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A Brief History Of The American Asylum, At Hartford, For The Education And Instruction Of The Deaf And Dumb

Creator: n/a
Date: 1893
Source: Available at selected libraries
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This pamphlet, published in 1893, outlines the origins of what became the American School for the Deaf. It includes information on the educational offering at the institution as well as a compilation of occupations of former pupils at the school.

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In the year 1807 Alice, the youngest daughter of Mason F. Cogswell, M.D., of Hartford, Conn., a man eminent in his profession and in philanthropic works, became deaf through scarlet fever. Anxious for the education of this beloved child, Dr. Cogswell appealed to the General Association of the Congregational Clergymen of Connecticut to aid him in ascertaining the number of persons in the State afflicted in like manner, and at a meeting of the association, held at Sharon, in June, 1812, it was reported by a committee previously appointed for the purpose, that there were eighty-four deaf and dumb persons within the limits of the State. If a like proportion of deaf-dumbness existed in other States there were probably four hundred such persons in New England, and in all the United States about two thousand. Surely enough of these must be of school age to sustain a good school on this side of the Atlantic.


Bringing these facts to the attention of his wealthy and influential friends, Dr. Cogswell succeeded in interesting them in the project of establishing a school for their education.


On the 13th of April, 1815, the following gentlemen met by invitation at his house, viz.: "Ward Woodbridge, Esq., Daniel Wadsworth, Esq., Henry Hudson, Esq., Hon. Nathaniel Terry, John Caldwell, Esq., Daniel Buck, Esq., Joseph Battell, Esq. (of Norfolk), Rev. Nathan Strong, D.D., and Rev. Thos. H. Gallaudet." After prayer by Dr. Strong invoking the Divine blessing upon their deliberations, and after a full discussion of the practicability of sending some suitable person to Europe to study the art of instructing the deaf and dumb, Dr. Cogswell and Mr. Woodbridge were appointed a committee to ascertain the name of some suitable person, who would consent to go, and to obtain subscriptions to defray his expenses. In one day Mr. Woodbridge, who was one of the leading business men of Hartford, raised sufficient funds for the purpose. The Rev. Thos. H. Gallaudet, a graduate of Yale College and of Andover Theological Seminary, was solicited to make the journey and fit himself to take up the new enterprise. On the 15th of April, 1815, he signified to the committee his willingness to do so, and on the 25th day of May he sailed for Europe. It is not necessary in this brief history to recount the story so often told of the obstacles encountered by Mr. Gallaudet in England and Scotland in his endeavor to acquire the method of instruction in use there, and of the open-armed hospitality extended to him by the Abbe De l'Epee at Paris, where every facility was afforded him to accomplish the purpose for which he had crossed the Atlantic. Having secured as his assistant Laurent Clerc, who had been a brilliant pupil and, later, a teacher in the Royal Institution for the Deaf and Dumb at Paris, Mr. Gallaudet returned to New York August 10, 1816. These two spent the following eight months in visiting prominent places throughout the country to obtain subscriptions and to interest the general public in the cause of deaf-mute education, the accomplished deaf-mute exciting universal wonder and admiration.


While Mr. Gallaudet was abroad, friends at home were active in forwarding the project. At the session of the General Assembly of Connecticut, held at Hartford, in May, 1816, an act of incorporation was passed in accordance with the petition of sixty-three citizens of Hartford, who, with their associates, were by it "formed into, constituted, and made a body politic and corporate by the name of the Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons, with the rights and powers usually granted to incorporations for educational purposes."


Under this charter the school was opened at Hartford, April 15, 1817, with seven pupils, increasing within a year to thirty-three, the first permanent school for the education of deaf-mutes in America.


