooping Cough1.
Miscellaneous and Unknown2.120.426.719.818.623.714.725.915.414.215.118.620.718.5


Total Number302336342350343365428412441447451404361354353
Scarlet Fever12.211.812.311.
Brain Fever6.
Typhoid Fever4.
Various Fevers2.
Whooping Cough1.
La grippe0.
Miscellaneous and Unknown32.223.824.323.327.329.330.230.430.431.534.930.630.332.941.9



Total Number90111125143167152150178282233261207248250239240282152
Scarlet Fever13.318.012.816.89.619.716.018.618.113.714.914.
Whooping Cough2.
Brain Fever2.
Typhoid Fever1.
La grippe0.
Mis. and Unknown29.


Total Number615658584940504111059737173
Scarlet Fever9.821.48.610.410.
Brain Fever6.
Typhoid Fever1.
Whooping Cough1.
La grippe2.02.01.9
Miscellaneous and Unknown31.330.633.232.216.722.522.017.228.334.223.222.524.9



Total Number28272525293030392930284132135[37]
Scarlet Fever10.77.412.
Typhoid Fever4.
Whooping Cough3.
Brain Fever7.
Various Fevers4.
Miscellaneous and Unknown14.218.623.620.034.332.928.122.016.723.521.319.937.724.1


Total Number3666231[37]566750447264726233336370
Scarlet Fever14.
Typhoid Fever6.
Whooping Cough1.
Brain Fever2.911.
Miscellaneous and Unknown30.919.


We may take these tables together to see how the proportions of deafness from the leading diseases have changed in the course of the several periods indicated, proper allowance being made for the shorter length of time covered in some schools than in others. In respect to scarlet fever, one of the two foremost causes, we find in the New York Institution, the Michigan School and the Maryland School, a distinct and steady decline; in the Pennsylvania Institution a decline of late years, which is especially significant in view of the extended period covered by it; and in the Western Pennsylvania and the Wisconsin School little change, though in the latter there is less than at the beginning. In meningitis, on the other hand, the second of the two most important causes, a marked increase is seen in the Pennsylvania Institution for the entire period, while in the New York a sharp increase is found in the time designated, this being all the more noticeable because of the large proportion already attributed here to convulsions, often a trouble of kindred origin. In the Western Pennsylvania Institution and the Maryland School little change is observed, though in the latter some decline is apparent in the later years. In the Wisconsin and Michigan schools a very strong decline is seen. On somewhat the same order as meningitis is brain fever. It, however, shows little[35] change on the whole, though in the Michigan and Maryland schools and the New York Institution some decline is evident. Of the remaining diseases none plays singly a large part in the causation of deafness, and in most of them the results are similar. Measles, typhoid fever, diphtheria, pneumonia, and whooping cough show, with some fluctuations at times, little change on the whole, beyond certain local differences. In the New York Institution a decline is reported in nearly all. In the Pennsylvania Institution a rather larger proportion for measles is seen in later than in earlier years. In the Michigan School an increase seems to be the case with whooping cough, but a decrease with typhoid fever. In catarrh the results are not so uniform. In the New York and Pennsylvania institutions a decline is manifest, though in the latter a larger proportion is reported than at the beginning. In the Michigan and Wisconsin schools rather an increase is noted. La grippe is only reported occasionally of late years, and its real effects cannot yet be ascertained. With respect to general fevers, their classification is found to be so varying that little can be determined.

We now proceed to make comparison of the proportions of deafness from the principal diseases in a series of years some time past with similar proportions in recent years. The following[36] tables give the several proportions in the American School (Connecticut) in the entire attendance from 1817 to 1844 and from 1817 to 1857, and in the new admissions from 1901 to 1913; in the Ohio School in the entire attendance from 1829 to 1872, and in the average annual attendance in 1904, 1905, 1906, and 1911; in the Iowa School in the entire attendance from 1855 to 1870 and from 1855 to 1912; and in the New York Institution in the entire attendance from 1818 to 1853 and in the average annual attendance from 1899 to 1912.[38]











Taking these tables also collectively, we find in respect to scarlet fever a decline in all the schools, this being especially pronounced in the case of the Ohio. In meningitis, however, there is an increase so heavy as to call in question the accuracy of the earlier records; and it is possible that it failed to be entirely recognized then. In most of the other diseases, as in the previous case, no very great change is perceptible. In general fevers a decline is apparent in all, in most being considerable; and probably several diseases were formerly included which are now listed separately. In measles rather a decline is found in the American and Ohio schools, but a slight increase in the Iowa, and a somewhat larger one in the New York Institution. In typhoid fever there is a slight increase also in the Iowa School, but a decrease in the Ohio. In brain fever a considerable increase is observed in the Iowa School, but a slight decrease likewise in the Ohio. In whooping cough there is an increase in the New York Institution and the Iowa School, but a decrease in the American. Such diseases as pneumonia, diphtheria and catarrh seem not usually to have been separately classified in the past, though in the Ohio School we find diphtheria noted, and with somewhat smaller proportions than in later years; while in several of the[39] schools we find "colds" given in former times, which may have been in part really catarrh.

Combining now the results of our two groups of tables, we may be able to reach some conclusions with respect to the increase or decrease of deafness from certain diseases, though on the whole far less definite than we could wish. In the first place, it seems safe to affirm that deafness from scarlet fever is becoming relatively less with the years; and it is possible that if it continues its present rate of decline, it will in time cease to be one of the main causes of deafness. On the other hand, meningitis, its great companion in evil, shows a striking increase in comparison with past years, as a cause of adventitious deafness; while its accretion may be traced as well in a series of recent years in certain schools, though not in others. But how far there is an absolute increase in meningitis over the past, and whether it is tending at present actually to increase, may be a matter for question. In view of the possibility that the disease was not sufficiently accounted for in the past, and in the absence of any knowledge to indicate a reason for its less prevalence in earlier years, at least not to the extent indicated by the statistics, it may be that its increase is, after all, more apparent than real. The fact, moreover, that in the series of recent years a marked increase is found in some schools,[40] but a marked decline in others, may perhaps be taken to mean that at present meningitis may be on the increase only in certain sections, depending possibly on local conditions. With the greater medical skill of to-day, and with a larger proportion of children in the schools, it may be open to considerable doubt if the movement of this disease is really one of increase, though it seems that we are on the whole making no great headway against it.

As to the minor diseases causing deafness, our statistics do not indicate just to what extent and in what direction deafness from them is being affected, and no precise conclusions can at present be set down. It is probable, however, that with the increased attention to children's diseases, as we have noted, there is really less deafness from most of them than formerly.[40]


The Congenitally Deaf

When we come to consider the question of congenital deafness, which comprises a little over a third of the total amount of deafness, we have an even more difficult problem on our hands, for here we are to deal with some of the great questions of heredity—though hereditary deafness and congenital deafness are not altogether one and the same thing.[41] For the purposes of our inquiry, let us think of the congenitally deaf as divided into three great classes in respect to their family relations: 1. the offspring of parents who were cousins; 2. the offspring of parents who were themselves deaf or members of families in which there are other deaf relatives; and 3. the product of families without either consanguinity or antecedent deafness. Of these three classes the first two only will engage our attention. Of the last, comprising, according to the census,[42] nine-twentieths, or 44.4 per cent, of the congenitally deaf, there is not much that we can say. For a great part of it there no doubt exists in the parent, or perhaps in a more remote ancestor, some abnormal strain, physical or mental, in the nature of disease or other defect. But in respect to such deafness we have too little in the way of statistical data to help us arrive at any real determination; and for it as a whole we shall have to wait till we have greater knowledge of eugenics and the laws of heredity.[42]

The Offspring of Consanguineous Marriages

Not all the deaf born of consanguineous marriages are congenitally deaf, but as the majority are so, and as the fact of the parents being blood relatives is assumed to have at least a contributing influence in the result, we may consider the matter in this place. It is in fact closely connected with the question of deaf relatives in general.

In the census investigations,[43] of the number who answered on this point, 2,525, or 7.4 per cent, have parents who were cousins. Of these[43] cases, deafness occurred in 87 per cent before the fifth year of age, and in 60 per cent at birth. Of all the deaf born without hearing, 13.5 per cent are the offspring of consanguineous marriages. The proportion of those born deaf is thus nearly twice as great when the parents are cousins as it is among the whole class of the congenitally deaf; and the proportion is also nearly twice as great of the offspring of consanguineous marriages among the congenitally deaf as the proportion of the deaf from such marriages among the total number of the deaf. Moreover, 55.0 per cent of the offspring of cousin-marriages have deaf relatives of some kind, and of the congenitally deaf from cousin-marriages, 65.6 per cent have deaf relatives; while the respective proportions when the parents are not cousins are 25.5 per cent and 40.7 per cent—in the one case less than half, and in the other two-thirds, as great.

Further statistics bear out the findings of the census. Dr. E. A. Fay in his "Marriages of the Deaf"[44]—a work we are soon to notice—finds that, though consanguineous marriages form only about one per cent of the total number considered, 30.0 per cent of the children of deaf parents who are cousins are deaf, and that 45.1 per cent of such marriages result in deaf offspring;[44] but that when the parents are not cousins, the respective proportions are 8.3 per cent and 9.3 per cent—only about a fourth and a fifth as great. In the Colorado School, out of 567 pupils in attendance from the beginning to 1912, in 17, or 3 per cent, the parents were related before marriage. In the Kentucky School, out of 83 pupils admitted in 1910 and 1911, 18, or 19.3 per cent, and out of 42 admitted in 1912 and 1913, 8, or 19 per cent, were the offspring of parents who were cousins. In the Iowa School, out of 62 admissions in 1911 and 1912, 4, or 6.5 per cent, and in the Maryland School, out of a total attendance in 1911 of 135, 13, or 9.2 per cent, had parents who were cousins.[45]

Consanguineous marriages, so far as the effect on deafness is concerned, are not of relatively frequent occurrence. But where they do take place, there is found a decided connection between them and deafness, the increased tendency thus to transmit a physical abnormality being plain. How far, however, if at all, such deafness is to be directly ascribed to consanguineous marriages, is a matter for question. The main consideration[45] seems to be that in such marriages the chances are at least doubled of the offspring acquiring the characteristics of the parents; and that in them the liability is thus proportionately enhanced of transmitting deafness.[46]

The Deaf Having Deaf Relatives

We are now to examine what traces there may be of deafness in a family by noting what proportion of the deaf have deaf relatives, and are to attempt to see what may be its bearings upon the question of heredity. In the census investigations,[47] we find that out of 34,780 deaf persons who answered, there are 10,033, or 28.8 per cent, who have deaf relatives of some kind, direct or collateral, 8,170, or 23.5 per cent, having deaf brothers, sisters or ancestors. In all of these we can without difficulty discover the influence of heredity. In the congenitally deaf the trace of a physical defect is even more clearly indicated. Of these 40.1 per cent have deaf brothers, sisters or ancestors, and 46.2 per cent have also deaf uncles, cousins, etc.[48]

It is thus evident that there are certain families in society deeply tinged with deafness, that[46] it sometimes passes from parent to child, from generation to generation, and that like a cloud it hangs over a section of the race.

The Offspring of Deaf Parents

All this argument leads up to one most pertinent question: Are the statistics which we have indicative that this deafness which passes so remorselessly in certain families will be found all the stronger in the children of deaf parents? Have we ground to believe or fear that this deafness will crop out far more surely than in the children of parents not deaf? And can we determine to what extent possibilities are increased of the offspring of deaf parents being likewise deaf?

Let us now consider the statistics which we have in this matter, first examining the results of the census investigation.[49] Of the 8,022 married deaf persons for whom statements are made, we find that there are 190 who have deaf offspring, or 2.4 per cent. Of the 4,116 deaf persons who are married to deaf persons, 137 have deaf children, or 3.3 per cent; and of the 3,906 deaf persons married to hearing persons, 53 have deaf children, or 1.4 per cent. Of the married deaf having deaf children, 52.5 per cent have deaf relatives of some kind, and 54.7 per cent are congenitally deaf, the proportion of those having[47] deaf relatives who are also congenitally deaf being 66.7 per cent. Of the deaf married to hearing partners, who have deaf children, 26.4 per cent are congenitally deaf, while 50.9 per cent of the partners in such marriages have deaf relatives of some kind.

From the census statistics, then, it appears that the married deaf as a class do not have a large proportion of deaf children, and that this proportion is only a little more than twice as great when the deaf are married to the deaf as when they are married to the hearing. It appears also, however, that when there are deaf relatives involved in either kind of marriages, or when there is congenital deafness in the deaf parent, the effect is quite marked in the offspring.

Besides the census returns, we have the statistics presented in the reports of certain schools, which are found to point, as far as they go, to the same conclusions. In the Kentucky School, out of 83 pupils admitted in 1910 and 1911, there were none the children of deaf parents, though 35, or 30.1 per cent, had deaf relatives; and out of 42 admitted in 1912 and 1913, there were 2, or 4.8 per cent, the children of deaf parents, and 12, or 28.8 per cent, with deaf relatives. In the Iowa School, out of 62 admissions in 1911 and 1912, 4, or 6.5 per cent, had deaf parents, and 21, or 33.9 per cent, "defective" relatives. In the Michigan[48] School, with an annual enrollment of some three hundred, there were from 1903 to 1908 but three children of deaf parents.[50] In the Colorado School, out of a total attendance since its founding to 1912 of 567, 3, or 0.57 per cent, were the children of deaf parents, though 83, or 14.6 per cent, had deaf relatives. In the Missouri School, out of a similar attendance to 1912 of 2,174 there were 52, or 2.4 per cent, with deaf parents, though there were 235, or 10.8 per cent, with deaf relatives.[51]

The most exhaustive study of the question of the liability of the deaf to deaf offspring is that of Dr. E. A. Fay in his "Marriages of the Deaf"—covering the majority of the marriages of the deaf in America at the time it was made (1898).[52] Statistical information is presented for 7,227 deaf persons and for 3,078 marriages with either deaf or hearing partners.[53] In the following[49] table are summarized the results of this investigation.[54]


Partners in MarriageTotalResulting
in deaf
Per centTotalDeafPer cent
One or both deaf 3,078 300 9.7 6,782 588 8.6
Both deaf 2,377 220 9.2 5,072 429 8.4
One deaf, other hearing 599 75 12.5 1,532 151 9.8
One or both congenitally deaf 1,477 194 13.1 3,401 413 12.1
One or both adventitiously deaf 2,212 124 5.6 4,701 199 4.2
Both congenitally deaf 335 83 24.7 779 202 25.9
One congenitally, other adventitiously deaf 814 66 8.1 1,820 119 6.5
Both adventitiously deaf 845 30 3.5 1,720 40 2.3
One congenitally deaf, other hearing 191 28 14.6 528 63 11.9
One adventitiously deaf, other hearing 310 10 3.2 713 16 2.2
Both had deaf relatives 437 103 23.5 1,060 222 20.9
One had deaf relatives, other not 541 36 6.6 1,210 78 6.4
Neither had deaf relatives 471 11 2.3 1,044 13 1.2
Both congenitally deaf      
Both had deaf relatives 172 49 28.4 429 130 30.3
One had deaf relatives, other not 49 8 16.3 105 21 20.0
Neither had deaf relatives 14 1 7.1 24 1 4.1
Both adventitiously deaf      
Both had deaf relatives 57 10 17.5 114 11 9.6
One had deaf relatives, other not 167 7 4.1 357 10 2.8
Neither had deaf relatives 284 2 0.7 550 2 0.3
Partners consanguineous 31 14 45.1 100 30 30.0

It is thus seen that 9.7 per cent of the marriages of the deaf result in deaf offspring, and that 8.6 per cent of the children born of them are deaf—proportions far greater than for the the population generally.[55] A striking fact to be[50] noted, however, is that these proportions are greater when one parent is deaf and the other hearing than when both are deaf. The percentage of marriages resulting in deaf offspring when only one parent is deaf is 12.5, and when both are deaf, 9.2; while the percentage of deaf children born of them when only one parent is deaf is 9.8, and when both are deaf, 8.4. This is apparently a very strange result, though it probably may be accounted for in some part on the theory that it is not so much deafness itself that is inherited, but rather an abnormality of the auditory organs, or a tendency to disease, of which deafness is a result or symptom, and that with different pathological conditions in the parent there is less likelihood of deafness resulting.

The most significant part of the results seems to be found, as before, in respect to whether or not deaf parents are themselves congenitally deaf or have deaf relatives. On the one hand, when one or both of the parents are adventitiously deaf, the percentage of marriages resulting in deaf children is 5.6, and the percentage of deaf children is 4.2; when both parents are so, the percentages are lower: 3.5 and 2.3. The percentages rise when one parent is adventitiously deaf, and the other congenitally: 8.1 and 6.5. In respect to deaf relatives of parents, the percentages are very[51] low when neither has such relatives: 2.3 and 1.2. The lowest percentages of all are in the case where both parents are adventitiously deaf and neither has deaf relatives: 0.7 and 0.3.

On the other hand, we find the proportion of marriages resulting in deaf offspring and the proportion of deaf children much greater when there is congenital deafness in one or both parents, when one or both have deaf relatives, and greatest of all when these influences are combined. When one or both parents are congenitally deaf, the percentage of marriages resulting in deaf offspring is 13.1, and the percentage of deaf children is 12.1; when both parents are so, the percentages are doubled: 24.7 and 25.9. When one parent has deaf relatives and the other has not, the percentages are 6.6 and 6.4; when both have, the percentages are nearly four times as great: 23.5 and 20.9. When both parents are congenitally deaf but neither has deaf relatives, the percentages are 7.1 and 4.1. When both are adventitiously deaf and both have deaf relatives, the percentages are 17.5 and 9.6. When both are congenitally deaf and one has deaf relatives, the percentages are 16.3 and 20.0; and when both have deaf relatives, the percentages are 28.4 and 30.3.

The evidence is very strong, then, with regard to the form of deafness and the presence or absence[52] of deaf relatives. In cases where the parents are not congenitally deaf and have no deaf relatives, the proportion of deaf children is very low. When one or both parents are congenitally deaf or have deaf relatives—when the deafness is inherited or in the family—the likelihood becomes far greater, and greater still when the two influences are in conjunction. In general, in respect to the influences of heredity upon deafness, the main determinants seem to be found in the existence in the parties, whether hearing or deaf, of deaf relatives, and, to a less extent, in the existence in parties who are deaf of congenital deafness.

Possible Action for the Prevention of Congenital Deafness

We come now to the consideration of the question of possible action for the prevention of congenital deafness. This examination naturally centers about the matter of the regulation of marriage, with due attention to the extent that action on the part of the state is to be regarded as desirable or feasible.

We have seen that congenital deafness may, hypothetically, be divided into three distinguishable classes: that in which consanguineous marriages are concerned, that in which there is antecedent deafness in the family, and that in[53] which neither of these conditions occurs; and in our inquiry it has seemed best to take up each of these separately. It may be, however, that there is in fact no very radical difference between these several forms, and that with increased knowledge on the subject a more or less intimate relation will be found to exist.

Of that form of deafness in which neither consanguineous marriages nor antecedent deafness is involved, we are at present, as we have noted, able to say little definitely. In most cases we may be convinced that there exists in the parent some peculiar state of morbidity or other affection, latent or manifest, perhaps to some extent of hereditary influence, which has an effect on the organs of hearing of the offspring. A certain proportion is quite possibly due to recognizable defects both of physical and mental character. Our statistical evidence, however, in respect to this form of congenital deafness is too slight to warrant any positive deductions; and we will have to wait for further investigation to determine its nature fully. None the less, marriage of persons known to be liable to have ill effect on possible offspring is objectionable for not a few reasons, from the standpoint of the interests of society; and in their reduction there will probably be a greater or less diminution of congenital deafness.[54]

With regard to consanguineous marriages and their effect on deafness we are on surer ground, so far as may be indicated by statistical data. This question is found in very great measure to be connected with that of deaf relatives in general. The matter appears to be largely a part of a law of wide application, namely, that in the blood relationship of parents the possibilities are intensified of the perpetuation of a certain strain, which holds true no less with the transmission of deafness. Consanguineous marriages are perhaps not of sufficiently frequent occurrence, so far as concerns the effect on deafness, to require special action; but in the consideration of such marriages in general, their part in the causation of deafness should have due weight; and whatever may be said regarding them in other relations, they are to be avoided if we wish to remove all chances of this kind of deafness resulting.

The problem of deaf relatives and their connection with congenital deafness is a very large one. Attention however, has mostly been focused upon it in relation to the intermarriage of the deaf and its effect upon their offspring. Indeed, in such unions there has already been more or less concern, and there has even been question whether it is a wise or unwise policy to allow the deaf to marry other deaf persons. The deaf, as[55] we shall discover, not only find their companions for social intercourse among similar deaf persons, but a fortiori very often seek such persons for their partners in marriage—in fact, more often than they do hearing partners, nearly three-fourths of the married deaf being married to deaf partners.[56] Not only has it been feared that the offspring of such marriages might likewise be deaf, but there has also been apprehension lest in their encouragement there might result a deaf species of the race.[57]

From our discussion, however, we have found that in most of the marriages of the deaf we have but small reason for disquiet. If deafness in the parent is really adventitious, there is little possibility of its passing on to the offspring. When[56] the deafness in the parent is itself congenital, the situation becomes more serious. If in such case there is no added risk from the existence of deaf relatives, the likelihood of transmitting deafness need not always be a matter of deep concern, though the hazard is materially larger than for adventitious deafness. When there are deaf relatives involved, the peril, made stronger if coupled with congenital deafness, is most pronounced; and, indeed, the existence of collateral deafness seems a more certain sign of warning than direct heredity itself. Finally, even in the marriage of the deaf with the hearing, the dangers are not in fact lessened if conditions otherwise unchanged are attendant.

What action should be taken in respect to that part of the deaf who may marry under conditions favorable to the production of deaf offspring is not at present clear. Legislation would not appear on the whole to be advisable;[58] and the exertion of moral suasion, so far as possible, in the individual cases concerned would seem a more acceptable course. The matter, however, really belongs in the province of eugenics, and we will probably do best to await the authoritative pronouncement[57] of its decrees before full procedure is resolved upon.

Congenital Deafness as an Increasing or Decreasing Phenomenon

The final matter to be ascertained in respect to congenital deafness is whether it is relatively increasing or decreasing. The following table will show the number of the congenitally deaf in the censuses of 1880, 1890, and 1900, with their respective percentages and the ratios per million of population.[59]



Ratio per
Million of

From this it appears that congenital deafness is decreasing both in relation to all deafness, and to the general population.

For further statistics, we may revert to our tables under adventitious deafness. In the tables relating to periods of successive recent years we find in respect to three schools, the New York and Western Pennsylvania institutions and the Maryland School, with certain fluctuations, no great change on the whole, though the last named school shows still a very high proportion. In two schools, the Michigan and Wisconsin, rather an increase is observed. In the Pennsylvania Institution, which covers a period of seventy years, there is a decrease from over 50 per cent to less than 40.

A better test perhaps lies in the comparison of the proportions found for congenital deafness in the tables relating to periods widely separated in time. In these an increase is seen in the single case of the Ohio School; while a decrease is apparent in three, namely, the American and Iowa schools and the New York Institution. These decreases in percentages are respectively[59] from 44.8 and 50.1 to 35.2; from 37.2 to 26.9; and from 42.9 to 38.0.[60]

From the evidence that we have, then, taken together, it seems reasonable to conclude that congenital deafness is, though slowly, becoming less in the course of the years.

Conclusions with Respect to the Elimination or Prevention of Deafness

Most of what has been said in this chapter with respect to the elimination or prevention of deafness may be summed up as follows:

1. There are two kinds of deafness—adventitious and congenital. Of the total number of cases adventitious deafness comprises nearly two-thirds, and congenital deafness a little over one-third.

2. Nearly all adventitious deafness is caused by some disease of infancy or childhood attacking the middle or internal ear, a large part being of infectious character. The two chief diseases causing such deafness are scarlet fever and meningitis, with a less amount from brain fever, typhoid[60] fever, measles, catarrh, diphtheria, whooping cough, etc.

3. A considerable part of this deafness is preventable under enlightened action. Medical science is principally in control of the situation, but there is also much that can be done in general measures for the protection of the health. In attacking the problem, the most immediate practical program lies in the arrest of those diseases, especially infantile and infectious diseases, that cause deafness.

4. Our evidence is incomplete to determine definitely whether adventitious deafness is increasing or decreasing relatively among the population; but it is hardly other than likely that it is decreasing. Although certain diseases producing deafness fail to show any extensive signs of abatement, there are other diseases from which there can be little doubt that deafness is decreasing.

5. In the outlook there is, on the whole, promise, both in respect to the treatment of deafness itself and of the diseases that lead to deafness, though it cannot be said in any sense that any large or general relief is at present in sight.

6. Of congenital deafness nearly half occurs in families often without any positively known strain to indicate a predisposition to deafness. Though concerning this deafness little in the present state of our knowledge can be predicated,[61] it is likely that with measures to secure a race sound in all particulars there will be a reduction to a greater or less extent of such deafness.

7. Consanguineous marriages do not take place, so far as deafness as an effect is concerned, to any great extent; though where they do the consequences are very marked. Their relation to deafness consists apparently for the greatest part in the fact that the chances of its transmission are thereby intensified, there being also a very strong connection with the question of deaf relatives in general.

8. There are a certain number of families in society deeply tainted with deafness, in evidence both lineally and collaterally, and this deafness may be transmitted from parent to offspring.

9. Children of deaf parents are far more likely to be deaf than children of hearing parents.

10. The great majority of the children of deaf parents, however, are able to hear, the proportion of those who are not being small.

11. The likelihood of deaf offspring is not necessarily greater when both parents are deaf than when one is deaf and the other hearing.

12. The liability to deaf offspring depends in the greatest degree upon the presence or absence in the parents, deaf or hearing, of deaf relatives, and, to a less extent, upon whether or not the existing deafness is congenital—being especially[62] great under a combination of these two conditions.

13. Action in respect to marriages of the deaf likely to result in deaf offspring seems for the present rather to be limited to moral forces.

14. Congenital deafness appears, from all the evidence, to be decreasing relatively among the population, though probably only at a very slow rate.

15. Finally, with respect to our original inquiry, it is to be said that there are no indications that deafness will disappear from the human race within any time which we can measure; and hence that the deaf are to be in society not only for a season, but for a period apparently as yet indefinite. Nevertheless the situation is not without encouragement. From the data in our possession regarding deafness as a whole, it seems certain that deafness is not on the increase relatively among the population. From our knowledge concerning adventitious deafness, the probabilities are that, if anything, it is decreasing; while the evidence as to congenital deafness is that it is decreasing. It is likely, then, that deafness in general is tending to decrease; and we are thus justified in believing that the number of the deaf will in time become less.


[15] Moreover, later censuses are probably taken more thoroughly than former, with a consequent discovery of a larger number of the deaf; while at the same time greater care is employed in preparing the later censuses, with the more rigorous elimination of doubtful cases, all in some measure, however, tending to even up the differences. On the difficulty of making comparisons of the censuses of the deaf, see Special Reports, pp. 66-69; Annals, li., 1906, p. 487.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Deafness has also been divided into three classes: adventitious deafness, congenital or hereditary deafness, and infantile or sporadic congenital deafness, the last class including many cases where there are other antecedent defects, mental or physical, or where the deafness occurred shortly after birth with the exact cause not definitely determined. See Proceedings of International Otological Congress, ix., 1913, p. 49; Volta Review, xiv., 1912, p. 348; xv., 1913, p. 209.

[18] Of the cases usually ascribed to accidents, as falls, blows and the like, the probabilities are that a large part are really to be attributed to some other cause. Deafness is not often likely to result from such occurrences.

[19] See Proceedings of International Otological Congress, ix., 1913, p. 49; Volta Review, xiv., 1912, p. 348.

[20] Special Reports, pp. 110, 122, 124. See also Annals, xxxiii., 1888, p. 199; lii., 1907, p. 168. In the table are given only the specified causes that represent at least 0.7 per cent of the total amount of deafness. In respect to external ear trouble, impacted cerumen is usually found to result from water in the ear, or wax in the ear. Other diseases of the middle ear of suppurative character are diphtheria, pneumonia, erysipelas, smallpox, tonsilitis, teething, bronchitis, and consumption. Other non-suppurative diseases of the middle ear are whooping cough, scrofula, exposure and cold, disease of the throat, thickening of eardrum, croup, etc. Of the internal ear, other causes affecting the labyrinth are malformation, noise and concussion, mumps, and syphilis; affecting the nerve, paralysis, convulsions, sunstroke, congestion of brain, and disease of nervous system; and affecting brain center, hydrocephalus and epilepsy. Among unclassified causes are also adduced neuralgia, childbirth, accident, medicine, heat, rheumatism, head-ache, fright or shock, overwork, lightning, diarrhea, chicken-pox, operation, and other causes.

[21] Proceedings of National Conference of Charities and Corrections, 1906, p. 250; Ceremonies of Laying of Corner Stone of Rhode Island School, 1907, p. 27.

[22] There are no general or organized movements on foot for the prevention of deafness as there are for the prevention of blindness. This is perhaps chiefly because there are believed to be nothing like so many preventable cases of the one as of the other, so much of blindness being due to diseases that might have been avoided without great difficulty, and to accidents and other injuries to the eye.

[23] It has been estimated that three-fourths of deafness from primary ear diseases, and one-half from infectious diseases, is preventable. See Proceedings of International Otological Congress, loc. cit.; Volta Review, xiv., 1912, pp. 251, 348.

[24] Proceedings, 1903, p. 1036.

[25] Volta Review, xv., 1913, p. 136. See also ibid., v., 1903, p. 415; Outlook, civ., 1913, p. 997.

[26] See Medical and Surgical Monitor, vii., 1904, p. 47; New York Medical Journal, lxxxiii., 1906, p. 816; Annals, lv., 1910, p. 192; Volta Review, xiii., 1911, p. 332.

[27] The possibilities, for instance, in the use of antitoxins and vaccines in certain diseases are just beginning to be known, and some results as affect deafness may be expected from such operations.

[28] In 1909 a special committee in regard to the prevention of deafness was created by the Otological Section of the American Medical Association, and in 1910 both by the American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society and by the American Otological Society. See Laryngoscope, xx., 1910, pp. 596-665; Volta Review, xii., 1910, pp. 267, 545.

[29] Laws, 1906, ch. 502.

[30] On the possibilities of the prevention of adventitious deafness, see Dr. J. K. Love, "Deaf-Mutism", 1896; Archives of Otology, xxiv., 1895, p. 50; Journal of American Medical Association, liii., 1909, p. 89; New York Medical Journal, l., 1889, p. 205; lxxxix., 1909, p. 1007; xcv., 1912, p. 1189; New York State Journal of Medicine, xii., 1912, p. 690ff.; Maryland Medical Journal, lv., 1912, p. 33; Pediatrics, xxiv., 1912, p. 335; Popular Science Monthly, xlii., 1892, p. 211; "Progress in Amelioration of Certain Forms of Deafness and Impaired Hearing," Proceedings of American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf, iv., 1894; Annals, xxxiv., 1889, p. 199; lvi., 1911, p. 211; lviii., 1913, p. 131; Volta Review, xii., 1910, p. 143; xv., 1913, p. 303; New York Times, April 6, 1913; Public School Health Bulletin, Eyes and Ears, by Superintendent of Public Instruction of North Carolina, 1910.

[31] Census Reports, 1880. Report on Defective, Dependent and Delinquent Classes of the Population of the United States, 1888, p. 402ff.; Census Reports, 1890. Report on Insane, Feeble-minded, Deaf and Dumb and Blind, 1895, pp. 108ff., 648; Special Reports, 1906, p. 122.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Probably with the "fevers" the proportion would be larger.

[34] Less than 0.7 per cent.

[35] Probably included with certain of the suppurative diseases.

[36] Not a large number of schools, it is greatly to be regretted, give, regularly and over an extended period of time, such information in statistical form and upon the same basis from year to year.

[37] Total attendance.

[38] These tables are based upon statistics given in the reports of the schools, and given in Annals, vi., 1854, p. 237; xv., 1870, p. 113; xvii., 1872, p. 167.

[39] One case reported.

[40] Letters of inquiry as to whether or not "total" deafness appeared to be decreasing were sent by the writer to the professors of diseases of the ear of the medical schools of Johns Hopkins University, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, University of Michigan, and the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia. The opinion of four of these is that such deafness is clearly decreasing; of three that little or no decrease is apparent; while by two no opinion can be vouched yet. The greatest encouragement is found in respect to treatment for middle ear affections and infections from fevers. By Dr. S. MacCuen Smith, of the Jefferson Medical College, it is believed that there is a decrease, "largely due to the fact that not only the general medical profession, but the public at large, are recognizing the importance of having the minor aural lesions promptly and properly cared for. This being the case, it is no longer possible for children in the public schools to continue their studies when suffering from diseased tonsils and enlarged adenoid vegetations. From this cause alone, many cases of impairment of hearing which usually occur later in life will be prevented in the future". By Dr. E. A. Crockett, of Harvard University, it is believed that, although there is a larger amount of deafness from measles, there is less, not only from scarlet fever, but also from chronic suppurations, from adenoid and throat troubles in general, and even from meningitis, owing to the use of serums. Regarding his own observations, within a period of twenty-five years "the number of extremely deaf persons and deaf-mutes has very materially diminished".

[41] Hereditary deafness is sometimes of a kind that manifests itself some years after birth, often with certain relatives similarly affected. This is especially true of catarrhal and middle ear affections, though their results may more often be partial rather than total deafness.

[42] In a part of such deafness, and also in a portion of that occurring shortly after birth, the cause is said to be syphilis. See Proceedings of International Otological Congress, ix., 1913, p. 49; Volta Review, xiv., 1912, p. 348; xv., 1913, p. 209.

[43] Special Reports, pp. 125, 236. There were 3,341 who failed to answer, and if all had made reply, our percentage would probably be higher yet.

[44] P. 108.

[45] In the Louisiana School 10 per cent of the pupils are said to have parents who were blood relatives; in the Illinois, 5 per cent; and in the Kansas, from 5 to 5.5 per cent. Report of Louisiana School, 1906, p. 17. See also Transactions of American Medical Association, xi., 1858, pp. 321-425; Proceedings of Conference of Principals, iii., 1876, p. 204; Annals, xxii., 1877, p. 242.

[46] On this subject, see Francis Galton. "Natural Inheritance", 1889, p. 132ff. See also G. B. L. Arner, "Consanguineous Marriages", 1908, p. 65ff.; C. B. Davenport, "Heredity in Relation to Eugenics", 1911, p. 124ff.

[47] Special Reports, pp. 128, 235, and passim.

[48] These proportions are further indicated in the succeeding section.

[49] Special Reports, p. 135ff.

[50] Report, 1908, p. 31.

[51] Out of 107 children born to former pupils of the Minnesota School up to 1892, 2, or 1.9 per cent, were deaf. Report, 1892, p. 39. Out of 811 children born to former pupils of the American School up to 1891, 105, or 12.9 per cent, were deaf. Report, 1891, p. 20.

[52] The study had been originally planned by Dr. F. H. Wines for the International Record of Charities and Corrections. See issue for October, 1888. The work was published by the Volta Bureau. For a discussion of the results, see Association Review, ii., 1900, p. 178; Publications of American Statistical Association, vi., 1899, p. 353; Biometrika (London), iv., 1904-5, p. 465. See also charts in current numbers of Volta Review.

[53] From the total number of marriages, 974 were deducted, being cases concerning the offspring of which no information could be obtained, and also 434 cases where there were no offspring.

[54] From p. 134. It has also been computed by Dr. Fay from his data that of 5,455 married deaf persons, 300, or 5.5 per cent, have deaf offspring. Annals, lii., 1907, p. 253.

[55] The proportions for the general population are hardly over 0.3 per cent and 0.05 per cent respectively.

[56] The proportion of the married deaf who are married to deaf partners is found by Dr. Fay to be 72.5 per cent, and of those married to hearing partners, 20 per cent, there being no information for the remaining 7.5 per cent. The census returns, however, give the respective proportions as 51.3 per cent and 48.7 per cent.

[57] See Proceedings of National Conference of Charities and Corrections, 1879, p. 214; A. G. Bell, "The Formation of a Deaf Variety of the Human Race", Memoirs, 1883, ii., part 4, p. 177; Proceedings of Conference of Principals, i., 1868, p. 91; v., 1884, p. 205; A. G. Bell, "Marriage, an Address to the Deaf", 1898; Evidence before the Royal Commission on the Deaf, etc., 1892, ii., pp. 74-129; Annals, xxix., 1884, pp. 32, 72; xxx., 1885, p. 155; xxxiii., 1888, pp. 37, 206; Popular Science Monthly, xvii., 1885, p. 15; Science, Aug., 1890, to March, 1891 (xvi., xvii.); Arena, xii., 1895, p. 130; Association Review, x., 1908, p. 166; Volta Review, xiv., 1912, p. 184; Proceedings of Reunion of Alumni of Wisconsin School for the Deaf, vi., 1891, p. 46; National Association of the Deaf, iv., 1893, p. 112; ix., 1910, p. 69; Report of Board of Charities of New York, 1911, i., p. 150.

[58] No statutory action seems ever to have been taken in the matter. In Connecticut, however, in 1895 when a law (Laws, ch. 325) was enacted forbidding the marriage of the feeble-minded and epileptic, a provision respecting the congenitally deaf and blind came near being included. Annals, xl., 1895, p. 310.

[59] Census Reports, 1880. Report on Defective, Dependent and Delinquent Classes of the Population of the United States, 1888, p. 402ff.; Census Reports, 1890. Report on Insane, Feeble-minded, Deaf and Dumb and Blind, 1895, pp. 108ff., 684; Special Reports, 1906, p. 122. The ages of the deaf were reported less fully in 1880 than in 1890, and less fully in 1890 than in 1900; and if we take the numbers of those whose ages were reported in these three censuses, we have the following table, showing the proportion of the congenitally deaf.


Whose Age
Was Reported

If we assume that the proportion of the congenitally deaf to all the deaf in each census was the same that it was among the cases in which the age of the occurrence of deafness was reported, we have this table to show the number of the congenitally deaf and the ratio of the deaf among the population.


Number of
Ratio Per
Million of

These tables are taken from Annals, li., 1906, p. 487.

[60] In the three schools where an increase in congenital deafness appears to be found, namely, those of Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio, a partial explanation probably lies in the fact that in these states a number of day schools have been created of late years, which are not likely to draw congenitally deaf pupils to the extent that the institutions do, thus leaving a larger proportion for the latter. See also E. A. Fay, op. cit., p. 125.




General Attitude of the Law towards the Deaf

After examination of the question of how long the deaf are to be an element of the population, our discussion turns to their position at present as an actual part of society. The first relation to be considered is that of the state to them.

The state acts on men through the law, and in the law is represented not only its authority, but its attitude as well towards the problems that confront society, including the treatment of the various elements of its population. In this chapter it is our purpose by a study of the law in respect to the deaf to discover the attitude of the state towards them and the treatment which it has accorded them.

Generally in ancient and even in more modern days the deaf, especially the congenitally deaf without education, have been held in the eyes of the law more or less as though they were an abnormal element in the state, at times being regarded as though they were of defective minds,[64] and now and then being considered practically as idiots. Though there was usually meditated no unduly harsh treatment of the deaf, they were for the most part deemed incapable of performing the full duties of citizenship, certain of the rights that belonged to their fellowmen were denied to them, and they were held in considerable degree in what amounted to legal bondage. It was only in the course of time in most countries that the law came to look upon the deaf differently, to regard them more as normal persons, and to grant them in greater measure the rights of other men.[61]

In America the attention of the law has been directed to the deaf both by legislation relating to them, and by court decisions affecting them. In addition, in the constitutions of a number of states, as we shall see, provision is made for institutions for the education of the deaf; and in one state, Mississippi,[62] a provision is found[65] exempting the deaf from the payment of a poll tax. The law cannot be said to have concerned itself extensively with the deaf, but the light in which they have been viewed has been indicated fairly clearly. Judicial dicta and opinions have been of less frequency and importance than legislation, and have rather dealt with the mental capacity of the deaf in certain legal relations and proceedings, as in their responsibility for crimes, the making of wills, the appointment of interpreters, etc. Legislation itself has not often been engaged in providing for the deaf as a special class, beyond maintaining schools for the education of the young. Where this legislation has taken place, it may be said to be of three kinds. First, the deaf have been regarded as mentally deficient or incapable of certain civic acts, and discriminatory laws have been enacted. Next, the deaf have been thought to need special consideration or protection on the part of the state, and laws have been passed for the appointment of guardians or otherwise for their security or benefit. The third class of legislation is where the state bases its action upon the supposed weakness of the deaf, their "physical disability," as it is frequently termed, and here we have a series of what may be called negative benefactions, designed to make less hard the way of the deaf. Such special provision has[66] consisted chiefly in the remission of taxes in certain instances or of some other form of more or less direct assistance.

Legislation Discriminatory respecting the Deaf

Legislation which may be termed discriminatory in respect to the deaf has really been of but slight extent.[63] In Georgia we find an enactment of 1840,[64] in which the deaf were to be regarded pro tanto as idiots, so far as concerned the managing of their estates, though this was in fact intended for their protection. In New Mexico a law has been enacted, forbidding those deaf by birth from making wills, unless their intention is declared in writing;[65] and in Louisiana a deaf man is incapable of acting as a witness to a testament.[66] In several states, as New York and Massachusetts, there have been enactments in regard to deaf-mute immigrants together with other classes who might be likely to become a[67] public charge, with the exaction of bond as security.[67] In Georgia[68] there is an enactment in reference to various itinerant concerns which might leave deaf persons, as well as others, in the state as public charges.[69]

Legislation in Protection of the Deaf

Legislation of the second class, where the deaf are thought to require particular consideration or protection, has likewise been infrequent. The first instance is an enactment of Massachusetts in 1776,[70] relating to the appointment, on certain occasions, of guardians for the deaf, especially those deaf "from their nativity," together with other persons—which is probably the earliest statutory reference to the deaf in America. A later example is an enactment in Georgia in 1818,[71] and still in force, providing for the appointment of guardians, on somewhat the same[68] order as that which we have indicated, for deaf and dumb persons incapable of managing their estates. In New Jersey in 1838[72] a law was enacted, forbidding deaf persons under seventeen years of age to be bound out as apprentices. In Ohio a statute also of 1838[73] provided for guardians for the deaf, and several modern statutes are somewhat of this nature. In Maine the deaf cannot be sent to the reform school.[74] In Arkansas[75] and Missouri[76] it is provided that the court may appoint guardians for deaf persons from fourteen to twenty-one years of age in case of the death of a parent. Of somewhat different character, but still for the protection of the deaf, is the enactment in several states, as Wisconsin[77] and Virginia,[78] where injury or abuse of the deaf is made a matter of special attention in the law.

Legislation in Aid of the Deaf

Examples of legislation designed to be of material aid to the deaf are rather more common,[69] the chief of which, as we have noted, is the exemption from the payment of some personal or property tax.[79] Thus in Missouri we find a statute of 1843[80] allowing a deaf man to be exempt from the poll tax and the tax on property up to $300. Indiana in 1848[81] exempted its deaf and blind citizens from a poll tax and a property tax up to $500. Mississippi[82] exempted these classes from the road duty in 1878, and two years later from the poll tax as well, this exemption being incorporated in the state constitution, as we have seen. Tennessee[83] in 1895 also exempted from the poll tax the deaf, the blind and those incapable of labor. In Pennsylvania legislation seems to have gone the furthest in its desire to be of material help to the deaf, for here we find the deaf with the blind exempted from the penalties which usually apply to tramps.[84] Such are instances of this form of legislation, but similar legislation has been enacted in other states.

Very rare are instances where the state makes special provision for the care of, or extends special poor relief to, any of its deaf population.[70] The chief example seems to be the action of some of the New England states with their so-called "missions for the deaf." These are associations, composed in great part of the deaf and engaged in various forms of mission work, and to them state funds are granted to aid the aged, infirm and helpless deaf. By this plan Maine is said to have been without a deaf-mute pauper in ten years. The amounts allowed, however, for this purpose are not large, being $200 a year in Maine and $150 in New Hampshire.[85] In Ohio the counties are allowed to contract with private homes for the maintenance of the aged and infirm deaf—there being but one such in the state, that supported by the deaf themselves—and the state board of charities is given power to remove deaf persons thereto from the county infirmaries.[86]

Instances are likewise rare where the state makes a distinct appropriation of money for the benefit of the deaf other than for schools. We have one instance in New York where the state for a certain number of years allowed a small sum to the publishers of a paper for the benefit of poor deaf-mutes.[87]


As a last species of legislation in aid of the deaf, we have a single enactment of quite different character from that which we have hitherto found, and of later appearance. This is the law enacted in Minnesota in 1913,[88] which provides for a division for the deaf in the state bureau of labor. Its duties are to

Collect statistics of the deaf, ascertain what trades or occupations are most suitable for them and best adapted to promote their interests, ... use [its] best efforts to aid them in securing such employment as they may be best fitted to engage in, keep a census and obtain facts, information and statistics as to their condition in life with a view to the betterment of their lot, and endeavor to obtain statistics and information of the conditions of labor and employment and education in other states with a view to promoting the general welfare of the deaf in this state.

Such legislation may prove highly beneficial to the deaf, not only in rendering very desirable aid to them, but also in offering means of learning very important facts as to their condition.

Tenor of Court Decisions Affecting the Deaf

The opinions of the courts of law in regard to the deaf have, as we have noted, rather revolved upon the mental capacity of the deaf in certain[72] proceedings, and upon their competence in certain legal relations. These judicial expressions have in the main referred to four relations of the deaf in the law: 1. in their responsibility for crime; 2. in acting as witnesses; 3. in requiring guardians; and 4. in the making of wills and contracts generally.

