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A Brief History Of The Pennsylvania Institution For The Deaf And Dumb

Creator: H. Van Allen (author)
Date: 1893
Source: Available at selected libraries
Figures From This Artifact: Figure 2  Figure 3  Figure 4  Figure 5  Figure 6


ALTHOUGH the education of the deaf and dumb had been carried on in Europe most successfully for many years previously, it was not until 1815 that any steps were taken to establish a school for their instruction in America. In that year a number of gentlemen in Hartford, Conn., furnished the means for sending a young clergyman, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, to Europe to acquaint himself with the methods of instructing the deaf employed there, with a view to their introduction in this country. Mr. Gallaudet visited Great Britain, and after endeavoring in vain to induce the heads of the English and Scotch schools to give him the desired information, he chanced to meet in London with the Abbe Sicard, the successor of the benevolent Abbe de l'Epee, who, upon learning the nature of Mr. Gallaudet's mission, cordially invited him to visit and inspect the celebrated school in Paris, of which he had charge. This invitation was eagerly accepted, and Mr. Gallaudet accompanied the abbe to Paris. Here he was given all the information that he desired, and, what was perhaps of quite as much importance, secured the services of Laurent Clerc, one of Sicard's most brilliant pupils, who returned with him to this country as a teacher.


In 1817, shortly after Mr. Gallaudet's return, the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb was opened at Hartford, and the work of educating the deaf in this country was fairly begun. The eight months between their arrival and the opening of the school were consumed by Mr. Gallaudet and Mr. Clerc in visiting several of the important cities of the country, among them Philadelphia, for the purpose of arousing public interest in the proposed school. In Philadelphia, on December 7,1816, they addressed a public meeting held in Washington Hall, on South Third Street, at which the Chief Justice of Pennsylvania, William Tilghman, presided, and John Bacon acted as secretary. Great interest was aroused in the subject of the education of the deaf, and the meeting appointed a committee of prominent citizens to solicit contributions for the proposed school. The action of the meeting in taking measures to assist an enterprise without the borders of the commonwealth gave rise to a brief but spirited discussion in the public prints of the day, in the course of which the action of the meeting was as warmly defended as it was criticised.*


*For the information in regard to the visit to Philadelphia of Mr. Gallaudet and Mr. Clerc, I am indebted to a newspaper clipping preserved in a scrap-book formerly the property of Jonah Thompson, and donated to the library of the Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb by his grand-nephew, John T. Morris, a member of the present Board of Directors.


It is an interesting fact that about the time Mr. Gallaudet was in Paris studying the method of Sicard, a pupil of the Abbe St. Sernin, at Bordeaux, M. Gard, made overtures to several distinguished citizens of Philadelphia, and was given considerable encouragement to cross the ocean and establish a school in this city . The success of the efforts to establish the school at Hartford, and the fear that an attempt to establish a similar school elsewhere might do harm to the prospects of one or both schools, led to the dropping of the matter. The following letter written by Jonah Thompson, and published in one of the Philadelphia papers, will throw light upon a portion of the early history of deaf mute education in this country with which the public is not generally acquainted :*


* The original draft of the letter is in the library of the Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb.


As an individual whose feelings have for some time past been considerably interested in the instruction of the deaf and dumb, I could not but regret the publication of Mr. Gard's letter in a morning paper, and beg leave to submit a few observations on the remarks accompanying it.


This letter was enclosed some months since by Mr. Lee, the American Consul at Bordeaux, to a number of respectable gentlemen in different parts of the United States, and several individuals on their own responsibility contemplated giving Mr. Gard every encouragement to emigrate to this city. The measure was, however, abandoned by information of Mr. Gallaudet's progress in the necessary arrangements for forming a School in Connecticut, uniting the advantages of the English and French mode of tuition, and thereby promoting a uniform system in the United States.