In other countries, schools of this class had been sustained entirely by private charity, and had had only transient means of support. The founders of the school at Hartford, while availing themselves of private charity to put it in operation, and demonstrate the need of it, and its ability to meet that need, at once set to work to put it on a reliable basis of support. In October, 1816, the Legislature of Connecticut was appealed to for aid and made an appropriation of five thousand dollars. In 1819, the Congress of the United States, under a motion made by Henry Clay, gave to the school twenty-three thousand acres of public land, and with the proceeds of the sale of this land grounds were secured, suitable buildings erected, and a permanent fund provided. In 1819, Massachusetts provided by legislative appropriation for the education of twenty indigent pupils here. In 1825, New Hampshire and Vermont adopted the same policy of educating their deaf-mute children here at the expense of the State. Other States soon followed this good example. Thus, through the efforts of the founders of this school the humane, just, and wise policy of educating deaf-mutes at the public expense was firmly established in this country, and has been adopted by almost every State in the Union. In some of the Western States means for the education of deaf-mutes are secured by Constitutional provision. This has put the schools for deaf-mutes in the United States on a better basis, financially, than those in any other part of the world.

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An unfortunate impression has prevailed that the institution is provided with abundant funds for carrying on its work. Such is not the case. Since the grant made by Congress in 1819, gifts and bequests have been very few and scanty. By far the largest was that of the late Morris Mattson, M.D., of New York, who became interested in the school through his deaf-mute sister's connection with it, and made it his residuary legatee. To the disadvantage of the institution in its present needs, his example has not been followed.




The first Principal of this school, the Rev. Thomas H. Gallaudet, was a man of liberal education, broad culture, and rare tact and pantomimic skill. Realizing the difficulties of deaf-mute education and the requirements for success in it, he called about him, as assistant teachers, men of similar qualifications and fit, to be his co-laborers, in working out by correction, revision, and expansion of the French system a new, American system of instruction. Thanks to the wise conservatism of its managers, the standard of qualifications for a teacher of deaf-mutes at the outset of the work in this country has been steadily maintained here, and to it may be attributed in no small degree the prestige which this school has ever enjoyed. Twenty-nine graduates of Yale College, besides graduates of other colleges, have been enrolled in its corps of instructors. For a long time this school served as a normal school for the training of teachers to take charge of the new schools springing up. Every new teacher entering upon the work of instruction here, as well as those from other schools resorting to it to acquire the system of instruction took a regular course of lessons in the sign language from Mr. Clerc, the living embodiment of the French system, and each paid him fifty dollars therefor. The high standard set for the country at the beginning, and the endeavor to live up to it, have secured results in the education of deaf-mutes which have caused American schools for the deaf to be universally acknowledged to be the best of their kind in the world.




Mental discipline and acquirements are but a part of the good to be derived from the school course. Manual training, now beginning to be considered an essential part of school training for all children, is doubly so for deaf-mutes. For their future welfare it is not only necessary that they should form habits of industry, but that every boy should learn how to care for and use tools, and acquire at least the rudiments of a trade, that he may be able to compete successfully with those favored with hearing.


Very early in the history of this school this need was recognized, and a plan was adopted of making manual training a requisite part of the education of its pupils. Instruction in this new department was begun in 1822, and in the following year two large and convenient workshops were erected. From that day to this, manual training has been a part of the instruction of every able-bodied boy -- rich and poor alike -- passing through his school course here. Habits of industry are invaluable, and they should be acquired at the formative period of life. It is of much less importance what one learns to do, than that one should learn to do promptly and well whatever one undertakes. With industrious habits, a trained eye, a skilled hand, and cultivated judgment, one may acquire a new trade with comparative ease, but where all these are wanting, to start on any new line of work is a difficult task.


Boys receive instruction in cabinet-making and shoemaking. Until 1892, there was a tailor's shop also. Most of the girls learn to sew and to do some of the lighter parts of house work.


In the cabinet-shop the boys learn how to use wood-working tools, and when they have finished their school course, they find it comparatively easy to secure employment in carpenter shops, in furniture establishments, or in any other occupation in which that class of tools is used. Those who return to farm life find the knowledge which they have obtained in this branch of instruction valuable in saving the cost of repairs and in the manufacture of many needed and useful articles. The cabinet-shop is supplied with power for the turning-lathe and heavy sawing, but the rest of the work here, as all of that in the shoe-shop, is performed by hand, as the object is not to turn off a large amount of work, but to teach boys the use and proper care of tools.