As to the responsibility of the deaf man for his misdeeds, there has been in times past more or less presumption against it, especially if he were born deaf and were without education; but to-day he is quite generally held fully answerable for his crimes and misdemeanors, and his deafness cannot mitigate his punishment.[89] As a witness, the deaf man under proper circumstances is now allowed to appear without hindrance before virtually any court.[90] As to special guardians, these will be accorded the deaf when there appears sufficient need, though there is less of this than formerly.[91] With respect to the testamentary capacity of the deaf, we find that in times past the deaf were often said to be more or less incapable of making wills, though this presumption[73] could always be overcome. Naturally their wills were subjected to considerable scrutiny for the purpose of preventing fraud; but if written and apparently genuine, they could usually stand. To-day the deaf are practically everywhere held to be quite capable in this respect, and probably nowhere would a will be set aside for reason of the deafness of the testator alone. Likewise the deaf are now generally held capable of entering into all contractual relations.[92]

Present Trend of the Law in Respect to the Deaf

In most of the statutes and decisions to which we have referred there appears a distinct trend towards treating the deaf quite as normal persons, and the tendency may be considered to be general to-day to hold them very much as other citizens. The greater part of all the special legislation has ceased of late years, and it is seldom[74] now that a particular enactment is placed upon the statute books. Where such does occur, it arises chiefly where some peculiar protection of the deaf has been felt to be needed. Discriminatory legislation has practically disappeared, as has also beneficial legislation of the old sort, the only kind likely to be enacted in the future being along the new lines pointed out.

In judicial proceedings likewise particular usage in respect to the deaf has almost entirely passed away, and the deaf to-day receive little distinctive treatment. Practically the sole special consideration now accorded them is in the procurement of interpreters for proper occasions. On the whole, then, the present attitude of the law may be said to be to regard the deaf more and more fully as citizens, to allow them all the rights and duties of such, and to consider them in little need of particular aid or attention.[93]


[61] The legal treatment of the deaf, however, in past times has not been as severe as has been often supposed. Both the Justinian Code and the Civil Law, as well as the Common Law, granted a number of rights to the deaf, these being in some cases as far as the policy of the law would permit. In a few instances a not unsympathetic attitude was displayed towards them. In the early Roman law and in some other systems word of mouth was necessary to accomplish certain legal acts, and this of course bore hardly upon the deaf. In all cases it was the deaf-mute from birth who suffered most. On this subject, see A. C. Gaw, "The Legal Status of the Deaf," 1907; H. P. Peet, "Legal Rights and Responsibilities of the Deaf," 1857 (Proceedings of Convention of American Instructors, iv., p. 17).

[62] Constitution, 1890, sec. 243. The blind are also included in the exemption.

[63] In New York we find an early reference to the deaf in the rules adopted in 1761 by the state assembly regarding suffrage qualifications in the election of its own members, one of which rules declared that "no man deaf and dumb from his nativity has a vote," though this may have been partly due to the fact that nearly all voting then was viva voce. William Smith, "History of the Late Province of New York," 1830, ii., p. 358.

[64] Laws, p. 110. A Kentucky statute refers to "idiots and those by speech or sign incapable" of understanding (Stat., 1894, § 2149), but the deaf may not necessarily be included.

[65] Cod. Laws, 1865, ch. 3, § 2; 1884, § 1378.

[66] Civ. Code, 1838, § 1852; 1898, § 1591.

[67] In 1849 New York required the masters of ships landing in New York City to report to the mayor what passengers were deaf, blind or insane. Laws, ch. 350. See also Laws, 1851, ch. 523; 1881, ch. 427. See Public Statutes of Massachusetts, 1882, p. 468. The present United States immigration laws do not directly exclude the deaf, but they have been thought at times to have been made to bear unduly upon them.

[68] Code, 1911, § 559. The application is to "proprietors of circuses and other migratory companies."

[69] In a few states, as California and New York, attempts have been made to secure laws barring the deaf from licenses to run automobiles. Such measures, however, are to be regarded less as discrimination against the deaf than for the public safety.

[70] Laws, 1776, ch. 20.

[71] Laws, 1818, p. 342; 1840, p. 345; Code, 1911, § 3089.

[72] Laws, p. 128.

[73] Laws, 1838, p. 40; 1841, p. 573.

[74] Rev. Stat., 1883, ch. 142, § 2.

[75] Digest, 1894, § 3571; 1904, § 3760.

[76] Stat., 1872, p. 672; Rev. Stat., 1909, § 407. In Kansas by opinion of the attorney-general, the juvenile court laws do not apply to the deaf.

[77] Gen. Stat., 1898, p. 2672. Abuse or ill-treatment of an inmate of a state institution for the deaf, the blind and other classes may be punished by fine or imprisonment.

[78] Laws, 1908, p. 55. It is made a misdemeanor to abduct or kidnap inmates of "deaf and dumb and blind hospitals".

[79] In several states there are provisions in regard to the employment of interpreters for the deaf. See Code of Georgia, 1911, § 5864; Gen. Laws of Rhode Island, 1909, § 3855.

[80] Laws, p. 202.

[81] Laws, ch. 76.

[82] Laws, 1878, ch. 52; 1880, p. 20.

[83] Laws, 1895, ch. 120; Ann. Code, 1896, § 686.

[84] Purdon's Digest, 1903, p. 5023. In Georgia persons deaf and blind are expressly permitted to make wills if properly scrutinized. Code, 1911, § 3844.

[85] See Laws of New Hampshire, 1895, ch. 131. This relief is here known as the "Granite State Mission". See also Deaf-Mutes' Journal, Feb. 9, 1911.

[86] See Laws, 1896, p. 419; 1898, p. 212; 1900, p. 369.

[87] This seems to have been begun in 1839, and continued nearly fifty years. See Laws, 1839, ch. 329; 1858, ch. 546; 1886, ch. 330. The sum of $100 was first granted to the Radii, and later appropriations to succeeding publications.

[88] Laws, p. 330. The law was secured by the efforts of the deaf themselves. See Deaf-Mutes' Journal, May 22, 1913.

[89] See Houst. Crim. Cas. (Del.), 291; 8 Jones L. (N. C.), 136; 14 Mass., 207. This last case was one of larceny. See also I. L. Peet, "Psychical Status and Criminal Responsibility of the Totally Uneducated Deaf and Dumb," 1872 (Journal of Psychological Medicine, Jan., 1872); Annals, xvii., 1872, p. 65.

[90] 37 S. W. (Tex.), 440; 118 Mo., 127; 39 S. C., 318; 1 Den. (N. Y.), 19; 23 Col., 314; 3 N. M., 134.

[91] See 16 Ohio St., 455, where a guardian was allowed; 41 N. J. Eq., 409, where the deaf were said to be liable to guardianship.

[92] See 1 Jones Eq. (N. C.), 221. In 4 Johns. Ch., 441, a New York case in 1820, it was said by Chancellor Kent that the deaf and dumb were considered prima facie as insane, incapable of making a will and fit subjects for guardianship, by the civil law. The presumption was due, he said, to the fact that "want of hearing and speech exceedingly cramps the powers of the mind," but it was to be overcome by proof. In this case the presumption was overruled. The implication, however, never applied to the deaf not born so. At present there is no presumption in connection with wills, deeds, witnessing, or guardianship. See 3 Conn., 299; 27 Gratt. (Va.), 190; 6 Ga., 324; 3 Ired. (N. C.), 535. In the Missouri case, quoted above, it was said: "Presumption of idiocy does not seem to obtain in modern practice, at least not in the United States."

[93] The deaf as a class may be said to be strongly opposed to nearly all forms of legal treatment different from those of their fellow-citizens. In Texas, where they have been exempted from a personal or property tax, they have made formal protest against the exemption. Annals, l., 1905, p. 263; Report of Mississippi School, 1911, p. 72. They have, as another instance, voiced opposition to the release of criminals on the ground of their deafness. See Proceedings of Convention of National Association of the Deaf, ii., 1883, p. 16.




Extent to Which the Deaf are a Wage-earning and Self-supporting Element of the Population

In the want of the sense of hearing, and with it oftentimes the faculty of speech, the deaf are deprived of most important powers, and, it might appear, of an essential equipment for work among men. It is not to be denied that the deaf start out into life severely handicapped, nor can the difficulties which they must face in meeting the world pass unregarded.

Yet notwithstanding the particular adversity under which the deaf have to labor, they remain in full possession of all their other physical forces, and it may be a question whether on the whole they are to be considered disqualified from engaging in the industrial pursuits of men. It may be that there are occupations in which their deafness will not prove of material consequence, and that in such fields they will be able to enter without serious impediment. In the present chapter we shall attempt to see how far these possibilities seem to be realized in the actual industrial life of the community. In other words, we shall consider[76] what is the place of the deaf as economic factors in this life, and how far they are independent wage-earners, at the same time comparing their economic standing with that of the general population.

The returns of the census, covering the entire country and presenting the results of a careful investigation, will furnish our most complete source of information. Here[94] are reported in gainful occupations 12,678 deaf persons over ten years of age, or 38.1 per cent of the number of the deaf over this age.[95] This is somewhat less than the percentage for the general population, which is 50.2. Of the deaf twenty years of age and over, however, the percentage gainfully employed is 50.1, embracing 11,670 persons. In the following table is shown the number of the deaf over ten years of age in the five great occupations, with the respective percentages, and also the percentages for the general population.


Per cent of
Agricultural pursuits4,76137.535.7
Manufacturing and mechanical4,58336.124.4
Domestic and personal2,39518.919.2
Trade and transportation5524.416.4


It is seen from this that the proportions are very nearly the same for the deaf and the general population in agricultural pursuits, domestic and personal service, and professional service. In manufacturing and mechanical occupations the proportion of the deaf is indeed considerably higher. In trade and transportation, on the other hand, the proportion for the deaf is far lower than that for the general population—a condition to be accounted for by the very evident need of hearing in such pursuits.

Of the deaf engaged in agricultural pursuits, 3,366, or about three-fourths, are in a position of ownership or direction, being farmers, planters, or overseers; 1,218 are agricultural laborers, while 75 are gardeners, florists, or nursery-men. The large number of the deaf in professional occupations is in part explained by the fact that 206 are themselves engaged in the instruction of the deaf. Other specified occupations where fifty or more of the deaf are employed in each are as follows:


Laborers not specified1,217
Servants and waiters712
Boot and shoemakers and repairers559
Printers, lithographers and pressmen382
Carpenters and joiners371
Painters, glaziers and varnishers223[78]
Cigar and tobacco operators162
Merchants and dealers (retail)115
Iron and steel workers106
Clerks and copyists105
Housekeepers and stewards91
Miners and quarrymen81
Cotton mill operators78
Barbers and hairdressers74
Artists and teachers of art60
Harness and saddle makers and repairers59
Draymen, hackmen, teamsters, etc.56
Manufacturers and officials55

So far, then, as appears from the findings of the United States census, the deaf are seen to be distributed among the chief industries very generally, and in very many of what are known as "trades" they are able to be profitably employed. In some activities of life deafness is of course an effectual barrier, but these are rather restricted ones. There is but one great division of employment in which the deaf cannot enter extensively, namely, commercial and mercantile pursuits. With these exceptions, the deaf are found to be industrially occupied like the rest of the community, and to be able to engage, and actually engaging, in most of the employments of men.[96]

In respect to the general economic status of[79] the deaf, a second source of information, at the bottom of the scale, as it were, is to be found in the proportion of the deaf cared for in public alms-houses. Though a much greater proportion of the deaf are discovered here than of the general population, the deaf do not on the whole constitute a large part of the alms-house population of the country. In 1910 the census reported 540 deaf-mutes to be in alms-houses, or six-tenths of one per cent of all their inmates.[97] That is to say, a little over one per cent (1.2) of the total number of the deaf in the United States are found to-day in alms-houses.[98]

Such is the evidence we have in respect to the economic standing of the deaf. Yet the fact that the deaf are usually found capable of taking care of themselves should not be, after all, a matter either of doubt or of wonder. They are for the most part, as we have indicated, quite "able-bodied,"[80] and but for their want of hearing are perfectly normal in respect to "doing a job." If they are skillful and efficient, their deafness proves comparatively little of a drawback. Another contributing cause in the situation lies in the fact that most of the deaf have attended the special schools provided for them, where industrial preparation with the opportunity to learn a trade is offered and largely availed of.[99] When they go out into the world, they may be supposed to have an industrial equipment, which, besides taking in view their handicap, is one in many respects fully equal to that of their hearing fellow-laborers; and though many of the deaf, apparently the greater number, do not follow the trade learned at school, yet there is no doubt that the training and lessons in industry there acquired prove of decided practical advantage.[100]


Views of the Deaf as to their Economic Standing

To what extent the deaf hold themselves able to stand alongside the general population may well be indicated by what they themselves have to say. Of the adult deaf who have had schooling, it is claimed that eighty-one per cent are gainfully employed;[101] and that of the adult male deaf ninety per cent are self-supporting.[102] A large proportion are said to be the heads of families and the possessors of homes.[103] In respect to the conditions of their employment, including that of wages, they are usually ready to declare that they are little different from those of the general population, sometimes taking pains[82] to point out the substantial equality of the two.[104]

The views of the deaf in the whole matter of their industrial footing may be expressed as summed up in the following resolutions, which were reported by a special committee on industrial conditions of the deaf at the convention of the National Association of the Deaf in 1904:[105]

1. There are few ordinary occupations in which the deaf do not or cannot engage.

2. Employers and foremen treat deaf workmen as they do hearing workmen.[83]

3. Deafness is a hindrance to a great extent, but it is not such a formidable barrier as has popularly been supposed.

4. The deaf workman usually has steady work. Those that do not generally have only themselves to blame.

5. The deaf invariably get the same wages for the same class of work as the hearing.

6. Employers and foremen are glad to have deaf workmen who can show that they have the ability to do the work expected of them, and take them on a basis equal to that of the hearing. If they are competent, their services secure ready recognition.[106]

The Deaf as Alms-seekers

It might be thought that the deaf might sometimes find their infirmity a useful means of soliciting alms from the public. But it is gratifying to learn that very few of them ever try to make capital out of their affliction. That a deaf man merely as such is in no wise to be considered a special beneficiary of charity is a principle spiritedly endorsed by nearly all the deaf themselves; and they are found to be the last to lend encouragement to any appeals for aid from the charitably disposed.[107]

On the other hand, it is a fact, perhaps not as widely known as it should be, that there are persons[84] able to hear who often pretend to be deaf and dumb in order to work on the sensibilities of the public. To such appeals a far more ready response is met with than should be the case. The deaf themselves usually do what they can to prevent this, a certain number indeed going to considerable lengths in this direction, and not infrequently running such impostors down.[108] In nearly all the state associations of the deaf as well as in the national organization it is made a particular object to investigate and prosecute mendicants simulating deafness, while in their papers a vigorous war is being waged.[109] At the same time by many of the deaf a campaign of education is being conducted for the enlightenment of the public. The following resolutions, adopted by the National Association of the Deaf in 1910, attest their feeling in the matter:[110]


Whereas, There is no necessity for an educated deaf person to beg or solicit alms on account of deafness; and

Whereas, There are many cases of persons who are not really deaf, but hearing people, who prey on the sympathy of the public to the injury of the respectable and self-supporting deaf; therefore be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Association that stringent laws should be enacted, making it a penal offense to ask pecuniary aid on account of deafness or on pretense of being "deaf and dumb."

Only very rarely, however, has legal cognizance been taken of this evil, though it may sometimes be included under the general charge of "vagrancy" or "imposture." In a few states there have been special enactments, as in New York[111] and Minnesota,[112] in the former the impersonation of a deaf man being expressly added to the offenses that constitute imposture, and in the latter to those that constitute vagrancy.

Homes for the Deaf

Homes for the deaf in America have never been organized on other than a small scale, and in the main they may be said to serve a purpose similar to that of homes for the aged and infirm[86] generally. Though there is little call for such establishments to a wide extent, and though the proportion of the deaf to be benefited by them is small,[113] yet for a number of the deaf there is a peculiar need. These are deaf persons, usually the old and decrepit, who are without means to support themselves, and have no family or friends to look to for help. To them a special retreat in association with others in similar condition proves an immeasurable blessing, and in such their last years may be spent in tranquillity and comparative happiness.

The object of a home for the deaf is thus given for one of them.[114]

To take care of such of the deaf of the state as are incapacitated by reason of old age or other infirmity from taking care of themselves, to the end that they may have the comforts of a home, where they can associate with each other, and have the consolation of religious services in their own language of signs, instead of being sent to a county infirmary.

The purpose of another home is thus described:[115]


This home is unique, being the only institution of its kind in the state, owned and controlled by the deaf, who have formed themselves into an association, known as the Pennsylvania Society for the Advancement of the Deaf. Like our Ohio cousins, who have already established a similar home, we pride ourselves upon our ability to own and control such a responsible institution. The home owes its existence entirely to the charitable impulse of the deaf themselves, aided by the generosity of their hearing friends. It exists because of the desire to provide a home of rest for the infirm of our class during their declining years, so that they may find here comfort and happiness in congenial companionship and intelligent conversation.

At present there are five homes for the deaf.[116] They are found in the states of Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, there being two in New York.[117] The first to be created was the Gallaudet Home at Wappinger's Falls, New York, founded in 1885; the second the Ohio Home at Westerville in 1896; the third the home[88] of St. Elizabeth's Industrial School in New York City in 1897; the fourth the New England Home at Everett, Massachusetts, in 1901;[118] and the fifth the Pennsylvania Home at Doyleston in 1902. The homes in Ohio and Pennsylvania are owned and controlled by the societies for the deaf in these respective states, the management being in the hands of trustees, in the former of twenty, and in the latter of nine. The Gallaudet Home is under the Church Mission to Deaf-Mutes of the Protestant Episcopal Church, with the direction vested in a board of twenty-five trustees. The home in Massachusetts is controlled by a private society organized for the purpose, with a board of fifteen trustees in charge. The home in New York City is a part of St. Elizabeth's Industrial School of the Roman Catholic Church.[119]

The homes are for the most part for the deaf of restricted areas, those in Pennsylvania and Ohio being for the deaf in these respective states. With but one exception,[120] they are open to the "aged and infirm," in some there being an age limitation of sixty years. The homes are in general free to those qualified to enter, and though a charge may be exacted from persons able to pay, this is seldom done, the homes being intended for the destitute and friendless.


The total number of inmates in the homes is 106, ranging in different ones from 13 to 30, and averaging about 20. The total annual cost of maintenance is $30,190, making the average cost of each inmate $290.[121] The value of the property of the homes is about $375,000, one home having two-thirds of this, and two homes four-fifths.

As little is received in the way of pay from inmates,[122] the homes have to depend for the most part upon private benevolence for their support. In the case of the Ohio and Pennsylvania homes this support comes largely from the deaf themselves.[123] In nearly all the homes there are a certain number of inmates, but usually a very small number, cared for at public expense. Private contributions to the homes are seldom large, though in one case these have amounted to a considerable sum.[124] They usually range from three or four thousand dollars a year to several times as much.[125]


Conclusions with Respect to the Economic Position of the Deaf

From all the foregoing we may conclude the following with respect to the economic position of the deaf:

1. The deaf are not a burden upon the community.

2. They are wage-earners in a degree that compares well with the general population.

3. The occupations open to them and in which they are successfully employed are much larger in number than is generally thought, and in many their infirmity is very little of a drawback.

4. The deaf hold themselves on an economic equality with the rest of their fellow-citizens, and ask no alms or favors of any kind.

5. Beyond homes for certain of the aged and infirm, which are called for in not a few quarters, the deaf stand in need of little distinctive economic treatment from society.


[94] Special Reports, p. 146ff.

[95] The proportion for the deaf would no doubt be higher but for the large number in the schools. It should also be noted that "keeping house", the most usual occupation reported by females, is not listed among the occupations.

[96] Several of the deaf have won distinction as artists, and there have been not a few inventors. In the civil service of the National government there are said to be nearly two score. In 1908 an order was issued by the Civil Service Commission, debarring deaf persons from this service. So great was the protest, however, made by the deaf and their friends that the decision was reversed by the President, and the deaf were allowed to compete for any position where their deafness would not interfere. See Annals, liii., 1908, p. 249; liv., 1909, p. 387; Volta Review, x., 1908, p. 224; Silent Worker, Feb., 1909; Proceedings of National Association of the Deaf, ix., 1910, pp. 26, 70.

[97] Paupers in Alms-houses, 1913, p. 76. In 1911 there were in the alms-houses of Illinois, according to the Report of the state board of charities, 38 deaf-mutes, or 0.5 per cent of the entire alms-house population; in Indiana, 81, or 2.6 per cent; in New York, 191, or 1.8 per cent; and in Virginia, 17, or 0.7 per cent. In Michigan, according to the annual Abstract of Statistical Information Relating to the Insane, Deaf and Dumb, etc., for 1912, of the 1,059 deaf persons reported, 32, or 3 per cent, were cared for at public expense.

[98] The percentage for the general population is 0.1.

[99] In many schools it is said that few of their former pupils have failed to be self-supporting, especially those who have taken the full prescribed course. Of the New York Institution the proportion is stated to be as low as four per cent. Report, 1907, p. 37. Of the Michigan School it is asserted that out of 1,800 former pupils, only three are not self-supporting. Proceedings of Michigan Conference of Charities and Corrections, 1907, pp. 32, 63. Similar claims are made for other schools in respect to the condition of the deaf. By the head of the New Jersey School it is stated: "Inquiry at the state prison elicits the fact that there is not among its vast number of inmates a single deaf man or woman, and, indeed, I know of no educated deaf convict or pauper in the state." Report of Board of Education of New Jersey, 1904, p. 323. In 1911 a committee of the Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf was appointed to collect information and statistics as to the occupations and wages of the deaf. Proceedings, xix., p. 217.

[100] A special committee on the industrial condition of the deaf of the National Association of the Deaf stated as a conclusion: "More deaf workmen learn a new trade when they leave school than follow the one they were taught at school." Proceedings, vii., 1904, p. 216. In Minnesota the division for the deaf in the state bureau of labor works in connection with the state school. See Deaf-Mutes' Journal, March 7, 1912. On the general industrial training of the deaf and its results, see Annals, l., 1905, p. 98; lvii., 1912, p. 364; Volta Review, xi., 1909, p. 311 (Proceedings of American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf); xiii., 1912, pp. 542, 595; Proceedings of American Instructors, xv., 1898, p. 86; xvi., 1901, p. 238; xvii., 1905, p. 93; Report of Special Committee of Board of Directors of Pennsylvania Institution to Collect Information as to Lives and Occupations of Former Pupils, 1884; Report of Pennsylvania Institution, 1885, p. 30; Mississippi School, 1893, p. 9; 1911, pp. 36, 52; Manual and History of Ohio School, 1911, p. 16; Report of United States Commissioner of Education, 1885, p. ccxxxv.; Journal of Social Science, xxvi., 1889, p. 91.

[101] Proceedings of National Association of the Deaf, viii., 1907, p. 41; Indiana Bulletin of Charities and Corrections, June, 1912.

[102] Proceedings of National Conference of Charities and Corrections, 1906, pp. 232, 239.

[103] Ibid.; Proceedings of National Association of the Deaf, loc. cit.

[104] In New York the deaf are said to "earn from $2500 a year to $6 or $7 a week", most being "journeymen at their trades or skilled factory operatives". Proceedings of Empire State Association of Deaf-Mutes, xx., 1899, p. 7. In Missouri the earnings of the graduates of the state school are reported as ranging up to $1300 a year. Report of Missouri School, 1912, p. 28. In Massachusetts, in an investigation of the state board of education, it has been found that of 84 deaf men who had left school between 1907 and 1912, the average wage was $7.78 a week. Volta Review, xv., 1913, p. 183. The deaf when opportunity offers often become members of labor unions. They are said "quite generally to join labor unions where the nature of their occupation permits", though, on the whole, it does not seem that a large proportion do. Proceedings of National Association of the Deaf, vii., 1904, pp. 143, 218. For other views of the deaf on their employment and its returns, see ibid., i., 1880, p. 10; iv., 1893, pp. 122, 167; v., 1896, p. 35; vi., 1899, p. 64; viii., 1907, p. 53; Empire State Association of Deaf-Mutes, xi., 1887, p. 9; Illinois Gallaudet Union, v., 1897, p. 25; Reunion of Alumni of Wisconsin School for the Deaf, vii., 1895, p. 2; Louisiana Pelican, of Louisiana School, Oct. 17, 1908.

[105] Proceedings, vii., p. 190ff. Questionnaires were submitted to deaf workmen and their employers, and the conclusions (p. 227) were based on their replies. These resolutions were confirmed by further findings reported in 1907, especially as to the similarity of the wages of the deaf and the hearing, and as to the satisfaction of employers with deaf workmen. Proceedings, viii., p. 48.

[106] Another conclusion was that rural pursuits are better for the deaf than factory work.

[107] See Proceedings of Convention of American Instructors, v., 1858, p. 351; Report of Kentucky School, 1867, p. 13n.; Annals, x., 1858, p. 161; xxiv., 1879, p. 194.

[108] In the year 1911 the number of impostors whose arrest was secured by the deaf was 38. Deaf-Mutes' Journal, Sept. 4, 1913.

[109] In many issues this is made a prominent feature.

[110] Proceedings, ix., p. 89. See also Proceedings of Pennsylvania Society for the Advancement of the Deaf, xxiv., 1910, pp. 12, 32; Iowa Association for the Advancement of the Deaf, vi., 1895, p. 29. The action on the part of the deaf is worthy of the highest praise, and speaks volumes for them. The real cause for wonder, however, is that the public should ever allow itself to be deceived by those asking alms on the pretexts given. By no disease known to medical science, save paralysis alone, can a man lose his speech and hearing at one and the same time. It may be safely estimated that of such gentry 98, perhaps 100, per cent are rank frauds.

[111] Rev. Stat., 1896, p. 1242. See also Annals, xxxi., 1886, p. 295. On the other hand, it would seem that such statutes as that in Pennsylvania which we have noted, exempting the deaf from the provisions against tramps, would lend encouragement to alms-seeking.

[112] Laws, 1911, p. 356. The law in this state was secured by the action of the deaf.

[113] It is said that less than 400, or less than one per cent of the entire number of the deaf, are in need of special homes. Proceedings of National Association of the Deaf, ix., 1910, p. 51.

[114] Report of Ohio Home for Aged and Infirm Deaf, 1912, p. 15.

[115] From an address given at opening of Pennsylvania Home for the Deaf, 1902. On the objects of a home, see also Proceedings of Reunion of Alumni of Wisconsin School for the Deaf, vii., 1895, p. 10.

[116] In three other states funds are being collected to establish homes: Illinois, Indiana and Missouri. To that in Indiana 20 acres of land have been donated. A private home was opened in New Jersey in 1854 for colored deaf, blind and crippled, lasting but a short time, and having less than a dozen inmates. See Report of New Jersey School for the Deaf, 1893, pp. 3, 7.

[117] A national home for the deaf has also been proposed. For arguments for and against it, see Proceedings of National Association of the Deaf, ix., 1910, p. 51. In 1872 such a home was projected, to be located in New York City, some $4,000 being collected for it. Little encouragement, however, was met from outside, and the plan was abandoned for a local institution. See Report of Church Mission to Deaf-Mutes, 1874, p. 18; 1875, p. 17 ("Report of Committee on Building and Fund of National Home for the Aged and Infirm Deaf"); New York Times, Sept. 1, 1875. See also International Record of Charities and Corrections, June, 1886.

[118] This home was at Roxbury till 1905.

[119] In one or two cases there are ladies' auxiliary societies.

[120] The home in New York City receives only women from sixteen to fifty years of age.

[121] One home is exceptionally provided for, however. Without it the average is $252.

[122] In 1903 the amount from pay inmates was $1,600. Special Report of the Census. Benevolent Institutions, 1904. The nominal charge is usually $250.

[123] Over $3,000 was contributed by the deaf of Ohio for the establishment of a home in this state.

[124] The Gallaudet Home has an endowment fund of $153,150, of which $107,000 came from one legacy.

[125] See Appendix A for table in respect to the homes for the deaf. In connection with the scheme of homes for the deaf, it is interesting to note that there have been one or two suggestions for colonies for them, though such have never been taken seriously. One was by a deaf man in 1860 in the form of a memorial to Congress for the creation of a deaf-mute commonwealth. See Annals, viii., 1856, p. 118; x., 1858, pp. 40, 72, 136; xxix., 1884, p. 73. See also "Facts and Opinions Relating to the Deaf from America", 1892, p. 182; Proceedings of National Association of the Deaf, i., 1880, pp. 36-39. Farm colonies on a small scale for poor deaf-mutes have also been considered occasionally, but little further has ever been attempted. See Deaf-Mutes' Journal, Aug. 8, 1912; Sept. 12, 1912.




Social Cleavage from the General Population

The preceding chapter has dealt with the economic possibilities of the deaf, and the extent to which they stand alongside the population generally. The other side of the shield in relation of the deaf to society is now to be presented, that is, how far their want of hearing will count in their participation in the social life of the community.

While the deaf man may be an active component in the economic and industrial life of society, yet his inability to hear and his frequently consequent inability to speak stand in the way of his prompt and continuous partaking in its social life. He may, and does, have many friends among his neighbors and acquaintances, but in the discourse between man and man which forms such a large part of the interest and delight in living, he is unable to join. There is usually at hand no ready and rapid means of communication as there is between two hearing persons in conversation, and his intercourse must necessarily[92] be slow and tedious. The privileges of his church he cannot enjoy; in his lodge he misses the fellowship which is one of its fundamental ends; in few forms of convivial entertainment can he take part. Thus seeking an outlet for those social instincts which charge through his being, the deaf man finds himself among men, but as though surrounded by a great impenetrable wall against which their voices break in vain.

Placed, however, with his deaf fellows, he discovers himself in a different situation. He soon learns that by the use of that language of signs so largely employed by other deaf men, and of which he in a short time becomes master, he is able to converse with an ease and quickness fully as great as by that means of which he has been deprived. Hence he ceases in large measure to carry on his social intercourse with the hearing, and turns to his deaf comrades; in them he builds up an approximately congenial companionship and fellowship, and to them he looks largely for his means of social diversion. With them he feels a close bond of sympathy, and is moved to co-operate with them, and to stand with them when their mutual interests are concerned. In time associations in various forms come to be organized among them. In such wise is realized the desire of the deaf as of all men to commune with their fellows.[93]

Desirability of Organizations Composed of the Deaf

By some people societies or organizations composed exclusively of the deaf have been opposed, or at least looked upon with disfavor. This is because it has been felt that it is not well for the deaf to form a class apart in the community, and that unless discouraged the practice will cause intermarriage among the deaf, which may result in an increasing number of deaf people—a matter to which we have already given attention.

But in combating this tendency of the deaf to organize among themselves, we are really unmindful of an elemental sociological principle, that like-minded persons are prone to congregate, and will seek to form purposive societies and associations, exemplified as well in a boys' athletic club, in a church sewing circle, in a lodge of free and accepted masons, as in a "league of elect surds."[126] If "clannishness" is the outcome, it must be accepted only as the necessary consequence of the infirmity of the deaf, in the practical affairs of life such men being bound to seek out and associate with others of like condition. By the deaf themselves it is claimed that the good readily outweighs the possible evils, and that, as the fact of their deafness forbids them belonging generally to societies for the hearing,[94] they are thus forced to band together, or almost entirely to go without the social amalgamations which form such a conspicuous and valuable part of life.[127]

Purposes, Activities and Extent of Such Organizations

The organizations of the deaf are of several kinds: termed clubs, leagues, societies, associations and the like; and wherever a number of deaf persons are congregated, some such organization is likely to be effected.[128] In large cities not a few may be found, planned perhaps on different lines or appealing to different kinds of people. The majority of the societies are formed for the mutual pleasure and culture of the members.[129] A[95] part are organized on fraternal principles, some with benefit features, paying out so much in case of illness and the like; while in a few a certain amount of relief may be dispensed to those discovered to be in need. In most of the societies, as with the body of the deaf generally, there is a considerable amount of solidarity, and the members are usually quick to act in a common cause or to apply the principle that the concern of one is the concern of all.[130]

While these societies of the deaf are usually local in their composition, there exists more or less communication with bodies in other cities and communities. In over a fourth of the states there are state societies, while in most of the states there are also alumni associations of the special schools, which are of state-wide extent.[131] A national[96] body is likewise in existence, the National Association of the Deaf, founded in 1880, and incorporated in 1900; and there is a National Fraternal Society of the Deaf, with benefits for sickness, injury and death, which has many local branches, this being probably the largest organization of the deaf in the country.[132] An international organization has also been formed, known as the World's Congress of the Deaf.

Among the various associations of the deaf, particular mention may be made of church organizations in some of the larger cities and towns, which not infrequently serve in some measure the purpose of a social center. These deaf congregations are usually in communion with some denominational body, often being the result of church "missions" to the deaf, and are ministered to regularly or at stated times by clergymen, most of whom are themselves deaf. For the use of the deaf, the church building or rooms in it are generally given over at certain times. In a few cases the deaf are in possession of edifices of their own.[133]


Newspapers of the Deaf

With the deaf there have been a number of special papers, published by and for them, and circulating for the most part only among them. Their chief purpose is to chronicle the various happenings in deaf circles, and to serve as a medium for the discussion of matters of general interest to the deaf. These papers are usually weeklies or monthlies, more often the former, and frequently have correspondents in a greater or smaller number of localities. There have been not a few ventures in the establishment of such independent papers, but most of them have proved short-lived for want of sufficient support, some being of very brief duration, and only an exceptional one continuing over an extended period. As a rule there have been seldom more than two or three in existence at any one time.[134] In addition, there have been several religious papers for the deaf, often under the auspices of some denominational body, but usually published by the deaf themselves. These,[98] however, have never been numerous, and have been of limited circulation.[135]


[126] The deaf are not usually eligible to regular secret orders.

[127] On the subject of societies of the deaf, see Annals, xviii., 1873, pp. 200, 255; xxi., 1876, p. 137; xxxii., 1887, p. 246; xxxiii., 1888, p. 28; xlix., 1904, p. 369; Proceedings of Convention of American Instructors, ix., 1878, p. 117; National Association of the Deaf, ii., 1883, p. 12; iv., 1893, pp. 25, 40; vii., 1904, p. 132; viii., 1907, p. 26; Reunion of Alumni of Wisconsin School for the Deaf, v., 1888, p. 36; Empire State Association of Deaf-Mutes, xiii., 1890, p. 12; Deaf-Mutes' Friend, Aug., 1869. See also E. A. Hodgson, "The Deaf and Dumb; Facts, Anecdotes and Poetry", 1891; J. E. Gallaher, "Representative Deaf Persons in the United States", 1898; International Review, ii., 1875, p. 471.

[128] The oldest organization of the deaf now existing is the New England Gallaudet Association of the Deaf, which began in 1853. It resulted largely from the Gallaudet Memorial Association, organized two years before to raise funds for a monument to Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. In 1859 was created the Alumni Association of the High Class of the New York Institution; in 1865 the Empire State Association; and in 1870 the Ohio Alumni Association. See Proceedings of National Association of the Deaf, iv., 1893, p. 25.

[129] Some of these have special club rooms for social and literary meetings, where conversation can be carried on freely without attracting public notice. Some of these club rooms are large and well appointed. In not a few of the younger clubs athletics forms a prominent feature.

[130] This spirit is illustrated in many ways, perhaps most strikingly in the case where a deaf man seems likely to be debarred from some public position because of his want of hearing, when the deaf promptly rally to his support. We have already seen their action in connection with the order of the Civil Service Commission. Sometimes candidates for office have been asked to state their views on this subject. As a further instance of mutual assistance among the deaf may be mentioned the raising of relief funds for deaf sufferers in other localities in times of some great disaster.

[131] In Ohio and Pennsylvania the state societies manage homes for the aged deaf, as we have seen; and in Virginia the state association supports a special missionary to the deaf. In Pennsylvania there are many county sections of the state body. In a number of centers a leading association is that of the alumni of Gallaudet College.

[132] There has also frequently been discussion of a federation of the various state and local organizations. See Proceedings of National Association of the Deaf, iii., 1889, p. 14; ix., 1910, p. 25.

[133] Such churches are now in New York, Philadelphia and Wheeling, under Protestant Episcopal auspices; in Milwaukee under Lutheran; and in Baltimore under Methodist. Special church buildings are also in contemplation in other cities. Funds for these churches are raised by the deaf with the assistance of their hearing friends. In the Roman Catholic Church there is a special organization of the deaf, founded in 1910, and known as the Knights of l'Épée.

[134] There have been about thirty such publications created, the first of which seems to have been begun in 1839, and the second in 1860. See especially "Periodicals Devoted to the Interests of the Deaf," by the Volta Bureau, 1913. See also Volta Review, xii., 1910, p. 456; Proceedings of National Association of the Deaf, ix., 1910, p. 45. The present publications are: the Deaf-Mutes' Journal, of New York, a weekly; the Observer, of Seattle, a bi-weekly; the Frat, of Chicago, a monthly; and the Pennsylvania Society News, a quarterly.

[135] Those now existing are: the Catholic Deaf-Mute, of New York, under Roman Catholic auspices; the Silent Churchman, of Chicago, under Protestant Episcopal; the Silent Herald, of Chicago, under Methodist; and the Deaf Lutheran, of Milwaukee, under Lutheran.




Viewed as a Strange Class

The position of the deaf in society is yet to be seen from another standpoint. The question may be asked, How does the public at large, how does "the man in the street," look upon the deaf? Are the deaf viewed merely as so many people deprived of the sense of hearing, in whom also the power of speech is often wanting? Or is there superimposed upon this a feeling, owing perhaps to the supposed isolation of the deaf, that they are in other ways a peculiar class of beings?

Unfortunately, it is the latter of these two conceptions that is the prevailing one—unfortunately for the deaf, for their burden is quite sufficient as it is. The public has been and is under many misapprehensions and delusions regarding the deaf.[136] Being thrown intimately with them but seldom, people often come to form[100] curious ideas respecting the deaf, but ideas which are more or less unhappy ones. There is frequently an attitude towards them combined of wonder, misgiving, fear, aversion—a vague feeling or belief that the deaf are more or less distinct in their thoughts and actions from other people, that they are somehow "unnatural" or "uncanny."[137]

Viewed as a Defective Class

Not only are the deaf often looked upon as a strange class in the community, but they[101] are not uncommonly known as "defectives," and this is the classification frequently applied to them. It is true that the deaf are "defective" in that they are deprived of one of the most important of the physical senses; but, in addition, the term often carries a connotation of mental, or even of moral, aberrance, and results in the infliction upon the deaf of an unnecessary brand. In many libraries such a classification is found, and the deaf are catalogued under the heading "defective." In the "Index of the Economic Material in Documents of the States of the United States" of the Carnegie Foundation, the deaf and the blind are grouped as "defectives" along with the feeble-minded and consumptives.[138] Though in such a classification, any untoward signification is disclaimed, and it is held to be merely one of convenience of arrangement, it remains true that terms are employed and associations involved that to a certain extent do a very real injury to the deaf.[139]


Viewed as an Unhappy Class

People are also prone to think of the deaf as an unhappy, morose or dejected class. Professor E. T. Devine in his "Misery and its Causes" (1909)[140] enumerates the deaf, among other classes, as embodiments of misery—"not for the most part," he is careful to state, "personally unhappy," but rather with reference to their imperfect senses. This view is clear enough, and in one sense is doubtless correct; but it does not[103] express the entire situation in respect to the deaf. While their deafness must always be a serious and distressing affliction, and even handicap and burden as well, and while the deaf must often bemoan their fate, it yet seems to be true that the deaf as a lot are not "unhappy." They are good-natured, see the world from an odd angle sometimes, yet are as much philosophers as the average man; and when in the company of their deaf associates are able to derive fully as large a portion of happiness as any other group of human beings. The deaf are cheerful, swayed by the same emotions as other mortals, responsive equally to all the touches of life, and are not, at least in these days of education, a morbid, brooding, passionate folk, as is too often the popular judgment.

Viewed as a Dependent Class

In some quarters the deaf continue to be looked upon as one of the dependent classes of society. Mr. Robert Hunter in his "Poverty" (1904)[141] under the head of "Dependents and their Treatment" places the deaf and dumb as "absolute dependents." Such views, however, are no longer general, the deaf having themselves demonstrated[104] to what extent they are a self-supporting part of the community. But where this belief is still shared, the deaf are thought in many cases to be in need of aid or public charity; or at any rate to be economically inferior to the rest of society. Deaf pupils in the schools, for instance, are often referred to as "inmates" or even as "patients," not only by the public but by newspapers as well; and the schools themselves are often spoken of as "asylums" or as charitable institutions.[142] This nomenclature is hardly defensible on any ground, and by it the education of the deaf is not even given its true status.

As a further illustration of the general feeling, though rather of different order, may perhaps be cited the attitude of the general insurance companies toward the deaf. Though some of the companies accept the deaf at their regular rates, a number refuse them altogether, while others limit their liability or demand an extra premium.[143] This is largely because of the fear[105] that the deaf are more liable to accidents than other people; but in point of fact the deaf seem to be a long-lived people, and it is likely that with greater statistical knowledge concerning them, most of the discrimination would cease.[144]

Need of a Changed Regard for the Deaf

Thus in many ways are the deaf made to suffer from popular misconceptions, and quite unnecessarily. Too long have designations been employed regarding them that call up undeserved associations. Too long have they been set down as a strange and uncertain body of human beings, removed in their actions, manners and modes of thought from the rest of society. The interests of the deaf require a different consideration and treatment. They demand that the deaf[106] be regarded exactly as other people, only unable to hear. Theirs will be a great boon when they are looked upon no more as a distinct and different portion of the race, but entirely as normal creatures, equally capable and human as all other men.[145]


[136] Very often in the public mind the deaf and the blind are associated, the two classes sometimes becoming more or less merged the one into the other, and the problems of the one are not infrequently assumed to be those of the other. As a matter of fact, there is but one point of similarity in the two classes—both are "defective" in that they are deprived of a most important physical sense. The gulf that really separates the blind from the deaf is far deeper than that which lies between either of the two classes and the normal population.

[137] In this connection it may be interesting to note the regard for the deaf as has been indicated by the deaf characters that have been created in fiction. Though not a large number are found, there is displayed towards them an attitude largely of kindly sympathy, in some cases mingled with wonder. Such characters appear in Lew Wallace's "Prince of India", where three deaf-mutes are instructed to speak; Scott's Fanella in "Peveril of the Peak"; Dickens' Sophy in "Dr. Marigold" (an unusually attractive and lovable character); Collins' Madonna Mary in "Hide and Seek"; Caine's Naomi in "The Scapegoat"; Haggard's "She"; Maarten's "God's Fool"; de Musset's "Pierre and Camille"; and elsewhere. Thomas Holcroft's "Deaf and Dumb; or the Orphan Protected" is an adaptation from the French play "Abbé de l'Épée" of J. N. Bouilly, in 1802, in which the founder of the first school for the deaf and his pupils are touchingly portrayed. Feigned characters are also found, as Scott's mute in "The Talisman"; in Moliere's "Le Médecin malgré Lui"; Jonson's "Epicoene"; and John Poole's "Deaf as a Post". Defoe has a character, Duncan Campbell, which is possibly based on one from real life, being referred to by Addison in the Spectator and the Tatler. On the subject of the deaf in fiction, see Silent Worker, Dec., 1893; Annals, xxxix., 1894, p. 79; Indiana Bulletin of Charities and Corrections, June, 1897; Athenaeum, Feb., April, 1896.

[138] It may be recorded here that in the present compilation of the Bibliography of the United States Bureau of Education, the expression formerly used, "Delinquents, Dependents and Defectives", has been dropped in favor of the term, "Special Classes of Persons". On this subject, see Proceedings of National Educational Association, 1901, p. 876.

[139] A possibly more serious misapprehension respecting the deaf arises from the impression often current among a large number of people, and apparently encouraged not infrequently in the proceedings of some scientific bodies, to the effect that nearly all deaf-mutes are so either because of a similar condition in their parents or because of the existence in the parents of some physical disease, sometimes of an immoral character. This is in a great part due to the increasing emphasis upon eugenics, with the desire to weed out from the population as many as possible of the "unfit" or "defective". In consequence has been the belief that if there were proper regulation of certain marriages, especially of the deaf and of others suffering from particular maladies, "deaf-mutism", which is looked upon as an excrescence upon society, would in the course of a short time be stamped out. An illustration of this conception is the following extract from the Handbook of the Child Welfare Exhibit held in New York in 1911 (p. 38): "Mating of the Unfit. 'The Law'. Marriages of cousins, insane or feeble-minded, alcoholic, syphilitic parents and effects. The cost—7,369 blind infants, 89,287 deaf and dumb, 18,476 feeble-minded". See also Proceedings of National Conference of Charities and Corrections, 1912, p. 277; Report of Philadelphia Baby Saving Show, 1912, p. 37; Annals, lvii., 1912, p. 284. As a matter of fact, as we have already seen, the question of deafness is not one so much of eugenics as of medical science, although eugenics may well be called in play in respect to the marriages of persons under unfavorable conditions, including to an extent the congenitally deaf and those having deaf relatives. The total number of the deaf, however, marrying under unfavorable conditions, is not large. Every effort to remove or diminish deafness is entitled only to the highest praise; but when it is made to appear that deafness generally results from such causes as are often ascribed, it is seen how wrongly the deaf, upon whom a great affliction is already resting, may be made to suffer.

[140] P. 45. See also Proceedings of Empire State Association of Deaf-Mutes, xii., 1888, p. 35; National Conference of Charities and Corrections, 1883, p. 416.

[141] P. 76. See also p. 96. Similarly Professor C. R. Henderson in his "Dependents, Defectives and Delinquents" says (p. 170): "Many of the deaf and blind are so deficient in industrial efficiency, owing to their infirmity, that they must be cared for in adult life and old age".

[142] In the special census report of Benevolent Institutions of 1904 schools for the deaf and the blind are included, because they contain "free homes for care and maintenance". In some charity directories schools for the deaf are listed.