The principles of education are entirely different in those rival countries. Indeed almost as much dissimilarity prevails as exists in their respective languages. This has been occasioned by national prejudices and has prevented Mr. Braidwood and the Abbe Sicard, with their adherents in each system, from realizing the advantages which each might have derived from the other. By the French method, attention is exclusively given to the improvement of the mind of the pupil and extending his mental conceptions to the highest degree of expansion and communication by signs as well as by writing. From the necessary abstraction from other subjects, except the one immediately exciting attention, we may reasonably conclude that from minds thus improved great perfection in science will be attained. Indeed it is questionable whether more sublime ideas have ever been expressed than those communicated in writing by the pupils of the Abbe Sicard, particularly by Clerc, Massieu and Gard.


According to the Wallis and Braidwood plan, the deaf are taught to speak, which is always possible when the powers of hearing are alone suspended, and when they have sufficient intellect to receive instruction. But this is extremely difficult. It requires greal labor, and, with the most perfect, the voice is very disagreeable and monotonous. The pupil is taught to utter vocal sound and to know when he utters it, but as he cannot hear, it is long before he can ascertain the meaning of his teacher.


After acquiring the power of uttering sound, he is taught that each letter produces a different motion of the muscular organs of speech which is communicated to the lips, and by steadily observing a speaker, be is able to comprehend in this way what is expressed.


As the art is still in its infancy and the different systems are the conceptions of but a few individuals, let us now promote a language combining the advantages of each, or the opportunity will be forever lost of establishing a uniform system of communication without which those taught by different tutors will be unintelligible to each other. No individuals are better calculated for this purpose than Mr. Gallaudet and Mr. Clerc, and at the first and only establishment in the United States let persons be instructed to promote the important object. With this view I should decidedly conceive any attempts at introducing Mr. Gard would be impolitic and premature.


Mr. Thompson's wise counsel was followed, and the citizens of Philadelphia gave their undivided support to the school at Hartford. No steps were taken at the time towards the founding of a school in Pennsylvania, and the establishment of the Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, the third oldest in the country * and now admittedly the finest and most complete school for the deaf in the world, was brought about in an altogether unlooked-for way.


*The New York Institute for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb was opened in May, 1820.


There were quite a number of deaf children in Philadelphia, who were frequently to be seen wandering about the streets, exciting by their neglected appearance and uncouth gestures the laughter and ridicule of the cruel and thoughtless, and the interest and compassion of the benevolent. To one man in Philadelphia the miserable condition of these children appealed most powerfully, and led him to perform an act of practical philanthropy which deserves to be forever held in grateful remembrance. This was David G. Seixas, an humble Israelite, who kept a little crockery store on Market street, between Sixteenth and Seventeenth streets. Picking up on the streets a number of these children he clothed and fed several out of his scanty means, and, with other deaf children whom he induced to come, instructed them as best he could. What particular method of instruction he pursued is not certainly known. He was doubtless aware of the main incidents of Laurent Clerc's visit to Philadelphia, if he was not actually present at the public meeting, and he had probably read of the methods of instruction pursued at Hartford, of accounts of which the newspapers of the day were full, and with this meagre knowledge, supplemented by the crude sign language which his ingenuity devised, he was able to begin the education of his unfortunate charges. The little school, which must have been established late in 1819, or early in 1820, had eleven pupils, five boys and six girls. Notwithstanding his lack of experience the success of Mr. Seixas must have been considerable, for the fame of the little school and of its devoted teacher spread rapidly and enlisted the sympathy and support of the philanthropic people of the city.


On the ninth of April, 1820, Several prominent citizens, among whom were Roberts Vaux, Horace Binney, Clement C. Biddle, Jacob Gratz, Dr. N. Chapman, William Wilkins, of Pittsburg, and Joseph Correa de Serra, the Portuguese Minister, met Mr. Seixas, by appointment, at the house of Mr. Vaux, and after a lengthy interview, decided to call a public meeting to consider the propriety of establishing an institution for the education of the deaf and dumb.


The meeting was held in the hall of the Philosophical Society, on South Third Street, on Wednesday evening, April 12. Rt. Rev. William White presided and William Meredith acted as secretary. Mr. Vaux made an address, in which he submitted a plan for organizing an institution. This plan was referred to a committee, of which Mr. Vaux was chairman. The report of this committee was submitted at a meeting held on Saturday evening, April 15. The constitution presented by the committee was adopted with some amendment, and was signed by those present. The constitution was as follows:


ARTICLE I. The Institution shall be located in Philadelphia, and supported by the annual and life subscriptions of its members, by the donations and legacies of the charitable, by such aid as the Legislature may be pleased to afford, and by the money to be received for the education of children whose parents, guardians or friends are of ability to pay.