Shoe-making has proved a useful trade for many boys, as it requires very little capital. One can start in the trade almost anywhere, and very seldom does a good cobbler fail to find sufficient work to make a comfortable living.


Drawing is carefully taught in order to cultivate the hand and the eye, and as a preparation for understanding working plans in the mechanical arts, and as laying the foundation for designing and other art work with those who show special talent in those lines.

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An extensive inquiry made, in 1886, among former pupils of the school, showed them engaged at that time as follows:


1 Artist,
3 Bakers,
1 Basket-maker,
1 Belt-maker,
1 Blacksmith
1 Boatman,
1 Boat-builder,
1 Book-agent,
2 Book-binders,
1 Brakeman,
1 Brass-molder,
1 Brass-worker,
1 Bricklayer,
5 Burnishers
2 Chair-makers,
1 Cigar-maker,
1 Clerk in drug store,
1 Clerk in post-office,
1 Casket-maker,
1 Casket-trimmer.
1 Draughtsman,
1 Dyer,
3 Editors,
70 Farmers,
1 Fireman,
3 Fishermen,
1 Foreman in warehouse,
1 Foundryman,
3 Furniture-makers,
1 Furniture-polisher,
1 Glass-cutter,
1 Glue-maker,
2 Hatters,
1 Hostler,
1 Ice-dealer,
1 Janitor,
1 Clerk in Treasury Department,
3 Clergymen, ordained,
1 Cooper.
6 Clockmakers,
1 Clock-case maker,
1 Copyist,
2 Cutters in shoe-shop,
12 Cabinet-makers,
1 Capitalist, * *This man has made his fortune, is a director and the largest stockholder of a flourishing insurance company.
1 Car-maker,
17 Carpenters,
2 Carriage-makers,
1 Carriage-painter,
2 Cartridge makers,
1 Oysterman,
1 Pail-maker,
8 Painters,
1 Paper-ruler (by machine),
1 Patent-lawyer,
1 Pattern-maker,
2 Peddlers,
1 Picture-frame maker,
3 Piano-case makers
1 Plough-maker,
1 Pocket-book maker,
5 Printers,
1 Quarryman,
1 Rubber-stamp maker,
1 Rule-maker,
5 Sash and blind makers,
2 Saw-milltenders,
1 Shoe dealer,
20 Shoemakers,
1 Jeweler,
3 Joiners,
7 Laborers
1 Lamp-trimmer,
1 Last-maker,
3 Lock-makers,
2 Masons
4 Machinists,
20 Mechanics,
1 Merchant,
21 Mill operatives,
1 Mill-wright,
1 Monument sculptor,
3 Nail-makers,
1 Organ-case maker,
27 Shoe factory operatives,
1 Shuttle-maker,
1 Spool-turner,
1 Stair-builder,
2 Stone-cutters,
1 Silver-metal scourer,
8 Tanners
15 Teachers
2 Tin-smiths,
1 Tool-maker,
2 Upholsterers,
1 Varnisher,
1 Wagon-maker,
1 Watch-maker,
4 Wire-drawers,
6 Wood-carvers
2 Wool-sorters.


1 Book-stitcher,
2 Cartridge-makers,
27 Mill operatives,
5 Seamstresses
1 Corset-maker,
1 Dressmaker,
2 Hair-braiders,
1 Matron in a school for deaf-mutes,
2 Matrons, Assistant, in a school for deaf-mutes,
3 Shoe factory operatives,
1 Supervisor of girls in school for deaf-mutes,
2 Tailoresses,
6 Teachers.


A large number of the women are married and have homes of their own. Many others live with their parents, and are useful and efficient members of the household. Of these two classes no note is made in the above list of occupations.