[143] It is claimed that 95 per cent of the general fraternal organizations consider the deaf as "hazardous" or "undesirable". Proceedings of National Association of the Deaf, ix., 1910, p. 53. Accident insurance is usually refused by all. When an extra rate is charged in life insurance, this is usually one-half of one per cent. On the subject of insurance and the mortality of the deaf, see Annals, xxxiii., 1888, p. 246; xlix., 1904, p. 274; Proceedings of Convention of American Instructors, ii., 1851, p. 168; iii., 1853, p. 85; xi., 1886, p. 67; Empire State Association of Deaf-Mutes, xii., 1888, p. 35; xiii., 1890, p. 30: xvi., 1894, p. 28; xix., 1897, p. 93; National Association of the Deaf, ii., 1883, p. 12; vii., 1904, p. 183; Report of New York Institution, 1853, p. 70.

[144] The foregoing illustrate some of the most striking misconceptions regarding the deaf. On the other hand, no doubt the deaf as well as the blind suffer from sentiment on the part of the public, and from the sensational accounts which appear from time to time in the newspapers and magazines concerning what the deaf have been found able to accomplish. Many things are referred to as "wonders", as though it were strange that they could be done by people without hearing, some of the achievements of the deaf being set down as most remarkable. Such writings are usually in a kindly spirit, and may often serve a useful purpose in making known the similarity of the capabilities of the deaf and of the hearing; but when they make the deaf appear as a peculiar and unlike part of the race, their effect may be most misleading. The worst result is that the public becomes ready and willing to believe almost any thing about the deaf.

[145] In 1908 the Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf appointed a committee to consider the question of the dissemination of knowledge regarding the attainments of the deaf. Proceedings, xviii., p. 210.




General Societies Interested in the Deaf

We have now considered the interest of society in the deaf in its several relations, together with the treatment that has been extended to them. It remains to be noted whether there have been any private undertakings organized in behalf of the deaf or interested in their welfare, and what has been done by such bodies.

In America virtually the only organizations composed of persons not deaf and formed for the purpose of advancing the interests of the deaf have been those more or less closely related to the education of deaf children, and with their exception practically no movements in respect to the deaf may be said to have been undertaken.[146]

These organizations interested in the instruction of the deaf are of two divisions: bodies actively engaged in the work of this instruction,[108] and bodies only indirectly concerned. The first division includes, on the one hand, associations of instructors of the deaf, and, on the other, societies or corporations formed to promote and establish schools, which have either passed out of existence, their mission being fulfilled, on the taking over of the school by the state, or have remained in control of certain schools—to be considered when we come to the general provisions for the education of the deaf. In the second division are three kinds of organizations: the Volta Bureau, an organization in a class of its own; associations of parents concerned mainly with the instruction of their own children; and undertakings interested in the extension of religious knowledge to the deaf, usually in the form of church missions.

The Volta Bureau

The one organization in America of large compass and concerned solely with the interests of the deaf is the Volta Bureau, located in Washington. This has resulted from the gift of Dr. Alexander Graham Bell in 1880, who having received 50,000 francs from the French government in recognition of his services in the field of invention, decided to use the money to establish the bureau for the "increase and diffusion of knowledge relating to the deaf." The bureau now contains much information regarding the deaf as a class, as well as carefully compiled data regarding[109] many individuals; and also publishes works on the deaf, including the "Volta Review," a monthly periodical. It is much interested in the methods of instruction of the deaf, while another important aim may be said to be the elimination of deafness as far as possible, or the removal of many of the effects of deafness. Dr. Bell's total benefactions to this bureau, together with the Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf, to which it is now joined, have amounted to more than a quarter of a million dollars.[147]

Parents' Associations for the Deaf

Associations of parents have been organized chiefly in relation to the education of their own deaf children, though in some cases friends as well as parents are included. They have often been particularly concerned in the creation of day schools for the deaf, but have also shown an interest in other ways.[148] These associations have[110] been mostly confined to cities, and have been organized in a dozen or so of them, as Boston, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Paul, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.[149] State associations have been rare, being found in only two or three states, as Ohio, Wisconsin and Nebraska.[150]

Church Missions to the Deaf

Practically all the religious denominations have shown more or less concern in the spiritual welfare of the deaf, so far as individuals have been affected, and many churches have deaf members on their rolls. Some of the church bodies have, in addition, given more particular attention to the deaf, and have instituted special activities to embrace as many of them as possible. Such movements have their greatest opportunities in[111] the cities, where it is easier to reach the deaf than in the scattered districts of the country, though some efforts have been made there too. On the whole, however, only a small part of the religious duty towards the deaf is found to have been done; and it remains beyond question that they have been neglected in this regard far too much, and that there is indeed a field "white unto the harvest" for the spiritual well-being of the deaf. Perhaps also there is no sphere of religious endeavor where the need of mutual understanding and co-operation is so manifest as with the deaf.

The denominations that have taken special action usually maintain what are called "missions to the deaf," and have clergymen, both deaf and hearing, who give part or all of their time to the work. In a few of the larger cities, as we have seen, special churches for the deaf have been organized, supported with the aid of the denominational body, while in other cases the use of the church building is allowed to the deaf at certain times. Visits are also made from time to time to smaller places when a number of deaf people may be assembled together, and special meetings are arranged for them.[151] In such missions, while[112] the aims are largely spiritual, there are often in addition operations of a material character, with appropriate attention to individual cases of need.[152]

Among Protestant Churches, the Protestant Episcopal may be considered the pioneer, and it has taken up the work with considerable zeal and effectiveness. In 1850 work was begun in the East, and in 1871 formally organized. In 1873 it was extended to the Mid-west, and in 1875 to the North-west and South-west. In a number of the dioceses the work is now given attention, in some of the large cities, as New York, Philadelphia and Chicago, its labor being notable.[153] The Lutheran Church has been active particularly in some of the states of the Middle West, as in the synods of Missouri, Ohio, and others, and in a few cities of the East. The Methodists have likewise been engaged in certain sections of the country, especially in the South and in the Mid-west. The Baptists have also taken up work, especially[113] in the South and in New England. Together with the Congregationalists, they started action in the latter section in 1884, though most of the work in New England is now done by a union organization of several denominations, called the "Evangelical Alliance." In other Protestant bodies little has been attempted beyond local undertakings in a few places. The work of the Roman Catholic Church in respect to the deaf is well organized in a number of centers, and many of the Catholic deaf are carefully looked after. With the Hebrews most of the attention has been confined to certain large cities.[154]

Organizations Interested in the Education of the Deaf

There are in America three large bodies interested in the education of the deaf, and composed for the most part of those directly connected with the work of education. These are the Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf, the Conference of Superintendents and Principals, and the American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf, all meeting, as a usual thing, triennially in different years. Of[114] these the oldest is the Convention of American Instructors, which was organized in 1850.[155] It is a large and representative body, and has manifested its interest from the beginning in the general welfare of the deaf, as well as in the particular demands of education. The Conference of Superintendents and Principals, as its name implies, is composed of the heads of schools, and was organized in 1868.[156] The Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf was incorporated as such in 1890, though it was not the first body concerned in this work.[157] It is now countrywide, and embraces a large number of those interested in the teaching of speech to the deaf, whether active educators or not. A large section of its members are "pure oralists," that is, believing in the exclusive use of speech with the deaf. In 1908 the Volta Bureau was taken over by this body.[158] It may be mentioned here also that the educators of the deaf are represented in the National Educational Association.[159]


Publications Devoted to the Interests of the Deaf

There are two publications devoted to the interests of the deaf: the "American Annals of the Deaf" and the "Volta Review," both published in Washington. The former was begun in 1848. It appears bi-monthly, and is under the direction of the Conference of Principals.[160] It has long been known as the standard periodical relating to the deaf in America, and represents current thought and opinion of practical educators of the deaf, as well as constituting a general record of the work. The "Volta Review," formerly known as the "Association Review," was begun in 1899, and was published by the Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf. It is now published conjointly by the Association and the Volta Bureau, and appears as an illustrated monthly. It is "devoted to the problems of deafness," but deals in the greatest measure with the matters pertaining to the education of the deaf.[161] In most of the residential[116] schools, or institutions, there are also papers, which often serve to keep parents and others informed of the work of the respective schools. We have already referred to the publications by the deaf themselves, both secular and religious.


[146] General organizations of a philanthropic or other character have seldom extended activities to include the deaf, though at times some institution, as the Young Men's Christian Association or a social settlement, has manifested an interest, chiefly in providing a place for meeting.

[147] The bureau contains a card catalogue of more than 50,000 deaf children who have been in the special schools from 1817 to 1900; authentic manuscript respecting 4,471 marriages of the deaf; and the special schedules of the census of 1900 respecting the deaf. It serves, moreover, as a bureau of information and advice, with suggestions for the hard of hearing also, and as a teachers' agency. On the work of the bureau, see Deaf-Mute Advance, of Illinois School, March 14, 1891; Silent Worker, May, 1895; and current numbers of the Volta Review, especially that for Jan., 1913 (xiv., p. 605).

[148] The purpose of the Boston Parents' Education Association for Deaf Children is "to encourage home instruction, aid schools for the deaf in Boston, help deaf children to continue their education in schools or colleges for hearing persons, aid them in acquiring a practical knowledge of useful trades and business, assist them in obtaining remunerative employment, bring them into more extensive social relations with hearing persons, and employ such other means for their advancement as may be deemed advisable." See "Offering in behalf of the Deaf", by this association, 1903, p. 8. See also Association Review, ii., 1900, p. 146. Most of the associations have also been interested in the employment of the oral method of instruction. Dues in such associations are usually only one or two dollars, and there is often a board of directors appointed.

[149] The first seems to have been the Boston Association, formed in 1894.

[150] In several of these associations membership is over a hundred. In Milwaukee there is also a similar society known as the Wisconsin Phonological Institute to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf, which was organized in 1878, and incorporated in 1879, as a philanthropic society. See Report, 1878, p. 5.

[151] On the subject of church work among the deaf, see Proceedings of National Association of the Deaf, i., 1880, p. 19; iv., 1893, p. 53; vi., 1899, p. 58; vii., 1904, p. 153; Empire State Association of Deaf-Mutes, xii., 1888, p. 31; Conference on Church Work among the Deaf (Protestant Episcopal), i., 1881, p. 5; ii., 1883, p. 4; iv., 1887, p. 3; v., 1888, p. 23; Report of Diocesan Commission on Church Work among the Deaf, 1886; Church Mission to the Deaf (New York), 1873, p. 14; 1886, p. 3; 1888, p. 3; Annals, xxix., 1884, p. 24.

[152] Direct relief may be afforded in some cases, and in others visits made to hospitals, prisons and the like, where deaf persons may be found, without regard to religious affiliation. Assistance is also often rendered in acting as interpreters in court, though this work is frequently shared in by instructors of the deaf. In one or two instances, as we have seen, homes for the deaf have been established by religious bodies.

[153] In the Protestant Episcopal Church there are now some twelve clergymen engaged in this work, ten of whom are deaf, and more than twice this number of lay helpers.

[154] In New York there is a Society for the Welfare of the Jewish Deaf, which was organized in 1910, and incorporated in 1913. Laws, ch. 313. It is controlled by a board of from seventeen to thirty governors, and is interested in the educational, industrial, social and religious concerns of the deaf. See Hebrew Standard, March 15, 1912; Jewish Charities, Jan., 1912. See also Proceedings of National Conference of Jewish Charities, 1908, p. 28.

[155] Its first meeting was at the New York Institution, after a call had been issued by several of the leading educators. In 1897 this body was incorporated.

[156] The organization was effected at Washington. See Report of Columbia Institution, 1868, p. 16.

[157] A convention of articulation teachers was held as early as 1874. Another meeting was held in 1884. See Annals, xix., 1874, pp. 90, 217; xxix., 1884, pp. 154, 237; Volta Review, xiv., 1913, p. 394. In 1894 was formed the Association to Promote Auricular Training of the Deaf, which was subsequently merged with the larger organization.

[158] The Association has a board of fifteen directors, and an advisory board of twelve.

[159] This was organized in 1897. Proceedings, p. 36. It is known as Department XVI, or the Department of Special Education. Both instructors of the deaf and of the blind are represented, those interested in the education of the feeble-minded having also been included up to 1902. In addition to the three general organizations of educators of the deaf, there have been several local conferences, as of the principals of schools in the Southern states and in New York, and of teachers in the state of Michigan and of the city of New York.

[160] Its first publication was by the instructors of the Hartford School. Publication was omitted in 1849, and from 1861 to 1868.

[161] For other publications that have appeared in the interest of the deaf, see "Periodicals Devoted to the Interests of the Deaf," by the Volta Bureau, 1913.







Among the ancient peoples generally the deaf and dumb, especially those so by birth, were deemed as of deficient mentality, and were accounted, intellectually, as little better than children, or, indeed, as idiots. Though treated, it seems, for the most part humanely, they were regarded not without some aversion; and their affliction was not infrequently looked upon as a visitation of the gods, some of the hardy races even destroying their deaf offspring. For a long period there were scarcely any serious attempts to give instruction to the deaf.

Allusions to the deaf and their state with respect to education are found in certain of the Greek and Latin writers, and occasionally in those of other languages. Herodotus speaks of the deaf son of Crœsus, and Hippocrates has reference to the deaf as a class. Plato and Aristotle also make mention of the deaf, the latter considering them incapable of education because of the absence of the sense of hearing. Among Latin authors we find an account by Pliny the[120] Elder of a deaf man who had learned painting.

It is only after the fifteenth century that we have more or less authenticated accounts of the instruction of the deaf, and many of these are hardly more than a passing reference here and there. It was, moreover, well after Europe had taken its present political appearance that the modern attitude towards the deaf and their instruction began. Before this their education as a class was not thought of, and while no doubt there have always been sporadic instances of the instruction of the deaf, it is only since the middle of the eighteenth century that the deaf have come generally into the birthright of their education.

Yet it is not so great a matter of wonder that the movements for the instruction of the deaf took organized shape so late in the world's civilization. Learning or schooling was in no sense popular till some time after the passing away of the so-called dark ages. For long it was rather the privilege of the rich and powerful. The great mass of the people were not deemed worthy of learning, and education itself in any general application did not have a recognized standing in society. After the Renaissance, however, had ushered in a new age, and when the desire for learning was the master passion among many men in Southern and Western Europe, it is natural to suppose that efforts should have more frequently[121] been made to instruct the deaf child; and after this time we are prepared to find an increasing number of instances of the instruction of the deaf. This was all the more true when an air of mystery was felt to surround these silent ones, and to bring the light of the new learning to these afflicted creatures was considered well worth the attempt.

The earliest instance recorded of instruction given to the deaf in the English language is that of the Venerable Bede about the year 691, who tells of a deaf person taught to speak by Bishop John of York, related as though it were a miracle. After many years we meet accounts of other cases. Rudolph Agricola (1443-1485) of Gröningen, Holland, and later a professor at Heidelberg, cites in his "De Inventione Dialecta" a deaf man who could write. In Italy a little later we find certain deaf children whose instruction is mentioned by Pietro de Castro; while in the sixteenth century Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576), the distinguished physician of Pavia, attempted to state the principles of the education of the deaf, demonstrating the use of a written language for them, and advocating the teaching of speech. He further invented a manual alphabet, which was one of the first of its kind. In 1616 Giovanni Bonifaccio also wrote regarding the "art of signing" and speech for the deaf.[122]

But it is to Spain that credit is to be given as being the first country of Europe where there are recorded accounts of successful instruction of the deaf. In 1550, or perhaps earlier, Pedro Ponce de Leon of the Order of St. Benedict taught, chiefly by oral methods, several deaf children in the convent of San Salvador de Oña. Great success must have attended his efforts, for in addition to the Spanish language and arithmetic, his pupils are reported to have mastered Latin, Greek and astrology. About this time there lived a deaf artist, known as El Mudo, and he had very likely received instruction in some way. In 1620 Juan Pablo Bonet, who had had several deaf pupils, instructing them largely in articulation methods, published a treatise on the art of instructing the deaf, called "Reduccion de las Letras y Arta para Enseñer a Hablar los Mudos;" and he was the inventor of a manual alphabet, in considerable part like that used in America to-day. Sir Kinelm Digby of England, visiting Spain about this time, saw Bonet's work and wrote an account of his pupils.

In 1644 appeared in England "Chirologia, or the Natural Language of the Hand" by a physician, Dr. John Bulwer, who had perhaps also observed the results in Spain. This was followed in 1648 by his more important work, "Philocophus, or the Deaf and Dumb Man's[123] Friend," mostly describing a kind of process in articulation and lip-reading. Bulwer's friend, John Wallis, a professor at Oxford, seems to have been the first practical teacher here, instructing two deaf persons by writing and in speech, and showing them to the King. In 1653 his "Tractatus de Loquela" was published. Along the same line was the writing of Dr. William Holder on the "Elements of Speech," published in 1669, in which he advocated articulation teaching. In 1670 there appeared a treatise by George Sibscota on "The Deaf and Dumb Man's Discourse," but this was really a translation from the writings of a German named Deusing. In 1680 Dr. George Dalgarno of Scotland published his "Didascalocophus, the Deaf and Dumb Man's Tutor," in which preference was given to the use of a written language and a manual alphabet, of one of which he was himself the inventor. In 1698 appeared "Digiti Lingua," written "by a person who had conversed no otherwise in above nine years." Some half a century later we find the name of Henry Baker, son-in-law of Daniel Defoe, who gave instruction in speech.

Other countries of Europe were hardly behind England in their interest in the deaf and their instruction. Spain, besides the names we have mentioned, had notably Ramirez de Carion,[124] himself a deaf man, who lived not long after Bonet. Italy had in particular Padre Lana Terzi, who in 1670 published a work on articulation; and also Fabrizio d'Acquapendente and Affinité, who in their writings threw out references to speech for the deaf. In Holland there were Peter Montans, who about 1635 issued several tracts on speech; Jan Baptista Van Helmont, who in 1667 wrote on speech and an alphabet; and John Conrad Amman, formerly a Swiss physician, who in 1692 gave out his "Surdus Loquens," which was enlarged and republished in 1700 as "Dissertatio de Loquela." The name of Amman is especially notable, not only for his instruction in speech of several deaf children, but for his influence on later oral methods. In Switzerland we find at Basel in 1531, or perhaps a few years sooner, an account of a deaf person who was instructed in speech by Œcolampadius, the Reformer and friend of Luther; at Geneva in 1604 of a deaf child instructed by St. Francis de Sales; and also in Geneva in 1685 of a deaf person who had probably received instruction.

In Germany we have a regular succession of names of those who either attempted to instruct the deaf or who wrote of this instruction, some of these names being among the earliest of those in Europe who showed an interest in the matter.[125] In the year 1578 we meet the name of Pasch, a clergyman of Brandenburgh, who taught his daughter by means of pictures. In 1621 Rudolph Camerarius wrote a book on speech, and in 1642 Gaspard Schott mentions a case of successful instruction. In 1701 or 1704 Kerger at Liegnitz in Silesia taught some pupils orally, having what seemed a temporary school. In 1718 Georges Raphel, who had taught his three deaf daughters, wrote a book explaining his process of instruction. Among other names appearing earlier or later were those of Morhoff, Mallenkrot, Wild, Niederoff, Lichwitz, Shulze, Ettmuller, Arnoldi, Lasius, Heinicke, and Nicolai. Of all these much the most renowned is that of Samuel Heinicke. In 1754 at Dresden he became interested in the deaf, and a few years later started a school near Hamburg. In 1778, at the instance of the state, he moved to Leipsic, his school thus being the first public school for the deaf to be established. He was also the author of several books on the education of the deaf. Heinicke was instrumental in bringing the oral method into favor, and in many respects, so far as its present use is concerned, may be said to be its father. He was in fact one of the greatest teachers of the deaf, and the influence of his work has been felt in no small measure in America.

In France, too, there were great names, though[126] they were late in appearing; Père Vanin, Rousset, Ernaud, de Fay, Pereire, Abbé de l'Épée, Abbé Deschamps, and others.[162] Of these Vanin, Pereire, Deschamps, and de l'Épée are the most notable. Vanin about 1743 instructed some children by means of pictures and a manual alphabet. Rodriguez Pereire, a Portuguese Jew, had several pupils at Bordeaux before the middle of the eighteenth century, and though his methods were kept secret for the most part, he appeared to have met considerable success, in 1749 giving an exhibition before the Academy of Sciences. Abbé Deschamps in 1779 published at Orleans a work on the instruction of the deaf, largely favoring the oral method. It is to Charles Michel abbé de l'Épée, however, that is given the highest reverence of all the initial workers for the deaf, being the founder of the first regular school, and receiving nearly equal distinction for his impression on early methods of instruction—this being especially true in respect to America, where his influence in the introduction of the sign language has been greater than any other man's. The abbé had become interested in two deaf orphans in Paris, whom he attempted to teach, and in 1755 established a school near the city, conducting it at his own expense. This proved[127] a success, and he decided to give his whole life to the instruction of the deaf. He wrote several works on their education, the chief one being "La Veritable Manière d'Instruire les Sourds et Muets," published in 1784. The achievements of de l'Épée were soon far-famed, and the people were taken with their novelty. Many honors were offered him, and his work was brought to the notice of the French Academy and approved. In 1791 his school was adopted by the state. The successor of abbé de l'Épée was abbé Sicard, and the work continued to flourish in France.

Not long after de l'Épée and Heinicke had started their schools in France and Germany respectively, Thomas Braidwood, in 1760, opened a school in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1784 a school was established in Rome, in 1788 in Madrid, and in 1801 in Genoa. In the early years of the nineteenth century other schools were started over Western Europe. Thus by the time that the work for the education of the deaf was to enter America, in the establishment of the first school in the second decade of the century, there were already in Europe a number of schools in existence.[163]



[162] In 1751 Diderot published his "Lettre sur les Sourds et Muets," in which there is reference to the education of the deaf.

[163] For accounts of the early work for the education of the deaf, both before and after it was taken up in the United states, the following may be referred to: Thomas Arnold, "A Method of Teaching the Deaf and Dumb Speech, Lip-Reading and Language", 1881; "The Education of Deaf-Mutes", 1888; E. M. Gallaudet, "Life of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet", 1888; H. N. Dixon, "A Method of Teaching Deaf-Mutes to Speak, with a Historical Introduction" (including a translation of Bonet's work), 1890; J. K. Love, "Deaf-Mutism", 1896; Henry Barnard, "A Tribute to Gallaudet", with other papers, 1852; Heman Humphrey, "Life and Labors of T. H. Gallaudet", 1857; H. W. Syle, "Retrospect of the Education of the Deaf", 1886; J. A. Seiss, "The Children of Silence", 1887; J. R. Burnet, "Tales of the Deaf and Dumb", 1835; E. J. Mann, "Deaf and Dumb", 1836; J. N. Williams, "A Silent People", 1883; W. R. Scott, "The Deaf and Dumb, their Education and Social Position", 1870; History of First School for Deaf-Mutes in America, 1883; Addresses delivered at the New York Institution, 1847; H. P. Peet, Address at Laying of Corner Stone of North Carolina Institution, 1848; Proceedings of Laying of Corner Stone of Michigan Institution, 1856; Collins Stone, "Address on History and Methods of Deaf-Mute Instruction", 1869; Addresses Commemorative of the Virtues and Services of Abraham B. Hutton, 1870; American Annals of the Deaf (especially early numbers, often giving accounts of individual schools as well as of the general work); North American Review, vii., 1818, p. 127; xxxviii., 1834, p. 307; lxxxvii., 1858, p. 517; civ., 1867, p. 512; American Journal of Education, (n. s.) i., 1830, p. 409; American Annals of Education, iv., 1834, p. 53; Literary and Theological Review, ii., 1835, p. 365; American Biblical Repository, viii., 1842, p. 269; De Bow's Review, xvii., 1854, p. 435; National Magazine, ix., 1856, pp. 385, 487 (Sketches of Humane Institutions); Scribner's Magazine, xii., 1892, p. 463; Association Review, ii.-v., 1900-1904 ("Historical Notes concerning the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf"); Proceedings of Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf, i., 1850, p. 99; v., 1858, p. 275 (H. P. Peet, "Memoirs on the Origin and Early History of the Art of the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb"); iii., 1853, p. 277; iv., 1856, p. 17; ix., 1878, p. 195; American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf, v., 1896, p. 27 (P. G. Gillet, "Some Notable Benefactors of the Deaf"); National Association of the Deaf, iii., 1889, p. 21; National Conference of Charities and Corrections, 1907, p. 512; Californian, iv., 1881, p. 376; Iowa Bulletin of State Institutions, viii., 1906, p. 175; xii., 1910, p. 24; Transactions of Royal Historical Society, viii., 1880; Encyclopedia Americana, 1883 (History of the Education of the Deaf in the United States, given in Annals, xxxi., 1886, p. 130); various reports of the several schools for the deaf in America (as that of New York Institution, 1839, p. 8; 1843, p. 11; 1876, p. 48; American School, 1844, p. 25; 1867, p. 13; Pennsylvania Institution, 1843, p. 9; 1892, p. 64; Kentucky School, 1857, p. 8; 1867, p. 13; Michigan School, 1858, p. 40; Illinois School, 1868, p. 42; New York Institution for Improved Instruction, 1869, p. 26; Mississippi School, appendices, 1907, 1909, 1911); "Histories of American Schools for the Deaf", edited and with an introduction by Dr. E. A. Fay, 1893 (containing accounts of individual schools, and a most valuable work).




Early Attempts at Instruction

The first instance of which we have record in America of an attempt to teach the deaf was in 1679[164] when a man named Philip Nelson of Rowley, Massachusetts, tried to instruct a deaf and dumb boy, Isaac Kilbourn by name, in speech, though with what success we do not know.[165] These, however, were the witchcraft days, and the work of Nelson seemed such an extraordinary thing that the ministers of the community are said to have made an investigation, fearing that witches might be involved in the affair. The next instance of which we have[130] mention occurred in Virginia a century later, when John Harrower, a school-master of Fredericksburg, had in his school from 1773 to 1776 a deaf boy named John Edge, reference to whose instruction is made in his diary.[166]

The earliest effort for the establishment of a school for the deaf in America of which we know was made almost contemporaneously with the opening of the nineteenth century, and at the time that such schools were being created over Europe. There lived at this time in Boston a man named Francis Green, who had a deaf son. This boy he sent to the school in Scotland which Braidwood had started; while he himself became much interested in the subject of the education of the deaf. In 1783 he published in England a work entitled "Vox Oculis Subjecta." In 1803 he had, with the help of some of the ministers, a census made of the deaf in Massachusetts, when 75 were found, and it was estimated that there were 500 in the United States. Green felt the need of a school, and in several of the publications of the time appeared his writings, in which he urged the creation of one.[167]


It was in 1810, however, and in the city of New York that the real beginning of deaf-mute education in the United States was marked. This was when John Stanford, a minister, found several deaf children in the city almshouse and attempted to teach them. Though his efforts continued but a short time, it was these from which resulted the establishment a few years later of a school in the city, the New York Institution.[168]

In Virginia shortly afterwards a second school was started, which in itself is to be set down as an important stage in the course of the early attempts to create schools for the deaf in America. In 1812 there came to the United States John Braidwood, a member of the family which was in control of the institution at Edinburgh, Scotland, in the hope of establishing a school. He began plans for one at Baltimore, but before it had gotten under headway, he was called to Virginia to undertake the instruction of the deaf children of William Bolling, of Goochland County. This private school continued, with seemingly satisfactory results in the progress of[132] the pupils, for two and a half years. In 1815 it was moved to Cobbs, Chesterfield County,[169] to be open to the public. The school now promised well, and there were already several pupils. However, Braidwood was looking about for other opportunities, and had been in touch with several parties in regard to the employment of his services.[170] In 1816 he went to New York, where he proposed to start a school, and collected a few pupils, only to return to Virginia again after a few months. In 1817 he began operations anew, this time at a private classical school at Manchester under John Kilpatrick, a minister. In less than a year this too was abandoned by Braidwood, who soon after met his death. Kilpatrick attempted to continue the school only a year or two longer, possibly even taking a few pupils with him when he moved to Cumberland County in 1819; and so was brought to an end the checkered career of this early school for the deaf in Virginia.[171]


Such were the beginnings of the instruction of the deaf in America. With the exception of these undertakings, barely touching the surface in the number of children reached, the only means of education possible in the land was in sending children to a school in Europe, which was done in the case of a few wealthy parents. For the great mass of the deaf, isolated and scattered though they were at the time, there was no instruction to be had.

But this period was now nearly passed. Attention in more than one quarter was being directed to the deaf and the possibilities of their education; and in the breasts of not a few men a feeling was astir that instruction was somehow to be brought to them.[172] The seed was already sown, and by the time the school in Virginia was broken up, others were beginning to arise elsewhere. When the work was finally to be taken up, it was to be upon a solid foundation which should last with the lastingness of education.


Beginning of the First Schools

The seat of the first permanent school to be established in the United States for the education of the deaf was Hartford, Connecticut; and the name of the one man with which the beginning work will forever be coupled is that of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. America, however, was not to commence the work of itself: the spirit and the method had to be brought from Europe.

Early in the nineteenth century there lived at Hartford a young deaf girl, Alice Cogswell by name, the daughter of a physician, and in her a group of men had become interested. An investigation of the number of the deaf had been made in 1812 by a body of clergymen, when 84 were found, and it was estimated that there were 400 in New England, and 2,000 in the United States; and the question of a school had been considered.[173] In 1815 the friends of Alice Cogswell decided to organize a society for the purpose of providing means to instruct some of these, and to secure an instructor. To take up this work, attention was directed to Gallaudet, then a young theological student. He was fixed upon as the man to go to Europe and acquaint himself with the methods there employed. Gallaudet[135] responded at once to the appeal made to him, and proceeded to prepare himself forthwith.

The same year, 1815, saw Gallaudet start upon his errand, his expenses being defrayed by the society.[174] He first visited England, but finding there a monopoly composed of the Braidwood and Watson families, he betook himself to France. In this country he met with a warm reception, and here he eagerly set upon his labors of study and investigation at the school which de l'Épée had established. He observed closely, and then the following year turned his face towards America, equipped for the great work before him, and bringing with him one of the deaf teachers from Paris named Laurent Clerc.

On Gallaudet's return the second part of the undertaking for the creation of a school was to be accomplished, namely, the securing of funds, which required half a year more. For this purpose Gallaudet and a few others set about soliciting contributions. New York, Philadelphia, Albany, New Haven, and other cities were visited, and the interest in the new undertaking was shown by the response made.[175] By the time the school was ready to open, over $12,000 had been obtained, which was soon after more[136] than doubled.[176] The contributions came from various sources, including individuals, societies and churches, and were from not a few states, and even foreign countries. A charter was granted the society in 1816 by the legislature of Connecticut; and $5,000 was appropriated for the school,[177] which was probably the first appropriation of public money for education not in regular schools.[178]

On April 15, 1817, the new school threw open its doors, and thus was established the first institution for the instruction of the deaf—in fact, the first for any of the so-called "defective classes." Its success was assured from the start, and there were many applicants, coming from different parts of the country. The school had to depend mainly upon private contributions, and for its maintenance efforts had to be continued to collect funds, pupils being taken for this purpose to several cities for exhibition, especially before church assemblies and the legislative bodies of New England.[179] It was not long in appearing, however, that, as the school was really[137] to be national in scope, the United States government might be appealed to for aid. Visits were accordingly made to Washington in 1819, and the interest of certain of the members of Congress was secured. Among these was Henry Clay, who showed a particular regard for the new undertaking, and it was largely through his influence that Congress was prevailed upon to bestow upon the school 23,000 acres of the public land, from which in time $300,000 was realized.[180] It was the understanding, there being no census of the deaf at this time, that any state or individual might participate in the benefit of this grant, and that the school was to be open on equal terms to all.[181]

Though the school was regarded as national in one sense, it was also felt to be particularly New England's from the share that these states took in its development. Very soon after it had commenced operations a lively interest had been manifested; and in 1825 a meeting was held at Hartford of official representatives of all these states except Rhode Island, to discuss the possibilities of co-operation in its work.[182] Hardly,[138] indeed, had the school entered upon its labor when, without solicitation, Massachusetts began sending its deaf children to it. It was followed in turn by the others, all the states of New England thus coming to provide for their children here as at a common school—a policy continued with all for many years. By this arrangement a certain amount from the state treasury was allowed for each pupil. The action of Massachusetts was taken in 1819, of New Hampshire in 1821, of Vermont and Maine in 1825, of Connecticut in 1828, and of Rhode Island in 1842. Two other states, far removed from New England, also by special legislative grants provided for pupils in this school for a time. These were Georgia and South Carolina, both beginning in 1834.[183] In addition, there were private pupils sent here from a number of states.[184]

The school at Hartford was now in full operation, with a nation-wide interest upon it.[185] But[139] scarcely had it received its first pupil when other schools began to be established, and indeed New York and Pennsylvania are hardly to be considered behind Connecticut at all, schools in these states being in the course of formation when the Hartford school was opened. From the concern now apparent in many sections, it was soon evident that the new work was to spread over the land, and that the education of the deaf had achieved for itself an established position.

In New York, as we have seen, the Rev. John Stanford had found several deaf children in the almshouse of the city, and, moved by their condition, had sought to teach them. Interest was felt by other men, and the agitation for a school was furthered by letters from the American consul at Bordeaux in 1816, one of which was written by a French teacher and addressed to the "Philanthropists of the United States." A census was made of the deaf in the city,[186] meetings were held[140] in their behalf, a notable one taking place at Tammany Hall, and private funds collected. In 1817 a charter was secured from the legislature, and the following year the school was opened. The city of New York displayed a warm interest in it, making a special appropriation at its beginning, and undertaking the support of a number of pupils for a time, besides furnishing quarters free of cost. In 1819 the state legislature, after an exhibit of pupils, decided to assist, making an appropriation for the benefit of the school, and soon afterward allowing a certain amount for each pupil. In 1821 New Jersey began sending children to the school, action being taken in this state by a unanimous vote.

Pennsylvania followed close upon Connecticut and New York. A committee had been organized in Philadelphia in 1816 to secure contributions for a school, and meetings had been held, though without immediate result. Late in the year 1819, or early in 1820, David Seixas, a Jew, finding several poor deaf-mute children to whom he gave shelter, made attempts to teach them. In the latter year a society was formed by certain citizens, after a meeting in the rooms of the American Philosophical Society; and being pleased with the work of Seixas, it decided to adopt his school. The following year, after an exhibit of pupils, the school was incorporated[141] by the legislature, and granted a per capita appropriation of $160, while contributions from friends were numerous. In 1821, also, pupils were admitted from New Jersey, this state providing for them both at the New York and Philadelphia schools. In 1827 Maryland, and in 1835 Delaware, authorized the sending of children to the Pennsylvania Institution, exhibits of pupils having been made before the legislatures of these states.[187]

Kentucky in 1823 was the fourth state in the Union to establish a school. In this case, however, action was taken directly by the legislature, and the school has always been the property of the state. In 1826[188] Congress granted to it a township of land in Florida, on the theory that this school would be the center for pupils from the western and southern states; and it was for some years the place of education for many of[142] the children from the southern states,[189] and also for a number from western states. With the establishment of this school directly by the state begins a new policy in the provision for the education of the deaf—the work no longer being entrusted to private individuals and societies. All the states that followed Kentucky in the creation of schools, with the exception of Maryland and some of the New England states, adopted this policy.

Ohio came next in 1829, although an attempt had been made to establish a school in Cincinnati as early as 1821.[190] Pupils were also received into it from neighboring states.[191] In 1838 Virginia established a joint school for the deaf and the blind, after exhibitions of pupils had been given in the state. In Indiana a private school was started in 1841, and three years later the state institution, action being taken by the legislature without a single dissenting vote. In this state another stage is reached in the work of educating the deaf: education which had hitherto[143] been, by statute, free to the "indigent" only is in positive terms made free to all. This was done in 1848, and the action has been thus described:[192]

The doors of all asylums built at public expense for mutes, for the blind, and for lunatics were thrown open to all, that their blessings, like the rain and dew of heaven, might freely descend on these children of misfortune throughout the state, without money and without price.

Well might this paean break forth, for this is probably the broadest benevolent legislation ever enacted up to this time.

In Georgia a private school was opened in 1842, and in 1846 the state school was established, after a visit of pupils from the Hartford school. In 1845 a school was started in Tennessee, after an exhibit of pupils from Kentucky. The same year in North Carolina, after an exhibit of pupils from Virginia, a school was opened for the deaf and the blind, though one had been projected as early as 1828.[193] In 1846 a school was established[144] in Illinois, the bill passing the legislature by a unanimous vote. To it came pupils from Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin. In 1849 a school was established in South Carolina. Thus by the middle of the nineteenth century, or thirty-two years after the founding of the first school in America, there were schools in a dozen states. In the next quarter century schools were created in nineteen other states, and since in nearly all the remainder.

Early Ideas concerning the Schools for the Deaf

It was but natural that for some years the providing of schools for the education of the deaf should be looked upon with wonder. To many the very thought of their instruction seemed strange. Curious notions had been held as to the deaf-mute's mind, and it was not certain how far it was capable of instruction.

By some the idea of the education of the deaf was received with scarcely concealed skepticism, and despite the enthusiasm of the promoters and despite the cordial interest manifested in many quarters, there were not a few doubters. Efforts to educate the deaf were even declared quixotic and absurd. When the state of Illinois was erecting a building to be used as a school, it was by some called "the state's folly."[194] The[145] legislatures themselves occasionally had misgivings, and now and then an appropriation was voted for a school more in hope than otherwise.[195] The work was thus with many often misunderstood, and a few of the schools did not have altogether easy sailing.

But when it was found that the deaf could be, and were being, educated, not only were all doubts dispelled, but the astonishment almost goes beyond bounds, and even passes into a rapture of thanksgiving. Visitors, in some cases, flocked to the places where these wonderful things were transpiring. They came to convince themselves, and stood hushed in admiration at the spectacle before them.

The accounts of a number of the early schools attest the greeting given to the new work. The New York Institution in its first report[196] speaks of the "numerous visitors" and their "expressions of mingled surprise and delight." In the new Pennsylvania Institution interest was markedly aroused. By Poulson's American Daily Advocate of Philadelphia it was stated that 1,600 people crowded into a church to witness an examination of pupils, and by the Columbian Observer it was declared that this[146] scene "was impressive beyond description," and that "the exercises excited wonder mingled with the acutest sensations of compassion for these isolated beings."[197] An early report of the Tennessee School[198] speaks of the interest "evinced by the great numbers of persons" who visited the school, which was shown "by the sympathy warmly expressed with the great affliction" of the pupils, and the "surprise at the attainments made by them."

Indeed, the new work is more than once referred to in the accounts of the period as a miracle. The age of miracles, we are told, was not past.[199] When a private school was opened in Kansas, the advertisement ran: "Behold the educational miracle of the nineteenth century. The deaf hear, the dumb speak, the blind see."[200] The wonders of education had become all the more marked and expectations were aroused to a high pitch, when it was seen about this time that the blind and other classes as well were being instructed. Great things were believed to be in store for the human race.

With the schools for the deaf there was now general approbation and support. Doubters[147] were silenced, and the promoters took heart. Soon the new institutions had won for themselves a place in the intelligent and affectionate regard of all; and to those instrumental in their creation the people universally "pledged their gratitude."

Aims of the Founders

Though the first schools for the deaf in the United States were founded to a considerable extent with the idea of charity or benevolence present, yet this was not so much the uppermost purpose as to provide instruction for them; or rather, it may be said that the benevolence itself was prompted by the desire to see the deaf led from the darkness of ignorance to the light of education. It is true that many of the pupils were recognized as entitled to material assistance as well as instruction. Some of the schools were chartered as benevolent institutions, while several even avowed themselves as charitable affairs.[201] It is also true that the promoters were in part concerned with deaf children found in poverty, these being likely to engage not a little attention. It was desired to furnish homes for a number without charge; and early accounts and statutes speak of the "care,"[148] "aid," "maintenance" or "support"[202] of these children. But it is none the less true that the great purpose in establishing institutions was educational, and the instruction of the children was the primary and chief thing guiding the hands of the men who created the schools. In the prospectuses of some of the schools any object is disclaimed other than that of education. In a circular describing the proposed school in Kansas were the words: "This is not an asylum, but a school for the education of the deaf."[203] Homes, or institutions, were provided largely for the reason that this plan appeared the only practicable means of reaching a considerable number of pupils.

With the early workers, then, the purpose was to give the children an education. But this was not all. In their vision, a far greater opening presented itself. Heretofore the deaf had been outcasts from society, had no place among civilized beings, and were a dead weight in the community. Now all was to be changed. Eyes saw a glorious transformation: the deaf were to be restored to society, and education was the[149] magic by which it was to be done. In full measure were the founders thrilled with this prospect; and to reclaim the deaf from their condition was the great resolve.

Many of the early reports, charters and organic acts express such a purpose, and speak of the "lonely and cheerless condition" of the deaf, and the hope to "restore them to the ranks of their species." In the preamble of an "Address to the Inhabitants of Pennsylvania," prepared by the society to establish the school in this state,[204] the deaf are said to be in "entire and invincible separation from the vast stores of knowledge which human talent has accumulated—ignorant of the truths of Revelation, her glorious assurances and unspeakable consolations," all being "among the bitter ingredients which fill up the vast measure of the affliction to the deaf and dumb;" and that "among the various efforts of philanthropy and learning to enlarge the circle of human happiness and knowledge, none should perhaps rank higher than those which have been directed to the discovery and application of means for the instruction of the deaf and dumb."

In language glowing and impassioned the condition[150] of the deaf without education is described. Almost universally they are thought of as abiding in impenetrable silence and deep darkness. In an address delivered before the New York Forum in behalf of the New York Institution[205] in its early days, it is asserted that the deaf dwell in "silence, solitude and darkness," and in the second report of this school[206] they are declared to be "wrapt in impenetrable gloom of silence, sorrow and despair." In an Ohio report[207] they are said to be in "intellectual and moral midnight;" and in a Michigan report[208] to be "groping in thick darkness." In a Louisiana report[209] they are called "sorrow-stricken children of silence;" and in a Kentucky report[210] their lives are described as "dark, dreary and comfortless." The Southern Literary Messenger[211] of Richmond, Virginia, characterizes their existence as "intellectual night." The New York Commercial Advertiser[212] in the year the first school was opened affirms that "their intellectual faculties ... are ... locked in the darkness of night and shrouded in silence." In an address delivered[151] shortly after the opening of the Tennessee School[213] they are referred to as "entombed in a prison." The Albany Argus and Daily City Gazette[214] points to the deaf man as "abandoned to his hard fate, to wander in darkness, the pitiable object of dismal despair." In an address delivered in the Capitol in Washington[215] the deaf are said to be "doomed to wear out their lives in intellectual darkness."

The results of education were to be great beyond measurement, and the passing of the deaf from ignorance to education is likened even to the glories of the Resurrection. A Committee of Congress[216] in recommending the granting of land to the Kentucky School speaks of education as "the only means of redeeming this unfortunate portion of our species from the ignorance and stupidity to which they would otherwise be consigned by the partial hand of nature, and, indeed; of transferring them from a state of almost mental blindness to that of intellectual and accountable beings." The New York Statesman[217] speaks of the effects in "improving the moral principle, which is torpid and almost obliterated,[152] and opening the way to moral and religious instruction and knowledge of the Deity which is almost void." An early report of the American School[218] tells of the transition of their "imprisoned minds which have too long been enveloped in the profoundest shade of intellectual and moral darkness to the cleansing and purifying light of Divine Truth." An Ohio report[219] states that they "have come forth into the light of truth, that truth that teaches them that they possess a rational and immortal spirit." In the address in behalf of the New York Institution before noted,[220] it is said of the deaf that the "powers of torpid and dormant intellects are resurrected from an eternal night of silence." The first report of the Minnesota School[221] refers to the deaf as "liberated from the winding sheets of silence and ignorance," and tells how "their souls vibrate with such joy as Lazarus felt when he stepped forth from the gloom of the grave."

In the first report of the Indiana School[222] the[153] state of the deaf without education is thus contrasted with that of the deaf with education:

Indeed, the difference between the uneducated and the educated mute is almost incredible. The former "winds his weary way" through life in ignorance and obscurity, often an object of charity, and almost a burden to himself; but the latter, gladdened by the genial rays of knowledge and fitted for the discharge of duty, becomes a blessing to his friends and to society, acts well his part as a member of the great human family, enjoys the present, and looks forward to the future with cheerfulness and hope.

The charter of the Pennsylvania Institution refers to the desire of certain citizens "to restore the deaf and dumb to the ranks of their species;" and the preamble of the statutes creating schools in Kentucky and other states contains similar language. The purpose of the Illinois school is given in the organic act, the language of that of Nebraska and other states being almost identical:

To promote by all proper and feasible means the mental, moral and physical culture of that portion of the community, who by the mysterious dispensations of Providence, have been born, or by disease have become deaf, and of course dumb, by a judicious and well adapted course of education, to reclaim them from their lonely and cheerless condition, to restore them to the[154] ranks of their species, and to fit them to discharge the social and domestic duties of life.

The object of the schools in Wisconsin, South Dakota, and other states is declared to be:

To afford the deaf and dumb of the state, so far as possible, an enlightened and practical education, that may aid them to obtain the means of instruction, discharge the duties of citizenship, and secure all the happiness they are capable of obtaining.

The early educators of the deaf felt themselves that they were indeed carrying the light to shine in a dark place. In the language of one of the foremost of them:[223]

Then the great triumph of science and benevolence over one of the most terrible of human calamities will be complete, and the deaf and dumb, objects of interest, but hardly of compassion, will stand forth among their kindred who hear, heirs of all the hopes, the privileges and the lofty aspirations of their race.

Extension of the Means of Instruction over the Country

Interest in the education of the deaf had thus become general, public concern was awakened, and movements were early on foot in not a few states to start schools. The enthusiasm aroused by the success of the first schools only increased[155] the hopes that others would be provided to reach the deaf children in all the states. A writer in the North American Review in 1834[224] declared that there were "no doubts that the wants of the deaf and dumb will soon be supplied, and that the public beneficence already extended to a portion will, before the lapse of many years, be extended to all."