ARTICLE II. The officers of the Institution shall be a president, four vice-presidents, a treasurer and recording secretary. They shall be ex-officio members of the Board of Directors, and their duties shall be such as are implied in their titles, or shall be prescribed by the by-laws. And said officers shall not receive any fee or compensation for their service in performing their several duties, either directly or indirectly, excepting the treasurer and secretary.


ARTICLE III. There shall be a board of twenty-four directors, members of the Institution, who shall annually, at the meeting next succeeding their election, appoint one of their number to act as corresponding secretary. Their duties shall be such as shall be defined by the by-laws. There shall also be a committee of twelve ladies selected annually by the Board of Directors at their first meeting, to aid in the management of the asylum under such provisions as may from time to time be prescribed by the by-laws.


ARTICLE IV. Any person shall be entitled to become a member by paying annually, or in gross, the sum which shall be required by the by-laws for an annual or life subscription.


ARTICLE V. The members of the Institution shall meet annually on the first Wednesday in May, in the city of Philadelphia, (at such hour as the directors may prescribe) for the election of officers and directors and the transaction of other business, and to receive the annual report of the directors. Adjourned and special meetings maybe held as shall be provided by the by-laws.


ARTICLE VI. The right of membership may be relinquished, and the resignation addressed in writing to the Board of Directors shall be accepted by them; Provided, the member shall have discharged all demands due by him or her to the Institution.


ARTICLE VII. The funds of the Institution shall be at the disposal and under the management of the Board of Directors, subject, however, so far as relates to that part derived from the life subscriptions, to such restrictions as may be imposed by the by-laws, and subject also to such restrictions as may accompany the grant of aid by the Legislature. And it shall be the duty of the directors for the time being to present to the speaker of the Senate and of the House of Representatives, respectively, in the month of December, annually, a statement of the funds and expenses of the Institution, and of the number of children received and educated therein during the year immediately preceding, and of the parts of the State whence they have come, distinguishing between those who have been supported and educated gratuitously, and others.


ARTICLE VIII. Indigent children, resident anywhere within the State, shall be received into the school and asylum, maintained and educated gratuitously so far as the funds of the Institution will admit; Provided, that when more children shall be offered for the benefit of this Institution than can be received at any one time, the president and directors shall apportion their number among the several Counties of this Commonwealth, according to their representation (when application shall be made) that every County may equally receive the benefits of the same.


ARTICLE IX. The number of officers and directors may be increased or diminished, as convenience shall require, at any annual meeting of the members of the Institution, notice of the intended alteration being previously given, and twenty members, being a majority of the members present, consenting; and any general meeting shall be competent to make, alter or repeal by-laws, rules and regulations, twenty-one members being present at the same.


A third meeting was held on Wednesday evening, April 26 when the following officers and directors were elected: President, Rt. Rev. William White; Vice-Presidents, Robert Patterson, Horace Binney, Roberts Vaux, Dr. N. Chapman; Secretary, Henry J. Williams; Treasurer, John Bacon; Directors, William Meredith, John Vaughan, Clement C. Biddle, Jacob Gratz, J. N . Barker, General T. Cadwalader, William J. Duane, Samuel Archer, Paul Beck, R. Walsh, Jr., Alexander Henry, Rev. P. F. Mayer, Dr. William Price, Calender Irwin, Reuben Haines, Dr. Franklin Bache, Samuel B. Morris, W. W. Fisher, Benjamin Tilghman, Caleb Cresson, William McIlvaine, Joseph Gratz, Samuel Canby and Samuel R. Wood.


It is worthy of note, as illustrative of the abiding interest which the members of the original Board took in the welfare of the school, that most of them continued to take an active part in the management of the Institution to the time of their deaths, and that many of them are represented on the present board by descendants in the third generation.


The Board of Directors appointed a committee to confer with Mr. Seixas, with a view of securing his services as teacher, and another committee to prepare an address to the inhabitants of Pennsylvania, setting forth the objects of the Institution and soliciting pecuniary aid. At the next meeting of the Board, held May 6, it was announced that Mr. Seixas had been engaged at a salary of $1000 per annum.


