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Gallaudet Classics in Deaf Studies Series

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Gallaudet Classics in Deaf Studies Series

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Deaf Heritage

A Narrative History of Deaf America

Jack R. Gannon

Now, Jack R. Gannon’s original groundbreaking volume on Deaf history and culture is available once again. In Deaf Heritage: A Narrative History of Deaf America, Gannon brought together for the first time the story of the Deaf experience in America from a Deaf perspective. Recognizing the need to document the multifaceted history of this unique minority with its distinctive visual culture, he painstakingly gathered as much material as he could on Deaf American life. The result is a 17-chapter montage of artifacts and information that forms an utterly fascinating record from the early nineteenth century to the time of its original publication in 1981. Deaf Heritage tracks the development of the Deaf community both chronologically and by significant subjects. The initial chapter treats the critical topics of early attempts at deaf education, the impact of Deaf and Black deaf teachers, the establishment of schools for the deaf, and the founding of Gallaudet College. Individual chapters cover the 1880s through the 1970s, mixing milestones such as the birth of the National Association of the Deaf and the work of important figures, Deaf and hearing, with anecdotes about day-to-day deaf life. Other chapters single out important facets of Deaf culture: American Sign Language, Deaf Sports, Deaf artists, Deaf humor, and Deaf publications. The overall effect of this remarkable record, replete with archival photographs, tables, and lists of Deaf people’s accomplishments, reveals the growth of a vibrant legacy singular in American history.

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Gaillard in Deaf America

A Portrait of the Deaf Community 1917

Henri Gaillard, Bob Buchanan, Editor, Translated by William Sayers

In 1917, Henri Gaillard led a delegation of deaf French men to the United States for the centennial celebration of the American School for the Deaf (ASD). The oldest school for deaf students in America, ASD had been cofounded by renowned deaf French teacher Laurent Clerc, thus inspiring Gaillard’s invitation. Gaillard visited deaf people everywhere he went and recorded his impressions in a detailed journal. His essays present a sharply focused portrait of the many facets of Deaf America during a pivotal year in its history.

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A Mighty Change

An Anthology of Deaf American Writing, 1816-1864

Christopher Krentz

“I need not tell you that a mighty change has taken place within the last half century, a change for the better,” Alphonso Johnson, the president of the Empire State Association of Deaf-Mutes, signed to hundreds of assembled deaf people in 1869. Johnson pointed to an important truth: the first half of the 19th century was a period of transformation for deaf Americans, a time that saw the rise of deaf education and the coalescence of the nation’s deaf community. This volume contains original writing by deaf people that both directed and reflected this remarkable period of change. It begins with works by Laurent Clerc, the deaf Frenchman who came to the United Sates in 1816 to help found the first permanent school for deaf students in the nation. Partially through is writing, Clerc impressed hearing Americans–most of whom had never met an educated deaf person before–with his intelligence and humanity. Other deaf writers shared their views with society through the democratic power of print. Included here are selections by James Nack, a deaf poet who surprised readers with his mellifluous verse; John Burnet, who published a book of original essays, fiction, and poetry; Edmund Booth, a frontiersman and journalist; John Carlin, who galvanized the drive for a national college for deaf people; Laura Redden, a high-achieving student who would go on to become an accomplished reporter; and Adele Jewel, a homeless deaf woman living in Michigan. The final sections contain documents related to deaf events and issues at mid-century: the grand reunion of alumni of the American Asylum for the Deaf in 1850; the dedication of the Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet monument in Hartford; the debate over the viability of a deaf state; and the triumphant inauguration of the National Deaf-Mute College (now Gallaudet University) in 1864, which in many ways culminated this period of change. Taken together, the individual texts in this remarkable collection provide a valuable historical record and a direct glimpse of the experiences, attitudes, and rhetoric of deaf Americans during this time of change.

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Sweet Bells Jangled

Laura Redden Searing, A Deaf Poet Restored

Judy Yaeger Jones and Jane E. Vallier, Editors

Laura Redden Searing (1839-1923) defied critics of the time by establishing herself as a successful poet, a poet who was deaf. She began writing verse at the Missouri School for the Deaf in 1858, and, under the pseudonym Howard Glyndon, soon found herself catapulted into national prominence by her patriotic Civil War poems. Abraham Lincoln himself bought her books, the most critically acclaimed being Idylls of Battle and Poems of the Rebellion, published in 1864. Her poem “Belle Missouri” became the song of the Missouri Volunteers, and she was sent by the St. Louis Republican newspaper to Washington as a war correspondent. Despite her success, detractors decried her poetry simply because she was deaf, asking how she could know anything of rhyme, rhythm, or musical composition. She quieted them with the simple elegance of her words and the sophistication of her allegorical themes. Readers can enjoy her work again in this volume, which features more than 70 of her finest poems. They also will learn her feelings about the constraints imposed on 19th-century women in her epic narrative of misunderstanding and lost love “Sweet Bells Jangled:” Out of sight of the heated land Over the breezy sea; Into the reach of the solemn mist Quietly drifted we. Her restoration will be an event welcomed by poetry aficionados everywhere.

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When I Am Dead

The Writings of George M. Teegarden

Raymond Luczak, Editor

George M. Teegarden (1852-1936) taught at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf for 48 years, established the printing department, and also served as the first editor of the school’s magazine. Despite these significant contributions, his greatest gift to deaf people was his skill as a writer and poet who was deaf, as readers will discover in When I Am Dead: The Writings of George M. Teegarden. Editor Raymond Luczak selected Teegarden’s prose in When I Am Dead from several books, including Raindrop, and Stories, Old and New. Noting that these stories were never written for hearing readers, Luczak marvels at Teegarden’s ability to write English prose that the ASL-familiar reader would find incredibly easy to transliterate. By employing a rich blend of original stories and revisions of fables and myths, Teegarden taught his students the importance of improving their reading and writing skills to outfit them “for the battle of life.” He produced a body of work that Luczak characterizes as “a breath of fresh air: quick, painless, and usually told with a sense of wonder.” Luczak’s choice of poems came from Teegarden’s self-published volume Vagrant Verses, a summation of his affection for Gallaudet College, the Deaf community, and all deaf people. The eponymous poem “When I Am Dead” articulates concisely the beliefs that directed Teegarden’s life of service: “When I am dead, I hope to be Remembered—this is true— Not for my wit or vanities But what I did for you.”

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