- The 175th Anniversary of the American Annals of the Deaf:Part I—1847 through 1900
This issue is the first part of a celebration of the 175th anniversary of the American Annals of the Deaf. First published in 1847, the Annals is purported to be the oldest continuously published refereed education journal in North America—though there was about a 7-year interruption (1861–1868) due to the American Civil War and its aftermath. Regardless, this is a remarkable achievement. Donald F. Moores, the previous editor of the Annals, referenced a 1947 letter "from Leslie Dunlop of the Library of Congress, to Powrie Doctor, Assistant Editor of the Annals," stating that "at least 68 educational journals had been published in the United States prior to the first issue of the Annals. One survived the Civil War, only to cease publication in 1866" (Moores, 1997c, p. xiv). Don remarked further, "The continued existence of our journal was due to the determination of educators of the deaf " (p. xiv).
Although I loved history in high school and focused on American history during the first 2 years of my college education, I certainly cannot match the expertise of Donald Moores. Don showcased his historical research talent with his pieces (introduction, editorials) for the 150th anniversary issue of the Annals (Moores, 1997a, 1997b, 1997c), as well as in several other notable publications during his long career (e.g., Moores, 2010, 2017). Don did a nice job of contextualizing the beginnings and evolution of selected topics and issues. However, prior to working on the present issue, all I could have related is that the Annals began publication in the middle of the Mexican-American War (1846–1848).
Trying to decide how to celebrate the anniversary was not easy for me (nor was it for Don, for the 150th). The first part of the challenging decision was deciding what reprints of articles, etc., to include, and, the second part, determining the criteria that should guide my selections. In thinking about the latter part, I remembered a quote published in the Annals that motivated my presentation at the International Congress on the Education of the Deaf in 2010 and was included in a chapter published later in an edited book (Paul, 2011):
But what are these fundamentals? One and only one! Language, and then language—spoken, spelled, or written—and the power to read and the power to understand what is read. Other requirements will then follow more easily and with greater results than now attained.(Johnson, 1916, p. 95)
I suspect that it is no surprise to my readers that this quote reflects my interest in the development of the English language and literacy—so this became my initial selection guide.
Now that I had the theme, I needed a selection process. There was no way I could read every article thoroughly and reflect deeply on the contents from 1847 [End Page 1] to the present. I surmised that I could read every abstract or brief introduction to each article—but that too would be overwhelming. Perusing the range of articles and other items caused me to broaden my initial theme. In essence, I was captivated by additional topics, related indirectly to "language and literacy," which will become evident later in this editorial.
The sheer volume of items in the Annals also necessitated a different celebration plan. Originally, I intended to do a single issue, consisting of an editorial focusing on a few selected articles that would be reprinted in the issue and highlighting others for discussion purposes from 1847 to the present. That plan became impractical after I actually selected 194 articles of interest from 1847 through 1900. So, this led to implementation of a three-part series for the anniversary celebration. The current issue covers the period from 1847 through 1900; the Summer issue will focus on 1901 through 1960; the Fall issue will address selected articles from 1961 to the present. Although the entirety of the present issue contains an editorial and a few selected articles, the subsequent issues of the Annals will include editorials and only a few past articles as well as regular current unsolicited manuscripts...