As a rule the wages reported are not inferior to those earned by others in the same kinds of work, and some are receiving wages above the average.


One shoemaker earns $125.00 per month on an average, others report an average of $60.00 per month, others $40.00 per month, and the lowest reported in that trade is $1.00 a day -- the wages of boys little more than half way through their teens.


One weaver earns $53.00 a month, others $40.00, others $30.00 to $35.00.


Carpenters generally report wages of $2.00 a day.


Cabinet-makers earn from $1.25 to $2.25 a day.


One mechanic earns from $75.00 to $80.00 per month.


Clock-makers report wages varying from 1.25 to $3.00 per day for piece work.


Burnishers report wages varying from $1.25 to $5.00 per day for piece work.


Teachers receive wages which will not compare unfavorably with the wages paid for teaching the same grades of classes in the profession generally, the highest salary reported being $1800.


The patent lawyer, in a competitive examination for the chief examinership in the patent office, received the highest mark, but being debarred from that office by his infirmity, he entered upon the practice of patent law, in which he has gained a lucrative practice.


It will be seen by a glance at the list given above, that there is a great variety in the occupations of former pupils. Comparatively few of them have followed the trades learned at school, but all have carried with them the trained hand and eye, the cultivated judgment, and the industrious habits acquired. In no case have they found these a hindrance to their advancement, but, rather, on the foundations thus laid they have built their success. There is nothing degrading or belittling, in the acquirement of any honest handicraft. The false impression that there was has started many a young man on his way to the almshouse or the jail. Honest industry of any kind is honorable. Voluntary idleness is degrading, whether it be found among the rich or the poor, among the learned or the ignorant.


The plan of manual training first put into operation here has been adopted by nearly every school for deaf-mutes in the country, and to it may be attributed in no small degree the fact that a deaf-mute pauper or vagrant from among graduates is rarely found, though impostors not infrequently assume the role of deaf-mutes that they more readily may work upon the sympathies of the public and so procure the means of living without labor. As a class, the country through, deaf-mute graduates are honest, industrious, thrifty, and respected citizens, and not a few of them have brought up families of hearing children, who have risen to positions of influence and honor.

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In the early years of the school the time allowed to the beneficiaries of the several States was very short, and that the pupils might be able to accomplish the most in the time allowed, the age of admission was set high, as the following extract from the twenty-seventh annual report will show


"Those children who were to receive no aid from any public body, and whose term of instruction was therefore not limited, like that of beneficiaries, have always been admitted to the Asylum at the age of ten years, if their friends desire it; and in a few cases they have been taken at an earlier age, because, it was presumed, that if five years were not sufficient, they would be kept still longer under instruction. But for the larger class of its pupils, the Asylum, in view of the whole subject, and after much consideration, fixed upon fourteen years at first, and afterwards upon twelve, as the best time for the commencement of their education. This course was adopted in accordance with the views and wishes of a most respectable board of commissioners, appointed by the legislatures of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, to examine into the state and condition of this institution, as respects its funds, and the instruction, treatment, and employment of the pupils, and to ascertain the terms and conditions upon which the deaf and dumb, who may be sent to the Asylum by those States, will be received."


In 1843 the age of admission was again reduced, as will appear by the following vote passed by the board of directors


"Voted, That the earliest age for the admission of pupils into the Asylum be eight years; with the hope that all such that are admitted at an earlier age than twelve years shall be continued for the term of six years at least."


It is interesting to notice the change in the age of pupils at admission since then. An examination of the records shows that of the first one hundred pupils only eight were under ten years of age, when they began their school course; fifty three were sixteen years of age or over; forty-two were eighteen years of age or over; fifteen were over twenty five years of age, and one had reached the age of fifty.


Of the last one hundred admitted previous to May, 1889, forty-eight were under ten years of age; nine were over sixteen years of age, and only four had passed the age of eighteen. One had reached the age of twenty-seven.


The average age of the first one hundred pupils at admission was 17.91 years. The average age of the last one hundred at admission was 10.77 years -- a gain of 7.18 years in the right direction.