Nor were these hopes to be shattered, for the states followed each other in rapid succession in providing means for the instruction of their deaf youth. Indeed, when we consider how early some of the newly settled states began to devote attention to the education of the deaf—a work that was undertaken in Europe only after the middle of the eighteenth century—we are persuaded that it speaks no less for the regard for and devotion to education implanted in the breasts of the American people, than for the bigness and benevolence of their hearts. The credit remains just as deep, even though it has ever been the mission and spirit of America to bring education to the door of every one of its children, and though what it has done for the deaf is but a part of this great principle.

The early workers, despite the preliminary journeys to Europe, were largely pioneers, and this country owes an immeasurable debt to the[156] founders and directors of the first schools. Many of them were ministers of the Gospel, and all of them were men of high ideals. Possibly there has never been a movement undertaken for the good of humanity that has drawn to it a more capable or earnest band of men. These early workers were possessed of a determination, an ardor, a resourcefulness, combined with scholarship and understanding of no common order, that would have graced any human cause. They were truly of those in America that have blazed trails, and to them belonged those elements of character that are a pride to any people.[225]

The first schools were created by societies of private citizens, funds being contributed from "membership fees" in the societies, from subscriptions and from other private donations.[226] To the aid of these schools the state later came with appropriations; but while an oversight and general control were assumed by it, the schools[157] were left as private corporations. With the establishment, however, of the Kentucky School in 1823, a second stage is reached in the extension of the new work, the state now undertaking the task itself and providing the schools at its own initiative and expense. At first admission into the schools was restricted to a certain number of pupils, often based upon some political division of the state, as a senatorial district in Tennessee, or a judicial in Ohio. When such limitations were swept away, we have the third stage in the provision for the education of the deaf. The fourth and last stage—though not necessarily in this order in any one particular state, and not in every case formally accomplished—is attained when in Indiana all charges are removed, and education is made free to all.[227] In the schools created in later times all these steps were usually merged into one: limitations of any kind were mostly omitted, and the schools were in general thrown open to all from the beginning.

Thus is reached the culminative point in the course of the provision for the education of the deaf in America. No longer was private[158] benevolence to inaugurate and carry on the work, but the state was coming to see its responsibility in part, finally to realize its full duty in making education free to all its deaf population, just as it was free to the rest of its citizens.[228]

In many instances, before action by the state, instruction of a small collection of deaf children was taken up by a group of citizens;[229] but hardly had this been done when as a rule the state proved itself ready and willing to move in and shoulder the responsibility. These private schools were thus often the nuclei of the state institutions, at first aided to an extent, and then taken over. In fact, the private schools were not infrequently started more or less as experimental affairs, but with the expectation that the state would speedily come to their help. "The idea of the founders seemed to be to give barely enough to keep the school going, and to depend upon getting support of a substantial character in the course of time."[230]

In some cases there were exhibitions of pupils, either from the school which was hoped to be aided, or from an already established school in another state. These were designed to awaken interest in the public, and especially among the[159] legislators, and to quicken the desired action. In more than one instance the school was established at or near the state capital to show the legislatures what could be done and to influence their proceedings. Not infrequently memorials or petitions, in some cases containing a great number of names, were presented to the legislatures, praying for the establishment of the schools. Sometimes if doubt as to the wisdom of the proposed course seemed to delay matters, a point was to be gained in the dispatch as a preliminary procedure of a special committee or agent to some existing school in another state, to examine and report upon its work, this report being, as was expected, nearly always highly favorable.[231]

But appeals to these bodies, whatever their nature, were rarely turned away, and usually secured prompt response. When action was finally to be obtained, the measure relating to the deaf was passed with few dissenting votes, sometimes with none at all. So eager had the representatives of the people now become, that, if it was not deemed practicable at once to create a state institution, haste was made to provide for the children in a school in another state till one within their own borders could be established. In some cases steps were taken to this end by the[160] legislative assemblies of territories before statehood had been bestowed upon them.[232]

At the same time not to be forgotten, in the narration of the extension of the means of education to the deaf of the country, is the real debt to private action. It was private initiative that often brought the schools into being, and it was private solicitude that often won their final endorsement and adoption by the state. In not a few places there were citizens found who were willing to give of their substance to forward the new work.[233] For some of the schools money was not only subscribed, but it came also from the proceeds of fairs and concerts, and for a few also from lectures, debates, exhibits of pictures, and similar affairs; while exhibitions of the pupils themselves from the schools seldom failed to draw a generous offering.[234] Indeed, many were glad[161] of the opportunity to lend a hand, and contributions were tendered not only by various individuals, but also by different societies and organizations[235]—churches probably among the latter proving the most ready givers, with aid, in addition, at time from newspapers, and now and then from a school or college. In some cases funds were collected by citizens with which to purchase a site, and sometimes the land required was given by the cities themselves. Indirect aid was extended as well of not a few kinds; and in the early schools there was seldom great difficulty in securing reduced transportation on railroads and steamboats.[236]

However, except in a few instances, private assistance in the aggregate did not prove great: as a rule in most schools it was limited, usually sufficing only to tide them over their nascent stage, and in large part ceasing upon their full establishment. From then on the maintenance was assumed practically entirely as a public charge, the legislatures of the several states undertaking themselves to provide for the schools. In a few cases, however, there was public aid of[162] another sort. In several schools there were allowances for a longer or shorter period from municipal funds, as in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York, and from county, as in North Carolina and Utah.[237] But much the most important assistance of this character came from the national government; and while only a few schools were favored by its action, the benefactions to those were hardly less than munificent. For the benefit of the Connecticut and Kentucky schools early in their careers Congress granted great areas of the public domain; and later, on the admission of half a dozen or so states in the West into the Union, set apart extensive tracts for the schools to be established in them.[238]

When the school for the deaf had been formally recognized by the state, its first act of[163] assistance as a rule was in the form of per capita allowances for the pupils, with only occasionally a specific appropriation. These allowances were in the beginning small, but in time were gradually increased. It was usually some years before the policy was adopted of making regular appropriations. In a few cases, as in Indiana and Illinois, when it was decided to create a state institution, the first proceedings were, in lieu of a direct appropriation, the levying of a small mill tax upon the assessed property of the state. In New York benefit was allowed from the fines or licenses on lotteries, and in Ohio from the receipts of a tax on auctions in one of the counties of the state. In a few cases the schools were even located where there appeared the greatest financial inducement,[239] as with the requirement that a certain number of acres of land should be donated for the school.[240]

For the organization of the new schools a small body of citizens was appointed, often the original promoters of the undertaking, to act as trustees, and to them was confided its direction, with the support and general oversight of the[164] state back of them.[241] Now and then the trustees of an existing educational or other institution were given charge as a temporary arrangement.[242]

In the material projection of the schools, little was to be expected at the beginning. With the meagre resources at their disposal, the directors had small choice in what was to be provided. In not a few cases the schools started out under conditions far from auspicious, and in some the circumstances in connection with their origin were quite discouraging.[243] The quarters secured for the schools were nearly always of unpretentious, and sometimes of humble, type. Many began in a single rented room, and a few in a church building lent for the purpose. It was only in the course of the years, as the communities grew in population and wealth, that the establishments for the deaf assumed appearances in keeping with their character.


The schools for the deaf were now in being, and were ready for the reception of their pupils. But what of these pupils, and where were they? Were they found at the doors of the new institutions, clamoring for admission? The situation was hardly this. In point of fact, in nearly every case the schools were ahead of the pupils. Though in practically every community where a school was created, there were a greater or less number of children in need of an education, these children, or rather their parents, were slow in availing themselves of the privilege. It was thus that the schools when established had to wait, as it were, for the coming of their pupils, and indeed, in not a few instances, to go out after them.

On the opening of the schools, none was found to have a large number of pupils, and in most there were only a handful, as three, four or five.[244] It was discovered that it was a far from easy task to get the children in.[245] The parents were in no small measure ignorant themselves, and the real value of the school was not always readily understood. Besides, in many sections the country[166] was new, the roads bad, and the facilities for travel scant.

Oftentimes in the course of the founding of the schools, before any direct act was attempted, a census was taken of the deaf of the state. It was also frequently made the duty of certain local officers as county clerks, assessors, etc., to register and report prospective pupils. By many of the schools circulars were distributed to postmasters, tax-collectors, ministers, school-teachers and others to enlist their help in reaching deaf children;[246] and by certain of the schools the newspapers were even availed of to carry their advertisements. Sometimes special agents were sent out to scour the state and gather in pupils.

In many of the schools at the same time the terms of admission were carefully prescribed,[247] and in some, especially the older ones, these terms were often published. Notices of vacancies were also in a few cases put in the newspapers, while in one or two instances, as in Massachusetts, it was provided that lots should be drawn when it was found that the number of applicants exceeded the number allowed. In a large portion of the schools at first the pupils were individually committed, or were "appointed," as it was called.[248] It was usually some years before the[167] greater part of such formalities ceased. Charges were also occasionally made at the beginning,[249] later to be reduced and in time to be abolished.[250]

In most of the schools in their first days the period of attendance allowed to the pupils was very short, often being three or four years, and sometimes only two. Usually, however, after a time one or two years were added to the number permitted, which procedure was repeated after certain intervals, and the length of residence was thus gradually increased. In few of the schools, moreover, was an early age held essential; and, indeed, in a considerable number pupils were not admitted at an early age, the limit not infrequently being ten or twelve.[251] The upper limit was high as well, and in some[168] cases pupils might enter up to thirty. These age limitations were also in turn lowered in the course of time. Thus eventually we find the ages of attendance as well as the general rules and regulations of admission conforming more and more to those of the regular schools.

The various schools that have been created for the deaf have been for the most part boarding institutions, in which the pupils have lived during the school year. But beginning in 1869, and increasing rapidly since 1890, a system of day schools has been brought into being, more on the order of the regular common schools, and more distinctly an integral part of the state's educational economy. Such schools, now over three score in number, have been established in fourteen states, and belong especially to large cities. They may be regarded in many respects as denoting a new departure in the educational treatment of the deaf, and as marking the latest development in the course of the instruction of the deaf in the country.

In addition, there have been created a class of schools, numbering some score at present, which are of denominational or private character, and are not affected by state control. Finally, there has been established by the United States[169] government a national college for the deaf of all the country—which may be called the crowning feature in the provision for the education of the deaf in America.

For the great number of the deaf—over five-sixths of the total—the institutional schools remain the one means of instruction. They have been created in all but a few of the states, and in those without them the children are sent to a school in a neighboring state. In some of the more populous states two or more schools have been established. These schools are as a rule supported entirely from the public treasury, and are controlled by the legislatures, the actual administration being delegated to boards of trustees or other bodies. In half the states a regard of an enduring kind has been manifested for the schools in that provision for them has been included in the constitutions, and these states are thus committed to their maintenance.

In the schools themselves not only is education presented in the usual sense, but in practically all industrial training has also been provided to no mean extent, and constitutes a prominent feature of the work.

We have now traced the origin and development of the schools for the deaf in the United States. The present organization and arrangements are to be considered in the following chapters.[170] We have found that the duty of the education of the deaf has been recognized in all the states of the Union; that to-day everywhere in America provision has been made for the instruction of the deaf; and that to all the deaf children of the land the doors of education are open wide.[252]


[164] There is, however, a case reported before this of a deaf person who had received instruction, though hardly in America. This was a woman who was blind as well as deaf, and who lived at Ipswich, Massachusetts, in 1637. She had come from England; but whether or not she had been taught before the coming on of her affliction, we are left in ignorance. All that we are sure of is that communication could be had with her. See John Winthrop, "History of New England", ed. 1853, i., p. 281; Annals, xlv., 1900, p. 91.

[165] Association Review, ii., 1900, p. 34 ("Historical Notes concerning the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf"). No little debt is owed to Dr. Alexander Graham Bell for his researches into the early attempts at instruction in America.

[166] American Historical Review, vi., 1900, pp. 65, 81, 82, 95. See also Association Review, ii., 1900, p. 527.

[167] See A. G. Bell, "A Philanthropist of the Last Century Identified as a Boston Man", 1900; North American Review, civ., 1867, p. 512; Annals, i., 1848, p. 189; ix., 1857, p. 169; xii., 1860, p. 258; xiii., 1861, p. 1; Association Review, ii., 1900, pp. 42, 119. In some of these are given letters of Green appearing in the New England Palladium and Columbian Centinel, of Boston, and the Medical Repository and Review of American Publications on Medicine, Surgery and the Auxiliary Branches of Science, of New York. Green also published a translation of de l'Épée's main work and extracts from his other writings. A review of "Vox Oculis Subjecta" appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine, Sept., 1783, and in the Boston Magazine, Dec., 1784, Jan., 1785.

[168] Report of New York Institution, 1843, p. 17; Annals, ix., 1857, p. 168.

[169] At this time the United States and England were at war, and Braidwood's adventure received official notice in a permit from the Commissary General of Prisoners to the Marshal of Virginia.

[170] Braidwood was in communication with the promoters of the schools now being organized in Hartford and New York.

[171] On these schools, see History of Virginia School, 1893, p. 3; Report, 1853, p. 25; Report of New York Institution, 1856, p. 17; Annals, ix., 1857, p. 170; xxi., 1876, p. 130; Association Review, ii., 1900, pp. 257, 385, 489; v., 1903, p. 400. In the last are given advertisements and notices concerning the school from the Richmond Enquirer, the Petersburg Republican, and Niles' Weekly Register, of Baltimore.

[172] Among those who had given the matter thought was Dr. William Thornton of Philadelphia, who in 1793 published "Cadmus: a Treatise on the Elements of Written Language", there being an appendix on "A Mode of Teaching the Deaf, or Surd, and Consequently Dumb, to Speak". Transactions of American Philosophical Society, iii., p. 262, as cited in Association Review, ii., 1900, p. 113. See also ibid., v., 1903, p. 406; Annals, i., 1848, p. 190. He was the first writer in America upon the education of the deaf.

[173] By some at this time there were not believed to be a sufficient number of the deaf to justify a school, and it was due to this mainly that the investigation was made.

[174] Funds to the amount of $2,278 were subscribed before the departure of Gallaudet. Association Review, iii., 1901, p. 329.

[175] It is said that Stephen Girard declined to contribute because Philadelphia was not chosen as the site of the school. Tribute to Gallaudet, p. 114.

[176] Ibid., p. 155.

[177] This grant seems to have been used later for the benefit of Connecticut pupils.

[178] This, however, was not the first appropriation to a benevolent institution. The colony of Pennsylvania in 1751 had voted an appropriation for certain of its insane in a hospital to be opened the following year, while New York in 1806 granted $15,000 for the care of its insane in a hospital. Virginia established its insane asylum at Williamsburg in 1773.

[179] See Laws of Maine, 1829, p. 24.

[180] Annals, iv., 1851, p. 63; National Magazine, ix., 1856, p. 489.

[181] Tribute to Gallaudet, p. 136. This was also expressed in the Missionary Herald, Sept., 1826, quoted in American Journal of Education, i., 1826, p. 631. At the same time caution was advised as to the result, as the benefit was to depend upon the sale of the land.

[182] Report of American School, 1825, p. 5; 1836, p. 22.

[183] In 1821 steps were taken to establish a school in South Carolina. A census of the deaf children in the state was made, 29 being found. The school here, however, was not started till some years later. See Report of South Carolina School, 1904, p. 7. In neither the case of this state nor that of Georgia was the number of pupils annually sent to Hartford large, ranging from 2 to 8 in each. See Report of American School, 1835, p. 9; Georgia School, 1874, p. 11; American Annals of Education, v., 1835, p. 93. A joint school for the south-eastern states was also contemplated at this time.

[184] There were several pupils here supported by the United States government, who were the children of deceased veterans, the first coming from Maryland in 1819. History of Maryland School, 1893, p. 11.

[185] Gallaudet remained at the head of the American Asylum, as it was then called, till 1828, when he resigned. He was engaged thereafter in various philanthropic activities, and was invited to lead in the work for the education of the blind, towards which attention was now being directed. Notwithstanding the impairment of his health, his different labors were continued, not the least of which was his office as chaplain of the Connecticut Asylum for the Insane. To Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet America owes a rare debt. Without him the work for the deaf would have been taken up eventually by other hands, but he brought to his task a disregard for obstacles, a splendid idealism, a fine conception of duty, a complete forgetfulness of self, a singular beauty of character, and a great human love that could have existed in but few other men.

[186] There were 66 found in a very short time.

[187] Volumes iii. and iv. of the Association Review (1901 and 1902) contain most interesting accounts of these first schools, with extracts from early reports, letters of Dr. Cogswell, Gallaudet and others; extracts from the Hartford Courant and the Connecticut Mirror, both urging the importance of the school established at Hartford and the need of contributions, and the latter (in the issue of March 24, 1817) giving the conditions and terms of admission; also extracts from other papers, as the Albany Daily Advertiser, the New York Commercial Advertiser, the General Aurora Advertiser, Poulson's American Daily Advocate, the Christian Observer, the Freeman's Journal and Columbian Chronicle, of Philadelphia, and Niles' Weekly Register, of Baltimore. See also E. M. Gallaudet, "Life of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet."

[188] Pub. Stat., ch. 24.

[189] Pupils were in time received here from all the Southern states. History, 1893, p. 5.

[190] This was to be called "The Western Asylum for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb". An association was formed, and the legislature was asked to incorporate the school. In 1822 a census was taken for all the state except two counties, when 428 deaf persons were found. The school was not established on the ground that it was too far removed from the center of the state. See Annals, v., 1853, p. 221; xxv., 1880, p. 30; Report of Ohio School, 1876, p. 30.

[191] A school under Roman Catholic auspices was established near St. Louis in 1837.

[192] Report of Indiana School, 1851, p. 26. See also Annals, vi., 1854, p. 150. This honor is also to be shared in by the state of Ohio. In 1844, or four years before the action of Indiana, the laws prohibiting the trustees from receiving more than a certain number of indigent pupils in one year at the expense of the state were repealed, and the trustees were authorized to admit suitable pupils, as they might deem necessary and proper. This probably had the effect of allowing all pupils free attendance, though it remained with the trustees to decide. The formal removal of limitations respecting indigent pupils did not take place till 1854.

[193] A society was formed for the purpose, a charter secured from the legislature, and Congress petitioned for land. Annals, xiii., 1868, p. 233.

[194] History, 1893, p. 9.

[195] In Maryland, for instance, we find an early appropriation for those "teachable". The American Journal of Education tells of the wonder on the part of the legislators of Massachusetts when a class of deaf-mutes was exhibited in their presence, iv., 1829, p. 78.

[196] P. 5.

[197] See Sketch of Origin and Progress of the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb in Pennsylvania, 1821.

[198] Report, 1867, p. 12.

[199] See Annals, iii., 1851, p. 123, quoting from the Boston Congregationalist.

[200] History, 1893, p. 3.

[201] See Report of American School, 1823, p. 5; 1824, p. 10; 1840, pp. 5, 24; New York Institution, 1829, p. 17; Pennsylvania Institution, 1839, p. 6; Illinois School, 1856, p. 10; Report of Select Committee to Visit Pennsylvania Institution, 1838, p. 3.

[202] It is interesting to note that of the first four institutions incorporated in New York, the purposes are thus respectively given: "to afford the necessary means of instruction to the deaf and dumb, and also provide for the support and maintenance of those whose parents are unable"; "to aid and instruct the deaf and dumb"; "to instruct and support"; and "to receive, care for, support and educate".

[203] History, 1893, p. 4. See also Annals, vi., 1853, p. 234.

[204] Account of Origin and Progress of the Pennsylvania Institution, 1821, pp. 4, 7. See also "Sketch of Origin and Progress," etc., 1821, p. 4; Report of Pennsylvania Institution, 1875, p. 22.

[205] By Silvanus Miller, 1819, p. 15.

[206] 1819, p. 31 (reprint of 1894).

[207] 1839, p. 5.

[208] 1862, p. 5.

[209] 1853, p. 20.

[210] 1848, p. 3.

[211] i., 1835, p. 136.

[212] Jan., 18, 1817. Quoted in Association Review, iii., 1901, p. 434.

[213] Address at Proceedings of Laying of Corner Stone, 1848, p. 13.

[214] March 1, 1827. Quoted in Report of New York Institution, 1827, p. 19.

[215] By Lewis Weld, 1828, p. 3.

[216] Report of Select Committee of 18th Congress, 1st sess., upon a Memorial to Give Land, etc., 1824, p. 12.

[217] Quoted in American Journal of Education, i., 1826, p. 432.

[218] 1827, p. 10.

[219] 1834, p. 5.

[220] Address of Silvanus Miller, loc. cit.

[221] 1863, p. 17.

[222] Quoted in History, 1893, p. 6. For other accounts of the condition of the deaf without education and the blessings to be obtained from it, see Report of Kentucky School, 1824, p. 10; Ohio School, 1842, p. 13; Kansas School, 1870, p. 12; History of Mississippi School, 1893, p. 3; Southwestern School Journal (Tennessee), i., 1848, p. 49; J. H. Tyler, "Duty and Advantages of the Education of the Deaf", etc., 1843; Sermon by John Summerfield, in behalf of the New York Institution, 1822; Discourse of Samuel L. Mitchell, Pronounced at Request of Society for Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, New York, 1818; Addresses of Joseph H. Lane and Ebenezer Demorest, before Legislature of Indiana, 1851.

[223] Harvey Prindle Peet, at first Convention of American Instructors, 1850, p. 141. See also Annals, iii., 1850, p. 160.

[224] xxxviii., p. 357.

[225] When the accounts of brave endeavor, and the rolls of those inflamed for human service, are finally made up, high indeed will stand the names of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, Lewis Weld, John A. Jacobs, Abraham B. Hutton, Harvey P. Peet, Collins Stone, Horatio N. Hubbell, Thomas McIntyre, Luzerne Rae, Barabas M. Fay, David E. Bartlett, William W. Turner, Newton P. Walker, Jacob Van Nostrand, William D. Kerr, and others both of those who worked with them and who followed in their steps.

[226] Where the institutions were under regularly chartered societies, these dues were usually fixed at $5, with life membership at $50, though the size of the fees varied in the different schools. In the American School the office of vice-president was created for those paying $200. In some of these schools the fees proved of considerable assistance.

[227] The course of provision may be illustrated in the case of the Ohio School. In 1829, at the beginning, an indigent pupil was to be admitted from each of the nine judicial districts of the state, "to be selected by the board of trustees from persons recommended by the associate judges of the counties where they reside". In 1830 the number was increased to eighteen, in 1832 to twenty-seven, in 1834 to forty-eight, and in 1835 to sixty. In 1844 all suitable applicants were to be received, and in 1854 all limitations as to financial ability were removed.

[228] In many instances the school for the deaf was the first "benevolent" or "humane" institution created by the state.

[229] In several instances a deaf man himself came to a community and organized a school.

[230] Mr. E. S. Tillinghast, of the Oregon School, in a letter to the writer. See also Report of Oregon School, 1880, p. 4.

[231] On efforts to secure schools, see Southern Literary Messenger, i., 1835, pp. 134, 201.

[232] It is to be noted that some of the older schools did not look with favor upon the rapid increase in the number of the schools. The creation of many new ones was sometimes advised against, it being declared that the existing ones could answer for all the country, and that pupils would gain by attending them. See Report of Pennsylvania Institution, 1830, appendix, p. 14; American School, 1824, p. 6; 1826, p. 4.

[233] In some cases pathetic appeals were made for money. See Address before New York Forum in behalf of New York Institution, 1819; Discourse pronounced at Request of Society for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, appendix (address to the public), 1818; Circular of President and Directors of New York Institution, 1818; Addresses to Contributors to the Pennsylvania Asylum, 1821; Report of Pennsylvania Institution, 1826, appendix, p. 19.

[234] In New York exhibits of pupils were given in a score of cities and towns, in a third of which there were repetitions. Annals, xviii., 1873, p. 80. In Illinois there were more than two score exhibits given, witnessed by some 50,000 persons. Report of Illinois School, 1868, p. 36.

[235] In connection with the New York Institution there was a society called the New York Female Association, "to aid in giving support and instruction to the indigent deaf and dumb", which lasted from 1825 to 1835. It raised in one year $1200 for "unsuccessful applicants". See Address and Constitution, 1830; Report of New York Institution, 1826, p. 6.

[236] See Report of Mississippi School, 1872, p. 17; Annals, ix., 1857, p. 178.

[237] In a few instances, as in North Carolina, the counties were authorized to raise funds by a special tax.

[238] Aid was besought of the national government by a number of schools. In 1826 Congress was asked for the endowment of the institutions then in being which had not already been assisted. See Address of Lewis Weld in the Capitol in Washington, 1828, p. 8. In 1833 the Senate passed bills granting land to the schools in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, but these failed to be acted upon in the House. Proceedings of Laying of Corner Stone of Ohio Institution, 1864; Report of Ohio School, 1869, p. 52. Later there were applications from individual schools, most seeking grants of land. Requests came from Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Nebraska. A township was usually desired, though Vermont asked for 10,000 acres for the benefit of a hospital for the insane and for the education of the deaf and blind. See Laws of Vermont, 1851, no. 81; New Jersey, 1823, p. 124; Report of New York Institution, 1846, p. 14; Michigan School, 1858, p. 46; History of Wisconsin School, 1893, p. 6; Proceedings of Convention of American Instructors, i., 1850, p. 171.

[239] In Indiana several cities made efforts to secure the school. In Bloomington $4,000 was raised, and an offer extended of a special local tax levy of one cent on $100 of property for its benefit. Annals, vi., 1854, p. 150.

[240] Thus in Kansas the school was established on condition that 20 acres be granted for a site, and 150 for its benefit; in Minnesota that 40 acres be provided; and in Colorado that 5 be provided. In Indiana the school was first only provisionally located by the statute.

[241] In one or two instances "contract" schools were provided for, the managers receiving a certain amount from the state and reserving the balance left after the payment of expenses as their compensation. This plan, however, did not continue long, and was generally condemned. See Annals, iii., 1851, p. 34.

[242] In Kentucky the school was placed under the trustees of Centre College at Danville, and so remained for fifty years.

[243] The schools in Indiana and Tennessee were compelled for financial reasons to close for six months, and that in Oregon for eight months, shortly after they had been opened. Report of Tennessee School, 1847, p. 9; History of Oregon School, 1893, p. 4; Annals, x., 1858, p. 106. To add to the difficulties in some instances, was the belief that not enough deaf children could be assembled for a school.

[244] The number in the beginning at the Kentucky and Texas schools was 3, at the New York and Illinois 4, at the Indiana and Tennessee 6, at the Hartford 7, and at the Ohio and Missouri 1.

[245] On the difficulty in getting the pupils in, see Report of Iowa School, 1865, p. 12; 1868, p. 8; Arkansas School, 1872, p. 15; Indiana School, 1877, p. 15; Kentucky School, 1846, p. 1; West Virginia School, 1879, p. 10; Illinois School, 1854, p. 11; Wisconsin School, 1859, p. 15; Annals, iv., 1852, p. 241.

[246] See Report of Michigan School, 1874, p. 43.

[247] In many of the schools there was, and still is, a formal requirement of good character.

[248] In some of the states the pupils were long known as "beneficiaries". The power of appointment was not infrequently vested in the governor of the state.

[249] In Tennessee a charge was at first made for board, with the result that no pupil appeared; and after a month or two this was removed. Report of Tennessee School, 1845, p. 14; Annals, ix., 1857, p. 118. See also Proceedings of Convention of American Instructors, iii., 1853, p. 169. As to the desirability of free transportation, see Report of Ohio School, 1843, p. 11.

[250] At the American School a charge of $200 was laid for each pupil at first. This was reduced after a time to $150, then to $115, then to $100, and finally removed altogether.

[251] In Massachusetts the law for a number of years allowed no applications under fourteen, while in Georgia the age limits for pupils sent to Connecticut were from ten to forty. At the first Convention of American Instructors, it was agreed that it was not expedient to receive pupils under ten, while twelve was considered more suitable. Proceedings, i., 1850, p. 223. On the ages of admission and attendance, see Annals, v., 1852, p. 141; xviii., 1873, p. 176; Report of American School, 1833, p. 23; Iowa School, 1865, p. 11; Indiana School, 1871, p. 19; Missouri School, 1856, p. 14; Proceedings of Conference of Principals, i., 1868, p. 43; Documents of Senate of New York, 1838, no. 25 (Report of Secretary of State on Relation to Deaf and Dumb).

[252] How well America has performed its duty towards the deaf has been generally recognized in other countries. In the Encyclopedia Britannica (eleventh edition) the deaf of America are referred to as the best educated deaf in the world. A German opinion is that "America has given special attention to the care and education of deaf-mutes". American Journal of Sociology, vii., 1902, p. 532. See also G. Ferreri, "American Institutions for the Education of the Deaf", 1908; Education of Deaf Children, Evidence of E. M. Gallaudet and A. G. Bell, Presented to Royal Commission of the United Kingdom on Condition of the Blind, the Deaf and Dumb, etc., 1892; E. M. Gallaudet, Report on Deaf-Mute Institutions in the American Commission at the Vienna International Exhibit, 1873, Report of United States Commissioners, 1876, ii.; J. C. Gordon, "Notes and Observations upon the Education of Deaf Children", 1892; E. E. Allen, "Education of Defectives" in "Education in the United States", 1900; E. G. Dexter, "History of Education in the United States", 1906, p. 470; G. G. Smith, "Social Pathology", 1911, p. 245; Cyclopedia of Education, 1911, p. 257; Education, xviii., 1898, p. 417; W. H. Addison, Report of a Visit to Some of the American Schools for the Deaf (the Mosely Commission), 1907; Association Review, ii., 1900, pp. 70, 159, 273; xi., 1909, p. 495; Annals, xliv., 1899, pp. 177, 342, 439; xlv., 1900, pp. 16, 126, 205, 297.




Arrangements in the Different States

Provision for the education of the deaf is made by the different states as a general rule in local institutions. In only four states are deaf children sent at public expense to a school outside for their instruction: Delaware, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Wyoming. In these, owing to their comparatively small populations, it has been considered more economical and satisfactory to contract with the school in an adjoining state.

In each of the other states there is at least one institution, or sixty-five in all. In Connecticut and the District of Columbia[253] there are two, in Massachusetts three, in Pennsylvania four, and in New York eight. In some of these the schools are distributed over the state the better to reach all the pupils. In the Southern states there are usually separate departments in the regular institutions for children of the colored[172] race,[254] but in some there are special arrangements. In Virginia there is one school for the white deaf and blind, and another for the colored. In North Carolina there is a school for the white deaf, and another for the blind with a department for the colored deaf and blind. In Alabama, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Texas each there is a school for the white deaf and another for the colored deaf and blind.[255]

In nearly all the states these schools are strictly public institutions, owned by the state and supported wholly by taxation, and are under the direct control and supervision of the legislature. In a few of the Eastern states the institutions are in private hands and operated under their immediate direction, and in some cases supported in part by endowment funds, but at the same time receiving appropriations from the state, and subject to its authority and general oversight. They are thus "semi-public" or "quasi-public" institutions, and will need a brief separate treatment,[173] as will also the "dual schools," where the deaf and blind are educated together.

Semi-Public Institutions

The semi-public institutions are seventeen in number, and are found in six states: Connecticut, Maryland,[256] Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania,[257] and Vermont. Institutions in these states have remained private corporations from the time they were established, some of them being, as we have seen, the first schools that were created for the deaf. A certain number were especially favored by private munificence at their beginning, and continued to be supported by private funds till the state came to their aid and undertook to assist by regular appropriations. Other schools have been similarly organized, but have always depended largely on the appropriations from the state. All of them are in the hands of societies,[258] organized and chartered as corporations under the laws of the state. In some cases membership is open to those interested on the payment of the regular dues or fees.[259]


These institutions, while corporate bodies, are under the authority and supervision of the state. Their relation to the state and the conditions under which they exist may be understood from their position in New York. Here the institutions were chartered by the state as benevolent societies, the buildings and grounds being presented, or the money for them collected, by the trustees, and the property reverting to the state if alienated to another use.[260] These schools are all subsidized from the state treasury in per capita allowances for the pupils received;[261] and to some, especially the newer ones, there are general appropriations from time to time for buildings and the like. The regular grants, however, are often not sufficient for the cost of maintenance, which means that the institutions are instructing the children of the state, and maintaining them, at a cost to which the state contributes only a part. Such balances are covered from the endowment funds and private donations, but it would seem that the state gets a good bargain from the transaction.[262]


On the other hand, it is to be remembered in connection with these schools that in the matter of the education of certain of the children of the state this duty is turned over to a private society. An anomalous situation, it would seem, is thus created, the state abdicating one of its most important functions as now conceived. The question, however, is not of great practical moment, and the matter may be likened to the general policy of the state when it contracts out for any of its work to be done. If economy and efficiency are secured, it is felt that there can be little ground for objection. A more important question arises in the matter of the granting of public money to a private institution. The matter of such state subsidies has already received considerable discussion,[263] and may receive even more attention in the future. Notwithstanding, these[176] private institutions for the deaf were largely organized before the present attitude in the matter: they have in some cases really anticipated the duty of the state, and in a general consideration of the subject would probably be the last to be condemned.

"Dual Schools"

"Dual schools," that is, schools in which there are departments both for the deaf and the blind, are found in ten states: California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Montana, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.[264] In a number of other states the deaf and the blind were for a certain period educated together, either the two classes being provided for jointly from the first or a department for the blind being later created; but in time in these the two classes have been separated, and distinct schools for the blind set up.[265]

As a general thing, this arrangement of having the deaf and the blind together in one school has been regarded as unfortunate, and educators of both classes have protested against it. The question[177] has thus been stated: The deaf and the blind "have nothing in common in the matter of education, and the bringing of the two classes together is a prolific source of friction and compromise."[266] The blind, it seems, are the worst sufferers, as they are in a minority, are often considered only a department or class in an institution designed primarily for the deaf, and consequently receive less attention than they should.[267] However, this arrangement has not been adopted as a deliberate policy on the part of the state: rather, it was begun when the school was young, pupils of both classes few, and one plant was thought adequate; and was allowed to continue as a makeshift till separate schools could be created. As the states have grown in population and resources, most have seen the wisdom of severing the blind from the deaf; and even in the states where the dual[178] school is retained it is probably only a question of time till provision will be made for the separate education of the two classes, and eventually there will be independent schools for each in all the states.

Provision for the Deaf-Blind

In 1824 at the school for the deaf at Hartford, Connecticut, the first deaf-blind pupil in America began to receive instruction. To-day the names of certain illustrious deaf-blind persons are known over the civilized world.[268] Such children are provided for at present more often in schools for the deaf than in schools for the blind, only one or two schools for the latter class instructing them. The deaf-blind, however, do not form a large class, and only in a small number of schools are they to be found.[269] In certain cases where the school is only for the deaf, special permission with a special appropriation has to be obtained, but there has been little difficulty met[179] here from the legislatures. To certain of the deaf-blind individual benefactions have been made, as legacies, donations and subscriptions, sometimes given to the institutions to hold in trust; and in some cases these funds are for life.

Provision for the Feeble-minded Deaf

In many of the schools for the deaf a problem has arisen in connection with a number of feeble-minded children more or less defective in speech or hearing who have sought to gain admittance. Educators of the deaf have been called upon to give considerable attention to this class, and it has been a serious question what to do with them.[270] Many of those who have applied at the institutions have been denied. Some have been allowed to enter, and their presence in the schools has constituted a difficult problem.[271] It is felt by those concerned in the education of the deaf that they are out of place here, and that they should be removed to a regular institution for the feeble-minded,[180] or should otherwise be specially provided for.[272]

Government of the Different Institutions

The government of schools for the deaf is practically the same in the different states. They are, for the most part, in the hands of boards of trustees, boards of directors, boards of managers, or boards of visitors, as they are variously termed. The semi-public institutions, as we have seen,[181] were started as private concerns under private boards of directors. These boards still exist, and control the affairs of the institutions, having full powers but subject to such regulation as the state may direct. Such boards are usually self-perpetuating bodies, though in some cases the governor has been allowed to name a part. In the American School the governors and secretaries of state of the New England states are ex-officio directors. In the case of some schools, as the Pennsylvania Institution, where membership is open to any one on the payment of the dues, the governing board is elected by the members of the society or corporation.[273] In all these boards the members serve without compensation. Their size varies considerably, but they are usually large, having in some cases over twenty members.[274]

Where the school is strictly a state institution, the board is usually appointed by the governor, sometimes with the approval of the state senate.[275] In a few cases the boards are elected by the legislature,[182] as in Georgia and Tennessee. In Montana appointment is made by the state board of education. In several of the states the governor or some other public officer, most often the superintendent of public instruction, is a member ex-officio.[276] These boards also as a rule serve without compensation, and are paid only for expenses actually incurred.[277] Their size is smaller than that of the corporate boards, usually consisting of from three to seven members, though in a few cases they may go beyond the latter figure. They are appointed to serve two, three, four or five years, and in a few cases even longer. In states where the members are elected by the legislature, the term is usually indefinite; and in one or two states, as in Alabama, the board is self-perpetuating.[278]

In eight states the institutions are under special boards of their own, without supervision or regulation from other bodies: Alabama, District of Columbia, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. In eighteen states the schools are under special boards of trustees,[183] while the state board of charities—or whatever the official title—may visit, inspect, supervise, advise, or may otherwise be connected with them: California, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. It may be noted that such central boards—including the state boards of control—are found in thirty-nine states, and in all but five have some connection with the schools.[279] In eleven states the schools are directly under the state boards of control, central boards or bodies with similar powers, no special or local board intervening: Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin.[280]


In some of the states, on the other hand, the schools are related to the state department of education. In four states they are under boards of trustees, with supervision only by this department: Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. In Idaho and New Jersey the schools are directly under the department,[281] though in the former there is also connection with another state board. In Montana the board of trustees is appointed by the department. In Indiana and Oklahoma the schools have boards of trustees and are under the department of education, but with inspection also by the department of charities. In New York and North Carolina there is supervision both by the department of education and of charities. In several states the board of trustees includes the state superintendent of public instruction as a member ex-officio, as in Alabama, Louisiana, Minnesota, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. In Kansas the school is under the state board of administration for educational institutions, including the university, normal school and agricultural college, and in Florida the school is under[185] the board of control of state educational institutions, while in Arizona the school is a department of the state university.[282]

Procedure in States without Institutions

In states where pupils are sent to schools outside the state, appointments and commitments are usually made in the East by the respective governors, and in the West by the boards of education or of charities. In Delaware the governor appoints pupils to outside schools, the state supreme court having first recommended. In New Hampshire the governor recommends, while the children are placed by the board of control.[283] In Wyoming the education of deaf children is directed by the board of charities and reforms, and in Nevada by the state department of education.[284]



[253] The two institutions here are the Kendall School and Gallaudet College, though both really form what is known as the Columbia Institution.

[254] In Louisiana full action has not been taken as yet for the creation of a special school for the colored deaf, though this may be expected soon. See Message of Governor, 1908, p. 78. In regard to the value of the schools for the colored, the opinion of the heads of the schools in the Southern states has been ascertained by the Board of Charities of Louisiana. The wisdom of the policy was agreed in by all, and the schools were reported as doing well, as were their graduates. By one superintendent it was stated that "ignorance is costly to the state in more ways than one". Report, 1907, p. 43.

[255] In the District of Columbia and West Virginia colored children are sent to Maryland for education.

[256] The Maryland School approaches more nearly a state institution, though it is under a self-perpetuating body of trustees.

[257] Two schools in Pennsylvania are entirely state institutions, the Home for the Training in Speech and the Pennsylvania Oral School.

[258] In a few institutions there are aid or auxiliary societies composed of ladies, usually about fifteen in number, as in the New York Institution, the New York Institution for Improved Instruction, and the Pennsylvania Institution.

[259] These fees and dues, as we have seen, are of varying size. Annual membership dues are often $5, and sometimes as high as $25. Life membership fees range from $25 to $100, with corresponding fees for patrons, vice-presidents and others. The highest fee is that of life donor in the New York Institution for Improved Instruction, being $1,000.

[260] Dr. I. L. Peet, Proceedings of National Conference of Charities and Corrections, 1883, p. 415.

[261] The annual appropriations are from $265 to $360 for each pupil, but not often over $300 or $325.

[262] In the case of the Pennsylvania Institution we are advised that the per capita appropriation is $32 less than the actual cost. See also Report, 1900, p. 9; 1901, p. 10; 1908, p. 10. In the case of the Clarke School, the trustees declare that the state has never paid the school for each pupil the average annual cost of instruction and maintenance, and the legislature is repeatedly asked to increase its appropriations. See Report, 1904, p. 8; 1911, p. 9; 1912, p. 8. Of the American School we are told that the state appropriation "has never been enough to meet the actual cost". Report, 1909, p. 9. In the case of the New York Institution we are advised that the cost per pupil from 1903 to 1913 has ranged from $338 to $415, while the state appropriation has never exceeded $325; and that from 1893 to 1913 $357,579 has been expended for educational purposes, and $500,000 for buildings and equipment, from the school's own funds.

[263] On this subject, see American Journal of Sociology, vii., 1901, p. 359; Report of Superintendent of Charities of District of Columbia, 1891, p. 11; Proceedings of National Conference of Charities and Corrections, 1911, p. 27.

[264] As we have noted, Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia have similar arrangements for their colored deaf and blind.

[265] In New Mexico, however, where there are schools for both classes, the governor has advised their consolidation, as one institution "could administer to the needs of both". Message, 1907, p. 21.

[266] Report of Colorado School, 1908, p. 20. See also Report of Board of Charities of West Virginia, 1910, p. 209.

[267] The educators of the blind have particularly arraigned this plan. At one of the first conventions of the American Instructors of the Blind, the following propositions were enunciated: 1. Deaf-mutes and the blind differ from each other more widely than either class differs from those having all the senses; 2. the methods of instruction peculiar to each are entirely unlike and incompatible; 3. the deaf engross the main attention; 4. the development of the blind department is retarded. Proceedings, 1871, p. 87. Educators of the deaf have likewise stated their objections. At an early conference of principals, a resolution was adopted that the arrangement was bad, the methods being entirely different. Proceedings, ii., 1872, pp. 146, 151. See also Report of Michigan School, 1855 (first report), p. 1; 1880, p. 62; Louisiana School, 1870, p. 30. In times past, however, advantages of this arrangement have been pointed out. See Report of California Institution, 1869, p. 15; 1873, p. 19.

[268] See individual accounts in William Wade's monograph on the Deaf-Blind, 1901; see also National Magazine, xi., 1857, p. 27; Review of Reviews, xxv., 1902, p. 435; Ohio Bulletin of Charities and Corrections, xiii., 1907, p. 47; Proceedings of American Instructors of the Deaf, xvi., 1901, p. 175ff.; Annals, l., 1905, p. 125.

[269] The chief schools where they have been of recent years or are now being instructed are the New York Institution, the Pennsylvania Institution, the Western Pennsylvania Institution, and the schools in Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Colorado, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. The number in any one school at one time seldom exceeds two or three, most often there being but one.

[270] A considerable proportion of such children are rather dumb than deaf, having some oral, as well as mental, defect.

[271] On this question, see especially Report of Illinois School, 1860, p. 15; Michigan School, 1887, p. 25; Maryland School, 1885, p. 13; 1897, p. 13; Mississippi School, 1909, p. 24; Minnesota Companion, of Minnesota School, Nov. 22, 1911; Report of Board of Charities of New York, 1912, i., p. 144. Of the Alabama School, it is said that it "has turned away a number of these feeble-minded children during the past two years". Report, 1904, p. 21. In Ohio there are stated to be a hundred such children. Report of Ohio School, 1909, p. 17. In another state there are said to be 150 feeble-minded deaf. Annals, liv., 1909, p. 444.

[272] In 1910 the census reported 294 deaf persons in institutions for the feeble-minded, or 1.4 per cent of all their inmates. Insane and Feeble-minded in Institutions, 1914, p. 92. It has also been estimated that five per cent of the deaf are feeble-minded. Proceedings of Conference of Charities and Corrections, 1906, p. 254ff. On the subject of the feeble-minded deaf in institutions, Mr. Cyrus E. White, of the Kansas School, sent letters to the heads of 55 schools, receiving replies from 45. No state, it was found, had made special provision for the feeble-minded deaf. It was the general agreement that they should be in institutions for the feeble-minded, one superintendent declaring that "feeble-mindedness is a better classification than deafness". Another superintendent suggested the establishment of such an institution in a central state, to which the different states could send suitable cases. See Annals, lv., 1910, p. 133. A committee of the Pennsylvania Society for the Advancement of the Deaf has found that all of the three feeble-minded institutions in this state are crowded, and that there is no hope for the feeble-minded deaf in them. Proceedings, xxiv., 1910, p. 9. In one institution for the feeble-minded there are said to be twenty deaf feeble-minded. Annals, liv., 1909, p. 444. In the institution for the feeble-minded in Iowa a special class of such inmates was organized in 1912. Ibid., lviii., 1913, p. 107. It is to be remembered in this connection that in many states there are no institutions for the feeble-minded. Educators of the deaf have often been instrumental in securing the creation of such institutions. See Proceedings of Convention of American Instructors, iv., 1857, p. 227. In a few states, as Illinois, Minnesota and Washington, departments for the feeble-minded have been created in schools for the deaf, the feeble-minded being removed later. In Montana a department is still maintained.

[273] The Columbia Institution is considered a corporation, its governing board being composed of nine members, one of whom is a senator appointed by the President of the Senate, and two members of the House appointed by the Speaker, while the President of the United States is patron.

[274] In the New York Institution and the New York Institution for Improved Instruction the number is 21, and in the Maryland School, the Pennsylvania Institution and the Western Pennsylvania Institution, 27.

[275] Such is the case in Alabama, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Utah. Confirmation by the Senate is also usual with boards of control.

[276] On rare occasions a deaf man himself is made a member of the board.

[277] In a few states compensation is allowed, as in Indiana, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia.

[278] On the arrangements in the several states, see especially Annals, xlviii., 1903, p. 348; lviii., 1913, p. 327. See also Proceedings of American Instructors, iv., 1857, p. 199; vii., 1870, p. 144; ix., 1878, pp. 195, 217; Report of Royal Commission on the Blind, Deaf and Dumb, etc., 1889, iii., p. 456ff.