Mr. Seixas was installed as principal on May 15, and the little class met for the time being at his house. On May 25 a public exhibition was given at Washington Hall, with the result of still further awakening public interest in the school. The number of pupils rapidly increased, substantial assistance was accorded the young Institution by the wealthy and philanthropic, and all things pointed to a future of rapid growth and great usefulness.


During the summer of 1820 in accordance with the instructions of the Board, Mr. Seixas visited the Hartford school and made a careful inquiry into the methods of instruction in use there. Upon his return he reported very strongly in favor of the manual method of instruction, and urged that the directors secure a house for the exclusive use of the Institution. Accordingly, in August, a house on High (now Market) street, near Seventeenth, formerly occupied by the Widow's Society, was secured, and Mary Cowgill was appointed matron. Here the school opened in the fall of 1820.


On January 10, 1821, Mr. Seixas, with six of his pupils, gave an exhibition at Harrisburg before the members of the Legislature, and as a result an act incorporating the Institution was unanimously passed by both Houses, and received the approval of the Governor on February 8. At the same time an appropriation of $8000 was made to aid the school, and the State Treasurer was authorized to pay $160 for each deaf child educated therein, the total amount so paid, however, not to exceed $8000. The term of instruction was limited to three years.


As a result of this generous assistance from the State the attendance rapidly increased, and before the end of the year the accommodations on West Market Street were found insufficient. A more commodious house, on the corner of Market and Eleventh streets, where the Bingham House now stands, was accordingly leased for a term of three years. In May, Charles Dillingham, a graduate of Williams College, was appointed a teacher, and in September his sister, Miss Abigail Dillingham, who had been a pupil at the Hartford school, also took charge of a class. In March, 1822, the corps of instructors was further increased by the addition of Abraham B. Hutton, who thus began a connection with the school which extended over a period of nearly fifty years, and terminated only with his death.


In October, 1821, Mr. Seixas retired from the principalship of the Institution. With some difficulty the directors of the American Asylum at Hartford were induced to release Laurent Clerc for a period of six months, and he was placed in charge of the school. During his brief stay Mr. Clerc introduced fully the methods practiced at Hartford and gave much valuable instruction to the teachers. His stay was extended to seven months, and upon his departure the school was the equal of any in the country.


Lewis Weld, who held the position of first assistant at Hartford, was called to succeed Mr. Clerc. Mr. Weld was a graduate of Yale College, and had intended to enter the ministry, but was induced by Mr. Gallaudet to enter upon the work of teaching the deaf-a work to which he devoted his best energies to the day of his death.* At this time the number of pupils in the Pennsylvania Institution was fifty-one, forty of whom were State pupils. The State of New Jersey had made provisions (November 10, 1821) for the education of her indigent deaf children, and up to the time when she established an institution of her own, a considerable proportion were educated in the Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb.


*His daughter, Miss Mary E. Weld, is now a valued member of the Ladies' Committee of the Institution.


Under Mr. Weld's able management the school prospered greatly. The number of pupils steadily increased and before the expiration of the lease it became evident that the accommodations at Eleventh and Market streets were inadequate and that more commodious quarters must be sought. In 1824 a site at the north-west corner of Broad and Pine streets was secured and here was erected the central portion of the buildings, which, with numerous additions and alterations, were to be the home of the Institution for nearly seventy years. The new building was occupied in December, 1825, and on December 30 following a reception was held, at which there was a large attendance of distinguished people. An eloquent address was made by the principal, Mr. Weld, and an exhibition was given of the attainments of the pupils.


The new building afforded room for a much larger number of pupils than before, and in 1827, provisions having been made by the State Legislature, the Institution began to receive the indigent deaf children of Maryland. At a later period the State of Delaware made provisions for the education of its deaf children in this Institution.


In 1828 the Institution acquired the entire block bounded by Broad, Pine, Fifteenth and Asylum streets. In 1832 a school house was erected in the rear of the main building, thus considerably increasing the facilities of the Institution.