In the matter of time allowed at school, the deaf-mute children of this generation are highly favored above those of two generations ago. On this point the seventh annual report of this school speaks as follows: "Some pupils stay at the Asylum only two years, and four is thought by many a pretty considerable time for completing their education. And yet in this time some hope that these infants in knowledge, though they may be men in stature, as ignorant of knowledge of language, when they begin, as the little child who is taking his first lessons in his primer, can be taught how to write English with grammatical accuracy, and to read books with understanding, and also have their minds opened to the reception of moral and religious truth, and to an acquaintance, perhaps, with arithmetic, geography, and history, and in addition to all this, become tolerable proficients in some mechanical employment. Could such things be accomplished in the education of those who are deprived of two of the most important faculties which man enjoys, it would put to shame all that is done by the most ingenious and attentive parents, and at the most celebrated schools, in training up to knowledge and usefulness those who are favored with hearing and speech and all the superior facilities of acquiring information and improvement, which these valuable privileges afford."


In 1825 the commissioners above referred to visited the school, and after full consultation with the board of directors, the latter passed the following preamble and resolution, viz:


"WHEREAS, it is necessary, not only for the good of the pupils, but for the convenience of the Asylum, that every pupil should continue at least four years, that being the least time in which they can acquire even an ordinary education,


"Resolved , That it is expected that no one will be placed here for a less term than four years."


In 1835, the regular term of instruction was extended to five years.


As we look back over this history, and consider the very short time allowed for the school course, and consider, moreover, that the majority of the pupils on entering the school had reached an age when the mind had lost its pliability, we do not wonder that the attainments in language were so limited that they failed to free themselves from deaf-muteisms, but, rather, considering the circumstances, we marvel that they were able to accomplish so much as they did. All honor to them! All honor to the teachers, who, in spite of all drawbacks and discouragements, fitted their pupils to take their parts in life so well! What would be thought in these days of two years, or four years, as the period allowed for the education of deaf-mutes?

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As time has passed on, the necessities of the case have been appreciated better, and the period of instruction has gradually been increased. Massachusetts now allows ten years to every one of its deaf children, and gives power to the Governor to extend the time beyond that limit in the case of meritorious pupils, "recommended therefor by the principal or other chief officer of the school in which they are members." In the rest of New England the State authorities have discretionary power to extend the time to about the same limit. One more step in advance is needed, viz., to grant the same privileges to the deaf child that are accorded to his hearing brothers and sisters, to enter school as soon as he is old enough, and remain until his education is completed, including instruction in the kindergarten, the primary school, the grammar school, and in speech and lip-reading.




Great changes have also taken place in the methods of instruction. Finding an insurmountable barrier to acquiring the system of instruction in Great Britain, Mr. Gallaudet went to France, partially learned the system there in use, and brought it, embodied in the person of Laurent Clerc, to this country. It was a marvelous system, but there was too much machinery about it, and like all the machinery of those days it was crude and cumbersome. Too much time was spent over the sign language. It seems sometimes to have been regarded as an end rather than a means. The lever was mistaken for the load which it was intended to move. For example, in the teaching of language, instead of presenting the idea vividly in brief natural signs, and then turning at once to written, or spelled, language, the idea was first given in free natural signs, next in word signs in the order of the words, and, lastly, by signs in the order of the words, each word being accompanied by other signs indicating the part of speech and giving its grammatical construction. After all this preparation came the written language for the idea.


Other crudities there were. Mr. Gallaudet, with his coadjutors, set to work to improve this instrument which had been placed in their hands. Their successors have pursued the same course. One after another its useless and cumbersome parts have been removed, and its usefulness has been increased thereby. It is, and will always continue to be, the easiest and most efficient medium of thinking for the congenitally deaf. It is invaluable as a means of conveying ideas rapidly, both in giving information and in making explanations. Every teaeher of the deaf should be a master of the sign language, and should use it with perfect freedom and yet with great discretion. It should never be more than a means to an end. In the days when the school period was so short, the end sought was to lay up knowledge in the sign language. Now we have passed beyond that, and merely use it as a means of reaching the point where all knowledge may be reached through the English language and stored in it.