[279] In certain of these states, however, as Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, and West Virginia, the boards of charities or central boards have only more or less financial concern, the statutes usually referring to some such connection with the several state institutions, though not always mentioning them by name. In one or two states, as Rhode Island, there is connection with a board of purchases and supplies. In Minnesota there is also a board of visitors for state institutions, exerting rather a moral supervision.

[280] The duties of such boards may be indicated from the following extract in a letter to the writer from the Secretary of the Wisconsin Board: The board "appoints the chief officers, purchases all the supplies for the institutions, formulates the provisions under which the institutions are managed, and has almost unlimited power with reference to the institutions". The boards thus have practically complete control of the public institutions of the state, and in some cases state universities have come within their direction. The boards have come especially into favor in states of the West and Middle West. In their favor it is claimed that they secure economy, accuracy, better discipline and more equitable appropriations, introduce business methods, relieve the heads of schools from financial problems, visit other states, and keep in touch with the people. See University of Nebraska Studies, Oct., 1905. The evolution of state control is also here traced. See also Bulletin of Ohio Board of Charities, Dec., 1908, xiv., 6.

[281] In Iowa the school for the blind is under the board of education.

[282] In nearly all the states the schools were placed at first in the hands of special boards of trustees, with connection with no other bodies, and it was only later that any change was brought about. In some states there have been various experiments in the organization of governing boards and in the number of members they were to contain. Several schools at their beginning have been put under the direction of a state educational institution, as the university in Utah, and the normal school in Oklahoma. In a few states the schools have been placed under certain state officers, as in New Mexico and Oregon. In Washington the first board of trustees of the school consisted of a physician, a lawyer and a practical educator.

[283] We have already noted that the colored deaf of the District of Columbia and West Virginia are sent to an outside school.

[284] In regard to the organization of the several boards that have to do with the education of the deaf, it may be stated that in some states, as in Ohio and Indiana, the law restricts the number that may be of any one political party. In connection with the government of schools for the deaf, the saddest feature has too often been the political influences which have been allowed to become factors in the conducting of some of them. In certain instances the playing of "politics" has been of serious moment, and with incalculable harm to the work of the schools. In some cases the administration of schools has been considered legitimate spoils to the party in power, and appointments have been made as a matter of reward, and removals as a matter of punishment. The evil effect of such procedure it is hard to overestimate, and indeed in an enlightened land it is even difficult of credence. Public opinion should severely condemn all attempts at political interference in the work of the education of the deaf, and those seeking to promote it should be dealt with befittingly. Happily, however, such conduct seems now on the decline in the schools, and it may earnestly be hoped that the end is not far in the future.




Inception and Growth of the Day School

A small number of the institutions for the deaf had begun as day schools, the pupils living away from the school outside school hours, and had continued so for a longer or shorter period. The schools were then in an experimental stage, and this plan came first to hand. In the course of time it was found that this feature was not practicable, as the pupils were often far scattered, and the boarding arrangement was accordingly adopted.[285] This was the policy finally chosen in all the states having schools. Later, however, when the states had grown in population, and in some of the cities there were found not a few deaf children, the demand was renewed for day schools.[286] The result[188] has been the beginning and development of a system of day schools in a number of states; and they have come to occupy part of the field formerly covered by the state institutions alone.

Of the day schools now existing, the Horace Mann School, of Boston, which was established in 1869, is accredited with being the initial one.[287] Two others were opened before 1890, while from 1891 to 1900 there were 22 started, and since 1901, 40, making 65 in all now.[288] These schools are found in fourteen states, but the movement has reached its greatest growth in the Middle West, especially in Wisconsin and Michigan. In some of the states special laws have been enacted, providing for the establishment of day schools.[289]

Design and Scope of Day Schools

The day school for the deaf is still sometimes regarded as an experiment, while its advocates insist that its success has been demonstrated.[189] Among school authorities in cities especially, pleas for the establishment of day schools are often listened to with favor, and there is frequently a tendency to give them at least a trial. General bodies interested in education or the public welfare are likewise inclined to countenance day schools, largely for the reason that they are opposed to the institution idea, and would place as many children as possible in the regular schools. An illustration of this view is found in the Report on Children of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections in 1906.[290]

Institutional care of healthy, normal children is objectionable.... Institutional care for educational purposes is necessary for a portion of the deaf and blind children ... but it is recognized that in large cities public schools can be provided for many deaf and blind children.

By some it is believed that in time the day school will supplant the large institution, so far at least as large cities are concerned, and that the deaf, and the blind as well, will not be differentiated from the pupils in the regular schools. Separate apartments and special teachers will be provided for them, but in all public school systems these classes will be actual factors.

On the other hand, it is maintained that there is an abundant field for both day school and institution.[190] The former should only supplement the work of the latter, especially in reaching children that cannot otherwise be brought into school. The reason why the day school is called into being is thus given by an educational authority of one city:[291]

Institutions that care for these children throughout the entire year, that feed, clothe and educate them, that render skilful and prompt medical attention, and afford uplifting social advantages—all under one roof—have a worthy place under our social and educational systems; but these institutions cannot care for all the unfortunate children in need of education.

It is also suggested that it might be arranged that day schools should keep pupils during their early years, as from five to nine years of age, after which time they could enter the institution, and be placed in graded classes and in a suitable trade school.[292] Hence it is pointed out that the day school and institution should not be antagonistic, that their interests are common at bottom, and that they should work hand in hand, without friction or misunderstanding.


The day school plan has not as yet been followed in a large number of states; yet as these schools are being looked upon with more and more favor by city boards of education, and as in the centers of population there is said to be a need for them, it is not improbable that they may be extended much farther in the future. It is doubtful, however, if very soon they will spread beyond the large cities; and states without great cities may be without such schools for many years at least.[293]

Extent and Organization of Day Schools

The day schools, numbering 65 in all, as we have seen, are found in the states of California, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin. In Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, and Oregon each there is but one school, in New Jersey and Washington each 2, in New York 3, in California 4, in Ohio and Illinois each 5, in Michigan 14, and in Wisconsin 24. Where only one day school is found in a state, it is located usually in the largest city (Atlanta, New Orleans, Boston, St. Paul, St. Louis, and Portland), while the two schools of[192] New Jersey are in Newark and Jersey City, the two of Washington in Seattle and Tacoma, and the three of New York in New York City. Of the five schools in Illinois, four are in Chicago.

In six of these states, namely, California, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, and Wisconsin, there are special state laws under which the schools are established and operated.[294] By such laws it is generally provided that where there are a certain number of deaf children, usually three,[295] a school may, on application of the local school trustees or district board, be organized by the state department of education.[296] The minimum age for such children is often three. A stated sum is frequently allowed for each pupil, as $150.[297] In the remaining eight states the schools are organized and directed by local school authorities, without assistance from legislative statute.

These schools are supported by local funds or by state and local funds together. The latter is the more common procedure, and in the case[193] of schools operating under a state law, it is the usual, but not the necessary, practice. The schools in six states, namely, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, and New York, are thus maintained only by local funds of the city or county, the remainder receiving aid in whole or in part from the state.[298] The school in Minnesota and one in California are aided by private contributions. In nearly all cases carfare is provided to and from school when necessary.

In the day schools special buildings are not usually provided, separate classes being created in the regular school buildings; but in some of the larger cities there are special buildings, known as distinct schools, in which the class-rooms are for the different grades of deaf pupils.

The number of pupils in the day schools in 1912-1913 was 1,942. The smallest schools have but three pupils, while the largest one, in Chicago, has 307, the number usually depending on the size of the city. The method employed in the day schools is exclusively the oral with but two exceptions.[299] In all but a few certain industries are also taught, or more or less of manual training is given.


Arguments for the Day School

The great argument for the day school is that it is not well that children be "institutionalized." The institution life is said not to be the normal life, and its habits and associations are not in accord with the principles now being largely held in America. It is coming to be more and more realized that the home should always be the center of interest and attachment in the well established community, and that the character and influence of the family should be maintained unimpaired. In connection with orphan and other child-caring agencies, a greater emphasis than ever before is being put on the question of how to reduce the life to one of normality, and the "placing-out" of dependent children in homes where they can grow up as normal children is now a popular faith. The great watchword to-day in intelligent and constructive philanthropy is the "ideal of the normal," and it is on this ground that the institution is declared to be removed from the standard of the highest interests of society. Even though a child should profit in the institution, and even though he should be sent out into the world strong and self-reliant, yet while in the institution, he is out of line, and is just so far displaced from the ideal of the normal; and even though the institution is cleanlier, more sanitary and otherwise better equipped than the[195] quarters from which the child comes, still the institution cannot be justified, for no solution can be acceptable if in the end it results in the breaking up of the home.[300]

More specific charges are also brought against the institution. Here life for the inmates is made too easy, and little can be known by them of the actual struggles of the world. The life is machine-like, and all is routine clockwork. By the discipline, which is necessary, much of the spontaneity of growing children is destroyed, and the surroundings are pervaded with the spirit of uniformity, "solidarity" and "dead levelism." On the other hand, the children fail to learn many important lessons in domestic economy which would be before them every day in the home; and they lose the attitude towards life, morally and socially, which is given by the home.[301]

The arguments for the day school may be stated more concretely yet. The special day school may be co-ordinated with, or made a part of, the state's educational system, standing on a level with its other schools. Deaf children here come to feel their place in the normal world, while[196] people in general become more ready to regard them in a proper manner. These children at the same time are not made strangers to their own family circles and communities; and certain ones, by a school nearer home and consequently more acceptable to their parents, may be reached who would otherwise possibly never enter an institution.

In the way of cost the balance is distinctly on the side of the day school. With no costly special plant necessary, and with no charges to be incurred for food supplies, attendants and the like, it appears to decided advantage in the matter of economy in comparison with an institution; and its normal expenditures approach nearer those of the regular schools. At present the difference between the cost per pupil in the day schools and in the institutions is the difference between $120 and $277.[302]


Arguments against the Day School

The argument against the day school rests upon the fact that the deaf form, educationally, a special class, very small in most communities, who have to be reached by unusual methods. To them the large institution offers advantages not likely to be had outside. For this reason the case against the institution, however cogent and logical it may be in general, cannot well apply.

In the institution the children may be under intelligent supervision and direction their entire time, and they may be able to get, outside school hours, a part of the education which the hearing child so naturally acquires, for in an institution learning continues outside the classroom as well as within. The "picking up" of knowledge and bits of information, which the hearing child begins to make use of from the time he first hears human words, and the importance and value of which the general public cannot be expected to appreciate, is lost in the greatest measure to the deaf in the home. Here ready means of communication are lacking, and the necessary care and attention cannot be expected to be given in the household. Even though deaf children can and do mingle with their hearing acquaintances,[198] they cannot get so much happiness or zest out of their sports and intercourse as they can with their own deaf comrades; and while, no matter what their surroundings are, the difficulties of most of them in mastering language will never be overcome, still in associations with similar deaf children there will be far more stimuli to react on their consciousness, and the tendency will be for them to become more and more in their mental actions like the normal. In the home there can be no great assurance of study and supervision; and the growing deaf child, not being able to appreciate the forces that surround him as the hearing child does, may the more easily fall under unwholesome influences. In the institution there can be suitable discipline, regular attendance, enlightened general oversight, and co-ordination of all that is concerned in the child's proper development. Furthermore, although there may be a growing feeling against the institution life, there is, on the other hand, an increasing social questioning as to the advisability of a child's remaining in a particular home if his welfare is not properly safeguarded.

In many day schools there are comparatively few pupils, and in most of these we cannot expect to find the carefully graded classes, with a place for every pupil according to his needs, bright or dull, quick to learn or slow. A pupil[199] in a day school, if not neglected to some extent, may be required to do work for which he is quite unfitted, being either beyond it or incapable of it. The backward child will here be the worst sufferer, for if there are but few classes, he can get little of the special attention he needs; and his progress cannot be the same as when in a class of like pupils and under an appropriate and patient teacher.

Again, the attention that is given in an institution with a considerable number of pupils to the learning of a trade—accounting in strong measure for success in after life—means much more to a deaf child than it could to any other. In an institution there will usually be found larger equipment, fuller apparatus and more varied lines than in any but a very large day school; and in its trade department habits of industry will be formed, talents developed, a knowledge of mechanism and the use of tools implanted, an ardor enkindled for the mastership of a trade, and an appreciation of the part to be played in the great world of industrial activity, besides the incentive of being in a great workshop with other workers—all in far greater measure and more effectively than would be possible anywhere else, save in a great trade school, in which there could not be expected to be taken the special care and provision[200] necessitated by the want of hearing of the pupils.

Finally, it may be said that we have no evidence, as respects institutions for the deaf, to show that they have in any way undermined the character or mission of the home, or that their results have been other than desirable in a well-ordered state. Hence we are told, in a word, that no matter how strong and valid are the theoretical objections to an institution, yet so far as the practical issues are concerned, in the preparation of the deaf for the world, and in what really counts for their development and progress, the institution, for many at least, occupies a position of demonstrated usefulness, recognition of which cannot rightly be withheld.[303]

Evening Day Schools for Adults

Thus far in this chapter we have discussed day schools in relation to children, that is, pupils in the usual sense. But there is another form of day schools to which attention is to be directed. This is in the creation of evening day schools for[201] the use of adults only, the field open to which is as yet apparently but little realized.

Occasion for such schools arises chiefly in communities, especially large cities, where a considerable number of adult deaf persons are within reach, and where a real need may often be found. The matter is to be regarded in effect as the extension of the means of education by the state to include as large a part of the population as possible—a movement which is being so notably evidenced in the opening of evening schools of not a few kinds in cities to-day. With the deaf the demand is of a peculiar nature. Their avenues for receiving instruction are materially restricted, and for some, especially the congenitally deaf, the acquisition of correct language always remains a difficult problem, while to others the advantages of the regular schools may have been limited. A large number of the deaf will not require such special opportunities, but for a portion of them the assistance may be of quite substantial character.[304]


[285] The New York Institution, the Pennsylvania Institution and the Western Pennsylvania Institution notably started out as day schools, the first remaining so for eleven years. In some of the institutions also there have been at times day school pupils in attendance.

[286] Day schools have, moreover, been fostered and supported to a great extent by advocates of what is known as the oral method, in opposition to the manual, or sign method, which had been largely the method hitherto employed in the institutions. The day school may even be said to have entered the field in part as a protest against this method.

[287] A day school was started in Pittsburg two months previously; but it was soon made into the Western Pennsylvania Institution. Annals, xv., 1870, p. 165.

[288] A number of day schools which were started have been discontinued, but there were never so many as at present.

[289] Wisconsin was the first state to have a day school law, which was enacted in 1885. Bills were offered in 1881 and 1883, but were defeated. The movement in this state has been in large part due to the activities of the Wisconsin Phonological Institute to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf, an organization formed in 1879. The question has even been considered in this state of abolishing the state school as a boarding institution. See Public Opinion, xxv., 1898, no. 16; Association Review, iii., 1901, p. 193.

[290] Proceedings, p. 88.

[291] Mr. C. W. Edson, Associate Superintendent of Schools of New York, Charities and the Commons, xix., 1908, p. 1357. See also Report of Illinois Institution, 1874, p. 65.

[292] See Report of Washington State School, 1910, p. 6. A like solution was offered before the National Educational Association in 1903. Certain children might be "trained in special schools and live at home if possible up to the age of adolescence, when they may acquire trades at special institutions maintained by the state". Proceedings, p. 1004.

[293] It is to be remembered that in Michigan and Wisconsin schools have, under the operation of the state law, been organized in comparatively small towns.

[294] Efforts have been made in several other states to secure laws. In Ohio in 1902 the state law was declared unconstitutional, as being class legislation in granting special aid to the cities of Cleveland and Cincinnati. See Report of Ohio School, 1903, p. 14.

[295] In California the number is five, and in New Jersey ten.

[296] In Ohio the state commissioner of education may appoint and remove teachers, and inspect schools. In Wisconsin the state superintendent appoints inspectors, and the county judge may compel the establishment of schools.

[297] In Wisconsin $100 additional is allowed for the board of children who move to a town to attend a school.

[298] In Massachusetts a direct appropriation of $150 per capita is made by the state.

[299] The methods employed in the instruction of the deaf are treated of in Chapter XIX.

[300] The importance of this is accentuated in the present apprehensions concerning the dissolving and loosening of the ties of the home, indicated in more ways than one in present programs of social work.

[301] See A. G. Warner, "American Charities", rev. ed., 1908, p. 283; R. R. Reeder, "How Two Hundred Children Live and Learn", 1910, pp. 57, 88; "Philanthropy and Social Progress", 1893, p. 172ff.

[302] It is claimed that in Wisconsin with the centralization plan of a state institution one-third of the deaf children failed to be reached, and that by the day school there is a saving to the state of $20,000 a year. Proceedings of National Educational Association, 1907, p. 986. See also ibid., 1897, p. 96; 1901, p. 870; 1910, p. 1039; Report of United States Commissioner of Education, 1881, p. ccxi.; P. A. Emery, "Plea for Early Mute Education," 1884; Improvement of the Wisconsin System of Education of Deaf Children, 1894; Public School Classes for Deaf Children: Open Letter from Chicago Association of Parents of Deaf Children, 1897; Michigan Day Schools for the Deaf, 1908; Report of Superintendent of Public Instruction of Michigan, 1909, p. 61; Report of Department of Public Instruction of Wisconsin, 1910, p. 60; Report of Board of Education of Chicago, 1912, p. 155; A. J. Winnie, "History and Handbook of Day Schools for the Deaf", Wisconsin, 1912; Annals, xx., 1875, p. 34; Association Review, ii., 1900, p. 248; viii., 1906, p. 136; xi., 1909, p. 30; Volta Review, xiii., 1911, p. 292; Independent, lxxiv., 1913, p. 1140.

[303] See Annals, xxvii., 1882, p. 182; xxix., 1884, pp. 165, 312; xxx., 1885, p. 121; l., 1905, p. 70; lvi., 1911, p. 91; Volta Review, xv., 1913, p. 180; Proceedings of Convention of American Instructors, vii., 1870, p. 114; xiv., 1895, pp. 130, 350; Conference of Principals, vi., 1888, p. 202; viii., 1904, p. 70; Minnesota Conference of Charities and Corrections, 1898, p. 88; Report of Iowa School, 1885, p. 16; Pennsylvania Institution, 1903, p. 38; California School, 1904, p. 20.

[304] One or two evening schools have been started in the past, to be discontinued after a few years, both under private and under public auspices. In the consideration, however, of any general scheme for evening schools it should be arranged that the work of the regular schools for the deaf is not infringed upon, and that pupils in these schools should not have before them the temptation of leaving prematurely, with the expectation of making up later. Probably the safest plan would be the securing of a satisfactory compulsory attendance law before evening schools are attempted upon a broad scale.




Denominational Schools

In addition to the state institutions and the day schools, there have been established in America certain schools for the deaf which are strictly under private management, and, as a rule, not subject to the immediate control and direction of the state. These are of two kinds: 1. denominational schools, maintained by some religious body; and 2. schools conducted as purely private and secular affairs. Such schools now number twenty-one, ten denominational and eleven private, all in 1912-1913 having 638 pupils. Most are of comparatively recent date, the first having been established in 1873, and nine since 1901.[305]

The denominational schools are found in California, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin,[203] there being two in Pennsylvania. They are for the most part boarding institutions, in a few cases being departments of larger institutions. Their controlling purpose is to surround their pupils with religious influences, and to provide them with religious instruction. All but one are under Roman Catholic auspices, as a usual thing in the hands of the Sisters. The single Protestant school is in the care of the Lutheran Church, and is controlled by the synod, with the direct management vested in a board of trustees. These schools are supported by denominational funds, by voluntary contributions, and in a small measure by tuition fees. In some of the schools, as in Maryland and Pennsylvania, there is state aid to a small extent. The fees paid by pupils are never high, and not many in the schools pay the full amount, though inability to pay is never allowed to keep any away who wish to attend.[306]

Private Schools

The eleven non-denominational schools may be[204] themselves divided into two classes: those which are really homes for very young deaf children, sometimes under the control of a society organized for the purpose; and those which are purely private enterprises, owned and directed by one or more individuals. Of the former there are four homes or kindergartens—the Sarah Fuller Home of Boston, the McCowen Homes of Chicago, the Home School near Baltimore, and the Home School of San Francisco.[307] Their main object is to give their pupils an early start in the use of speech as well as to provide a home, and children as young as three, or even younger, may be admitted. The management of these schools is usually in the hands of trustees. Support is derived largely from the fees of pupils, though some schools are often the recipients of private donations, especially when children are taken without charge; and one or two have aid from public allowances.[308]

The private schools of the second class are almost entirely dependent on tuition fees, though one or two likewise receive some state aid. With two exceptions,[309] they are found in large cities, New York having two, and Philadelphia,[205] Baltimore and Cincinnati one each. These schools are both boarding and day schools.

The method employed in the private schools is nearly always the oral, and this is the method also of some of the denominational schools. In some of the schools of both classes manual training and instruction in trades are given to an extent.


[305] There have been a number of private schools at various times, perhaps a score or more, which have been discontinued—besides those which were the nuclei of the state institutions. There are, moreover, several private schools for the hard of hearing, where instruction and practice are offered in lip-reading, and attended for the most part by adults.

[306] Thus in the Michigan Evangelical Lutheran Institute, where the minimum fee is $10 a month, we are advised that only two or three pay the full amount. In St. John's Institute of Wisconsin, where $12 a month is asked, we are advised that the officials are "contented with whatever part of this sum the parents or guardians can pay". Voluntary contributions likewise do not always prove large. Of the Immaculate Conception Institution of St. Louis, we are advised that private contributions are "too meagre to support one child". The industry of the Sisters often adds much for the maintenance of the Catholic schools.

[307] Another such home is in Philadelphia, but is now a state institution.

[308] To the Sarah Fuller Home the state of Massachusetts allows $250 per capita for some of the children.

[309] At Lead, South Dakota, and Macon, Georgia.




After our review of the various schools that have been created for the deaf in the United States, we come to what may be regarded as the culminative feature in the provision for their instruction—an institution for their higher education. In this particular the work in America stands unique among the nations of the world. This institution is Gallaudet College—named after the founder of the first school—which is maintained at Washington by the national government, and is open to all the deaf of the country. We have seen how the national government has rendered very distinct aid in the work of the education of the deaf; but in establishing the college it has gone far beyond this, and by this act may be said to have placed the capstone upon the structure of their education.

This college has resulted from a school which was established in the District of Columbia in 1857, known as the Kendall School. Not long after Congress was asked to create an institution for the higher education of the deaf as well,[207] and to include all the country. No little interest was aroused in the matter, and zealous advocates appeared to present the claims of the new undertaking. The chief objection was the lack of precedent, while with some members of Congress the idea seemed strange of conferring college degrees upon the deaf. Opposition, however, did not prove strong, and the measure was finally enacted in 1864 by a practically unanimous vote.[310]

Thus was the college established, and Congress continues regularly to provide for it, together with the Kendall School, both being known as the Columbia Institution for the Deaf. In the college there are now provided one hundred full scholarships for students from the several states of the Union.[311]

It is not surprising that this action on the part of Congress should have been held without a precedent. In no other instance has the national[208] government attempted to make provision for the education of any class or part of the inhabitants of the different states, beyond certain so-called wards of the nation, as the Indians, for example. Though the national government has very perceptibly encouraged learning in many ways,[312] yet direct provision for the education of the youth of the several commonwealths has universally been regarded as their sole prerogative. In thus establishing a college for certain residents of the various states, the federal government has done something that stands out by itself. Though the reason lies in the fact that no other means for the higher education of the deaf seemed at hand, it would appear that thereby the government has signally favored the deaf, as it indeed has; and in taking under its immediate direction this higher education of the deaf, the national government has won the gratitude of them all.


[310] See E. M. Gallaudet, "Address in behalf of Columbia Institution," 1858; Inauguration of the College for the Deaf and Dumb, 1864; Report of Columbia Institution, 1866; 1868, p. 104; 1889; 1000, p. 16; 1892; Proceedings of Alumni Association of Gallaudet College, 1889-1899, p. 55; History of Charities in District of Columbia, 1898, part 3; Annals, xiv., 1869, p. 183; xix., 1874, p. 134; lvi., 1911, p. 184; Journal of Social Science, vi., 1874, p. 160; Scribner's Magazine, iii., 1872, p. 727; Harper's Magazine, lxix., 1884, p. 181; Review of Reviews, xvi., 1897, p. 57. The college was considerably aided in its first few years by private contributions. The first president was Edward Miner Gallaudet, son of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, who served more than fifty years.

[311] The number was at first small, and has gradually been increased to 100. It has also been suggested that the states assist in providing scholarships. Report of Columbia Institution, 1876, p. 20.

[312] This is done, for instance, in the several bureaus established for investigation and the dissemination of knowledge, and in the grants of land for the benefit of agricultural colleges or state universities.




Having now considered the plan and organization of the several kinds of schools for the deaf in America, namely, the institutions, the day schools, the private schools and the national college, we proceed in this chapter to examine the work in the several states individually, and to note to what extent and in what manner the education of the deaf has been provided for in each.

Alabama. A private school was started near Montgomery in 1854, but was discontinued after one or two years. The state school was established at Talladega in 1858.[313] In 1891[314] a school was created for the colored deaf and blind. The schools are governed by a board of thirteen members, including the governor and the superintendent of public instruction.[315]

Arizona. Before the opening of a local school the deaf were sent to other states for instruction.[210][316] The state school was created in 1912,[317] and is a part of the state university. On the admission of Arizona as a state, 100,000 acres of the public land were granted for the benefit of the school for the deaf and the blind.

Arkansas. A private school was opened at Clarksville in 1850, which was moved to Little Rock in 1861.[318] After a suspension, it was started anew in 1867, and in 1868 was taken over by the state.[319] The school is now in the hands of the state board of charitable institutions.[320]

California. The state institution for the deaf and the blind was established at Berkeley in 1860,[321] after a society had been formed for the purpose. The school is controlled by a board of five directors, while the state board of charities supervises.[322] There are four day schools in the state:[323] at Oakland, opened in 1898, and supported[211] by state and county; at Los Angeles in 1899, supported by city and private subscriptions; at San Francisco in 1901, supported by the city; and at Sacramento in 1904, supported by state and city. There is a private school in Oakland, the St. Joseph's Home, opened in 1895, and one in San Francisco, the Holden Home Oral School, opened in 1913.

Colorado. The state school was opened at Colorado Springs in 1874,[324] and is for the deaf and the blind. It is supported by a one-fifth mill tax on the assessed property valuation of the state. The school is in the hands of a board of five trustees, and is connected with the state board of education.[325]

Connecticut. The American School was established at Hartford in 1817.[326] At the time the state made an appropriation of $5,000, and in 1828 began to allow a certain sum for each state pupil, a policy still continued. The school has remained a private corporation, and its board is[212] made up of eight vice-presidents and eight elected directors, together with the governors and secretaries of state of the New England states. In 1819 Congress gave the school 23,000 acres of the public land, from which almost $300,000 has been realized. Gifts from private sources have nearly equalled this, about half coming since 1850.[327] A second school is at Mystic, known as the Mystic Oral School, this having been started in 1870 at Ledyard, where it remained four years.[328] It is under a board of ten corporators. Both these schools receive per capita allowances from the state, and are visited by the state board of charities.[329]

Delaware. Deaf children are sent to schools in neighboring states, the first provision having been made in 1835. The supreme court judges act as trustees ex-officio, and recommend pupils to the governor to be placed.[330]

District of Columbia. The Kendall School, as[213] it is known, was opened in 1857,[331] and was designed primarily for the children of the District and of persons in the army and navy service. In 1864[332] Congress decided to establish a collegiate department for the deaf of all the country, which was first known as the National Deaf-Mute College, but is now Gallaudet College. The Columbia Institution, embracing both the college and the Kendall School, is supported by Congress, and is in the form of a corporation, of which the President of the United States is patron, and of the nine members of which one is a Senator and two are members of the House.[333]

Florida. The state school for the deaf and blind was opened at St. Augustine in 1885.[334] It is now in the hands of the state board of control of educational institutions, which also directs the state university.[335]


Georgia. The state began sending some of its deaf children to the Hartford school in 1834.[336] A private school was started at Cedar Springs in 1842, which continued two years. The state school was established at Cave Spring in 1846.[337] It is under a board of seven trustees.[338] There is a day school in Atlanta, supported by the city, and a private one at Macon, both opened in 1912.

Idaho. Before the opening of a state school, deaf children were sent to outside institutions.[339] The school for the deaf and the blind was opened at Boise in 1906, but in 1910 was removed to Gooding. It is under the state board of education, and subject to other state inspection.[340]

Illinois. The state school was opened at Jacksonville in 1846, although steps had been taken[215] several years before for its establishment.[341] The school is directed by the state board of administration, while the board of charities has moral and auditing supervision.[342] There are in the state five day schools, four of which are in Chicago, the first having been established in 1896, and the last in 1913. The other day school is at Rock Island, opened in 1901. All these schools are operated under the state law, and supported by city funds.[343] In Chicago there are also two private schools: the Ephpheta, opened in 1884, and maintained by St. Joseph's Home for the[216] Friendless,[344] and the McCowen Homes for Deaf Children, opened in 1883.[345]

Indiana. Prior to the opening of the state school, some children were sent to Kentucky and Ohio for education. In 1841 a private school was started in Parke County, which lasted one year.[346] In 1843 another private school was begun in Indianapolis, which was adopted by the state in 1844.[347] The school is now governed by a board of four trustees, and is under the state board of education, with certain connection also with the board of charities.[348]

Iowa. Before the opening of the state school some pupils were sent to the school in Illinois. In 1853 a private school was started at Iowa City, which in 1855 was taken over by the state,[217][349] in 1866 being removed to Council Bluffs.[350] The school is under the state board of control.[351]

Kansas. A private school was started in 1861 at Baldwin City. After being removed to Topeka in 1864 and back again to Baldwin City in 1865, it was taken over by the state in 1866,[352] and permanently located at Olathe. The state board of administration for educational institutions has the direction of the school.[353]

Kentucky. The state school was established at Danville in 1823.[354] In 1826 it received from Congress a township of land in Florida.[355] The school is in the hands of a board of twelve commissioners, and is related to the state department of education.[356]


Louisiana. In 1837 the state began to send some of its children to schools in other states, many being sent to Kentucky.[357] The state school was established at Baton Rouge in 1852.[358] It is governed by a board of trustees, including the governor and the superintendent of public instruction, and is visited by the state board of charities.[359] In New Orleans there is a day school, opened in 1911, and supported by the city.[360] At Chinchuba there is a private school, the Chinchuba Deaf-Mute Institute, under the Sisters of Notre Dame, opened in 1890.

Maine. In 1825 the state began to send its children to the American School, and later to the schools in Massachusetts as well.[361] In 1876 a private school was started in Portland with aid from the city, and the following year from the state also.[362] In 1897 the state assumed charge, the school being placed under a board of five trustees.[363] Inspection is made by the state board of charities.


Maryland. In 1827 provision was made for pupils in the Pennsylvania Institution, and in 1860 in the District of Columbia.[364] In 1868[365] the Maryland school was established at Frederick. It is under a private society, composed of twenty-seven visitors, but is supported and controlled by the state. In 1872 a department for the colored was opened in connection with the institution for the blind, now located at Overlea.[366] Both of these schools are inspected by the state board of charities.[367] There are two private schools in Baltimore, the St. Francis Xavier under the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart, opened in 1897, and a department in the Knapp School, opened in 1877; and at Kensington a Home School, opened in 1908. These schools are aided by the state.[368]

Massachusetts. In 1819, just after the American School had been established, Massachusetts[220] began sending its deaf children to it, which policy was continued till the state had schools of its own.[369] The first of these was the Clarke School at Northampton, which was established in 1867.[370] This had been started at Chelmesford the year before, but removed to Northampton when a citizen whose name it bears offered it $50,000—subsequently adding to this till his total gifts reached $300,000.[371] In 1868 the legislature provided that state pupils might be sent to it. The school is under a board of twelve corporators. The New England Industrial School was opened at Beverly in 1879,[372] for the purpose of teaching language and industrial training. It is under a board of thirteen incorporators. The Boston School at Randolph was established in 1899, and is under the Sisters of St. Joseph.[373] In Boston there is a day school, known as the Horace Mann School, opened in 1869, and directed by the city.[374] The Sarah Fuller Home is at West[221] Medford, and was opened in 1888.[375] All these schools receive state appropriations, and are supervised by the state department of education.[376]

Michigan. Action was taken in 1848 towards the establishment of an institution, but it was not till 1854 that the school was opened, Flint being chosen as the site.[377] In 1850 the state granted the school fifteen sections of its salt spring lands, later increasing the number to twenty-five, which amounted in all to 16,000 acres.[378] The school is under a board of three trustees, and is visited by the state board of charities and corrections.[379] There are fourteen day schools in the state, operating under the state law:[380] Bay City,[222] opened in 1901; Calumet, 1902; Detroit, 1894; Grand Rapids, 1898; Houghton, 1908; Iron Mountain, 1906; Ironwood, 1903; Jackson, 1912; Kalamazoo, 1904; Manistee, 1904; Marquette, 1907; Saginaw, 1901; Sault Ste. Marie, 1906; and Traverse City, 1904. There is a private school at North Detroit, the Evangelical Lutheran Deaf-Mute Institute, opened in 1873.[381]

Minnesota. The state school was opened at Faribault in 1863, though it had been planned in 1858.[382] The school is governed by a board of seven directors, including the governor and the superintendent of public instruction, while the state board of control has the financial administration.[383] There is a day school in St. Paul,[223] opened in 1913, and supported by the city and with private aid.[384]

Mississippi. The state school was opened at Jackson in 1854.[385] It is in the hands of a board of six trustees, including the governor.[386]

Missouri. A school under Catholic auspices was established in St. Louis in 1837, to which the state sent some of its children, while others were sent to schools in other states.[387] The state school was opened at Fulton in 1851.[388] It is governed by a board of five managers, and is visited by the state board of charities.[389] There is a day school in St. Louis, founded in 1878, and managed as part of the public school system. In the same city is a private school, under the Sisters of St. Joseph, opened in 1885 and offspring of the school of 1837. It is known as[224] the Immaculate Conception Institute, and is part of a convent and orphans' home.[390]

Montana. Before the establishment of a school, deaf children were sent to schools in other states.[391] The state institution for the deaf and blind was opened at Boulder in 1893,[392] 50,000 acres of the public land having been given by Congress for its benefit. It is under a board of nine trustees, appointed by the state board of education, with a local executive board of three, there being other state inspection also.[393]

Nebraska. Before the establishment of a school, deaf children were sent to Iowa.[394] In 1869 the state school was opened at Omaha.[395] It is governed by the state board of control of state institutions.[396]

Nevada. Deaf children have been sent since 1869 to California or Utah for education, the superintendent of public instruction contracting for them.[397]


New Hampshire. In 1821 the state began sending its deaf children to the school at Hartford.[398] They are now sent to the schools in the several New England states, as the governor and council may direct, on the recommendation of the board of control.[399]

New Jersey. In 1821 the state began to provide for the education of its deaf children in the schools in Pennsylvania and New York.[400] In 1883 the state school was established at Trenton.[401] It is related to the state department of education.[402] There are two day schools in the state, at Newark and Jersey City, both opened in 1910, and operating under the state law.[403]

New Mexico. A private school was opened at[226] Santa Fé in 1885, which in 1887 was taken over by the territory.[404] It was given 50,000 acres of the public land, and on the admission of New Mexico as a state, this was increased to 100,000. The school is directed by a board of six trustees.[405]

New York. There are in this state eight institutions, three day schools, and two private schools. The institutions are all private corporations receiving state aid. The first of these was the New York Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, which was opened in 1818 in New York City.[406] In 1819 the state began to make appropriations. The school is governed by a board of twenty-one trustees.[407] The next[227] school was Le Couteulx St. Mary's Institution for the Improved Instruction of Deaf-Mutes, organized in Buffalo in 1853 by a benevolent society, and opened in 1862. In 1872 it came within the state law as to public aid.[408] It is controlled by a board of seven managers. In New York City in 1867 the New York Institution for the Improved Instruction of Deaf-Mutes was established, which had resulted from a private class. It is in the hands of an association formed for the purpose, the management being vested in a board of twenty-one trustees.[409] In 1869 St. Joseph's Institution was opened in New York City, a branch being created in[228] Brooklyn in 1874.[410] It is under the control of the Ladies of the Sacred Heart of Mary, and directed by a board of seven managers. The Central New York Institution was opened at Rome in 1875, and is governed by a board of fifteen trustees.[411] The Western New York Institution was established at Rochester in 1876, and has twenty-one trustees.[412] The Northern New York Institution was established at Malone in 1884, and is under a board of fifteen trustees.[413] The Albany Home School for the Oral Instruction of the Deaf was opened in 1889 as a private affair, and came under the state law in 1892.[414] It has a board of eight trustees. The New York law admitting children into these several institutions is peculiar, pupils under twelve years of age being sent as charges of the counties, and those over that age as state pupils, who are appointed by the state commissioner of education. The schools are visited both by the departments of education and of charities.[415] The three day[229] schools are in New York City, one in Manhattan, opened in 1908, one in Brooklyn, opened in 1910, and one in Queens, opened in 1911, the last two being annexes of the first. The two private schools are also in this city: the Wright Oral, opened in 1894, and the Reno Margulies, opened in 1901.[416]

North Carolina. A school was planned in this state in 1828, but it did not come into being till 1845, when the state institution was established at Raleigh,[417] which was for both the deaf and[230] the blind. In 1894 a school was opened at Morganton for the white deaf,[418] the colored remaining in a department of the former school. Both schools are controlled by boards of directors—eleven for the Raleigh and seven for the Morganton—and are inspected by the departments of education and of charities.[419]

North Dakota. Prior to the opening of a state school, children were sent to schools in other states. In 1890 the state institution was created at Devil's Lake.[420] It is in charge of the state board of control.[421] On the admission of North Dakota as a state, 40,000 acres of the public land were set aside for the benefit of the school. It is further supported by a tax of six per cent of one mill on the assessed property valuation of the state.[422]

Ohio. A movement was on foot for the establishment of a school at Cincinnati in 1821, but did not succeed. A private school was opened in 1827 at Tallmadge, which lasted two years. The state school was established at Columbus in[231] 1829.[423] It is now in the hands of the state board of administration.[424] Five day schools are in operation in the state: Cincinnati, opened in 1886; Cleveland, 1892; Dayton, 1899; Ashtabula, 1903; and Toledo, 1911.[425] There are two private schools in Cincinnati: one, the Notre Dame, under the Sisters of Notre Dame, opened in 1890, and the other in 1906.[426]

Oklahoma. Before creating an institution of its own, Oklahoma provided for the education of its deaf children in a private school at Guthrie,[232] which had been opened in 1898.[427] In 1908 the state school was established at Sulphur,[428] and in 1909 a second school was opened at Taft, known as the Industrial Institute for the Deaf, the Blind and Orphans of the Colored Race.[429] The former school is directed by a board of four trustees, and the latter by a board of five regents, the state superintendent of public instruction being a member of each. The schools are related to the state department of education, and are inspected by that of charities.[430]

Oregon. A private school was started at Salem in 1870, which in 1874 was taken over by the state.[431] It is now administered by the state board of control.[432] There is a day school in Portland, opened in 1908, and supported by the city.


Pennsylvania. There are four institutions and two private schools in this state. Two of the institutions are private corporations receiving state aid, and two are state-owned schools. The first to be established was the Pennsylvania Institution, which was opened in 1820 in Philadelphia.[433] Friends of this school have been generous from the start, and it has probably received several hundred thousand dollars in gifts. The governing board is composed of twenty-seven members.[434] The Western Pennsylvania Institution near Pittsburg was established in 1876, and was the result of a church mission which had begun in 1868 and developed into a day school. It is directed also by a board of twenty-seven members.[435] The Pennsylvania Oral School was founded at Scranton in 1883. It was a private institution till 1913, when it was made a state school. It is governed by a board of eighteen trustees, six of whom are appointed[234] by the governor.[436] The Home for the Training in Speech of Deaf Children before they are of school age was started in Philadelphia in 1892 as a private school, and then adopted by the state.[437] It is under a board of five trustees. All these schools receive appropriations from the state, and are visited by the state board of charities.[438] The private schools are the Forrest Hall in Philadelphia, opened in 1901, the De Paul Institute of Pittsburg, opened in 1908, and the Archbishop Ryan Memorial Institute in Philadelphia, opened in 1912. To these a certain amount of state aid is granted.[439]

Rhode Island. In 1842 the state began to send its deaf children to the school at Hartford, a policy continued till a local school was created.[440] In 1877 a class for the deaf was started in Providence, for the benefit of which the state made appropriations, and which was soon taken over as a state school.[441] It is now under a board[235] of eleven trustees, including the governor and lieutenant-governor, and is related to the state board of education.[442]

South Carolina. A school was proposed in this state in 1821,[443] but it was some years later that one was established. In 1834 the state began sending deaf children to the Hartford school.[444] In 1849 a private school was opened at Cedar Springs as a department in a hearing school, and in 1857 this was adopted by the state.[445] The school is for the deaf and blind, and is under a board of five commissioners, one of whom is the state superintendent of education.[446]

South Dakota. In 1880 a private school was started at Sioux Falls which the territory of Dakota soon took over,[447] before this some of the deaf having been sent to the schools in Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota. In 1889 when South Dakota was admitted as a state, the school was retained at the same location; and Congress granted it 40,000 acres of the public land. The[236] school is under the direction of the state board of control.[448] A private school was established at Lead in 1911, known as the Black Hills School.

Tennessee. The state school was established at Knoxville in 1845.[449] It is under a board of fourteen trustees, including the superintendent of public instruction, and is visited by the state board of charities.[450]

Texas. The state school was established at Austin in 1857,[451] receiving 100,000 acres of the public land which had been set apart by the state for its several eleemosynary institutions. In 1887 a school for the colored deaf and blind was opened in the same city.[452] The schools are each under a board of five trustees.[453]

Utah. In 1884 a class for the deaf was begun at the state university at Ogden, and in 1888 a department was created. In 1892 the state school was established.[454] It is for both the deaf and the blind, and is under a board of six trustees, including[237] the attorney-general.[455] On the admission of Utah as a state, 200,000 acres of the public land were bestowed upon the school.

Vermont. In 1825 the state began to send pupils to the American School,[456] and later to the schools in Massachusetts as well.[457] In 1912 a school for the deaf and blind was established at Brattleboro, known as the Austine Institute. It is a private institution, with a board of six trustees, but receiving state aid and under state supervision.[458]

Virginia. A private school was started in 1812 in Goochland County, thence moved to Cobbs, and finally to Manchester, coming to an end in 1819. The state school for the deaf and the blind was established at Staunton in 1839, though planned several years before.[459] In 1909 a school for the colored deaf and blind was created at Newport News.[460] The first school is under a[238] board of seven trustees, including the superintendent of public instruction, and the second under a board of five. Both are visited by the state board of charities.[461]

Washington. Before the creation of a state school some of the deaf children were sent to Oregon for instruction.[462] In 1885 a private school was started at Tacoma, which lasted one year. The state school was established at Vancouver in 1886.[463] It is governed by the state board of control.[464] At Seattle and Tacoma there are day schools supported by the respective cities, the former opened in 1906 and the latter in 1908.

West Virginia. The state school for the deaf and the blind was opened at Romney in 1870,[465] before which time children had been sent to the schools in Virginia and Ohio.[466] The school is[239] under a board of nine regents, while the state board of control has charge of financial affairs.[467]

Wisconsin. Prior to the establishment of a school of its own, Wisconsin sent some of its deaf children to the Illinois School. The state institution, which had been planned in 1843, was opened in 1852 at Delavan, resulting from a private school started two years previously.[468] It is under the direction of the state board of control.[469] There are 24 day schools in the state, operating under the state law:[470] Antigo, opened in 1906; Appleton, 1896; Ashland, 1898; Black River Falls, 1897; Bloomington, 1906;[240] Eau Claire, 1895; Fond du Lac, 1895; Green Bay, 1897; Kenosha, 1913; La Crosse, 1899; Madison, 1908; Marinette, 1895; Marshfield, 1912; Milwaukee, 1898; Mineral Point, 1912; New London, 1906; Oshkosh, 1895; Platteville, 1906; Racine, 1900; Rice Lake, 1907; Sheboygan, 1894; Stevens Point, 1905; West Superior, 1897; and Wausau, 1890. A private school, the St. John's Institute, was established at St. Francis in 1876, and is conducted by the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis.

Wyoming. Deaf children have been sent since 1886 to the schools in California, Utah, Colorado and Montana, the state board of charities and reform having them in charge.[471]

The American Possessions. Outside of the United States proper very little has been done for the education of the deaf. In the Philippine Islands a school has been established, this being opened at Manila in 1907.[472] A school under Roman Catholic auspices was started in Porto Rico in 1911; and it is possible that one under the[241] direction of the state will be created in time, a school for the blind having already been opened. In Alaska there is no school, though the deaf have been looked after to some extent by missionaries.[473] No provision has been made in the Panama Canal Zone or the Hawaiian Islands.[474]


[313] Laws, 1843-4, p. 43; 1859-60, p. 344.

[314] Laws, ch. 209.

[315] Laws, 1870, p. 95; 1871, p. 89; 1879, p. 34; 1887, p. 70; 1889, p. 29; 1893, p. 943; 1901, p. 25; 1904, p. 45; 1907, p. 11; Code, 1907, § 1933ff. The school has received a gift of $5,000 for shops.

[316] Laws, 1891, ch. 94; 1895, ch. 10; Rev. Stat., 1901, §§ 2267-2271.

[317] Laws, 1912, p. 149.

[318] To this the legislature appropriated a small sum. Another private school was started at Fort Smith in 1860, but lasted only one year.

[319] Acts, July 17, 1868; April 9, 1869; Digest, 1874, p. 204. There were a few gifts at first, and aid came also from the city. The state granted two tracts of land, one of 100 acres.