In October, 1830, the principal, Mr. Weld, was called to Hartford to take charge of the American Asylum, from the principalship of which Rev. T. H. Gallaudet had just retired, and A. B. Hutton was appointed to the vacancy thus created. Mr. Hutton filled the position most ably and acceptably until his death in 1870.


The long period intervening between 1830 and 1870 was marked by no startling events, but was characterized by steady growth and improvement. The efforts of the directors to give the blessing of education to the deaf of the State were liberally seconded by the Legislature, which in 1837 appropriated $20,000, and a few years later the further sum of $8000 to enable the Institution to enlarge its buildings to accommodate the increasing attendance. The two lateral wings were extended westward, and the chapel addition was built to the central portion of the building and this enlargement increased the capacity of the building to 150. The number of pupils at this time was 107. The State had sometime before extended the term of instruction to six years.


For several years the growth of the Institution was retarded by the smallness of the legislative appropriations, but in 1854 the State inaugurated a more liberal policy, and to accommodate the increased attendance the north and south wings were added to the central building. The capacity of the building was thus increased to 200.


In less than five years the building was crowded to its utmost capacity, and in 1859 the board of directors came to the conclusion that it would be advisable to sell the property at Broad and Pine streets and secure a site in the country, but within easy reach of the city. This step was all the more desirable because the property of the Institution, although originally on the outskirts of the city, was now rapidly being surrounded by new streets and dwellings. The civil war, however, with its disastrous effects upon the financial condition of the country, prevented the sale of the property on advantageous terms, and the design was abandoned for the time being. However, the desirability of a location in the country was not lost sight of and in subsequent years various plans for effecting a removal were brought forward. During the trying times of the war the demands for admission decreased somewhat, although still exceeding the ability of the Institution to grant, and this furnished an additional reason for deferring action in the matter, at that time at least. The State, however, voluntarily increased the per capita appropriation, in view of the increase in the cost of the necessaries of life, and it was decided to slightly enlarge the buildings. In 1863, therefore, an additional story was added to the two wings in the rear.


On July 18, 1870, the Institution suffered the loss of its able and devoted principal, Abraham B. Hutton. Mr. Hutton died at Stuyvesant, N. Y., while on a visit to his sister. Joshua Foster, who had been a teacher in the Institution for upwards of thirty years was appointed to succeed him.


The fifteen years of Mr. Foster's principalship may be termed the transition period of the Institution. While not itself marked by any striking events or important changes, during this period were slowly shaped those forces which at a later day were destined to exert a marked influence upon the future of the Institution.


From the time of the establishment of the Institution the Board of Directors had been assisted in the management of the school, and especially in the direction of the affairs of the domestic department, by a committee of ladies. Through the exertions of this committee the inception was made in 1871 of a fund for the aid of destitute deaf-mutes, which steadily grew from year to year by donations and bequests. This fund was the means of assisting many worthy graduates to make a start in life. At a later date a portion of the income of this fund was devoted to assisting deserving graduates of the school to take a course at the National Deaf Mute College. At one time the ladies seriously considered the advisability of establishing a "nursery" at some suburban point for the training of young deaf children before they were of school age. However, the extension of the term of instruction allowed by the State, permitting the admission of children at a considerably earlier age, and the conviction founded upon experience and observation, that the proper place for a very young deaf child is at home with its mother, led the committee to defer action upon the matter.


On February 8, 1871, the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Institution was celebrated by a gathering of the graduates. The celebration began with religious exercises at St. Stephen's Church in the morning, and in the afternoon a meeting was held at Rev. Dr. Wylie's church on Broad Street, opposite the Institution. Addresses were delivered by Thomas Jefferson Trist, John Carlin, Joseph O. Pyatt and others. The exercises of the day concluded with a reception and banquet at the Institution in the evening. Some three hundred graduates were present on this interesting occasion, and as a result of the gathering a fine oil portrait of Lewis Weld, painted by John Carlin, one of the graduates, was presented to the Institution.