The system of instruction is now thoroughly eclectic -- writing, speech, lip-reading, manual spelling, pictures, pantomine, actions, and the sign-language are all freely used. The ends aimed at are the mental development of the pupil and a mastery of the English language, and any means which will conduce to these ends are unhesitatingly employed.




Articulation has always had a place in the instruction given in this school. From the beginning the semi-mute and semi-deaf have had their speech kept up and improved by special attention. The subject was investigated from time to time in its workings in other countries by special agents of this and other schools, and the best light to be had was followed. In the very limited time allowed for the school course, and considering, also, time age at which pupils were admitted, it was not deemed wise to extend the instruction beyond the above-named classes. As the school period was increased more could be done. In 1845 the following resolution was passed by the board of directors:


"Voted, In view of the facts and results obtained by Mr. Weld, the Principal of the Asylum, during his late visit to various institutions for the education of deaf mutes in Europe, that the board of directors will take efficient measures to introduce into the course of instruction in the Asylum every improvement to be derived from these foreign institutions; and with regard to teaching deaf-mutes to articulate, and to understand what is said to them orally, that they will give it a full and prolonged trial, and do in this branch of instruction everything that is practically and permanently useful."


In accordance with this resolution about thirty pupils received special instruction in speech and lip-reading during the school year of 1845-6. In the following year forty pupils were so instructed. Three years later we find the class in articulation and lip-reading still numbered about forty, and so on, showing that there was a thorough and persistent attempt in the spirit of the resolution, and with results in some cases, both in speech and lip-reading, which have rarely been excelled.

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In 1857, a special teacher of articulation was employed by this school -- the first engaged by any school for deaf-mutes in this country -- and from that time to this, with the exception of one break of five years, the school has not been without a special instructor in those branches.


This was the first eclectic school to make use of Bell's System of Visible Speech as an aid in teaching deaf-mutes to speak. Mr. Alexander Graham Bell spent the months of May and June, 1872, in the school in introducing the system and in training teachers to give instruction in it.


Of late years more attention has been given to articulation and lip-reading, and their field has been broadened. This school, while holding fast to all that is good in the past, has settled upon the policy of giving all new pupils a thorough and prolonged test, under special teachers, as to their ability to acquire speech and lip-reading, and of dropping only such as those teachers regard as hopeless cases. With the rest daily instruction in speech and lip-reading is continued through the course. This plan has been adopted in the belief that intelligible speech, even if imperfect, is valuable, and that it should be given to every pupil who can acquire it, even at a partial sacrifice of development in other directions, which will require an addition of one or two years to the time now allowed for the school course in order to make good the loss.


An examination of the school's records in 1889 revealed the following facts: -- Of the pupils received into this school during the previous four years seventy-four per cent. gave sufficient promise of success in acquiring speech and lip-reading to warrant their continued daily instruction in those branches. Of those thus taught forty-seven + per cent. were born deaf; fourteen + per cent. lost hearing under two years of age; twenty-four + per cent. lost hearing between the ages of two and four years; and fourteen + per cent. lost hearing after the age of four years.


The more than twenty-five hundred pupils who have received instruction at the American Asylum have come from twenty-five States, the British Provinces, and the West Indies, viz.
New Hampshire,
Rhode Island,
New York,
New Jersey,
District of Columbia,
North Carolina,
South Carolina,
British Provinces,
West Indies,
West Virginia.


At the present time (1893) only the six New England States are represented by its pupils.


