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ERIC Number: EJ826238
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 44
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 65
ISSN: ISSN-0302-1475
Lydia Huntley Sigourney and the Beginnings of American Deaf Education in Hartford: It Takes a Village
Sayers, Edna Edith; Gates, Diana
Sign Language Studies, v8 n4 p369-412 Sum 2008
The establishment of deaf education in the United States has traditionally been seen as the heroic act of one inspired hearing man, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. As Paddy Ladd writes in "Understanding Deaf Culture", this is the ""Grand Narrative," where Deaf communities are constructed solely as the individual end product of a lineage of distinguished hearing educators" (2003, 88). More recently, with the establishment of Deaf studies as an academic discipline, credit is increasingly given to Laurent Clerc, the deaf Frenchman from whom T. H. Gallaudet learned to sign and who came to America with Clerc to help establish the nation's first school for deaf children in Hartford, Connecticut. This article argues that these two men would never have been called on to play the roles they did without the earlier and necessary contributions of Lydia Huntley Sigourney. Before Gallaudet and Clerc enrolled their first pupil, Alice Cogswell, in 1817, Lydia Huntley, under the patronage of the wealthy Daniel Wadsworth and with the support of both of Alice's parents, had taught the little deaf girl to read and write English. The Cogswells, the Wadsworths, and the Wadsworths' protegee, Lydia Huntley, formed a group of what Ladd terms "laypeople," people related by blood, friendship, and community who, though they lacked any sort of professional training, nevertheless came together and rolled up their sleeves to enable Alice's education. This article investigates Lydia Huntley Sigourney's role in the founding of American deaf education, her lifelong contacts with the deaf school and its pupils after her own retirement from teaching, and her later erasure from Deaf history.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Connecticut