In spite of repeated enlargements, in 1875 it was found necessary to adopt some means to increase the capacity of the Institution, the number of pupils at that time being 225, and the number of applications for admission being far beyond the ability of the Institution to accept. Efforts had been made in vain to obtain a suitable site in the suburbs, and the city of Philadelphia had been appealed to without avail to donate a site, and the Board of Directors therefore concluded to enlarge the existing edifice. The fine brick structure occupying the whole western half of the Institution property and containing ample play-rooms and dormitories and numerous school-rooms, was accordingly erected. This improvement increased the capacity of the school to 350.


In July, 1876, the convention of the American Instructors of the Deaf and Dumb met at, and was entertained by, the Institution.


For a considerable period the Board of Directors had been considering the advisability of opening a day-school in connection with the Institution for the benefit of deaf children residing in the immediate neighborhood of the Institution. It was hoped that the establishment of a school of this kind, for which accommodations would be required only during school hours, would serve as an expedient for relieving the Institution from its crowded condition, while, at the same time, it would make it possible to extend the benefits of education to a much larger proportion of the deaf children of the city. In 1871 an inquiry was made to ascertain the number of children whose parents would be willing to send them to such a school. The number was so small, however, that the project was temporarily abandoned, though not lost sight of. In 1881 the day-school was finally opened at Seventeenth and Chestnut streets, under charge of Miss Emma Garrett, who had been in the employ of the Institution as teacher of articulation for some time. The method of instruction adopted was what is known as the "pure oral." The original intention had been to make room for the day-school at Broad and Pine streets, but on account of the difference of the methods pursued an entire separation of the two schools was deemed advisable.


The history of oral teaching in the Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb is at once peculiar and interesting. The system of instruction originally adopted by the Institution was the manual or Sicard system, and for half a century the employment of no other was attempted. There are indeed vague hints of efforts to preserve and cultivate the speech of such semi-mutes as retained some power of articulation, but no systematic instruction, as we now understand it, was undertaken. In 1870, however, the Board of Directors, impressed by the reports of the success of such teaching that reached them, sent a committee consisting of F. Mortimer Lewis, James J. Barclay, and the principal, Joshua Foster, to inspect the Clarke Institution at Northampton, Mass., and the articulation department of the Hartford and New York Institution. This committee was so favorably impressed that upon its return it recommended that arrangements be at once made for giving instruction in articulation to all semi-mute and semi-deaf children. Miss Rebecca Cropper was sent to New York for instruction under Professor Bernard Engelsmann, and upon her return was placed in charge of the articulation class. In 1876 Mr. Edward Crane, a pupil of Alexander Graham Bell, was placed at the head of the articulation department. The success attending this form of instruction was so marked that the Board was led to consider the advisability of introducing separate oral instruction for such pupils as retained a considerable command of speech, and, incidentally, as a means of testing the practicability of teaching speech to the congenitally deaf. When, therefore, the day-school was established it was decided to employ the oral method exclusively. Instruction in articulation at Broad and Pine streets was carried on without interruption.


The growth of the "day-school" was rapid. In 1883 the attendance was 70, and nine teachers were employed. Early in that year the accommodations at Seventeenth and Chestnut streets were found to be inadequate and the school was removed to a larger house at the corner of Eleventh and Clinton streets. The experiment of a day-school did not prove as satisfactory as had been anticipated, and in 1885 it became a boarding-school, and was known thereafter as the Branch for Oral Instruction.


At the main Institution an experimental class was formed in which the children were taught in the school-room by speech alone, but were permitted to mingle with the manually taught children out of school. A second class for this species of instruction was subsequently formed. Thus the Institution had experiments in three kinds of speech-teaching going forward at one and the same time and it was upon the practical results obtained, and not upon any mere theory, that subsequent action in regard to speech-teaching was based. In 1887 it was determined to discontinue the teaching of articulation to the pupils of manual classes, and at the present time the oral work of the school is carried on in a pure oral department, and a small oral class in connection with the manual department.


In July, 1884, the principal, Mr. Foster, resigned the position which he had so long and so honorably filled, and A. L. E. Crouter, who for a year preceding had acted as vice-principal, and who had been a teacher in the school since 1867, was appointed his successor.


The first year of Mr. Crouter's administration was marked by several important changes and improvements. The Oral Branch was enlarged so as to accommodate one hundred pupils, thus making it one of the largest oral schools in the country, the co-education of the sexes in the classes was begun and gradually extended to the entire school, and new industries were introduced in the industrial department.