Likewise the following:


Of the first hundred pupils admitted to the school --
46 were born deaf.
30 became deaf at two years or under.
7 became deaf from three to eight years of age inclusive.
0 became deaf at over eight years of age.
17 unknown at what age deafness occurred.
1 had one deaf parent.
28 came from 23 families in which there were forty other deaf children,
0 was reported as having parents related by blood,
In one family represented there were 6 deaf-mute children,
In one family represented there were two deaf-mute sons and one deaf-mute daughter who were married before this school was established.
In another family there were 4 deaf-mute children.


Of the last hundred pupils admitted --
41 were born deaf.
26 became deaf at two years of age or under.
22 became deaf from three to eight years of age inclusive.
1 became deaf at over eight years of age.
10 unknown at what age deafness occurred.
5 have deaf parents, and in these families there are thirteen other deaf children and two hearing children -- 12 of these deaf children coming from two families.
9 children, having hearing parents unrelated by blood, come from seven families having more than one deaf- mute child -- the whole number of deaf children in these families being16, and the number of hearing children 24.
2 children come from families in which the parents are cousins, and the two families together have six deaf-mute children and fifteen hearing children.


Up to May 1891 five hundred and ninety marriages of former pupils had been reported. From these had sprung eight hundred and eleven children, of whom one hundred and four, or nearly thirteen per cent. were reported congenitally deaf. Nearly one half the marriages were without issue.


The deaf-mutes of America have not failed to testify their love and admiration for their first teachers, Thos. H. Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc, nor to show their appreciation of their labors in their behalf. In September, 1850, they presented each with a costly solid silver service, and to each they have erected, at their own expense, on the grounds of the institution, a permanent memorial at a total cost of more than six thousand dollars.




The school is supported partly by the income from its invested funds and partly by State appropriations, and is under the management of a board of directors composed of some of the most prominent business and professional men of Hartford and ex officio, the Governors and Secretaries of the six New England States.

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The charge for board and tuition is $175 a year and this expense is met by State appropriations. This covers from two-thirds to three-fourths of the actual cost, the rest being provided from the income of the funds.


The school employs sixteen regular teachers, a special teacher for a blind deaf-mute, a teacher of drawing, and an instructor of Swedish gymnastics.




The Ellen Lyman Memorial Fund of $2,000, given by Mrs. Lafayette S. Foster of Norwich, Conn., and an Illustrative Fund given by the Hon. Joseph Davis of Lynn, Mass., have provided means for publishing a few books specially adapted to the use of deaf children. By this aid the following books have been published and are doing useful service in a large proportion of the schools for the deaf in the United States and in some schools in Canada and England, viz.: First Lessons in English -- a graded course of instruction in language in four volumes -- by Miss Caroline C. Sweet; Talbs and Stories -- One hundred short stories and seventy-five conversations for practice in language -- prepared by W. G. Jenkins, M. A.; Bits of History -- one hundred stories gathered from United States history compiled by John E. Crane, B. A., and "A Story Reader"-- a volume of short stories for young pupils -- compiled by Miss Ida V. Hammond.


The American Annals of the Deaf and Dumb, now known all over the world as the official organ for the schools for the deaf in America, originated with the teachers of this school, and they furnished nearly all of the articles for the first two volumes. It was published quarterly then, as now, and the Board of Directors of the school appropriated $300 towards the expense of publishing the first volume.


At the First Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf and Dumb, held at the New York Institution in 1850, the magazine was adopted by that body, which became responsible for its support, and placed it under the management of its executive committee, but the editorship was still filled by a teacher of the American Asylum, first by Mr. Luzerne Rae, and after his death by Mr. Samuel Porter, who held it until the magazine was suspended on account of the Civil War.


The management of the school is wisely conservative, but it moves on in no old grooves, is wedded to no system. It gladly examines and tests every new thing that promises to be an improvement, and with alacrity adopts whatever proves itself worthy of adoption. It believes in proving all things and in holding fast that which is good. It makes no changes merely for the sake of change, but is ever ready to make any change for the sake of improvement. It stands where it has always stood, in the front rank of schools for the deaf.






