The Spanish National Deaf School
Portraits from the Nineteenth Century
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: Gallaudet University Press
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This book is a collection of biographical essays or “portraits” of nineteenth-century Spanish Deaf people and their educators, all of them connected in one way or another with the state-sponsored Madrid school, known first as the Royal School for Deaf-Mutes, then as the National School for Deaf-Mutes and the Blind. The result...
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In Madrid: Archivo del Ateneo Científico, Literario y Artístico de Madrid; Archivo del Colegio Público El Sol (formerly the Colegio Nacional de Sordomudos y de Ciegos); Archivo Fotográfico Ruiz Vernacci; Archivo General de la Universidad Complutense, Rectorado; Archivo...
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The year 1805 marked the opening in Madrid of the Royal School for Deaf- Mutes.1 This was Spain’s first state-sponsored school for deaf children, but it was hardly that nation’s first encounter with their teaching. It is often said that the instruction of deaf people originated in Spain in the 1500s. It was then that Spanish monks first taught the deaf children of noble...
Map of Spain
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1. Auspicious Beginnings: Roberto Francisco Prádez y Gautier
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In May of 1805, Roberto Francisco Prádez y Gautier, a deaf man in his early thirties, presented himself at the Royal School for Deaf-Mutes at number 2 on the calle de las Rejas. He proposed to instruct the school’s students in reading and writing or drawing.1 Reading and writing were already being taught, but the school’s...
2. The Gatekeeper: Juan Manuel Ballesteros
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The summer of 1835 found the Madrid deaf school in a state of complete and utter chaos. Subjected to ongoing physical abuse at the hands of their instructors and the school’s sadistic rector, the students had retaliated by discharging a cannon in the patio of the school, threatening the life of one of the teachers, and attempting to burn...
3. The Teacher’s Noble Work: Francisco Fernández Villabrille
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Francisco Fernández Villabrille arrived at the Madrid deaf school in 1835, when the establishment was at a turning point in its history. For years, the school had suffered from mismanagement and neglect, but now the newly appointed associate director, Juan Manuel Ballesteros, was struggling to revitalize instruction and restore order...
4. The Seeds of Deaf Resistance: Manuel Tinoco
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Corporal punishment was common-place in nineteenth-century Spanish schools. Indeed, an old adage claimed, “letters are learned with blood” (la letra con sangre entra).1 On August 25, 1834, a royal order abolished the use of blows with a rod or lash (azotes) or any other punishment capable of producing lesions, recommending instead...
5. The Fruit of Deaf Resistance: Patricio García
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On Tuesday, January 8, 1878, the director general of Public Instruction, José Cárdenas, arrived unannounced at the National School for Deaf- Mutes and the Blind.2 The impetus for his visit was a note delivered to the Ministry of Development by a deaf alumnus, José Soriano.3 Written in pencil in a childish hand and folded...
6. In the Name of Woman: Marcelina Ruiz Ricote y Fernández
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Throughout the 1800s, the education of Spanish girls lagged consistently behind that of Spanish boys, and this was true of deaf and hearing children alike. Fewer girls than boys attended school, and there were fewer schools for them. The deaf school in Madrid was no exception, and girls there were always substantially...
7. Wisdom beyond the Senses: Martín de Martín y Ruiz
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Martín de Martín y Ruiz was the first deaf-blind Spaniard to receive an education. He was born at 3:00 a.m. on January 30, 1852, in the city of Valladolid at number 5 on the calle del Sacramento. His father, Gerónimo Martín, was a shoemaker from Mansilla de las Mulas, in the province of León; his mother, Ana Ruiz, was...
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As the nineteenth century came to an end, National School policies concerning deaf teachers remained largely unchanged, and deaf professors continued to be excluded from the classrooms. Although at mid-century, Juan Manuel Ballesteros had experimented with deaf teaching assistants, his successor, Carlos Nebreda y López, apparently...
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Page Count: 300
Illustrations: 1 table, 20 photos
Publication Year: 2007