[320] Laws, 1883, p. 182; 1891, ch. 155; 1893, chs. 31, 126; 1895, ch. 151; 1905, ch. 256; 1909, ch. 56; Digest, 1904, § 4129ff.

[321] Laws, 1860, pp. 211, 277; 1861, p. 81; 1863, p. 583; 1865, p. 579; 1874, p. 751; 1875, p. 686. In the beginning there were contributions from friends and proceeds from fairs. The city of San Francisco gave $7,000 for a site, and the county a lot.

[322] Laws, 1905, ch. 382; Pol. Code, 1909, § 2236ff. In addition to the funds given at first, over $50,000 has been donated to the school, three-fourths coming from one source in 1871.

[323] Laws, 1903, p. 88; Code, § 1618. Separate classes (oral) may be established by city boards or district trustees where there are five or more pupils, 3 to 21 years of age. There were day schools in Fresno from 1904 to 1906, and in San Diego from 1912 to 1913; and private schools in San Francisco and Oakland from 1898 to 1900.

[324] Act Feb. 13, 1874; Gen. Laws, 1877, p. 653. The school resulted largely from the action of some public-spirited men. It was established on condition that 5 acres be given, and it received 12.

[325] Laws, 1885, p. 277; 1891, p. 388; 1895, ch. 98; 1909, p. 333; Ann. Stat, 1908, § 4313ff.; 1912, § 5009ff. The school has been the recipient of $30,000 or more, largely from two men.

[326] A charter was granted in May, 1816. See Laws, 1829, ch. 24; 1837, p. 26; 1843, p. 26.

[327] At the beginning about $30,000 was raised for the school.

[328] This was known as the Whipple School at first. In 1898 it was made a joint stock corporation, capitalized at $8,500. It began to receive state aid in 1872. Act July 24; Laws, 1874, p. 8.

[329] Laws, 1895, p. 145; 1903, ch. 207; 1911, ch. 47; Rev. Laws, 1902, § 1831. The per capita allowance is $275. In 1860 a private school was opened at Hartford, lasting one year.

[330] The counties paid the cost at first. Act March 4, 1835; Laws, 1841, p. 418; 1843, p. 418; Rev. Stat., 1852, p. 138; Laws, 1860, ch. 119; 1875, ch. 58; 1899, ch. 245; 1907, ch. 143; Rev. Code, 1893, pp. 388-390. The president of the state hospital for the insane is authorized to visit the schools to which pupils are sent.

[331] Stat., 1857, ch. 46; 1860, ch. 120. An unsuccessful attempt had been made a year or two before to start a school. To the new school $4,000 of a former orphans' home was turned over.

[332] Stat., 1864, ch. 120; 1868, ch. 262.

[333] U. S. Comp. Stat., 1901, pp. 3365-71. Colored children are sent to Maryland for education. To the college and school $25,000 or more was given at the beginning, funds coming from several cities in the East. A few acres of land were also given. For two years support largely came from private funds. In the college there are now 100 full scholarships. In Washington also an experimental school was opened in 1883, continuing three years. Another private school was started in 1856, lasting one year.

[334] Laws, 1883, ch. 3450. The school resulted from the work of the Association for the Promotion of the Education of the Deaf and the Blind. The city gave 5 acres of land and $1,000, and in 1905 gave 10 acres further.

[335] Laws, 1895, no. 41; 1903, ch. 104; Gen. Stat., 1906, §§ 418-425. A department for colored pupils was opened in 1895.

[336] Laws, 1834, p. 281; 1838, p. 92; 1842, p. 24. An appropriation, first of $3,500, then of $4,500, was made.

[337] Laws, 1845, p. 25; 1847, p. 94; 1852, p. 80; 1854, p. 30; 1856, p. 159; 1858, p. 47; 1860, p. 27. It was first part of an academy. Another private school was established at Lexington in 1856, but it too was short lived. At the school at Cedar Springs there were several state pupils.

[338] Laws, 1876, p. 30; 1877, p. 32; 1881, p. 96; 1892, p. 83; 1897, p. 83; Code, 1911, § 1416ff. In 1882 a department was created for the colored. For a time the deaf and the blind were allowed free transportation on the state-owned railroad. Laws, 1853, p. 97. The school has received a gift of $500.

[339] Laws, 1891, p. 226; 1899, p. 162.

[340] Laws, 1907, p. 240; 1909, p. 379; Rev. Code, 1908, § 800ff. The school has been given 20 acres of land. In this state, 150,000 acres of public land are granted to the charitable and other institutions, the school for the deaf not being mentioned by name.

[341] Laws, 1839, p. 162; 1845, p. 93; 1847, p. 47; 1849, pp. 93, 163; 1851, p. 102; 1853, p. 90; 1857, p. 84; 1875, p. 104. It seems that at first one-fourth of the interest of the school fund was allowed to the institution, but in 1851 a tax of one-sixth mill was laid for its benefit, which lasted four years.

[342] Laws, 1897, ch. 23; 1909, p. 102; Rev. Stat., 1909, ch. 23. The school has been given five acres of land by the city, and a private gift of $2,000.

[343] Laws, 1897, p. 290; 1905, p. 373; 1911, p. 502; Rev. Stat., 1909, p. 2013. The superintendent of public instruction may grant permission for teaching one or more classes of not less than three pupils, average attendance, in the public schools. The amount authorized from the state is not to exceed $110 for each pupil. The first Chicago school was a private one, established in 1870, and lasting one year. In 1874 another school was opened, which was taken over by the city in 1875. The state allowed it $15,000, and appropriated $5,000 a year till 1887, instead of creating an institution in the northern part of the state. See Laws, 1879, p. 20; Report of Illinois Institution, 1874, p. 76; P. A. Emery, "Brief Historical Sketch of Chicago Deaf-Mute Schools", 1886. There has been connection between the Chicago schools and the McCowen Homes. Other day schools in Illinois have been: La Salle, 1898-1899; Streator 1898-1905; Derinda, 1899-1900; Rockford, 1901-1905; Moline, 1901-1908; Galena, 1902-1903; Dundee, 1903-1904; Aurora, 1903-1912; and Elgin, 1905-1906. In 1913 there were eleven day schools in Chicago, which were consolidated into four. In this city a vacation school is also maintained for the deaf.

[344] This school has received among other gifts a bequest of $43,000, a donation of $15,000 from a ladies' society, and of $40,000 from friends.

[345] This school is under a board of twelve trustees. It has received some private gifts, in addition to an endowment fund from its first trustees. There was in Chicago a private school for adults from 1905 to 1913.

[346] This school was taught by a deaf man largely at his own expense. In 1842 the state granted it $200. A census of the deaf was authorized in 1839. Laws, p. 58.

[347] Laws, 1843, ch. 70; 1844, ch. 16; 1845, ch. 69; 1848, ch. 59; 1865, p. 124; Rev. Stat., 1852, p. 243. For the benefit of the school a tax levy was laid, first of two mills, then of five, and later of fifteen, which continued till 1851, netting the school some $50,000.

[348] Laws, 1891, ch. 186; 1895, p. 157; 1899, ch. 118; 1907, ch. 98; 1909, ch. 146; Ann. Stat., 1908, p. 101ff. There was a private school at Evansville from 1886 to 1902.

[349] Code, 1851, ch. 73; Laws 1853, ch. 26; 1855, chs. 56, 87. An appropriation was made to the school while still a private one.

[350] Laws, ch. 136.

[351] Code, 1897, p. 926ff.; Laws, 1902, ch. 122; 1909, ch. 175; 1913, p. 255; Code, 1907, p. 622ff. There was a private school at Dubuque from 1888 to 1899, which received contributions, proceeds of fairs, etc., of several thousand dollars. It was hoped that this would be made a state school for the children of Eastern Iowa.

[352] Laws, 1862, p. 95; 1864, ch. 50; 1865, ch. 36; 1866, ch. 48; 1871, ch. 34; 1873, ch. 135; 1877, ch. 130. To the private school the state granted some aid. The school was located at Olathe on condition that 20 acres of land be given for a site, and 150 for its benefit.

[353] Laws, 1901, ch. 353; 1905, chs. 384, 475; Gen. Stat., 1909, § 8437ff.

[354] Laws, 1822, p. 179; 1824, p. 452; 1836, p. 379. A private school was opened at Hopkinsville in 1844, which lasted ten years. Pupils were received from several states. Annals, xliv., 1899, p. 359.

[355] This grant seems not to have been wisely administered, but over $57,000 was realized from it.

[356] Laws, 1850, p. 23; 1851, ch. 26; 1852, p. 357; 1854, p. 15; 1870, p. 2; 1882, p. 16; 1912, ch. 71; Stat., 1909, § 270ff. A department for the colored was created in 1884. Laws, p. 175. There have been some private gifts to the school, amounting to about seven thousand dollars.

[357] See Laws, 1838, p. 9; Digest, 1842, ch. 39; Report of Kentucky School, 1848, p. 8.

[358] Laws, 1852, p. 220; 1866, p. 124; 1871, p. 203; 1888, p. 51.

[359] Laws, 1898, ch. 166; 1908, ch. 239; Rev. Stat., 1904, pp. 579-582.

[360] A day school was also maintained here from 1886 to 1891.

[361] Laws, 1823, p. 233; 1824, p. 353; 1829, p. 25; 1840, ch. 70; 1852, p. 359; 1879, p. 122.

[362] In 1877 the state made appropriations for pupils outside of Portland, and in 1881 for the entire state.

[363] Laws, 1885, ch. 220; 1893, ch. 203; 1897, ch. 446; 1899, ch. 2; Rev. Stat., 1903, p. 226. The property was conveyed to the state.

[364] Laws, 1826, ch. 255; 1827, ch. 140; 1833, ch. 125; 1834, ch. 169; 1839, ch. 28; 1849, ch. 209; 1854, ch. 224; 1860, ch. 129; 1865, ch. 68.

[365] Laws, 1867, ch. 247; 1868, chs. 205, 409; 1870, p. 922; 1874, ch. 42. The society was to have power of perpetual succession, and the state was to appropriate $5,000 a year till the endowment fund should reach $200,000. The school was opened in certain barracks belonging to the state.

[366] Laws, 1874, p. 483. This school was formed under a board composed of three visitors each from the school for the deaf and that for the blind.

[367] Laws, 1886, ch. 78; 1892, ch. 272; 1904, ch. 299; 1906, ch. 236; Gen. Laws, 1904, i., p. 979. The school has received in gifts over six thousand dollars since 1880. Grants have also been made to it by the city of Baltimore.

[368] The first receives $1,000 a year, and the second $1,200.

[369] Laws, 1817, ch. 24; 1818, p. 496; 1825, ch. 83; 1828, ch. 97; 1841, ch. 45; 1843, ch. 79; 1855, ch. 84.

[370] Laws, 1867, chs. 311, 334; 1868, ch. 200; 1869, ch. 333.

[371] Some other gifts have also been received, including a gymnasium and two donations of $50,000 each.

[372] See Laws, 1886, ch. 42; 1899, p. 554. This school resulted from a gift of $1,500 to the New England Gallaudet Association, a home for adults first being contemplated. See Report, 1881, p. 7; Report of United States Commissioner of Education, 1880, p. clxviii. The school has received a legacy of $50,000, and there are annual donations of two or three thousand dollars.

[373] This school came within the law as to state pupils. Some gifts have no doubt been received by it.

[374] Laws, 1869, p. 637; 1885, ch. 201; 1905, ch. 468, The state granted the land for a building. This school has received gifts of several thousand dollars.

[375] The home is under an executive committee of twenty-five, with powers of trustees. Subscriptions and donations average one or two thousand dollars a year, and in all have amounted to some $50,000.

[376] Laws, 1871, ch. 300; 1875, ch. 118; 1886, ch. 241; 1887, ch. 179; 1888, ch. 239; 1889, ch. 226; 1906, ch. 383; Rev. Stat., 1902, p. 412. Appointments are made by the governor with the approval of the secretary of the board of education. The state appropriations are $150 for the day school, and from $250 to $350 for the other schools.

[377] Laws, 1848, pp. 246, 463; 1849, pp. 137, 327; 1850, p. 334; 1853, no. 80; 1857, p. 185.

[378] The school also received 20 acres of land and $3,000 from the city.

[379] Laws, 1867, p. 128; 1873, chs. 109, 111; 1881, pp. 5, 274; 1891, ch. 169; 1893, ch. 116; 1907, chs. 48, 275; Comp. Laws 1897, §§ 1990-2008.

[380] Laws, 1899, ch. 176; 1905, ch. 224. The law reads: "Upon the application of a district board or of a board of education of a city in this state to the Superintendent of Public Instruction, he shall grant permission to such board to establish, and such board shall be empowered to establish and maintain, within the limits of its jurisdiction, one or more day schools, having an average attendance of not less than three pupils, for the instruction of deaf persons over the age of three", etc. The amount allowed for each pupil is $150. There have been other day schools in this state: Menominee, 1900-1907; Ishpeming, 1904-1909; Flint, 1911-1912; and L'Anse, 1912-1913. The school at Flint was an evening school for adults.

[381] Ten congregations may be incorporated to organize such an institution, and hold property to the value of $50,000. Laws, 1901, ch. 28. This school was for a time part of an orphan asylum. It has been given 20 acres of land. The control is in the hands of a board of nine trustees. A private school was maintained at Marquette from 1879 to 1883.

[382] Laws, 1858, p. 175; 1863, ch. 9; 1864, ch. 71; 1868, ch. 17; 1874, ch. 18. In 1863 also provision was made for pupils in outside schools. The school was established on condition that the city give it 40 acres of land, and it received 25 acres in addition.

[383] Laws, 1887, ch. 205; Laws, 1902, ch. 83; 1907, ch. 407; 1909, ch. 396; Rev. Laws, 1905, §§ 1931-1937. There is also a board of visitors of state institutions. Departments for the blind and for the feeble-minded were created here, but later separated.

[384] There was another day school here from 1895 to 1898; and a private school from 1886 to 1893. A department for the deaf was established at St. Olaf College at Northfield in 1907, but discontinued in 1912. See Bulletin, May, 1909; Viking, 1909, p. 56.

[385] Act, March 1; Laws, 1855, p. 114; 1856-7, ch. 25; 1857, p. 40; 1858, p. 230; Stat. L., 1857, p. 169. The governor had recommended a school in 1841.

[386] Ann. Code, 1906, ch. 68. The school has received a gift of $5,000. A department for the colored was opened in 1882.

[387] In 1839 $2,000 was appropriated for the deaf at St. Louis, and $210 for a pupil in the Kentucky school. Laws, pp. 27, 213. Some pupils were sent to Ohio and Illinois also. See also Laws, 1847, p. 48.

[388] Laws, 1851, p. 211; 1872, p. 155; 1874, p. 171; 1877, p. 264. Forty acres of land provided for the insane asylum were given to the school.

[389] Laws, 1895, p. 188; Rev. Stat., 1909, § 1484ff. A department for the colored was opened in 1889.

[390] A branch of this school was maintained at Hannibal from 1882 to 1887, and another branch in St. Louis from 1893 to 1900. In St. Louis there was also a private school from 1885 to 1891, and from 1890 to 1892.

[391] Comp. Stat., 1887, p. 917.

[392] Laws, 1893, p. 181; Code, 1895, § 2330ff.

[393] Laws, 1903, chs. 9, 10; Rev. Code, 1907, § 1115ff. A department for the feeble-minded has been connected with this school.

[394] Rev. Stat., 1866, p. 374.

[395] Laws, 1867, p. 59; 1871, pp. 94, 231; 1875, p. 146. Ten acres of land were given by the city of Omaha.

[396] Laws, 1897, ch. 26; 1901, ch. 70; 1905, ch. 147; 1909, p. 230; 1911, p. 209; 1913, p. 537; Ann. Stat., 1911, § 10,006ff. A private school was opened in Omaha in 1897, lasting one year.

[397] Laws, 1869, ch. 56; 1905, p. 253; 1907, p. 371; Rev. Laws, 1912, § 1702ff.

[398] In 1819 a committee was appointed to inquire into the circumstances of the deaf and the blind. Laws, p. 245. See also Laws, 1821, p. 508; 1822, p. 92; 1836, ch. 256.

[399] Laws, 1875, p. 484; 1879, ch. 58; 1899, ch. 99; 1905, ch. 106; Pub. Stat., 1901, ch. 86.

[400] The first appropriation was of $2,000. Laws, 1821, p. 3; 1830, pp. 113, 314; 1838, p. 82; 1853, p. 140; 1860, p. 240; 1873, p. 45. A few pupils were sent to the school at Mystic, Connecticut, shortly before the state school was created.

[401] Laws, 1882, p. 259; 1884, p. 160; 1885, p. 177. The property of an old school for the children of soldiers was first made use of. In 1825 a school was incorporated in this state, and $160 was allowed by the legislature for each pupil. Laws, pp. 111, 124. Some private donations seem to have been made, but the school never came into being. In 1875 a tract of land was offered for a school. Report of Commission on Proposals for Sites and Plans for Buildings for the Deaf, Blind and the Feeble-minded, 1874. In 1860 a private school was opened in Trenton, which continued six years.

[402] Laws, 1891, ch. 97; 1892, ch. 203; 1893, p. 327; 1895, ch. 411; 1910, p. 334; Comp. Stat., 1910, p. 1896ff.

[403] Day schools are authorized where there are ten or more Pupils in a city. Laws, 1910, p. 513.

[404] Laws, 1887, ch. 31. There were a few contributions at first.

[405] Laws, 1899, ch. 42; 1903, ch. 2; Comp. Laws, 1897, p. 904.

[406] Laws, 1817, ch. 264; 1819, chs. 206, 238; 1822, p. 247; 1827, p. 329; 1832, ch. 223; 1836, chs. 228, 511; 1841, p. 133; 1849, p. 589. See also Cammann and Camp, "Charities of New York", 1868, p. 151; J. F. Richmond, "New York and its Institutions", 1871, p. 287. The city granted $400 annually for several years, allowed the use of land at a nominal rental for twenty-one years, and later gave an acre of land, besides furnishing quarters in a public building for eleven years. By the state the Institution was, together with a certain free school society, allowed for fourteen years one-half of the proceeds from fines or licenses on lotteries, which from 1819 to 1827 netted over $20,000. In 1827 the legislature granted $10,000 on condition that an equal sum be raised from private funds, and that inspection be allowed to the state. In 1825 a school was established by the state at Canajoharie, but in 1836 its property was ordered sold, and its pupils brought to the New York Institution. Laws, 1823, p. 224; 1836, p. 779.

[407] From 1879 to 1882 a primary department was maintained at Tarrytown. In 1857 it was proposed that the buildings and other property be conveyed to the state as trustee, but to be used always for the instruction of the deaf, on condition that the state pay all the debts and finish the buildings then in course of construction; but this plan was not adopted. Report, 1858, p. 9; Assembly Documents of State of New York, 1857, no. 190. The total amount of private gifts to this school seems to be about $125,000, nearly all coming in the first few decades of its existence. See Report, 1879, p. 101. The institution holds 38 names in "perpetual and grateful remembrance". The funds are given in 1912 as $1,030,059, which are largely due to favorable investments.

[408] Laws, 1871, ch. 548; 1872, ch. 670. Funds were received in the beginning from the proceeds of bazaars, etc., and an acre of land and a building were given to it. Contributions are still received from time to time.

[409] Laws, 1867, ch. 721; 1870, ch. 180. Within a short time after opening, $70,000 was donated for the school. See Addresses upon Laying of Corner Stone, 1880. Other considerable gifts have come to it, one in 1909 being of $30,000, while there are annual contributions of several thousand dollars. Land for a building was granted by the city for ninety-nine years at an annual rental of one dollar. This school has been under Hebrew auspices, but there has been discussion of its being turned over to the city on the payment of its debts, to be kept as a public non-sectarian school. See Reports, 1909, 1910.

[410] Laws, 1877, ch. 378. To this school about $150,000 seems to have been donated, to gather from the reports. Several thousand dollars are received annually.

[411] Laws, 1876, ch. 13; 1880, ch. 335; 1890, ch. 469. Six acres of land and several thousand dollars were given at the beginning.

[412] Laws, 1876, ch. 331. A few gifts were received at first.

[413] Laws, 1884, ch. 275; 1890, ch. 280. In the Census Report of Benevolent Institutions of 1904 this school is given as under the direct control of the state.

[414] Laws, 1892, ch. 36.

[415] In 1863 it was enacted that county overseers or supervisors should place a deaf child when likely to become a public charge in an institution; or a parent or friend of such a child from five to twelve years of age might prove that the health, morals, or comfort of such child was endangered by the want of education or of proper care, and might apply to the county officer for an order to admit the child to an institution. Laws, ch. 325. The per capita allowance to the schools is $350. See Laws, 1851, ch. 272; 1854, ch. 272; 1864, ch. 555; 1875, ch. 213; 1876, ch. 13; 1886, ch. 615; 1894, ch. 556; 1903, chs. 62, 223; 1909, ch. 21; 1910, ch. 140; 1912, p. 405; Cons. Laws, 1909, p. 727ff. The state allows $300 a year to a deaf person seeking a higher education. Laws, 1913, ch. 175.

[416] There have been a number of private schools in the state: the Bartlett Family School, established in New York City in 1852, in 1853 moved to Fishkill, in 1854 to Poughkeepsie, and discontinued in 1861; a school at Niagara, 1857-1860; the Home for the Young Deaf in New York City, organized in 1854, and in operation from 1859 to 1862, which was intended for those too young to enter the New York Institution, and which received a number of contributions; a class in the Cayuga Lake Academy at Aurora, 1871-1878; Syle's Free Evening Class in New York City, principally for teaching trades to adults, 1874-1878; the Keeler School, a private class in New York City, 1885-1897; the Warren Articulation School, 1890-1895; and the Peet School, 1893-1894.

[417] Act, Jan. 12, 1845; Rev. Code, 1854, ch. 6; Laws, 1870-1, ch. 35; 1873, ch. 134; 1876, ch. 156; 1879, ch. 187; 1880, p. 170; 1881, ch. 211. At first the counties were to raise $75 by taxation for each pupil. In 1876 a tax of 9 cents on $100 was laid for the benefit of the school. This school has received a gift of $4,000. In 1869 colored deaf and blind were admitted, and in 1872 a department was created for them, this being the first public action in the United States for their education. See Laws, 1872, ch. 134; Report of North Carolina Institution, 1869, p. 13.

[418] Laws, 1891, ch. 399; 1893, ch. 69.

[419] Laws, 1901, chs. 210, 707; 1907, chs. 929, 1007; Rev. Code, 1905, § 4187ff.

[420] Laws, 1890, ch. 161.

[421] Laws, 1891, chs. 56, 133; 1893, ch. 122; 1897, ch. 72; 1905, chs. 100, 103; Rev. Code, 1905, § 1133ff.

[422] From this $1,000 a month is received.

[423] Laws, 1822, p. 5; 1827, p. 130; 1831, p. 427; 1832, p. 20; 1834, p. 39; 1837, p. 118; 1844, p. 8; 1846, p. 111; 1854, p. 71; 1856, pp. 42, 96; 1866, p. 116; 1867, p. 124. To the school at Tallmadge the legislature granted $100 a year for two years. The state school was at first allowed the benefit from the taxes on auction sales in Hamilton County, which netted $2,000 a year at first, but afterward of diminishing amounts. The lots for the school were bought "at a price considerably below their supposed value". A donation of $15,000 has also been received by this school. In 1910 180 acres of land were bequeathed to the schools for the deaf and the blind.

[424] Laws, 1885, p. 79; 1902, p. 273; 1908, p. 598; 1911, p. 211; Gen. Code, 1910, § 1872ff.

[425] There was a school also in Cleveland from 1871 to 1874, and in Toledo from 1890 to 1893. In Cincinnati a school was established by the city in 1875, and in 1888 incorporated with the present one, which had been started as a private school. Both the Cincinnati and Cleveland schools received aid from the state, but in 1902 this was held up by the courts. Other day schools have been at Elyria from 1898 to 1907; at Canton from 1902 to 1904; and at Conneaut from 1909 to 1912. According to the present law, on the application of a local board, schools may be established; $150 may be allowed from the state school funds for each pupil; and the state commissioner is to appoint teachers, and inspect schools. Laws, 1902, p. 37; 1906, p. 219; 1913, p. 270; Gen. Code, § 7755. In 1898 the establishment of day schools was made obligatory in certain cities. Laws, pp. 186, 236. Local tax levies have been of considerable aid in this state.

[426] A private school was in operation in Cincinnati from 1887 to 1890, and in Columbus from 1902 to 1904.

[427] Laws, 1897, ch. 16; Rev. Stat., 1903, § 3960; Governor's Message, 1903, p. 13. In 1899 a tax of two-fifths of a mill was levied for the benefit of the deaf. Laws, p. 221. There was a private school at Byron from 1898 to 1899.

[428] Laws, p. 617.

[429] Laws, p. 546.

[430] Laws, 1909, p. 534; 1913, p. 385; Rev. Laws, 1910, §§ 6986, 7014. The public land for the benefit of the schools is said to be worth $350,000. The school at Sulphur was given 60 acres of land by the city, and that at Taft 100 acres by citizens.

[431] Laws, 1872, p. 102; 1874, p. 88; 1880, p. 18. The legislature made an appropriation to the school while it was still in private hands. It was largely founded through the efforts of the Society to Promote the Instruction of Deaf-Mutes. Donations amounting to two or three thousand dollars, and four lots, were received at the beginning.

[432] Laws, 1891, p. 138; 1893, p. 180; 1901, p. 300; 1907, ch. 79; 1913, pp. 120, 683; Oregon Laws, 1910, ch. 23. The school was formerly under the state board of education.

[433] A charter was granted in 1821. Laws, ch. 25. See also Laws, 1833, p. 512; 1836, ch. 268; 1838, pp. 263, 398; 1844, p. 221; J. P. Wickersham, "History of Education in Pennsylvania", 1886, p. 443; Report, 1870, appendix; 1875, appendix.

[434] In 1889 a gift of $200,000 was received, and in 1892 one of $50,000, as well as other gifts. There are over 400 life members who have contributed each $30, while there are 13 scholarships of $5,000 each. The present endowment funds amount to about $400,000, as we are advised. See also Reports of State Board of Charities. From 1881 to 1885 a day school was conducted as part of the institution.

[435] Laws, 1872, p. 97; 1881, p. 149. Aid was received from the city of Pittsburg at first. The school has been given over $100,000, a number of acres of land, and a Carnegie Library.

[436] Laws, 1887, p. 238. There have been some gifts, including five acres of land.

[437] Laws, 1891, p. 371; 1893, p. 272. About $7,000 came at the beginning as well as some land. Contributions now average several thousand dollars a year.

[438] Laws, 1871, p. 245; 1872, p. 9; 1893, p. 250; 1909, p. 405; Purdon's Digest, 1903, p. 1281ff. The per capita appropriations to the several schools range from $260 to $357. In school districts of 20,000 population, special schools with eight or more pupils may be established. Laws, 1876, p. 157.

[439] There have been day schools at Pittsburg, 1869-1876; Erie, 1874-1884; Allegheny, 1875-1876; and Philadelphia, 1880-1881. There was a private school in Philadelphia from 1885 to 1889.

[440] Rev. Stat., 1857, p. 158.

[441] Laws, 1878, p. 200.

[442] Laws, 1891, ch. 922; 1896, chs. 324, 332; 1893, ch. 1175; 1901, ch. 809; Gen. Laws, 1909, chs. 100, 101. The governor makes the appointments. There is a state board of purchases and supplies in connection with the school.

[443] Act, Dec. 20.

[444] Laws, 1834, p. 513. At first $2,500 was appropriated. See also Laws, 1848, p. 524.

[445] Laws, 1852, p. 187; 1871, p. 609.

[446] Laws, 1878, p. 707; 1895, ch. 521; 1902, ch. 546; 1910, ch. 468; Code, 1912, ch. 27. A department for the colored was created in 1883.

[447] Laws of Dakota, 1881, pp. 16, 65; 1883, ch. 26; 1887, ch. 41; Comp. Laws, 1887, § 261ff. Ten acres of land and a thousand dollars or more were given to the school.

[448] Laws, 1907, ch. 137; Comp. Laws, 1910, p. 150ff.

[449] Act, Jan. 29, 1844; Laws, 1845-6, ch. 157; 1849-50, ch. 127; Code, 1858, p. 338; Laws, 1860, chs. 19, 69; 1866-7, ch. 42. The law creating the school was appended to one providing for the blind alone. At the beginning $6,400 and two acres of land were given to it.

[450] Laws, 1877, ch. 49; Ann. Code, 1896, §§ 2660-2670. A department for the colored was created in 1881. Laws, ch. 109.

[451] Laws, 1856, p. 66; 1875, p. 66; 1883, p. 109.

[452] Laws, p. 150.

[453] Laws, 1902, ch. 10; 1905, p. 47; Rev. Stat., 1911, p. 68.

[454] Laws, 1888, pp. 33, 44; 1890, pp. 44, 68; Comp. Stat., 1888, p. 662. For two years the school was conducted as a day school. It received some county assistance at first, and there were some private donations.

[455] Laws, 1892, p. 10; 1894, ch. 26; 1896, p. 100; 1897, p. 36; 1898, ch. 20; 1903, p. 51; 1907, pp. 14, 59; 1911, ch. 98; Comp. Laws, 1907, p. 789ff.

[456] In 1817 a census of the deaf was taken. Laws, no. 25.

[457] Laws, 1823, no. 40; 1825, no. 21; 1833, no. 21; 1839, p. 121; Rev. Stat., 1840, p. 121; Laws, 1841, no. 22; 1842, no. 16; 1858, no. 3; 1872, nos. 16, 19; 1892, no. 27; 1898, chs. 29, 30; 1899, no. 27; 1906, chs. 55, 56; Pub. Stat., 1906, ch. 60.

[458] Laws, 1908, p. 490; 1910, p. 84. The governor is commissioner for the deaf, and designates and commits them. This school resulted from a fund of $50,000, which was bequeathed for a "hospital for the temporary treatment of strangers and local invalids peculiarly situated", but which the court allowed to be used for the school.

[459] Laws, 1838, ch. 19; 1839, p. 205; 1845, p. 385; 1846, p. 17; 1849, p. 385; 1856, p. 81. In 1825 a committee was sent to Kentucky to examine the school. In 1835 a private association was formed to organize a school.

[460] Laws, ch. 164.

[461] Laws, 1875, ch. 177; 1879, ch. 244; 1896, ch. 702; 1898, p. 276; 1903, ch. 266; 1904, p. 75; Code, 1904, ch. 74. The Staunton school received some private donations at first, and 5 acres of land, besides a later legacy of $3,000 for poor deaf children; and the Newport News school has received a few gifts, including some land.

[462] Laws, 1881, p. 211.

[463] Laws, 1886, p. 136. At the beginning 100 acres of land were donated. The school seems not to have profited by the gift from Congress of 200,000 acres for charitable and reformatory institutions.

[464] Laws, 1890, p. 497; 1897, p. 443; 1903, p. 266; 1905, ch. 139; 1907, p. 238; 1909, p. 258; 1912, ch. 10; Code and Stat., 1910, § 4387ff. There was a department for the feeble-minded till 1906, and for the blind till 1912, all being known as the "school for defective youth".

[465] Laws, 1870, ch. 116; 1871, ch. 71. A building and 15 acres of land were given by the city.

[466] Laws, 1868, ch. 71.

[467] Laws, 1887, ch. 52; 1895, chs. 25, 39; 1897, ch. 25; 1905, ch. 66; Code, 1906, § 1774ff. Colored pupils are sent to Maryland for education.

[468] Laws, 1852, ch. 481; 1857, ch. 34; 1858, ch. 102; Rev. Stat., 1858, ch. 186. Eleven acres of land were given to the school.

[469] Laws, 1866, ch. 105; 1869, ch. 8: 1880, ch. 116; 1881, ch. 298; 1883, ch. 268; 1891, ch. 331; 1893, ch. 290; 1907, ch. 128; Rev. Stat., 1898, ch. 38.

[470] Laws, 1885, ch. 315; 1897, ch. 321; 1901, ch. 422; 1903, ch. 86; 1907, ch. 128; Rev. Stat., 1898, § 578. It is provided that on the application of a local board of education, the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, with the consent of the Board of Control, may authorize the establishment of schools. Inspectors are also appointed by him, and the creation of schools may be compelled by the county judge. For each pupil the amount first allowed was $100, then $125, and now $150. For the board of pupils who do not live near the school, $100 additional is allowed. The first day school in the state was a private one at Milwaukee, founded in 1878 and lasting till 1885, when the law was enacted. It was under the auspices of the Wisconsin Phonological Institute, $15,000 being contributed for it by a ladies' society, and a city allowance being made to it in 1883. There have been other day schools in the state: Manitowac, 1893-1901; Oconto, 1898-1899; Neilsville, 1898-1905; Sparta, 1899-1909; Tomah, 1899-1900; Rhinelander, 1902-1904; and Waupaca, 1905-1906. There was another school in Oshkosh from 1888 to 1889.

[471] Laws, 1886, ch. 77; 1891, ch. 15; 1893, ch. 32; 1895, ch. 25; 1907, ch. 10; Comp. Stat., 1910, ch. 48. It has been provided that when there are as many as 12 applicants, a state school will be organized. A building was erected and designed for the school in 1897, but was set aside for military purposes. By the act of admission to the Union, 30,000 acres of land were granted for the school. The income from this fund in 1910 was $2,849.

[472] See Annals, lii., 1907, p. 208; liii., 1908, p. 173; liv., 1909, p. 193; Association Review, ix., 1907, p. 572. The school opened with 22 pupils.

[473] See report of Dr. Sheldon Jackson, Proceedings of Conference of Charities and Corrections, 1895, p. 322. In the Report of the Department of the Interior for 1908, pp. 274, 278, we have the following: "Congress in its appropriations for the education of the natives has also provided for their support. Acting under this authority, an effort is being made to reach the sick and indigent". It is possible that the needs of the deaf will be discovered in this way.

[474] In the Report of the Minister of Public Instruction to the Hawaiian legislature, April 14, 1854, p. 17, it is stated: "Provision for the deaf, dumb and blind: No provision for such sufferers among us, and from the returns of the census there are on the islands 106 deaf and dumb, and 329 blind". No mention of "such sufferers" has been found in a later report. For much of the information concerning the American possessions presented here, the writer is indebted to the Chief Bibliographer of the Library of Congress.




Extent of Constitutional Provisions

Not only has provision for the education of the deaf been consummated in all the states, but in some of them this provision has been buttressed, as it were, by a permanent guarantee in the organic law. This regard, while not necessary practically for the continuance of the schools, is none the less commendable,—and indeed is one that should be declared in every state. Such provision concerning the education of the deaf, more direct in some than in others, is found in the constitutions of twenty-seven, or a little over half of the states. These are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.[475]


New York in 1846 was the first state to make reference thus to a school for the deaf. Michigan, however, in 1850 was the first state to provide directly for their education, followed in 1851 by Indiana and Ohio. Of the forty-two states adopting constitutions since 1846, twenty-seven have made reference to schools, while fifteen have failed to do so. Of the twenty states adopting constitutions since 1889, sixteen have made such provision.[476] It is to be noted, however, that many of the states with special reference to the education of the deaf have comparatively recent constitutions, while in others where no such provision is found, the present constitutions often date far back in our national history, and were adopted before attention had been called to the needs of the deaf and similar classes. Hence, in general, it is not to be concluded from the mere presence or absence of a reference in the constitution that certain states are more solicitous than others for the education of their deaf children.


Language and Forms of Provisions

The language of these constitutional provisions for schools for the deaf varies to some extent.[477] In all of the constitutions, with the exception of that in Minnesota, schools for the deaf are coupled with those for the blind, and unless the provision is under the caption of "education," institutions for the insane are likewise provided for in the same clause. In several instances there is more than one reference to the school for the deaf.[478]

The most usual statement is that institutions for the deaf and dumb, the blind, and the insane shall be established and maintained, or fostered and supported, by the state, as in Arizona,[479] Colorado,[480] Florida,[481] Idaho,[482] Kansas,[483] Michigan,[245][484] Montana,[485] Nevada,[486] Ohio,[487] South Carolina,[488] Utah,[489] and Washington.[490] In the South Carolina constitution the school is also declared to be exempted from taxation; and in the Utah constitution a further provision establishes the location, and guarantees against diversion the lands granted by the United States.[491] In the constitutions of Arkansas,[492] Indiana,[493] Mississippi,[494] and Oklahoma,[495] the statement or its equivalent is that it is the duty of the legislature to provide by law for the support of institutions for the education of the deaf and dumb, and blind, and for the insane.

In other states less direct or authoritative references are found. In West Virginia[496] the legislature "may make suitable provision for the blind, mute and insane whenever it may be practicable," while in North Carolina[497] the matter seems also optional. In the Minnesota constitution[246][498] there is an amendment by which the public debt is increased for the purpose of establishing certain public institutions, including the school for the deaf. In the South Dakota constitution[499] the several charitable and penal institutions are enumerated, among which is the school for the deaf, while direction is also given as to the sale of land held for the benefit of the school. In New Mexico[500] the school is enumerated among the educational institutions, reference also being made to the public land; and in Virginia[501] the school is mentioned in connection with the composition of the state board of education. In the Texas constitution[502] a permanent fund is provided from the lands which have been granted prior to its adoption, while another reference is made to the printing to be done at the school. In the North Dakota constitution[503] the lands from Congress are declared to be a perpetual fund and inviolable, while in another place the location of the school is provided for. In the Alabama constitution[504] the legislature is expressly declared not to be empowered to change the location of the school. In New York[505] the[247] constitutional provisions have reference to the subsidies granted to private institutions, it being stated that "nothing in the constitution shall prevent the legislature from making such provision for the education and support of the blind, the deaf and dumb, and juvenile delinquents ... as it may deem proper," and that the legislature is not to be prohibited from action by the prohibition of the credit or land of the state being "given to private associations, corporations and undertakings." In Louisiana[506] a similar, though less explicit, reference to state aid is found.


[475] The constitutions of most of the states provide for the education of all their children, and the deaf could well be included here. Moreover, in the constitution of Nebraska (VIII., 12) there is a provision for children growing up in mendicancy and crime; and in that of Wyoming (VII., 18) that such charitable, penal or reformatory institutions shall be established as the claims of humanity and the public good many require. In either of these the provision might be construed to apply to schools for the deaf.

[476] In the constitutions of some states, as Michigan, Mississippi, New York, and South Carolina, there were provisions in the preceding as well as the present drafts.

[477] In the constitutions no reference is made to the deaf other than in provisions for schools, except in the case of Mississippi, where exemption from a certain tax is found.

[478] In these constitutional references, the provision is as a rule found under some general head as "public institutions", "state institutions", or "miscellaneous". In the South Carolina constitution the provision is found under the caption "charitable", and in the North Carolina under "charitable and penal". Under the heading of "education" are the provisions in the constitutions of Arizona (one clause), Colorado (as an amendment), Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma (one clause), Texas (though under the sub-title "charitable"), Utah (one clause), and Virginia.

[479] XXII., 15; XI., 1.

[480] VIII., 1. A later amendment classifies it with the educational institutions of the state.

[481] XIII., 1. Adopted the same year that the school was established.

[482] X., 1.

[483] VII., 1.

[484] XI., 15.

[485] X., 1; XI., 12.

[486] XIII., 1.

[487] VII., 1.

[488] XII., 1; X., 4.

[489] X., 10; XIX., 2, 3.

[490] XIII., 1.

[491] It is to be noted that in nearly all the states having government donations of land, reference is made to its inviolability.

[492] XIX., 19.

[493] IX., 1.

[494] VIII., 209.

[495] XII., 2; XXI., 1.

[496] XII., 12.

[497] XI., 10.

[498] IX., 14, as amended.

[499] XIV., 1.

[500] XII., 11.

[501] IX., 130.

[502] VII., 9; XVI., 21.

[503] IX., 159; XIX., 215. See also amendment, 1904, sec. 5.

[504] XIV., 267.

[505] VIII., 9, 14.

[506] 53.




Institutions Sometimes Regarded as Educational: Sometimes as Charitable

In considering the relation of the state to its schools for the deaf, the question is raised as to the way they are regarded by the state, and in what scheme of classification they have been assigned. We find that with many of the states the institutions are held to be charitable, and the further question is presented as to whether this is proper and just.

In times past this has been the usual classification, but of late years an increasing number of states have made a change and now regard the institutions as merely educational. It would be difficult to say with precision to what scheme of classification the schools in the several states should be ascribed; and in quite a number the lines shade off one into the other. From what has been said in the preceding chapters and also from certain legislative classification, it would seem that the schools in the following states are regarded largely, if not entirely, as educational:[249] Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia. In about half of the states, however, the institutions continue to be regarded as charitable to a greater or less extent from their connection with charity boards or from some other classification. Some are recognized as educational, but at the same time not held altogether free from the charitable touch.[507]

Charity in Connection with Schools for the Deaf

Considerable difficulty at the outset rests with the word charity. In its best sense, it is the finest word in our language, and from its springs flow all benevolence, material and spiritual: when looked upon scientifically much of the repugnance and prejudice felt toward it is lost, and it becomes the touchstone for the remedy of human[250] ills. In one sense, education is most surely and deeply charitable, whether or not it is held to be but the equipment of the state for its self-preservation. This has long been accepted, and so unanimously have the states undertaken the instruction of their children that its very discussion is now unknown.

But popularly conceived, charity is still something doled out and granted by the giver as a matter of grace, and to the recipient are carried associations that do not comport with independence and manliness of character. Besides, education has long ceased to be thought of as charitable, and only such institutions as are for the education of the deaf and blind are left with the undesirable signification of the word. In addition, the state maintains institutions for certain of its classes, as the insane, the feeble-minded and the infirm, which as a rule are in no sense educational from our standpoint, and other institutions of a reformatory, corrective or punitive character, and with them have to be classed the institutions for the deaf, all being known as the state's "charitable institutions," or "state institutions;" while the public rarely makes discrimination, or notes the distinctions involved.

The chief trouble, then, in classifying the schools for the deaf as charitable is this connection of the word charity, and the grouping of the[251] deaf with certain other parts of the state's population which other children do not have to share. The deaf are thus differentiated from children who have no defect of sense, and the education of the one is thus education, and of the other charity. Schools in which the deaf are educated would thus seem not to be given their just status. They are misrepresented by being aligned, on the one hand, with people of defective or diseased minds, and on the other, with the state's delinquent and criminal classes. The deaf thus become wards of the state, and constitute one of its dependent classes. They are "inmates" of an "eleemosynary" institution, and the fact that it is all for education is lost sight of.[508]

But, we are told, the treatment of deaf children should rest upon an altogether different basis, and they should, even in appearance, receive an education as a right and as nothing else. Education as the paramount privilege of American children is so deeply established in American institutions and character that it would seem to be a principle to be applied to all the children of the[252] state. Admission into schools for the deaf has become more and more like that in the regular schools.[509] The schools are open, as a general rule, only to those able and fitted to be educated, and the mentally and physically disqualified are often rejected. When a child has completed the prescribed number of years of attendance, he can be provided for no longer, and at vacation time in nearly all schools he must depart. The schools, as we are to see, have become free to all, while compulsory education laws have also been made to apply. Hence if schools for the deaf are educational, they can be regarded as charitable only to the extent that all schools are so considered; they should not be looked upon in a different light, and the public should be as fully alive to their claims.[510]


Arguments for the Connection with the Boards of Charities

Hitherto we have been discussing the theory in regard to the proper place in which the institutions are to be held, but we are now to see what are the actual grounds upon which the connection with the state board of charities is to be justified. Much might be said of the practical workings of schools in connection with such boards, and it is claimed that the schools get the substance at least in the way of beneficial treatment. By one superintendent it has been stated thus: "In theory it is all wrong, but in practice it could not be improved upon." Where the boards are composed of capable, broad-minded, sympathetic men, the needs of the schools can be satisfactorily looked into, and their experience with other institutions, where the problems are akin in the way of housing a large number of people, can be utilized to great advantage, especially in connection with sanitary, hospital and other arrangements.[511] Such boards may secure supplies on more favorable terms, may systematize all the institutions,[254] may properly apportion the appropriations to be asked of the legislature, may exercise a wider supervision, and may correlate all the means of the state for the maintenance of certain classes of its population. These boards may also have peculiar opportunities for coming across poor and neglected children and of getting them in the schools. Lastly, and most important of all, even though the institutions are educational, there is much also to be considered besides education alone, for a home and board are furnished during the school year, and usually transportation and clothing as well to those in need of them.[512]

By the boards of charity themselves the institutions are not necessarily regarded as charitable.[513] Many of them hold the institutions to be educational, despite the charity connection,[255] and few are unwilling to give recognition to their educational features. In none is there a desire to injure or stigmatize the deaf. The aim is to consider the matter in its practical bearings, and the question is held to be largely one of classification and administration. With all the fact weighs that board, lodging, etc., are given entirely free.[514] The clearest and fullest presentation of the point of view of the charity boards is given in the following extract from a letter by one board:[515]

The institutions are doubtless both educational and charitable, or at least ought to be, using these words in their ordinary application. It is not a question of merit or demerit on the part of the unfortunates or their families. It is not a question whether they are entitled to an education as much as normal children. So far as there is any real issue, it is one of classification for purposes of administration. The question seems to be whether the institutions that care for the above mentioned classes can best be administered under the department of charities that has charge of public institutions, or the department of education that usually has to do with institutions that furnish education only in the limited technical sense, where pupils attend school a few hours a day, but are not boarded at the institutions. Because an institution is an educational institution, I[256] think it may be none the less a charitable institution. For example, it would hardly be denied that an orphan asylum is a charitable institution; yet an orphan asylum that was not an educational institution would be deplorable. In the state institutions for the deaf and the blind, throughout the country, the educational side is very properly emphasized.... These inmates would properly be classed as public dependents as they usually have been.... The whole trouble seems to arise from a feeling of aversion to the word "charity", and probably the word has been degraded.... To refer to the institutions under consideration as "educational institutions", without any qualification, would not be in the interest of clearness of thought, and would either lead to confusion or to some qualifying phrases, because the deaf and the blind are certainly different enough from the normal child to be considered, for many purposes, in a separate class, and the institutions which educate and support them, it would seem to me, need some term by which they can be designated, which would distinguish them from the educational institutions designed for the normal child.