1. Be it enacted by the Governor and Council and House of Representatives in General Court assembled: That John Caldwell, Nathaniel Terry, Daniel Wadsworth, Mehitable Wadsworth, Susan Tracy, Ward Woodbridge, Henry Hudson, Daniel Buck, Mason F. Cogswell, Joseph Battell, William H. Imlay, Charles Sigourney, David Porter, David McKinney, Isaac Bull, Thomas S. Williams, John Morgan, Samuel Tudor, Jr., John Butler, George Goodwin, John Beach, James Ward, Roswell Bartholomew, George Smith, Joseph Rogers, Moses Tryon, Jr., Nathan Strong, Jr., Charles Seymour, James H. Wells, Jonathan W. Edwards, William W. Ellsworth, William Watson, Russel Bunce, Eliphalet Terry, Seth Terry, Lynds Olmsted, Thomas Lloyd, James B. Hosmer, Joseph Trumbull, Samuel Tinker, Horace Burr, Russell Talcott, Christopher Colt, Eliphalet Averill, Nathaniel Fatten, Joseph Wells, William Ely, Spencer Whiting, Barzillai Hudson, Jr., Jonathan Law, George Goodwin, Jr., Daniel Crowell, Charles Goodwin, Michael Shepherd, Caleb Goodwin, Dudley Buck, Aaron Chapin, Jared Yarborough, Barzillai Hudson, Jacob Sargeant, Peter Thatcher, Talcott Wolcott, Nathaniel Spencer, and their associates be, and they hereby are, formed into, constituted, and made a body politic and corporate, by the name of "The Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons," and by that name they and their successors shall and may have perpetual succession: shall be capable of suing and being sued, pleading and being impleaded in all suits of what nature soever, may have a Common seal, and may alter the same at pleasure, and may also purchase, receive, hold, and convey any estate, real or personal, the annual income of which shall not exceed five thousand dollars.


2. And be it further enacted, That the said Asylum may, from time to time, elect a President, and such other officers as they may find necessary or convenient, may elect additional members, and the said Asylum may make by-laws, respecting the number, qualifications, and duties of their officers the mode of election and admission of members, the time, place, and manner of holding their meetings, and the number necessary to make a quorum, and all other by-laws which they may deem necessary for the due regulation of said Asylum, not repugnant to the laws of this State or of the United States.

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3. And be it further enacted, That the first meeting of said Asylum be held at the State House in Hartford, on the second Monday of June next.


4. And be it further enacted, That this act or any part thereof, if found inadequate or inconvenient, may be altered, amended, or repealed.


General Assembly, May Session, 1816.


Speaker of the House of Representatives.


THOMAS DAY, Secretary.




At a General Assembly of the State of Connecticut, holden at Hartford in said State, on the first Wednesday of May, Anno Domini 1819:


Upon the petition of the "Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons," showing to this assembly, that the said institution, although styled the Connecticut Asylum, was originally founded for the relief of the Deaf and Dumb wherever situated, and that no preference has ever been given to applicants for admission on account of their local residence. And that, in consideration that the Congress of the United States have very liberally granted, for the use of the Asylum, a township of land, and in consideration also of the contributions of charitable individuals in the other States in the Union, the members of the corporation are desirous of changing its corporate name so that in future it be called "The American Asylum at Hartford, for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb."


Resolved by this Assembly, That the name and style of said corporation be and the same is hereby changed, and that hereafter it be known and called by the name and style of "The American Asylum at Hartford, for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb," anything in the original act of incorporation to the contrary notwithstanding.


Provided, however, That this act shall be so construed, that any bequest, devise, gift, grant, covenant, or promise, that has been or may be made to said corporation by either of said names, shall take effect and this act shall in no wise prejudice the said corporation in respect to any privilege or benefit to which it may have been entitled had not the same been passed.


And it is also provided, That no misnomer of the said corporation shall prevent the same from taking benefit of any bequest, devise, gift, or grant when the intention of the testator, deviser, donor, or grantor can be clearly understood.


A true copy of record.
Examined by
THOMAS DAY, Secretary.

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