Arguments in Opposition to the Connection

Yet over against all the arguments for the connection with the boards of charities the voice of the educators of the deaf is in unison that the connection of the schools be completely severed with whatever is of charitable signification.[257][516] This feeling cannot all be ascribed to the prejudice regarding the words employed. In the dissolving of the charity connection an issue not to be disregarded is the moral effect on the public. A right conception is to be obtained respecting the education of the deaf, and while in the schools and in after life they are entitled to the recognition of the true character of this education and of their status in the community. If the deaf after they have left the schools have shown that they are capable of wrestling unaided with the difficulties of life, and are really not objects of charity at all, then they should be spared all discriminating associations. Indeed, as our new view of charity is the making of men capable of standing alone, and economic units of gain in society, so the deaf should not be considered as a distinct or dependent class, when by the use of certain expressions this is done; and we should hold that if their work in the world has justified them, then no barriers should be raised which their fellows in society do not have to meet, and that their education should be offered to them without discrimination or stigma.


The benefits derived from the relation with the board of charities may be more than offset by the connection with educational agencies, where the school is recognized as part of the state's educational system. In respect to the providing of maintenance for the pupils, this can be regarded as but an incidence, when any other plan would be impracticable. The main, overshadowing purpose in the work of the institutions is education, and what are supplied beyond are only to render this the more effective. But after all this is said, the opponents of the charity connection insist that the burden of proof is upon those who advocate the connection. Why, they ask, should the deaf children of the state who are as capable of being educated as others be considered objects of the state's charity? Why any more than other children?

The feeling in the matter may be indicated by two declarations on the subject, one by the educators of the deaf, and the other by the deaf themselves. The first is in the form of a resolution adopted by the Convention of American Instructors:[517]


Resolved, that the deaf youth of our land unquestionably deserve, and are lawfully entitled to, the same educational care and aid as their more fortunate brothers and sisters; and that this education, the constitutional duty of the state, should be accorded them as a matter of right, not of charity, standing in the law, as it is in fact, a part of the common school system.

The second is a resolution adopted by the National Association of the Deaf:[518]

Whereas, the privilege of an education is the birthright of every American child ...; and

Whereas, the deaf child ... has the same inalienable right to the same education as his more fortunate hearing brother; and

Whereas, ... the [modern] movement ... [is] giving schools for the deaf their proper place as part of the public school system of the country; and

Whereas, ... eighty-one per cent [of the deaf are] gainfully employed of those who have had schooling, thus indicating the value of education ...; therefore be it

Resolved, ... that education of the deaf on the part of the state is simply fulfillment of its duty as a matter of right and justice, not sympathetic charity and benevolence to the deaf; ... that schools for the deaf should not be known and regarded, nor classified, as benevolent or charitable institutions, ... [but] as strictly educational institutions, a part of the common school system ... [and not with such associations as] tend to foster a spirit of dependence in the pupils and mark them as the objects of charity of the state....


Conclusions in Respect to the Charity Connection of Schools for the Deaf

Certain inferences or conclusions may now be reached regarding our question as to whether schools for the deaf may be regarded and classified as charitable.

1. In America the schools have been regarded both as educational and charitable, but there is an increasing tendency to consider them as purely educational. At present about half of the states hold them entirely or in the main as educational.

2. The state boards or public authorities that regard the schools as charitable are in no wise prompted by any desire to discriminate against the deaf, or to deny that they are less capable or worthy of education than others. The question is held to be mainly one of administration.

3. Inasmuch as board and a home are provided in the institutions, and in some cases clothing and transportation also, the charitable element is present, and in point of fact the schools must be regarded ad hoc as charitable.

4. This charitable feature, however, plays a slight and almost negligible part in the work of the schools, being in fact only incidental, and the educational aims take precedence over all else.

5. Because of the associations involved in the charity connection, which are not shared in by the regular schools, and because of the little to suggest[261] charity in the after lives of the deaf, the schools for the deaf have reason to protest against the connection. As education is the one purpose of the schools, and as their operations are conducted solely to this end, they are entitled to an educational classification.

6. That the schools for the deaf should thus be held and treated, to the farthest possible extent, as purely educational, is demanded both by justice and by the regard for the proper effect on the deaf and on the public.


[507] Thus, in addition to the states named above, in the constitutions of Michigan, Oklahoma and Virginia the institutions are designated educational. In certain states also, as we have seen, the state superintendent of public instruction is ex-officio member of the governing board, and in a few other states report is made to the department of education. In New York and North Carolina the schools are visited by this department. In a number also an educational classification is found in some of the statutory references or captions. See in particular on this subject, Annals, xlviii., 1903, p. 348; lviii., 1913, p. 327.

[508] The earlier conception of the schools is in part illustrated by the name "asylum" given. British schools were often called asylums or hospitals, and were largely founded and supported by charity. Likewise in America the term "asylum" was frequently given to the schools when first started. But the name has now been generally discarded, and in but one state is the title retained, New Mexico. "School" is now mostly used, while in a few "institution" is employed. See Annals, loc. cit. See also Report of Board of Penal, Pauper and Charitable Institutions of Michigan, 1878, p. 41.

[509] In Massachusetts appropriations were once "for beneficiaries in asylums for the deaf and dumb", but now they are "for the education of deaf pupils in schools designated by law".

[510] In a legal sense, nearly all educational institutions can be called charitable, especially if they are private affairs, and gifts for such purposes are held in the law as for charitable purposes. See 4 Wheaton, 518; 2 How. (U. S.), 227; 14 How., 277; 44 Mo., 570; 25 O. St., 229. Not many cases have arisen in regard to the status of institutions for the deaf. In 1900 the Columbia Institution was held in the opinion of the Attorney-General to be under the department of charities, but Congress the next year declared it to be educational. See Annals, xlvi., 1901, p. 345. In Colorado an opinion was rendered that the school was educational alone, and not subject to the civil service rules, and this was later ratified in the constitution and by the legislature. Some of the courts have been inclined to view the institutions as charitable. In Nebraska the school for the deaf was at first considered an asylum and in the same class with almshouses, rather than educational. 6 Neb., 286. See also 43 Neb., 184. In New York the provision of the law allowing the State Board of Charities to inspect the Institution for the Blind was attacked, and it was held that, though the institution was partly educational and was visited by the department of education, yet the word charity was to be taken in its usual meaning, and if the institution as a private body educated, clothed and maintained indigent pupils, it was charitable. 154 New York, 14 (1897).

[511] See Report of Illinois Board of Charities, 1872, pp. 13ff., 32ff.

[512] In a few cases a home during vacation is afforded to the indigent or unprotected.

[513] In order to discover how these institutions are regarded by the departments of charities, letters of inquiry were sent by the writer to all the states of the Union. Replies were received in 45 out of 49 cases, coming from boards of charities, boards of control, or in their absence from commissioners of education or other state officials,—and in a few cases from individuals or societies to whom the communication was turned over. In the answers, the institutions were called charitable by 6, educational by 13, both charitable and educational by 12, while by 14 the question was not specifically answered. In some instances, these replies were only private opinions, but they represent none the less the views of those most in touch with the charity activities of the states. In a few cases the replies were at variance with what has been accepted regarding certain states. It was also found that boards of control do not necessarily consider the institutions as charitable.

[514] By one board, while such schools are admitted to be partly educational, they are held "charitable in that they afford a home for certain defective persons during the time of their dependence". By one board the pupils are called "charity patients".

[515] The District of Columbia.

[516] Many of the schools in their reports take pains to disclaim any but a strictly educational character. Of the Michigan school it is expressly stated that it is "not an asylum, reformatory or hospital"; of the Colorado that it is "not an 'asylum' or 'home' for the afflicted; it is not a hospital for the care and treatment of the eyes and ears; and it is not a place for the detention and care of imbeciles"; of the Illinois that it is "not a reformatory, poor house, hospital or asylum"; of the Indiana that it is "not an asylum, place of refuge, reform school, almshouse, children's home or hospital"; of the Georgia that it is "in no sense an asylum ... or charitable institution"; and of the Mississippi that it is "in no sense an asylum ... a home ... [nor a place] for medical treatment." See also Report of Commissioner of Public Lands and Buildings of Nebraska, 1896, p. 356; Education Department of New York, 1912, p. 81.

[517] Proceedings, xvii., 1905, p. 168. See also ibid., xv., 1898, p. 216; Annals, lv., 1910, p. 133. The schools are also said to be "maintained solely for the instruction of a large and interesting class of children who, by reason of a physical infirmity, the loss of hearing, are denied instruction in the public schools". Dr. A. L. E. Crouter, Proceedings of National Conference of Charities and Corrections, 1906, p. 249. See also Report of Kentucky School, 1909, p. 17.

[518] Proceedings, viii., 1907, p. 40. See also ibid., v., 1896, p. 47.




Rules as to the Payment of Fees

Hitherto we have considered the several forms of provision for the schools for the deaf, and the general treatment accorded them. We now turn our examination to the schools themselves in their relation to the pupils who enter them. Our first concern is with the provisions as to the admission of pupils into the schools.

We find that the schools, to all intents and purposes, are free to all applicants mentally and physically qualified to enter.[519] Usually, when started, the schools were free to the indigent only, though some, especially in the West, were made free to all from the very beginning. However, there was little attempt to observe closely these limitations, and in time, as we have seen, they[263] were for the most part given up.[520] At present limitations of any kind are found in the smaller number of states, and exist in these in form rather than in practice, so that to-day laws or regulations of a restrictive nature may be regarded as but nominal.

In all the states the schools are by statute free to the indigent at least, and in less than a score is there a regulation short of universal admittance prescribed. By the wording of the statute, either directly or by implication, it would seem to be indicated that the schools, or, in their absence, the proper public authorities, in the following states were still empowered to demand a charge in whole or in part from those able to pay: Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia—these states at least making reference in some place to the indigent.[521] But with or without such reference, as we have noted, in but few instances is there a charge to any, indigent or[264] not.[522] In some states proof of indigence is still formally necessary,[523] and in others payment may be made if desired.[524]

Little effort, then, is made to collect fees in American schools for the deaf. The circumstances of the deaf themselves are usually such as to demand for them education without cost; while at the same time the general American feeling that education should be a free gift of the state to its youth would be sufficient to prevent attempts to secure payment, even if such action should be considered proper.

Provision for Collateral Support of Pupils

The state thus supplies the means for the education and maintenance of pupils without cost to them; but to insure the attendance of those who by reason of poverty might be prevented from[265] availing themselves of its bounty, it assists even further. Where no other means are provided, clothing and transportation to and from the schools are furnished free of expense. Such charges are usually paid by the counties from which the pupils come, though a few states undertake this directly. A given sum may be allowed for this purpose, or the actual cost may be collected.[525]

Age Limits of Attendance

With most of the schools the age limits of attendance are fixed, and pupils may be admitted only within the time prescribed by the law. In some the age permitted is the common school age; in others pupils are admitted who are of "suitable age and qualifications," or "capacity;" and in some cases, no limits being set down, the matter seems to be left to the discretion of the authorities.[526]


In schools where the limits of attendance are specified, the minimum age is usually six, seven or eight, while a few schools admit at five. In a few of the day schools, and in most of the oral home schools, children may be received as early as three, or even two, to make an early beginning in the use of speech, some of the home schools being designed expressly to receive children under five, or before the regular school period. The age limit for the completion of the school period is often twenty or twenty-one, while a few schools may keep pupils longer, as to twenty-five. The most frequent age period at present, where age limits are stated, is from six to twenty-one, but the period often begins and ends at other ages.[527]


In some cases pupils are allowed to remain a certain number of years, but none beyond a certain limit, while in many the period may be extended two, three or five years, when it appears that the progress of the pupil justifies a more protracted residence.[528] Finally, it is to be noted that the limits of attendance have in general been lowered, and have been made to conform more and more with those of the regular schools.[529]


[519] Certain of the schools receive a few pay pupils, but these are usually from outside the state or are otherwise exceptionally provided for. Receipts from such sources are inconsiderable, and have little effect on the revenues of the schools. According to the Census of Benevolent Institutions of 1905, less than $55,000 came to the schools in this way, the greater amount being for pupils of other states.

[520] The statutes of some states, as of Maine and Massachusetts, even go so far as distinctly to declare that no discrimination shall be made on account of wealth. On this subject, see Report of Clarke School, 1885, p. 8.

[521] In Florida tuition at least seems to be provided free by the statute, and in Georgia free admission seems to be provided only for the indigent blind, while education is made free to all the deaf. On this subject, see American Journal of Sociology, iv., 1898, p. 51ff.

[522] On this subject the superintendent of the Mississippi School addressed letters to heads of Southern schools, and found only two—those in Texas and Mississippi—having any requirement as to payment. In Mississippi there had been only two payments in the course of a considerable number of years. In the Texas school for the year 1909 we find the sum of $1,546 collected as a "reasonable amount" for board,—an unusual item in the receipts of a school.

[523] Wherever a formal regulation is stated, we are advised that the schools are "free to the indigent", "free if parents are unable to pay", "free under certain circumstances", etc. In a few states, "certificates of inability" have been demanded.

[524] In Maine, for instance, the law states that the school is free, "provided, however, that nothing herein contained shall be held to prevent the voluntary payment of the whole or part of such sum by the parent or the guardian".

[525] Some states, notably Washington, Minnesota, Mississippi, South Carolina, Arkansas, Utah, Nebraska, and Oklahoma allow funds to pay the transportation of students who enter the college at Washington, and in some cases an even further allowance is made. In Minnesota and Nebraska, for instance, the amount is $300 a year. See Annals, lvi., 1911, p. 180.

[526] Even where the age period is fixed by law, it is not always rigidly adhered to, and considerable elasticity may be allowed. Of the Michigan school we are told that the state "wisely allows the board of trustees the privilege of admitting those [pupils] who are older or younger, if they see fit". Report, 1908, p. 32. For discussion of the age period, see Report of New York Institution for Improved Instruction, 1870, p. 28; Ohio School, 1872, p. 17; Clarke School, 1888, p. 8; American School, 1893, p. 32; Michigan School, 1894, p. 22; New Jersey School, 1898, p. 20; Pennsylvania Institution, 1901, p. 35; Proceedings of Convention of American Instructors, xviii., 1908, p. 156; Association Review, v., 1903, p. 380.

[527] The formal age period is from 6 to 21 in Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Montana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Washington; from 7 to 21 in Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska and New Mexico; 7 to 25 in Georgia and North Dakota; 7 to 20 in Wisconsin; 8 to 20 in Minnesota; 8 to 21 in Indiana; 8 to 25 in West Virginia; 8 to 26 in California; 5 to 21 in Iowa and Maine; 5 to 20 in Vermont; and in North Carolina at one school 6 to 21, and at the other 8 to 23. In Alabama pupils between the ages of 7 and 21 may remain 10 years, with an extension of 4, but none beyond 25. In Arkansas the limits are 6 and 21, and the time of residence may be extended to 13 years. In Texas they are 7 and 20, with a residence of 12 years permitted. In Missouri they are 8 and 21, with a residence of 12 years. In Kentucky and Virginia they are the same, with a residence of 10 years. In Rhode Island they are 3 and 20, with a stay of 10 years, which may be extended. In New Jersey the limits are 8 and 21, and a pupil is entitled to a stay of 8 years, which may be extended 3, and 3 more in addition. In Louisiana the limits are 8 and 22, pupils under 14 being allowed to stay 10 years; between 14 and 17, 8; and over 17, 5—with an extension in each case of 4 years. In Delaware a pupil may stay 5 years, with a further extension of 5. In Ohio the lower limit is 7, and none may remain more than 13 years. In New York pupils may enter at 5, but after 12, the period is 5 years, with an extension of 3, and a further one of 3. In Wyoming pupils may enter at 6; and in Connecticut at 6, with a residence of 12 years and an extension of 6. In Massachusetts a residence of 10 years is permitted, which may be extended, but here the Clarke School has no fixed time, and the Horace Mann takes pupils over 5. In Pennsylvania, though the statute seems to have provided from 10 to 20 years as the period, there are no strict limits, the Pennsylvania Institution receiving from 5 to 21, the Western Pennsylvania from 6 to 20, and the Pennsylvania Oral none under 6, except in special circumstances. In Utah there seems to be only an upper limit of 30.

[528] It sometimes happens that there are found a small number of deaf persons who are beyond the age allowed, but who are in need of a certain amount of schooling. Their condition is said to be "due to their environments, to merciless and exacting parents, to sickness, and to other causes." Report of Iowa School, 1812, p. 13. See also Report, 1910, p. 8. Under special arrangements, some of these might be benefited no little by a few years of instruction. In Iowa such persons may now be received up to the age of thirty-five, if the State Board of Control consents.

[529] We have already noticed that in the first schools an early age was not insisted upon, some pupils entering at 10 or 12, while their attendance was also of short duration. The period was often from 9 to 30. The latter age has been allowed in some states till recent years, as in Texas, Arkansas and Missouri. It may be stated here that the law as to residence applies usually only at the time of entrance, and the removal of the parent may not always effect a change. For a case in point, see 4 R. I., p. 587.




The Proportion of the Deaf in the Schools

The question now arises as to whether the deaf generally attend these schools provided for them. This inquiry really resolves itself into two parts: how far the deaf have at some time and for a longer or shorter period had recourse to the schools; and how far they may be found to be in attendance at a given time. The one has relation rather to how widely the schools are extending their educational opportunities, and the other to how effectively they are accomplishing their ends.

As to the first consideration, the schools are found to reach most of the deaf children with the privileges of an education to a greater or less extent. From the returns of the census[530] we find that nearly four-fifths (78.4 per cent) of the deaf have attended school, over three-fourths (77.5 per cent) of these having attended the special schools. The proportion would be greater still but for the number of the deaf too young to enter[269] school. The proportion of the deaf of school age who have attended school may likewise be estimated by comparing the total number of approximate school age with the number who were reported to have been in attendance. There were, according to the census, 13,905 deaf children from five to twenty years of age. Of these, 10,640, or 76.5 per cent, were reported to have attended school.[531] In 1912-1913 the total number in attendance was 14,474, which probably means a higher proportion. On the whole, then, it would seem that, in respect to the number of deaf children actually reached at one time or another, the schools make a really commendable showing, and one that is becoming better from year to year.

The second matter, however, cannot be disposed of nearly so satisfactorily. It is difficult to determine with any approach to exactness the respective proportions of the deaf in the several states of school age who are out of school. The census does not give us definite information on this point; and though the school authorities themselves are usually aware of conditions in their respective states, they seldom have the[270] means of fully ascertaining. But we may learn something of the general situation. In the reports of some of the schools complaint is not infrequently made as to the number of deaf children out of school who should be in, and in a portion the number is said to be large.[532] The proportions, furthermore, found in attendance in the different states in comparison with their total population, or with their total deaf population under twenty years of age, indicate that the attendance in some states is far greater than in others, which means that in the latter a relatively smaller part are in school.[533] It would appear,[271] then, that the number of the deaf out of school who are of school age is probably not negligible in any of the states, and that in some it is very considerable.[534]

The fact that the schools do not have their full quota of pupils is not all due to the refusal of deaf children to avail themselves of the opportunity for a schooling. It is in good part owing also to the failure of some of the pupils who attend to remain a sufficient length of time. In the preceding chapter we have seen what are the limits of attendance prescribed in the schools; but as a matter of fact a large proportion of the pupils do not remain the full period allotted, and in some of the schools an appreciable number do not remain the better or a substantial part of the term.[535] As in all schools, there is in the passing of the pupils from the years of childhood an increasing tendency to leave, and with the deaf this applies with no less force;[536] so that on no[272] small portion of the pupils the work of the schools is not permitted to have full effect.

The Need of Compulsory Education Laws for the Deaf

It is thus quite evident, however large the true proportion of the deaf who attend the school may be, and whatever the proportion remaining a satisfactory period may be, that in practically every state there are a certain number of deaf children not in the schools who should be there, and that the offer of the state to provide an education for all its deaf children is not availed of as it should be.[537] For the existence of this condition of affairs the schools are not to be held responsible. They are usually doing all they can to get the children in, and all the deaf if they will may receive an education. The cause lies further back: most often in the ignorance or short-sightedness of the parent.

For it all there is but one remedy—the enactment of a strong compulsory education law and[273] its uncompromising enforcement. No matter how strenuous and diligent may be the efforts to reach the children,[538] it is only when such a law is on the statute books that the state's really effective weapon is at hand to secure attendance.[539]

However urgent are the needs of compulsory education laws for children generally, there are special reasons for them with the deaf. The deaf stand in particular need of an education, and without it their condition is peculiarly helpless and pitiable. Compelling reason is also found in the fact that, besides the ordinary schooling, industrial training is likewise afforded to the deaf, which is hardly possible elsewhere, and which may mean no little towards success in after life. Even though it sometimes seems hard to take a deaf child from his home, and separate him from his parents for a number of months at a time, especially if the child is in his tender years, the greater necessity of the law is but indicated if such children are to be kept from growing up in ignorance. The hardship in separation is rather[274] apparent only and is temporary, while the gains are not to be measured.

Not only should the deaf child be required to attend school, but for reasons equally strong it should be seen that he remains at school a sufficient number of years, and a sufficient length of time each year. It is a difficult matter as it is to secure full attendance, but too often also the temptation is at hand for pupils to leave early to take up work on their own account, or because the school routine seems irksome; and too often is a pupil called away to help on the farm or in the shop by what is sometimes hardly less than the greed of the parent, or by what is sometimes miscalled his poverty. The state should allow nothing at all to stand in the way of the child's best interests.

Present Extent of Compulsory Education Laws

How important are compulsory education laws for the deaf is being generally seen, and the demand has become practically unanimous for their enactment, the feeling not being confined to educators of the deaf but shared in by others interested in them.[540] Such laws have begun to find[275] their way upon the statute books, and are now being increasingly enacted. Already practically half of the states have them, nearly all of which were enacted since 1900. In other states the matter is also being agitated, with the likelihood that provisions will be extended to them in time. States with such laws now number at least twenty-three: California, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.[541]

With respect to the provisions of these statutes, we find that in some cases the general compulsory education law applies with its age-periods,[276] fines, etc., while in others there are special enactments for the deaf. In most states an exception is made if there is instruction at home, or with equal facilities, and at the same time and in the same branches. In certain ones truancy officers are expressly designated to enforce the law.[542] Fines for violation are placed at sums varying from $5 to $200.[543] The period of attendance required may be the school year, but more often a part, as five, six or eight months;[544] and the term for which attendance is required is either a designated number of years, as five or eight, or a period between certain age limits, as from eight to sixteen or from seven to eighteen, etc.[545]


[530] Special Reports, 1906, pp. 145, 146, 242. Of the colored deaf less than one-half—1,169 out of 2,836—had been to school.

[531] In 1890 the proportion of deaf children between five and twenty years found to be in school was only 40 per cent, to be accounted for in part by the fact that only those children actually in school at the time that the census was taken were included. Census Reports, 1890. Report on Insane, Feeble-minded, Deaf and Dumb and Blind, 1895, p. 102.

[532] In the case of the Alabama School it is said that "there are many deaf children of school age in the state not in school". Report, 1900, p. 24. In the case of the Kentucky School it is stated that "there are still 200 [children] of school age in the state who have not received the benefit of the school". Report, 1903, p. 13. See also Report, 1887, p. 98. In Tennessee it is stated that there are "doubtless quite a number of deaf children of whom we have no knowledge in certain counties". Report of Tennessee School, 1910, p. 11. In Texas there are said to be "300 deaf children in the state within scholastic age who are not in school", this proportion possibly being 50 per cent. Report of Texas School, 1912, pp. 5, 12. See also Report of Board of Charities of New York, 1910, i., p. 151; Arkansas School, 1890, p. 44; Western Pennsylvania Institution, 1888, p. 19; 1908, p. 19; Maryland School, 1893, p. 8.

[533] It has been found that, by comparing the number of the deaf in school in the several states with the total population of 1910, the best record is 26.0 per 100,000 of population, which belongs to Wisconsin; and if this ratio be accepted as an approximate standard, the average proportion for all the United States is only one-half, with a ratio of 13.6 per 100,000, while in a few of the states it is only one-third, the lowest ratio being 6.1 per 100,000. If all the states had as high a ratio as 26, the number in attendance would be 23,913. The finding of these results is due to Mr. F. W. Booth, Volta Review, xii., 1911, p. 786. If we compare the number of the deaf reported by the census under twenty years of age with the number found at school. In 1912-1913, the lowest proportion is seen to be 45 per cent, though only half a dozen states have proportions under 60.

[534] The proportion of children generally out of school is found by the Russell Sage Foundation to average 21.8 per cent in all the states, ranging from 7.3 to 44.7 per cent. Comparative Study of Public School Systems in 48 States, 1912.

[535] In respect to the ages most common in the schools for the deaf, it has been found by Dr. Harris Taylor, of the New York Institution for Improved Instruction, that of 2,634 pupils in 38 schools for whom returns were made, 19.8 per cent were seven years of age; 17.3 per cent, eight; 10.9 per cent, six; 10.2 per cent, nine; and 9.6 per cent, ten. Only 1.4 per cent were over nineteen. Volta Review, xiv., 1912, p. 177.

[536] See Report of Western New York Institution, 1888, p. 28; Kentucky School, 1889, p. 14. In the regular schools 85 per cent of the pupils are said to drop out between the twelfth and fifteenth years. F. M. Leavitt, "Examples of Industrial Education", 1912, p. 54. See also Report on Condition of Women and Children Wage Earners in the United States, 1910, vol. 7.

[537] In some cases it happens that the school is already crowded, but the need is no less, and it should be the business of the state to provide sufficient accommodations for all those who seek an education.

[538] Great credit is often due to the schools for their efforts to get all the children in. Of the Kentucky School it is said that "there remain but few deaf children whom we have not seen personally". Report, 1907, p. 14.

[539] We do not have sufficient data to enable us to make comparison between the attendance in states with a compulsory education law and those without it, though the former have in general apparently the better record. In Michigan it is stated that the compulsory education law has brought in many who otherwise would not have come. Report, 1908, p. 14.

[540] See Proceedings of National Conference of Charities and Corrections, 1907, p. 498; Report of Commissioner of Charities and Corrections of Oklahoma, 1912, p. 430; Proceedings of Convention of American Instructors, vii., 1870, p. 137; x., 1882, p. 164; xi., 1886, p. 34; Conference of Principals, ii., 1872, p. 178; National Association of the Deaf, iii., 1889, p. 52; Annals, xv., 1870, p. 216; xliv., 1899, p. 152; liv., 1909, p. 356; lviii., 1913, p. 347; Association Review, v., 1903, p. 181; Report of Clarke School, 1888, pp. 8, 19; North Carolina School (Raleigh) 1896, p. 6; Illinois School, 1898, p. 13; Colorado School, 1898, p. 18; Indiana School, 1900, p. 20; Oregon School, 1901, p. 9; Nebraska School, 1912, p. 9; and current reports of schools generally.

[541] In a certain number of states, moreover, as Connecticut and West Virginia, town and county authorities are required to make report of the deaf at fixed times, and this may sometimes have the effect of a regular law. In addition, in some states with the full law, as Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina, it is the duty of certain county officials, as superintendents of education, assessors, etc., to send in the names of possible pupils to the schools. In North Carolina many county superintendents of education are said to take an interest in thus getting the children in. Report of North Carolina School, 1908, p. 10; 1910, p. 9. By the secretary of the state board of charities of California, however, we are advised that the state does not compel a parent to send his deaf or blind child to an institution.

[542] As in Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, and Oregon.

[543] The fines in some of the states are as follows: $5 in Maryland, $5-$20 in Minnesota, $5-$25 in Montana and Oregon, $20 in Rhode Island, $25 in Iowa, $5-$50 in Wisconsin, $100 in Kansas, and $50-$200 in Washington. In Utah the offense is a misdemeanor.

[544] Kansas requires 5 months, Oklahoma, Oregon and Montana 6, and Maryland, North Dakota and Wisconsin 8.

[545] The number in Montana is 8, and in California 5. The limits in Wisconsin are 6 and 16, in North Carolina 7 and 17, in Indiana and Maryland 8 and 16, in North Dakota 7 and 20, in Kansas and Oklahoma 7 and 21, in Michigan, Nebraska and Rhode Island 7 and 18, in Montana, Ohio, Oregon and Utah 8 and 18, in Minnesota 8 and 20, and in Iowa 12 and 19. In Minnesota it is suggested that the law apply to those over 20 as well. Report of Board of Control, 1908, p. 356; Report of Minnesota School, 1909, p. 23.




The Use of Signs as a Means of Communication

Deaf children cannot be educated as other children, and in the schools there have to be employed special means of instruction. In the present chapter it is our purpose to consider these methods only as they represent, in a complete study of the provision of the state for the education of the deaf, the means which have been found necessary to employ to attain this end.

From the beginning of organized instruction of the deaf in America a system of signs has been in use to a wide extent. At the time when the methods of instruction of the deaf were introduced into the first schools, the "sign language" was brought in as an essential part from France, where it had largely been formulated. Modified somewhat and considerably enlarged—and in conjunction with the manual alphabet, of Spanish origin—the system has taken its place as a recognized means of education and communication in the great number of the schools. The deaf themselves[278] after passing from the doors of the schools have employed the sign language mainly in their intercourse with one another, and with most of them meetings and social affairs are conducted virtually entirely in this manner. Thus the sign language has for long been one of the vehicles—usually the chief vehicle—of communication among the deaf and their instructors.

With the sign language for practical use goes the manual alphabet, or "finger-spelling," by which the several letters of the alphabet are represented on the hand, the two together really constituting the language.[546] The order of signs itself forms to an extent a universal language. It consists of gestures, bodily movements, mimic actions, pantomime, postures—and to carry a close shade of meaning, even the shrugging of shoulders, the raising of eyebrows and the expression of the face—all appealing graphically to the accustomed eye. The signs of which it is made up are partly natural, and partly arbitrary or conventional;[279] and the whole system as now practiced has been codified, as it were, for experienced users. By the deaf it can be employed rapidly and with ease, and is readily and clearly understood. Many of them become such masters of this silent tongue that it may be used with grace, warmth and expressiveness.[547]

Rise and Growth of the Oral Movement

This system of signs, however, has not been looked upon with favor by all parties. The "sign language" is said to be a foreign language, known and understood by only a very small part of the population, standing as a great barrier to the acquisition of language used by people generally, and tending to make the deaf of a class apart or "clannish." In its place in the schools would be substituted what is known as the "oral method," and speech and lip-reading would be used as the means of instruction. It has been sought thus to give all the schools over to the oral method, and summarily to drive out the sign language.[548]


Though the system of signs has been used in America as the prevailing method from the beginning, it cannot be said that speech-teaching had not been employed at all in the early days. Several schools had started out as oral schools,[549] and in others speech had been employed to a greater or less extent.[550] But in none of the schools had the oral method been retained to the exclusion of all others.

In time, however, attempts were made to secure the adoption of a pure oral system. Attention was called especially to Germany, which had long been known as the home of this method, and[281] it was sought to introduce it into America.[551] In 1843 Horace Mann and Dr. Samuel G. Howe visited that country, and on their return reported in favor of the oral method, though no change was then brought about.[552]

A few years later the matter was further agitated, and in 1864 an effort was made to have an oral school incorporated in Massachusetts, but without success. A small oral school was then started at Chelmesford in 1866, which after a short time was removed to Northampton, having been very liberally endowed, and becoming known as the Clarke School. In 1867 the legislature decided to incorporate this, and to allow some of the state pupils to be sent to it.

In the meantime—in fact, seven months prior to the actual establishment of the Clarke School—a school which had resulted from a private class had been started in New York City, known as the New York Institution for the Improved Instruction of Deaf-Mutes. This was under a former Austrian teacher, and its stated purpose was to use the oral method as in Germany. Two[282] years later the school board of Boston, having made a canvass of the deaf children of the city, resolved to establish a day school, which was to be a pure oral one, and which not long after was called the Horace Mann School. These three schools were thus the pioneers in the present oral movement.[553]

The oral method has gained ground steadily since these times. It is now used exclusively in twelve of the institutions, while it has always remained the prevailing method in the day schools.[283][554] A great extension is also found in the institutions employing what is called the "combined system," and in them more and more attention is given to the teaching of speech.

The growth in the number of speech-taught pupils may be indicated in the following table, showing the number and percentage of those taught speech in different years from 1884, the year we first have record; of those taught wholly or chiefly by the oral method since 1892; and also of those taught wholly or chiefly by the auricular method since 1893.[555]


Year Total
by Oral
Chiefly by


It thus appears that in a little over a quarter of a century the proportion of pupils in the schools taught speech has nearly trebled; and that in a score of years the proportion taught chiefly or wholly by the oral method has more than trebled. The proportion of the pupils taught wholly or chiefly by the auricular method never rises above two per cent.

It should be stated, however, that these figures are not to be taken as meaning that all the pupils thus enumerated have become proficient in the employment of speech, or have become able to speak clearly and intelligibly, and well enough for general practical use. It would be nearest the truth to say that they are "taught articulation," or that they are instructed by the use of speech and speech-reading. Oftentimes the greatest success lies in the preservation in fair shape of the speech of those who have once had it. The speech acquired by the deaf is of varying degrees, as we have seen; but in some it may be such as to be of distinct service, as well as the lip-reading which may be said to go with it.[556]

Present Methods of Instruction

The methods of instruction at present employed in American schools for the deaf are[285] known as the manual, the manual alphabet, the oral, the auricular and the combined. They are thus described in the Annals:[557]

I. The Manual Method.—Signs, the manual alphabet, and writing are the chief means used in the instruction of the pupils, and the principal objects aimed at are mental development and facility in the comprehension and use of written language. The degree of relative importance given to these three means varies in different schools; but it is a difference only in degree, and the end aimed at is the same in all.

II. The Manual Alphabet Method.—The manual alphabet and writing are the chief means used in the instruction of the pupils, and the principal objects aimed at are mental development and facility in the comprehension and use of written language. Speech and speech-reading are taught to all of the pupils in the school (the Western New York Institution) recorded as following this method.

III. The Oral Method.—Speech and speech-reading, together with writing, are made the chief means of instruction, and facility in speech and speech-reading, as well as mental development and written language, is aimed at. There is a difference in the different schools in the extent to which the use of natural signs is allowed in the early part of the course, and also in the prominence given to writing as an auxiliary to speech and speech-reading in the course of instruction; but they are differences only in degree, and the end aimed at is the same in all.

IV. The Auricular Method.—The hearing of semi-deaf pupils is utilized and developed to the greatest possible extent, and with or without the aid of artificial appliances, their education is carried on chiefly through[286] the use of speech and hearing, together with writing. The aim of the method is to graduate its pupils as hard-of-hearing speaking people, instead of deaf-mutes.

V. The Combined System.—Speech and speech-reading are regarded as very important, but mental development and the acquisition of language are regarded as still more important. It is believed that in many cases mental development and the acquisition of language can best be promoted by the Manual or Manual Alphabet Method, and so far as circumstances permit, such method is chosen for each pupil as seems best adapted for his individual case. Speech and speech-reading are taught where the measure of success seems likely to justify the labor expended, and in most of the schools some of the pupils are taught wholly or chiefly by the Oral Method or the Auricular Method.[558]

Of these methods the oral and the combined are practically the only ones found. The auricular is employed only in connection with certain pupils in some of the schools; while the manual method is found in but two schools, and the manual alphabet in but one. In the institutions the combined is by far the preponderating system, being employed in all but fifteen of the sixty-five; while the oral is employed in twelve. On the other hand, the oral method is used in the day schools almost altogether, there being but two of the sixty-five schools employing the combined[287] system. In the twenty-one denominational and private schools the oral method predominates, fifteen employing the oral or the oral and auricular, and six the combined. In such schools, the denominational more often employ the combined method, while the strictly private are oral.

In respect to the number of pupils in the schools using the two chief methods, we find that 83.7 per cent of those in institutions are in institutions employing the combined system, and 13.9 per cent in oral institutions; that of those in day schools 96.1 per cent are in oral schools, and 3.9 per cent in combined; and that of those in denominational and private schools, 54.8 per cent are in combined schools, and 45.2 per cent in oral. Of all the pupils in the schools, 72.4 per cent are in schools employing the combined system of instruction, and 25.6 per cent in schools employing the oral. The percentage taught by the manual or manual alphabet method is 2.0. The percentage given auricular instruction is 1.1.

Courses of Study and Gradations of Pupils

Schools for the deaf have courses of study corresponding in general with those in regular schools, although special emphasis and drill have to be put upon language—something the congenitally deaf child in particular finds exceedingly difficult to use properly. Pupils capable[288] of taking the full course are carried through the kindergarten, primary, intermediate, grammar and high school grades; and on the completion of the prescribed course may receive diplomas, while in some cases a certificate may be granted for a certain period of attendance. Not a large proportion of the pupils, however, really graduate.[559]

In all the schools for the deaf in the United States in the year 1912-1913 there were 14,474 pupils. Of these, 11,894, or 82.2 per cent, were in institutions; 1,942, or 13.4 per cent, in day schools; and 638, or 4.4 per cent, in denominational and private schools.[560] The instructors employed in all the schools (not including teachers of industries, but including superintendents or principals) number 1,419, or one instructor for every 9.5 pupils: in the institutions, 1,090, or one to 10; in the day schools, 223, or one to 7.9; and in the denominational and private, 92, or one to[289] 5.7.[561] The total number of pupils who have received instruction from the beginning is 72,453, of whom 89.0 per cent have been in institutions, 7.7 per cent in day schools, and 3.3 per cent in denominational and private schools.

The following table, based on the figures given in the Report of the United States Commissioner of Education will show the number of pupils in the different grades and classes in the schools for the year 1911-1912.[562]


Kind of School Kindergarten
to Grades 1 to
4 in Elementary
to Grades 5
to 8
to High
Institutions 1,063 5,040 3,365 1,069
Day Schools 134 1,195 559 38
and Private        
Schools 63 244 163 16
Total 1,260 6,479 4,087 1,123

For 1912 there were reported 133 graduates from the schools: 130 from institutions, 2 from day schools, and 1 from denominational or private schools.[563]


Industrial Training in the Schools

The industrial training given in the American schools for the deaf forms a very important feature of the work—in many respects it may be said to be the most important. In many of the schools industrial instruction was recognized almost from the very start, and in a number it commenced practically with the beginning of the work of education.[564] It is now provided in all the institutions, in nearly all the day schools, and in over half of the denominational and private schools. Many of the institutions have large, well-equipped shop and trade departments, with skilled and capable instructors. Nearly every pupil at a suitable age is put at some industry, and encouragement and special opportunity are often given to those who show a particular bent or aptitude. The value of this industrial preparation of the schools in the after lives of the deaf has already been referred to.[565]

The following table will show the number and percentage of the pupils in the several kinds of schools in industrial departments, according to[291] the Report of the United States Commissioner of Education for 1911-1912.[566]


Kind of School Total
Number in
Per cent
Institutions 11,244 6,203 55.2
Day Schools 1,928 662 34.3
Denominational and Private Schools 518 196 37.8
Total 13,690 7,061 51.8

In all the schools there are 403 industrial instructors, 373 being in institutions.[567]

The industries taught in the schools, as given in the Annals,[568] are as follows:

Art, baking, barbering, basket-making, blacksmithing, bookbinding, bookkeeping, bricklaying, broom-making, building trades, cabinet-making, calcimining, carpentry, chalk-engraving, cementing, chair-making, china-painting, construction work, cooking, clay-modeling, coopery, dairying, domestic science, drawing, dress-making, electricity, embroidery, engineering, fancy work, farming, floriculture, gardening, glazing, harness-making, house decoration, half-tone engraving, housework, horticulture, ironing, knife work, knitting, lace-making, laundering, leather work, manual training, mattress-making, millinery, needlework, nursing, painting, paper-hanging, photography, plastering, plate-engraving, plumbing, pottery, poultry-farming, printing, pyrography, raffia, rug-weaving, sewing, shoemaking, shop work, sign-painting, sloyd, stone-laying, stencil[292] work, tailoring, tin-work, tray work, typewriting, Venetian iron-work, weaving, wood-carving, wood-engraving, wood-turning, wood-working, working in iron, and the use of tools.

The number and kinds of particular industries taught in the different schools vary not a little. In a few as many as a score are offered, while in others only three or four are given. The average seems to be about six or eight. The most usual industries afforded are art, cabinet-making, carpentry, cooking, domestic science, drawing, dress-making, farming, gardening, laundering, painting, printing, sewing, shoemaking, sign-painting, tailoring, wood-working, and the use of tools. The most common of all are carpentry, sewing, printing, farming, shoemaking, and painting. In most of the institutions papers are printed to afford practical instruction in printing, as well as to give local news of interest. These papers are published weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. A number of the schools, especially those in agricultural states, also have small experimental farms in connection with their industrial work, and dairy farming and truck gardening are often given particular attention.[569]


[546] In America the one-hand alphabet is used practically altogether, which is also the case with most of the countries of Europe. In England the double-hand is employed mainly. Finger-spelling, as well as sign-making, is very old with the human race. The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans are said to have made use of a system of finger notation. In the Middle Ages monks in their enforced silence often resorted to a finger alphabet. Dalgarno, one of the early English writers on the deaf, had an alphabet in which the letters were represented by parts of the hand. See J. C. Gordon, "Practical Hints to Parents concerning the Preliminary Training of Young Deaf Children", 1886, p. 34ff.; W. R. Cullingworth, "A Brief Review of the Manual Alphabet for the Deaf", 1902.

[547] For a description of the sign language, see J. S. Long, "The Sign Language: a Manual of Signs", 1910. See also American Journal of Science, viii., 1824, p. 348; Annals, i., 1847, pp. 55, 79; v., 1852, pp. 83, 149; vii., 1855, p. 197; xvi., 1871, p. 221; xviii., 1873, p. 1; xxxii., 1887, p. 141; lvii., 1911, p. 46; Proceedings of American Instructors, ii., 1851, p. 193; iv., 1857, p. 133; vii., 1870, p. 133; xii., 1890, pp. 100, 171; Report of New York Institution, 1838, p. 14; 1840, p. 17; American School, 1856, p. 18; California School, 1875, p. 24. See also "The Deaf: by their Fruits," by the New York Institution, 1912.

[548] Against the arguments to abolish the sign language, it is claimed that signs are free, and are as natural to the deaf as spoken words to the hearing; that with certain of the deaf, especially the congenitally deaf, they are all but indispensable; that they cause mental stimulation as cannot otherwise be done; that the acquisition of speech requires a great amount of time, which is often needed for other things; that the voices of many of the deaf are disagreeable and attract notice; that communication readily and with pleasure among the deaf by speech and speech-reading cannot be accomplished to any wide extent; that only with the gifted few, and not with the general body of the deaf, can such proficiency in the use of speech and speech-reading be attained as to cause them to be "restored to society", in that they can with ease and with any considerable degree of satisfaction carry on intercourse with the hearing; and that, finally, the great majority of the deaf vigorously demand the retention of the sign language.

[549] The New York Institution, by a resolution adopted at the first meeting of its board of directors in 1818, decided for the employment of articulation teaching, which policy was continued for some ten years. Report, 1908, p. 30; E. H. Currier, "History of Articulation Teaching in the New York Institution", 1894 (Proceedings of American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf, iv., sec. 12); American Journal of Education, iii., 1828, p. 397.

[550] In addition, there have always been sporadic instances of private instruction in speech, as by one's family or friends.

[551] It is also claimed that it was by accident that the sign method came into vogue in America, Gallaudet in his trip to Europe having found the London and Edinburgh schools closed to him, and having for this reason been compelled to turn to France, where the sign method was in use.

[552] It is interesting to note that after Mann and Howe had made their report, the American School at Hartford and the New York Institution sent special representatives to Europe to investigate, these advising little change on the whole. See Report of American School, 1845, p. 25; New York Institution, 1844, p. 62; 1851, p. 83.

[553] See "Life and Works of Horace Mann", 1891, iii., p. 245; "Life and Journals of Samuel G. Howe", 1909, p. 169; Report of Board of Charities of Massachusetts, 1867, p. lxxii.; 1868, p. lx.; Report of Special Joint Committee of the Legislature on Education of Deaf-Mutes, Massachusetts, 1867; North American Review, lix., 1844, p. 329; civ., 1867, p. 528; American Review, iii., 1846, p. 497; Common School Journal (Boston), vi., 1844, p. 65; Nation, iv., 1867, pp. 249, 339; Report of New York Institution for Improved Instruction, 1868, p. 5; 1870, p. 10; American School, 1849, p. 33; 1866, p. 18; 1867, p. 29; 1868, p. 16; Clarke School, 1875, p. 5; Addresses at 25th Anniversary of Clarke School, 1892; Report of Committee of School for Deaf-Mutes (Horace Mann), 1873, p. 3; 1891, p. 8; Annals, xxi., 1876, p. 178; Lend a Hand, xiii., 1894, p. 346; International Review, xi., 1881, p. 503; G. G. Hubbard, "Education of Deaf Mutes", 1867, and "Rise of Oral Method" (in collected writings, 1898); A. G. Bell, "The Mystic Oral School: Argument in its Favor", 1897, and "Fallacies concerning the Deaf", 1883; Boston Parents' Education Association, "Offering in behalf of the Deaf", 1903; Fred Deland, "Dumb No Longer: the Romance of the Telephone", 1903; Educational Review, xii., 1896, p. 236; Century Magazine, xxxi., 1897, p. 331; American Educational Review, xxxi., 1910, pp. 219, 281, 415; Proceedings of American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf, i., 1891, p. 89; Volta Review, xiv., 1912, p. 579 (Proceedings of same); Evidence before Royal Commission on the Deaf, etc., 1892, i., p. 6; ii., p. 3; iii., p. 208.

[554] In many of the day school laws the use of the oral method is required, which is also partly the case in several state institutions.

[555] These statistics are taken from the Special Reports of the Census Office, 1906, p. 86, and the January issues of the Annals. See also Volta Review, xv., 1913, p. 90; Proceedings of American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf (Condition of Articulation Teaching in American Institutions), ii., 1892; Report of Committee of Horace Mann School, Massachusetts, 1891, p. 8ff.; 1895 (Proceedings of 25th Anniversary).

[556] The greatest usefulness of this speech is often found in one's own family circle, or with immediate friends.

[557] Jan., 1914, lix., p. 41.

[558] The choice of methods for pupils may often depend on their classification, as noted before, into deaf-mutes, that is, those who have never been able to hear; semi-mutes, those who have been able to hear and speak, and retain their speech to some extent; and semi-deaf, those able to hear a little.

[559] For accounts of possible correspondence or extension courses for the deaf outside the schools, see Report of California Institution, 1904, p. 18.

[560] From Annals, Jan., 1914, (lix., p. 23). For a few schools the figures refer to the number present on November 10, 1913. The total number on this date was 13,450. The Volta Review for May, 1913 (xv., p. 99), gives the total number present on March 1, 1913, as 13,143. The Report of the United States Commissioner of Education gives the number for 1911-1912 as 13,690: in institutions, 11,244; in day schools, 1,928, and in denominational and private schools, 518. The total number of volumes in the libraries of the institutions was reported to be 132,461. For tables respecting the schools, see Appendix B.

[561] Normal departments for the training of hearing teachers of the deaf are maintained at Gallaudet College and the Clarke School, the latter having a special fund, largely contributed by the American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf. Several of the institutions also have training classes, and there are normal departments in connection with the Chicago and Milwaukee day schools. On the subject of pensions for teachers of the deaf, see Annals, xxix., 1884, p. 304; Proceedings of Convention of American Instructors, xviii., 1908, p. 146; Report of California School, 1912, p. 12.

[562] Report, 1912, ii., ch. xiii.

[563] It is hardly necessary to state that physical education is provided for in the schools for the deaf quite as fully as in the regular schools.

[564] The first school to give industrial training was the American School at Hartford, this being begun in 1822. See History, 1893, p. 15; Report of New Hampshire Board of Charities, 1908, p. 184.

[565] On this industrial training, see Craftsman, xiii., 1908, p. 400.

[566] ii., ch. xiii.

[567] Annals, Jan., 1914 (lix., p. 23).

[568] Ibid., p. 42.

[569] In some of the schools, as we find from the reports, the value of the products of the farms and gardens may amount to a tidy sum, as may also be the case with the trade schools.




Value of the Property Used for the Education of the Deaf

The various provisions for the education of the deaf have now been examined. There is to be considered but one question further. This is, what is the cost of it all? In the present chapter we are to see if we may not obtain some figures representing this cost to the state. First we shall find what the plants, that is, the grounds and buildings in actual use, are worth in dollars and cents.

Taking the nearest available statistics, which are those for the year 1912-1913, we have the plants of the institutions valued at $16,856,338,[570] or, in round numbers, nearly seventeen million[294] dollars. In all the institutions there were in this year 11,894 pupils, and we may thus calculate that there is property worth $1,414 for each pupil. We do not know the full value of the property used in the day schools and the denominational and private schools,[571] but this would no doubt increase by some two million dollars the value of the property employed in the instruction of the deaf. Hence we have something like nineteen million dollars as the amount invested in plants for the education of the deaf in the United States.

For new buildings, repairs, and general expenditures for lasting improvements, so far as is reported, there was expended on institutions $848,068 for the year 1912-1913, which may represent the yearly cost of the upkeep of the institutions.[572] For the other schools we have few figures, but they would add to this sum somewhat.


Cost of the Maintenance of the Schools

For the maintenance of the institutions for the year 1912-1913 there was expended $3,297,440.[573] In forty-four, or about two-thirds, of the day schools for the year 1911-1912 there was expended $182,710, and on the basis of $120 as the average cost of the pupils in them, we have $225,720 as the full cost of the support of the day schools. For five of the private schools, the cost per pupil was $225, and assuming that this will hold for all, we have $133,550 as the full cost of the support of such schools, a part of course coming from tuition fees. Then our total expenditures amount to $3,656,710,[574] or to over three and a half million dollars, which represents the annual cost of the education of the deaf in the United States.[575]

Form of Public Appropriations

Save for certain endowment funds in a few institutions,[576] and for limited donations in a small[296] number of schools, all the means for the support of the schools for the deaf, other than the private ones, come from the public treasury. In some of the day schools there are municipal subventions; in a few states the maintenance of certain pupils is paid for by the counties from which they come;[577] and in the case of the Columbia Institution at Washington support is received from the national government.[578] With these exceptions, the entire maintenance of the schools is undertaken by the legislatures of the respective states.[579]


Appropriations by the legislatures are usually made in lump sums.[580] In the case of the semi-public institutions the allowances are upon a per capita basis, being from $260 to $357, but more often near $300. In a few of the state schools appropriations are also based upon the number of pupils, as in Alabama with $230 a year for each pupil, in Kentucky with $150 a year, and in Iowa with $35 a quarter, the last two states having additional annual grants. In the states in which pupils are sent to schools outside, a sum of from $200 to $300 is allowed for each pupil thus provided for. In a few cases funds are received from a special tax assessment levied for the benefit of the school, as in Colorado with a one-fifth mill tax on the assessed property valuation of the state,[581] and in North Dakota with six per cent of one mill.


Cost to the State for Each Pupil

The average cost for the support of the pupils in the institutions for the year 1912-1913 was $277.23.[582] In few of the schools does the cost go as low as $200, while in a number it is between $300 and $400. The cost per pupil in the day schools averages, where known, $120.60;[583] and in the private schools, where known, $225.33.[584] For pupils in the common schools of the country, the average cost is $31.65.[585] Thus it costs the state eight times as much to educate its deaf children in institutions as it does its hearing children in the regular public schools, and four times as much to educate them in day schools.

The education of the deaf, then, is not an inexpensive undertaking on the part of the state. Because of the special arrangements necessary for its accomplishment, it comes high, compared with the cost of education in general. But considered merely as an investment, the outlay for this instruction bears returns of a character surpassed in few other fields of the state's endeavor.


[570] The figures in this chapter are for the most part from Annals for January, 1914 (lix., pp. 26, 27), usually for the latest fiscal year, these being supplemented in a few cases from the Report of the United States Commissioner of Education for 1912 (ii., ch. xiii.). In the institutions where there are departments both for the deaf and the blind, we have ascertained the proportionate part for the deaf of the entire institution. If no allowance is made for the blind in these, the worth of all is $17,751,186, and the amount of property for each pupil $1,492. For 1911-1912 the value of all was $16,454,798, or according to the Report of the Commissioner of Education, $16,387,726. In this Report the value of scientific apparatus, furniture, etc., is stated to be $918,053.

[571] In most cases, as we have seen, the day schools are housed in public school buildings, special establishments being provided only in a few large cities. In the Report of the Commissioner of Education, the property value of four day schools, two being large ones, is put at $250,055, or $525 for each pupil; and if this be accepted as a measure, the property value of all the day schools is $1,019,550. The property value of seven denominational and private schools is likewise given as $324,717, or $1,358 for each pupil; and if this is taken as a measure, the property value of all is $865,404.

[572] In 1910-1911 this was $503,323, and in 1911-1912, $772,245. If allowance be made for the dual schools, it is about ten per cent less. In the Report of the United States Commissioner of Education it is placed at $568,136 for 1911-1912.

[573] With no allowance for the dual schools, this is $3,423,126. In the Report of the Commissioner of Education it is $3,285,099, for all but six institutions.

[574] At the Conference of Charities and Corrections in 1906 this was estimated to be $3,200,000. Proceedings, p. 249.

[575] For tables as to the cost of the support of the schools, see Appendix B.

[576] These endowment funds are found for the most part only in certain of the semi-public institutions, and in a few state schools which have received land from the federal government. In the Report of the Commissioner of Education the amount of productive funds in thirteen states for 1911-1912 is given as $3,372,565, as follows: Maine, $2,000; Massachusetts, $193,674 (in 1910-1911, $369,723); Connecticut, $403,000; New York, $1,002,633; Pennsylvania, $373,758; Maryland, $4,500; District of Columbia, $11,000; Kentucky, $9,000; North Dakota, $600,000; South Dakota, $400,000; Montana, $160,000; Utah, $160,000; California, $53,000. Thus practically two-fifths belongs in the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania, nearly one-third being in New York alone; while a little under two-fifths belongs in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Utah.

[577] This is especially true of New York, where the counties pay the entire amount up to the age of twelve, and after that the state.

[578] In this connection it may be noted that Congress has been asked to grant $100,000 to "encourage the establishment of homes in the states and territories for teaching articulate speech and vocal language to deaf children before they are of school age". Teachers are to be trained for this purpose, and pupils are to enter at two years of age and remain till the regular school age. See Report of Pennsylvania Home for Training in Speech of Deaf Children, 1904, p. 5; Proceedings of Conference of National Association for the Study and Education of Exceptional Children, 1911, p. 64.

[579] Charges for clothing and transportation of indigent pupils are as a usual thing paid for by the county, though this is assumed by some states. Often a given sum, as thirty dollars, is allowed for clothing, or the actual cost thereof is collected from the county. This is done through the proper administrative offices of the county, there being also some judicial procedure, as where the county judge or similar official certifies by proof. The school is then reimbursed for the expenditures it may have made. Some such procedure is quite general, especially in the South and West, though in a few states, as Vermont and New Jersey, the town or township, where this is the political division, plays a similar part. In Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, Louisiana, California, Nevada, and possibly other states, these charges are paid by the state. In Maryland they may be paid by the county, city or state.

[580] It happens sometimes that legislatures are inclined to reduce the appropriations to as low a sum as possible, and superintendents may receive commendation for efforts to cut down expenditures. There is danger, however, that such a policy may be carried to a point where efficiency is sacrificed to seeming economy. On the question of cost, see Report of Mississippi School, 1909, p. 11; Iowa Bulletin of State Institutions, June, 1907, ix., 3; Ohio Bulletin of Charities and Corrections, Nov., 1907, xiii., 4.

[581] On the value of this tax, see Report of Colorado School, 1896, p. 22.

[582] In 1907-1908 this was $257.02; in 1909-1910, $253.92; in 1910-1911, $259.63; and in 1911-1912, $262.71. Without allowance for the blind in the dual schools, the amount in 1912-1913 is $289.60. According to the Report of the Commissioner of Education, the average cost is $303.58. It may be noted in this connection that the per capita cost for the blind in schools is more than that for the deaf, being $359.

[583] In 1910-1911 this was $130.28.

[584] In 1910-1911 this was $264.06.

[585] Report of Commissioner of Education for 1909-1910. The figures for subsequent years have reference rather to average attendance.




Grants by the National Government

To the schools in some of the states land has been donated, either as an investment, the proceeds of which should be used for their benefit, or as sites for the erection of buildings. This has been done by the national government, by the states, by cities and by individuals and corporations. The most important of such gifts have been the grants of the public domain made by Congress for the benefit of certain of the state institutions. Shortly after the work of the education of the deaf had commenced in the country, it bestowed 23,000 acres upon the Hartford school and a township of land upon the Kentucky.[586] After nearly three-quarters of a century it came again materially to the aid of this education, this time by directing that certain tracts of the public lands located in states about to be admitted to the Union should be set apart for the benefit of the schools. Thus in the enabling act of[300] 1889[587] for the admission of the states of North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana, land was set aside for the benefit of the schools for the deaf and the blind, which are mentioned by name. In North Dakota and South Dakota the number of acres allowed to each was 40,000, and in Montana 50,000.[588] Likewise when Wyoming was admitted in 1890,[589] 30,000 acres were granted for an institution for the deaf and the blind, though the school has not yet been established. When Utah was admitted in 1896,[590] 100,000 acres were granted to the school for the deaf. On the admission of Arizona and New Mexico in 1910,[591] like amounts were respectively granted for institutions for the deaf and the blind, 50,000 acres having already been set aside in the latter while a territory.[592]


Grants by the States

Grants by the states themselves for the schools on a large scale have not been numerous. The state of Texas has set apart large tracts of public land for its institutions, the school for the deaf coming in for 100,000 acres as its share. The school in Michigan has received a number of sections of the state salt spring lands, amounting to 16,000 acres.[593]

Grants by Cities or Citizens

Small tracts of land have been donated in some cases by cities where the schools were to be established, sometimes accompanied by a cash donation as a further inducement for a particular location. Similar gifts have been made by individuals and corporations. These donations have occurred in about half of the states, but they have usually been small in size, most being of five or ten acres.[594]



[586] We have also seen how applications were made to Congress for the endowment of other schools.

[587] Stat. at Large, 1889, ch. 180. Washington was also admitted by this act, and there was a grant of 200,000 acres for "charitable, penal and reformatory institutions". The schools for the deaf and the blind, which were not mentioned by name, seem not to have shared in this grant.

[588] Similar amounts were allowed to the reform schools, the agricultural colleges and the universities.

[589] Stat. at Large, ch. 664. When Idaho was admitted the same year (ibid., ch. 656) 150,000 acres were granted to charitable, educational, penal and reformatory institutions, the school for the deaf not being directly mentioned.

[590] Ibid., 1894, ch. 138. Similar amounts were allowed for the school for the blind and other institutions. As the school in Utah is for both the deaf and the blind, it really has 200,000 acres.

[591] Ibid., 1910, ch. 310. In the act admitting Oklahoma, though the school for the deaf is not mentioned among the institutions upon which land is bestowed, it has shared in the grant, having land reported to be worth at least $350,000. Annals, lvi., 1911, p. 206.

[592] In general with respect to the land granted by Congress, it is provided that such land is not to be sold at less than $10 an acre.

[593] The state of Massachusetts granted a small parcel of land to the Horace Mann school in Boston. To the school in Missouri 40 acres were granted by the state, and to that in Arkansas two tracts of land, one being of 100 acres.

[594] Thus land of perhaps five acres or less has been donated to the schools in California, District of Columbia, Illinois, New York (New York Institution, Le Couteulx St. Mary's, and Central New York) Oregon, Pennsylvania (Oral and Pennsylvania Home), Tennessee, Virginia, and doubtless to other schools. Larger tracts, of ten acres or more, have been given in Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan (state school and Evangelical Lutheran Institute), Nebraska, Pennsylvania (Western), South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and perhaps elsewhere. To the Kansas school 170 acres were presented, to the Minnesota 65, to the Washington 100, to the Oklahoma 60, to the school for the colored in Oklahoma 100, and to the school for the deaf, together with that for the blind, in Ohio 180. To the New York Institution for Improved Instruction the city of New York granted the land for ninety-nine years at an annual rental of one dollar.




Donations of Money to Schools

In our final chapter on the provision for the schools for the deaf we are to consider how far they have been assisted by private munificence. We have already seen that certain of the schools in the East—those we have called "semi-public institutions"—were started by private societies and were supported entirely by private funds till the state came to their aid, though in no instance was this dependence on private means of long duration. We have also seen that in a number of states private schools were first started, in a brief time to be taken over by the state, and thus received a modicum of private aid. In addition, there have been from time to time donations from private sources to one school or another.

As to the entire amount of these private donations to the schools, it is of course impossible to say. The full receipts of the various schools cannot be known, and our reckonings must necessarily be incomplete.[595] However, the data which[304] we have are quite sufficient to enable us to discern in what measure schools for the deaf have been assisted by means other than public, and in what proportion the distribution has taken place; and our calculations, based on the best information to be obtained, may not be altogether without value.[596]

We find, then, that to a considerable number of the schools, apparently the majority, there have been gifts large or small from private sources. In most of these cases, however, the gifts have been slight, and have almost always come when the schools were being started, usually ceasing soon after their establishment or their taking over by the state. Nearly all the donations of any importance have been to schools in the East, the greater part also coming in their early days and when still in private hands.

At present in the great number of the schools such gifts are not bestowed. In perhaps a dozen schools—practically all in the East—they are still received in greater or lesser degree; and come in three forms: 1. as membership fees in some half dozen schools; 2. as certain annual donations, varying in amount, in about the same number;[305] and 3. as an occasional legacy or similar gift to some school or other.[597]

In respect to the funds already received, we find that the great preponderance have fallen in four states, namely, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania. In five others there have been gifts of what may be called measurable size: District of Columbia, California, Colorado, Illinois, and Vermont. In the remaining states private benefactions have been few: where they have occurred they have been small and infrequent.

In a score of schools or more there seem to have been gifts of a few thousand dollars—hardly over ten or fifteen thousand, and in most much less.[306][598] In some sixteen, donations appear to have been received of more appreciable size—twenty-five thousand dollars and upwards. In about half of these the gifts seem to have been from twenty-five thousand to fifty thousand, in one or two cases possibly more: the California, Colorado, Columbia, New England (Massachusetts), Sarah Fuller (Massachusetts), Pennsylvania Home, and Austine (Vermont).[599] To six schools donations seem to have reached a sum between seventy-five or one hundred thousand dollars and twice that amount. Four of these are in New York: the New York Institution, the Institution for Improved Instruction, St. Joseph's and Le Couteulx St. Mary's; one in Pennsylvania, the Western Pennsylvania; and one in Illinois, the Ephpheta. In three schools the quarter million mark has been passed: the American in Connecticut, and the Clarke in Massachusetts, both with receipts well beyond this figure; and the Pennsylvania Institution, which has probably been the largest recipient of all.

Total private gifts to schools for the deaf in the United States would probably foot up to little under two and a quarter million dollars, and[307] perhaps to two and a half millions, though these figures cannot be fully substantiated.

Gifts for Pupils in the Schools

There have been gifts for the pupils in the schools as well as for the schools themselves. These have been of various kinds: clothing, books, pictures, magazines, newspapers, Christmas presents, prizes, etc., as well as money gifts in a few cases. In many instances reduced transportation has been allowed on railroads, and there have been a number of benefactions of like character. We have already referred to the funds left to certain of the schools in trust for deaf-blind pupils.[600]

Present Tendencies of Private Benefactions

Private benefaction, as we see, has not played any great part in providing the means of education for the deaf in the United States. In a few schools private gifts have been of appreciable aid in the work, but on the whole they have not been of considerable moment, and in the great majority of schools they have been practically negligible. To judge from past experience, it would not seem likely that in the future many of the schools will to any great extent be beneficiaries[308] from private means, or that they will thus be enabled to extend their plants or to make innovations as yet unattempted, though of course such a thing is possible.

This condition, however, is not to be entirely deplored. Many of the schools, it is true, could receive large money benefactions to most desirable ends, and in many cases the work of the schools for the best results is hampered for lack of sufficient funds. Yet the schools may feel that they are in reality but agencies of the state in carrying out one of its great functions, and as such should have no need to call upon or depend upon means other than the state's. Whether or not in the course of time there may be an increased incentive for private gifts, it would seem that the schools should be entitled to look with full confidence to the attention and care of the state, since it is but contributing to the education of its citizens.


[595] In the case of some of the schools, figures of a financial nature are not to be had, and in many little record has been kept, especially when gifts have been small.

[596] In our discussion, few estimates have been made, and these have been conservative. It should be stated that only a part of the figures given are "official", and for the rest the writer alone is responsible. No reference is made to schools that are not now in existence, nor is any money value set on the land which has been donated to some of the schools.

[597] Now and then a gift has been in the form of a scholarship, usually of $5,000. Some of the schools aided by fees are the Pennsylvania Institution, Western Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Oral, New York Institution for Improved Instruction, and Le Couteulx St. Mary's (New York). Some that receive annual donations varying in amount are the New England (Massachusetts), Sarah Fuller (Massachusetts), Pennsylvania Home, New York Institution for Improved Instruction, St. Joseph's (New York), and Le Couteulx St. Mary's (New York). It should be remarked that the three last named institutions are affiliated to an extent with certain religious bodies, receiving assistance from this source also. The smaller denominational schools receive similar aid irregularly.

[598] Some of the schools that seem to have received gifts of from five to fifteen thousand dollars, or thereabouts, are the Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Central New York, Pennsylvania Oral, Tennessee, and the day schools of Milwaukee. Some of those that have received gifts somewhat smaller are the Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Horace Mann (Massachusetts), Western New York, North Carolina, Virginia, and the day schools of Chicago. More trivial or more uncertain amounts have been received in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Maine, New Mexico, Albany (New York), Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and the day schools of a few cities.

[599] Gifts to semi-public institutions as the Mystic, Connecticut, and Boston, Massachusetts, have also probably been made, though we do not know of what size; and also to some of the denominational and private schools. The McCowen Homes of Illinois have received some gifts, especially at their beginning.

[600] The American School at Hartford has a fund of $2,000 to be used for the publication of books for the deaf.




We have now examined the position of the deaf in society in America and the course and the extent of the treatment accorded them. It only remains for us to inquire if this treatment is well-considered, and how far it is commensurate with the real, actual needs of the deaf, and at the same time consonant with the larger interests of society.

The question of paramount concern to society is in respect to the possibilities of the prevention of deafness. As yet it would seem that only a minor degree of attention had been directed to this consideration, though it is likely that in the future much more serious study and thought will be given to it. The problem is for the greater part in the hands of medical science, and for much of it we shall probably have to wait for solution in the laboratory; while no small aid can be rendered by general measures for the protection of health. Already there can be little doubt that there is less deafness from certain diseases than in the past, though the statistics that we have on[310] the question are not as definite as could be wished. The matter is really a part of the long battle against disease, and as human skill takes one position after another, it may be that many of those diseases bringing deafness will be forced to yield, and that such deafness will thus cease in great part to be an affliction upon human flesh.

Eugenics also will be looked to for help, and it may in time bring to light much that is now hidden from our ken. As yet our knowledge of the causes of deafness from birth is very imperfect. A small part may be ascribed to consanguineous marriages, and a larger part to the marriages of those whose families are affected with deafness, these perhaps not being wholly distinct, and together comprising a little over half of congenital deafness. Marriages of relatives, even though not of frequent occurrence so far as deafness is affected, have a relation to it which is not to be ignored. Intermarriages of the deaf themselves are not found for the most part to result in deaf offspring; while the likelihood of such is not always greater when both parents are deaf than when one is deaf and the other hearing. The one distinct fact of which we seem altogether certain in this matter is that when there is in the parent congenital deafness, or especially when there are deaf relatives concerned, the chances are vastly increased of deaf offspring. These are the[311] danger signals, and not to be passed without heed. As to that form of deafness occurring when consanguinity and antecedent deafness are not involved, we are in greater ignorance. For most of it, however, we may believe that there is inherited some strain or influence predisposing to deafness; and that in the discovery and application of eugenic principles a greater or less portion will be eliminated.

Though, so far as is discernible from the immediate prospect, we cannot look to an early disappearance of deafness from the race, there are indications at present that deafness is tending to become less. The probabilities are that the future will be able to report advance, and so far as the ultimate results are concerned, we have no reason to be other than hopeful.

In respect to what has been accomplished for the deaf since America has become concerned in them, we have a record that may well be a distinct cause of pride. The work for the deaf in America is hardly a hundred years old. Yet in that time there has transpired what, without violence being done to language, can be called a revolution. A century ago the deaf were practically outside the pale of human thought and activities. They were in a measure believed to be without reason, and were little less than outcasts in society. To-day they have become active[312] components of the state, possessed of education, on a level with their fellow-men nearly everywhere in the scale of human employment, capable of all the responsibilities of life, and standing in the full stature of citizenship.

Perhaps the first workers for the deaf had not placed their faith too high after all, when they declared that the deaf and dumb were to be restored to the ranks of their species. Perhaps, after all, the visions of these men have come true. Perhaps this that we call education has had something of the power they were trying to articulate. For it has come about that a part of society known as the deaf and dumb has been brought to a place of honor and worth and usefulness in the community in which they live.

However much of what was claimed has been achieved, it is certain that a great part has been realized. It has been by a slow, silent process, keeping time with the years, but none the less wonderful things have been wrought; and through it all the advance of the deaf has been constant and onward. It might be said with all truth that this whole progress has been simply the march of events. Education has ever been the master passion of Americans, and in its wide sweep the deaf too have been gathered in, and have been borne to the place where all the state had to offer as instruction was laid before them.[313] Yet it remains that by and through all this the deaf have been the gainers as no other people in the world have ever been, and their story is as no other's in the rise of a section of mankind towards the richness and fullness of living which are the fruits of humanized society.

Great indeed can be the rejoicing of the deaf, for they are those to whom the way has been hard and long, but who have come from the darkness into the light.

Yet the victory of the deaf is not complete. They have not reached the full position among men to which they are entitled. So long as people look upon them as an unnatural portion of the race, view them with suspicion or hold them as of peculiar temperament and habits, or otherwise consider them distinct from the rest of their kind, and by voice or in their own consciousness make use of terms or associations that give fixedness to such a classification or differentiation: just so long will the deaf be strangers in the land in which they dwell; and just so far will they be removed from the place in society which should be theirs, and which is accorded to all the rest of their fellow-men.

With regard to their economic position in the world, the deaf have, on the whole, fared well. Their own achievements have thrown out of court the charge that they are a burden upon society.[314] It has been proved by themselves that they are not a dependent class, or a class that should exist to any degree on the bounty of the state. They are wage-earners to an extent that compares well with the rest of the population, and, economically, they form generally a self-sustaining part of society. For a certain number who are aged and infirm and are otherwise uncared for, special homes are to be desired—and with such the need is peculiarly strong. These, however, do not comprise a large part of the deaf; and with their exception there is practically no portion, at least of those with an education, that demands particular economic attention.

The community for the most part has been quite ready and willing to recognize the status of the deaf in this respect. Here the deaf are accepted on equal terms with the people collectively, and are in fact lost in the mass of the world's workers.

The state has perhaps displayed more reluctance to admit the deaf to the standing of its other citizens, largely no doubt due to the fact that in the sphere of law action is usually slow-moving, and responds less readily to newly recognized conditions. Though on the statute books there are found few examples of legislation directed to the deaf as if they were peculiarly in need of the state's attention, and though such are[315] hardly more than reminders of the past legal attitude, they are mostly an anachronism to-day, and should in great part be removed.

The courts have quite generally adopted the true view in regard to the deaf, and hardly anywhere now differentiate them. There is always one particular kind of provision which may be made for the deaf at law, and this is in the employment of interpreters on proper occasion. But even here the matter may be left to the ordinary rules of the court, as well as to the good sense and justice of the law-makers and the law-dispensers.

In most things, special attention of the law in relation to the deaf is not often required, and they should, in nearly all respects, be left in its eyes exactly as the rest of their fellow-citizens. When particular legislation is called for in respect to them, it is needed rather to meet some peculiar or unusual situation, which would probably arise most frequently in connection with some special abuse of the deaf, though such is really seldom likely to occur. Provision for young deaf children who are otherwise without protection may well be included in "children's codes," or in other statutes of similar kind. Useful legislation is also feasible in connection with departments for the deaf in state bureaus of labor, the procedure possible being already indicated;[316] and it may be that a considerable field will be revealed, not only in assisting the deaf in securing employment but also in securing information as to their condition. Opportunity is open to the national government likewise in this regard, and valuable statistics and other information may be collected for the country generally.

In one further direction the law can be invoked very materially in aid of the deaf, and just where very little has been attempted. In every state there should be enactments, backed up by vigorous public opinion and the co-operation of all citizens, providing severe punishment for those who go about begging alms on the pretense that they are deaf and dumb. For such creatures the law should have no mercy. The deaf themselves demand that such impostors be put out of business, for a real and cruel injury is done to them. They ask this as a great boon, but it should be accorded them absolutely as a right.

The deaf do not want alms or pity. But in unnumbered ways can they receive good at the hands of their fellow-men. They need friends as do all others, and power is never lost to the right hand of fellowship. To be desired above all else is the gaining of the right attitude on the part of the community. As one great need, there should be far more attention to the social and spiritual concerns of the deaf, even though they[317] are often found scattered and far apart. There is much that can be done in many communities of a social nature for the deaf, and in manifold forms can life be made more abundant for them. Most important of all, there should be no longer in any place a neglect of the ministrations for the cure of souls, and it should be seen that all of the deaf are made to know the religion of the Man of Galilee, with its untold blessings and consolations.

In our present review of the work for the deaf in America, most of our attention has been directed to the provisions for their education. It may be said that to-day this work is as a rule of a high order, and that in many respects, considering the problems involved, it can compare well with the work of education in general. There is still more or less conflict as to methods, but this does not seem vital to the success of the schools, and their character has in general advanced.

In the beginning of instruction in some of the states we read of the struggles of the early schools, but eager hands came to push on the new work. This work was taken up with an enthusiasm and earnestness scarcely paralleled elsewhere in the history of education, or in any other of the great movements for the betterment of human kind. Strong and brave souls manned[318] the new enterprise, and these early workers are well worthy of honor at our hands.

Oftentimes, at the first, private societies came forward as volunteers in the task of education, but the states early recognized their duty, and usually established schools as soon as they were deemed practicable, either taking over the existing private school or creating one of their own. After a time, as another stage in their development, the schools were made free by express provision, or have become so to all practical purpose. In time also all restrictions or limitations as to the admission of pupils have been in general swept away, and rules and regulations have come more and more to conform with those in the regular schools. Now education is offered to every deaf child, and to the poor and destitute the state provides all collateral necessaries as well, so that instruction may be denied to none.

At present much the larger part of the deaf are educated in institutions. But alongside this plan there has grown, especially of late years, a day school system with the pupils living in their own homes, and the result is that in a number of states such schools have now been established. Their main field is recognized to be in large cities, and it is here that they are able to be of the greatest usefulness. It is still a mooted point, however, how far they have passed the experimental[319] stage, and it probably remains to be determined to what extent they really offer advantages to the deaf over the institutions. As a part of this activity, and as an extension of the general public facilities for education to the entire community, we have also the question of evening schools for adult deaf. There seems to be a definite need for them in certain centers, and it may well be hoped that much greater attention will be given to the matter.

All the schools are really parts of the public school system, with the exception of a comparatively small number of private schools which have been created in certain communities. In addition, the work in America is characterized by a national college, which represents the completing mark in the system of their instruction. By this the education of the deaf is made not only to stand all along the way parallel with education in general, but also to assume a place accorded it in no other land.

In the schools one of the great features is the industrial instruction, and this is rightly emphasized. As much as the need of vocational training is insisted upon on all sides to-day, with the deaf it is essential to a greater degree than it can be anywhere else. The pupils of the schools who have had this industrial training as a rule do well in the world, and in many cases put[320] their training to most practical account. It could be wished, however, that we had a careful and detailed record, uniform over the country, of the former pupils, which would be a test, demonstrative as well as suggestive, of the efficiency of the industrial training of the schools, and which would be equally of value in other spheres of industrial education.

Though in the work of the education of the deaf in America, industrial instruction occupies a very prominent part, yet in the schools there is an abundance of "schooling" in the strictest sense. The problems of the education of the deaf are peculiar, and their instructors have to face difficulties of a kind not found in any other lines of education. Yet earnest thought and study are being given to these problems, and efforts made to solve them as far as it is possible. In the conventions and conferences of instructors notable work has been accomplished, and these bodies are insistent upon progress and better results.

For the greater efficiency and success of the schools, the law as well as public sentiment can be called in aid. Deaf children everywhere should be prevailed upon or compelled to enter the schools, and should be required to remain as long as their best interests demand it. Education should be a matter, forced if need be, for every[321] deaf child, for terrible as ignorance always is, in the deaf it is the most dreadful of all.

In America private assistance to schools for the deaf has not been great, and very few schools have been beneficiaries from resources other than the state's. To-day, with the exception of a few cases, aid from private means has ceased to be expected, and calls for such bounty are now seldom made.

At present nearly all the schools are public institutions, and rely entirely upon the care of the state. The state has in general recognized its duty towards the education of the deaf, and has engaged to provide for it. In half of the states this responsibility is recognized, and provision guaranteed in the organic law. In all the states the legislatures have undertaken to see that means of instruction are offered to all their deaf children, and it is found that, all things considered, the states have in general taken a keen interest in their educational welfare. Few schools can boast of overgenerous appropriations; many not infrequently have failed to receive all that has been asked for, and have thus often been prevented from doing their best work. Yet it may be said that if the legislatures have not always responded with alacrity, or always bounteously, or at all times with a full sense of their responsibility, they have responded at least with cheerfulness,[322] and mindful of all the calls upon the state's treasury, and often according to the best of their light. It has been realized that the education of the deaf is an expensive undertaking, far more so than the education of ordinary children; but it is none the less realized also that this education pays—pays from every possible point of view.

That the school for the deaf is not given its full educational recognition is a grievance in some states, and this cannot be regarded otherwise than unfortunate. In time, however, this will most likely be changed, and the schools everywhere will come into their proper standing, and be considered only as the agencies of the state for the education of its children.

The most deplorable thing in the treatment of the schools by the state is that in some quarters politics with its baneful influence has been allowed to interfere. But as hideous and disgraceful as is this action, we may now believe that in most places its back has been broken, and that hereafter men everywhere will think better of themselves than to allow it in a single instance.

Finally, in respect to the work for the deaf in America as a whole, it may be said that the state makes but one form of provision in their behalf. This is in allowing to all its deaf children a means of education. Even this is hardly to be called "provision for the deaf." It is rather the[323] attention that is paid to a certain portion of the population for its education. It is to be distinguished from the provision for general education only in that special means and methods are necessary for its accomplishment.

This being done, the state may practically let the deaf alone. No distinctive form of public treatment is usually to be called for in respect to them as a class. They demand little in the way of special care or oversight, they are able as a rule to look after themselves, asking few odds not asked by other men, they have become citizens without reservation or qualification, and economically they form no distinct class, but are absorbed into the industrial life of the state. They have assumed the responsibilities of life in a highly organized community, and in turn reap the benefits that belong to all men in such an order. But though this is true, their affliction bestowed upon them by the partial hand of nature, is not to be minimized, nor its effects lightened by any human words. Their deafness rests indeed upon them as a very material, tangible burden, so sharp and pointed in its operations that they are in great measure cut off socially from the rest of their kind. Because of this their concern becomes great in respect to the form of consideration from the community about them, and their need turns to one not so much of material character as of the[324] attention of the good neighbor. From their condition all the more does it avail that no further load should be placed upon them, and that their prayer should be heard that they be treated fully as men. For even with their ever missing sense, the power of the deaf is only retarded, and not seriously diminished, to derive from life much of its richness and color and well-being.




  Name State Location Year
Cost of
1 Gallaudet Home New York Wappinger's Falls 1885 24 $7,311
2 Ohio Home for Aged and Infirm Deaf Ohio Westerville 1896 30 6,710
3 St. Elizabeth's Industrial School New York New York City 1897 20 8,435
4 New England Home for Deaf-Mutes Massachusetts Everett 1901 13 3,198
5 Pennsylvania Home for the Deaf Pennsylvania Doyleston 1902 19 4,536





School Location Date of
Number of
for Support
School for the Deaf Talladega 1858 }162
$ 39,800
School for the Negro Deaf and Blind Talladega 1892
Arizona, University of, Department for the Deaf Tucson 1912 25 10,000
Arkansas Deaf-Mute Institute Little Rock 1868 270 67,500
California Institution for the Deaf and the Blind Berkeley 1860 180 54,629
Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind Colorado Springs 1874 176 59,176
American School for the Deaf Hartford 1817 142 57,991
Mystic Oral School for the Deaf Mystic 1870 60 13,244
District of Columbia,        
Columbia Institution for the Deaf        
Kendall School for the Deaf Washington 1857 }54
Gallaudet College Washington 1864
Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind St. Augustine 1885 108 16,877
Georgia School for the Deaf Cave Spring 1846 188 45,339
Idaho State School for the Deaf and the Blind Gooding 1906 58 20,000
Illinois School for the Deaf Jacksonville 1846 415 124,957
Indiana State School for the Deaf Indianapolis 1844 345 85,980
Iowa School for the Deaf Council Bluffs 1855 227 60,500
Kansas School for the Deaf Olathe 1861 243 56,494
Kentucky School for the Deaf Danville 1823 353 82,325
Louisiana State School for the Deaf Baton Rouge 1852 145 30,500
Maine School for the Deaf Portland 1876 134 27,000
School for the Deaf and Dumb Frederick 1868 114 33,461
School for the Colored Blind and Deaf Overlea 1872 44 10,059
Massachusetts        [327]
Boston School for the Deaf Randolph 1899 145 21,660
Clarke School for the Deaf Northampton 1867 156 65,255
New England Industrial School for Deaf-Mutes Beverly 1879 36 9,098
Michigan School for the Deaf Flint 1854 297 93,872
Minnesota School for the Deaf Faribault 1863 308 70,229
Mississippi Institution for the Deaf Jackson 1854 188 33,577
Missouri School for the Deaf Fulton 1851 344 99,000
Montana School for Deaf, Blind and Backward Children Boulder 1893 59 20,024
Nebraska School for the Deaf Omaha 1869 175 44,150
New Jersey School for the Deaf Trenton 1883 185 60,000
New Mexico Asylum for the Deaf and the Dumb Santa Fé 1885 44 11,000
New York        
New York Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb New York 1818 517 181,153
Central New York Institution for Deaf-Mutes Rome 1875 117 31,347
Western New York Institution for Deaf-Mutes Rochester 1876 192 60,362
Northern New York Institution for Deaf-Mutes Malone 1884 110 29,745
Institution for the Improved Instruction of Deaf-Mutes New York 1867 241 88,455
Le Couteulx St. Mary's Inst'n for the Imp'd Instruction of Deaf-Mutes Buffalo 1862 188 52,349
St. Joseph's Institute for the Improved Instruction of Deaf-Mutes West Chester 1869 515 122,962
Albany Home School for the Oral Instruction of the Deaf Albany 1889 58 16,052
North Carolina        
State School for the Deaf and Dumb Morganton 1894 263 62,500
State School for the Blind and the Deaf Raleigh 1845 117 16,062
North Dakota School for the Deaf and Dumb Devils Lake 1890 94 26,977
Ohio State School for the Deaf Columbus 1829 542 118,000
School for the Deaf Sulphur 1898 221 50,000
Industrial Institute for the Deaf, Blind, and Orphans of the Colored Race Taft 1909 18 11,053
Oregon School for Deaf-Mutes Salem 1870 90 22,500
Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb Philadelphia 1820 621 172,572
Western Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb Edgewood Park 1876 282 62,653
Pennsylvania Oral School for the Deaf Scranton 1883 100 51,000
Home for the Training in Speech of Deaf Children Philadelphia 1892 65 26,790
Rhode Island Institute for the Deaf Providence 1877 91 33,000[328]
South Carolina Institution for the Education of the Deaf and the Blind Cedar Spring 1849 156 21,780
South Dakota School for the Deaf Sioux Falls 1880 90 26,000
Tennessee Deaf and Dumb School Knoxville 1845 326 47,800
School for the Deaf Austin 1857 417 100,000
Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Institute for Colored Youth Austin 1887 94 17,652
Utah School for the Deaf Ogden 1884 115 42,857
Vermont, The Austine Institution for the Deaf and Blind Brattleboro 1912 25 11,487
School for the Deaf and the Blind Staunton 1839 193 36,748
School for Colored Deaf and Blind Children Newport News 1909 85 11,824
Washington State School for the Deaf Vancouver 1886 132 36,178
West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind Romney 1870 159 34,700
Wisconsin State School for the Deaf Delavan 1852 169 65,010



School Date of
Number of
for Support
Los Angeles Day School for the Deaf 1899 45 $ 6,048
Oakland Public School Oral Classes 1898 11
Sacramento Day-School for the Deaf 1904 12 2,520
San Francisco Oral School for the Deaf 1901 23 2,350
Atlanta Day-School for the Deaf 1912 10
Delano School for the Deaf }1913
307 30,474
Kozminski Public Day-School for the Deaf
Parker Practice Public Day-School for the Deaf
Waters School for the Deaf
Rock Island Day-School for the Deaf 1901 8 720
New Orleans Day-School for the Deaf 1911 24 2,150
Boston, Horace Mann School 1869 167 29,040
Bay City Day-School for the Deaf 1901 7 1,005
Calumet Day-School for the Deaf 1902 13 1,566
Detroit Day-School for the Deaf 1894 92
Grand Rapids Oral School for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing 1898 23 4,600
Houghton Day-School for the Deaf 1908 4 800
Iron Mountain Day-School for the Deaf 1906 3 900
Ironwood Day-School for the Deaf 1903 9 875
Jackson Day-School for the Deaf 1912 7
Kalamazoo Day-School for the Deaf 1904 4
Manistee Day-School for the Deaf 1904 10 1,100
Marquette Day-School for the Deaf 1907 7 1,020
Saginaw Oral Day-School for the Deaf 1901 11 1,050
Sault Ste. Marie Day-School for the Deaf 1906 3
Traverse City Day-School for the Deaf 1904 7 900
St. Paul Day-School for the Deaf 1913
St. Louis, Gallaudet School 1878 62 5,321
New Jersey      
Jersey City Public Day-School for the Deaf 1910 14
Newark School for the Deaf 1910 58
New York      
Public School 47, Manhattan 1908 279
Public School, Brooklyn, (Annex to School 47, Manhattan) 1910 24 3,000
Public School, Queens, (Annex to School 47, Manhattan) 1913 10 [330]
Ashtabula Day-School for the Deaf 1903 5 810
Cincinnati Oral School 1886 45 4,150
Cleveland Public School for the Deaf 1892 99 10,000
Dayton School for the Deaf 1899 10 1,500
Toledo Day-School for the Deaf 1911 13 1,200
Portland Day-School for the Deaf 1908 31 3,800
Seattle Public-Day-School for the Deaf 1906 27 2,800
Tacoma Day-School for the Deaf 1908 13 1,114
Antigo Day-School for the Deaf 1906 17 1,850
Appleton Day-School for the Deaf 1896 13 980
Ashland Day-School for the Deaf 1898 15 3,016
Black River Falls School for the Deaf 1897 10
Bloomington Day-School for the Deaf 1906 8 930
Eau Claire Day-School for the Deaf 1895 31 6,000
Fond du Lac Day-School for the Deaf 1895 16 1,803
Green Bay Day-School for the Deaf 1897 24 3,600
Kenosha Day-School for the Deaf 1913 10
La Crosse Day-School for the Deaf 1899 6 1,060
Madison Day-School for the Deaf 1908 15 2,272
Marinette Day-School for the Deaf 1895 9 1,582
Marshfield School for the Deaf 1912 5
Milwaukee School for the Deaf 1898 146 23,292
Mineral Point School for the Deaf 1912 13
New London Day-School for the Deaf 1906 10 1,200
Oshkosh School for the Deaf 1895 15 1,439
Platteville Day-School for the Deaf 1906 9 1,397
Racine Day-School for the Deaf 1900 21 1,751
Rice Lake Day-School for the Deaf 1907 8 1,243
Sheboygan Day-School for the Deaf 1894 13 1,476
Stevens Point Day-School for the Deaf 1905 12 2,646
Superior Day-School for the Deaf 1897 8 970
Wausau Day-School for the Deaf 1890 11 885



School Location Date of
Number of
Holden Home Oral School San Francisco 1913 6
St. Joseph's Home for the Deaf Oakland 1895 26
Miss Arbaugh's School for Deaf Children Macon 1912 9
Ephpheta School for the Deaf Chicago 1884 95
The McCowen Homes for Deaf Children Chicago 1883 40
Chinchuba Deaf-Mute Institute Chinchuba 1890 40
Home School for Little Deaf Children Kensington 1908 10
F. Knapp's English and German Institute Baltimore 1877 25
St. Francis Xavier's School for the Deaf Irvington 1897 31
The Sarah Fuller Home for Little Deaf Children West Medford 1888 16
Evangelical Lutheran Deaf-Mute Institute North Detroit 1873 29
Immaculate Conception Institute for the Deaf St. Louis 1885 70
New York      
Reno Margulies School for the Deaf New York 1901 18
The Wright Oral School New York 1894 28
Notre Dame School for the Deaf Cincinnati 1890 10
Miss Breckinridge's School Cincinnati 1906 3
Archbishop Ryan Memorial Institute for Deaf-Mutes Philadelphia 1912 19
De Paul Institute for Deaf-Mutes Pittsburgh 1908 64
Forrest Hall Philadelphia 1901 7
South Dakota      
Black Hills School for the Deaf Lead 1911 2
St. John's Institute for Deaf-Mutes St. Francis 1876 90



Transcriber's Corrections

Page 19. Chapter II. "ceramen" to cerumen.
Impacted cerumen

Page 19n. Chapter II. "ceramen" to cerumen.
... ear trouble, impacted cerumen is usually found ...

Page 28. Chapter II. "1800" to 1880.

Page 32. Table IV. 8th column "1902/1901" to 1901/1902.

Page 69. Chapter III. "is" to in.
Thus in Missouri we find a statute of 1843 allowing ...

Page 128n. Chapter VIII. "appendicies" to appendices.
... Mississippi School, appendices, 1907, 1909, 1911 ...

Page 158. Chapter IX. "nucleii" to nuclei.
... schools were thus often the nuclei of the ...

Page 202n. Chapter XII. "nucleii" to nuclei.
... which were the nuclei of the state ...

Page 222. Chapter XIV. "Saulte" to Sault.
... Sault Ste. Marie, 1906; ...

Page 253. Chapter XVI. "superintendant" to superintendent
... By one superintendent it has been stated ...

Page 259. Chapter XVI. "Rosolved" to Resolved.
Resolved, that the deaf youth of our land ...

Page 304. Chapter XXII. "suffcient" to sufficient.
... are quite sufficient to enable us to ...

Page 320. Chapter XXIII. "educaton" to education.
... work of the education of the deaf ...

Page 329. Appendix B. "Annez" to Annex.
Public School, Queens, (Annex to School 47, Manhattan)

Page 333 & 339. Index. No entry for "Age Limits".
Relevant information can be found in Ch. XVII, pp. 265-267, under the heading "Age Limits of Attendance".

Page 334. Index. "Giralamo" to Girolamo.
Cardano, Girolamo, 121.

Page 335, 337 & 340. Index. "provisions" to provision.
See ... States, provision in ...

Page 340. Index. "schools" to institutions.
States ... See ... Government of institutions.

Page 340. Index. "of pupils" to into schools.
Terms, see Admission into schools.