In 1888 the educational work at the main Institution was divided into two departments, the primary, under F. W. Booth, as chief instructor, and the advanced, under the immediate charge of the principal.


In 1889 it became evident that a new site for the Institution must be sought at once. The accommodations both at the main Institution and at the "Oral Branch" were entirely inadequate, and it was felt that the wisest plan was to remove the Institution to a suburban point, where greater healthfulness could be secured and where there would be ample room for future growth. From the time of its organization the Institution had been the recipient of gifts and legacies from benevolent people, and during the year a bequest of two hundred thousand dollars from James and Mary Shields became available. These funds enabled the Institution to at length take the important step which it had so long had in contemplation. A tract of sixty-two acres in the northwestern portion of the city, in an elevated and healthful locality known as Mt. Airy, and situated between, and but a short distance from the suburban lines of the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia and Reading Railways, was secured, and the erection was begun shortly after of the magnificent group of buildings which now constitute the finest institution for the education of the deaf in the country.


The plan upon which the Dew Institution was built was the result of careful consideration of the advantages of the various styles of building adopted for large public institutions, and equally careful attention to the needs of the peculiar work carried on by the school. The general plan is a combination of the congregate and cottage style of building. At the outset, it was evident that the prominence given to separate oral instruction demanded a general division of the pupils into two parts, the manually and the orally taught. It was also desirable that there should be such flexibility of plan that changes in the relative number in the two divisions might be readily made should circumstances so demand. The requirements to be met were, therefore, first, a general division of the two systems of teaching; secondly, a separation of the younger from the older pupils; thirdly, in each of these sections, a division by sex, and finally, in each of these resultant parts, a still further division into small groups and families to facilitate supervision.


It was, therefore, decided to erect four department buildings, to be known, for the present at least, as the advanced, intermediate, primary and oral departments, each complete in itself, with its own dining-rooms, dormitories, assembly rooms, play grounds, etc., and with its own school-house in the rear. The general plan of all these department buildings is the same. Each consists of a central portion, containing the dining-room, assembly-hall, office and reception room, parlor, kitchen, etc., and on opposite sides of this there are wings for the male and female pupils. In the wings there are provisions for separating the older pupils from the younger, thus dividing them into groups and greatly facilitating oversight by the officers. The assembly-room on the second floor of each department building is connected with the school-house in the rear by a covered bridge, and this latter is entirely given up to school purposes. Around these four department buildings are grouped an administration building, containing the general assembly-hall of the Institution, the general library, board-rooms and offices; a gymnasium; an industrial building, where under one roof all the varied industries taught by the school may be gathered, and finally, a boiler and dynamo house, connected with all the other buildings by tunnels, and supplying them with power, light and heat. The excellent view of the buildings and grounds of the Institution on the opposite page gives a better idea of their beauty and completeness than any written description.


On October 8, 1892, three of the four department buildings and the boiler and dynamo house were formally opened in the presence of a distinguished gathering of prominent people. Addresses appropriate to the occasion were made by George Gilpin, Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Seiss, Principal A. L. E. Crouter, President E. M. Gallaudet, Dr. A. G. Bell and Dr. Isaac L.Peet. On November 18, the school reopened in its new home. At the present writing the industrial building is rapidly approaching completion, and the Board of Directors only awaits a favorable opportunity to carry out the other details of the plan.


Thus very nearly upon the completion of three quarters of a century of faithful and successful work the Institution enters upon a new era with enlarged facilities and with a future brightened by the prospect of a constantly expanding field of usefulness and the promise of grander achievements in its noble and disinterested work. With the opening of this era this brief history appropriately ends.


A sketch of the Institution would be incomplete, however, without some reference to the nature of its educational work. We cannot enter into the details of the methods of teaching employed, but a brief outline will give an idea of the extent and thoroughness of this instruction.


The work of the school may be broadly divided into manual and oral. In the oral department the instruction is wholly by speech. Signs are entirely discarded, and as far as possible, prohibited, the aim being to make speech and speech-reading, supplemented by writing, the sole means of instruction and communication. In the manual department the instruction is by means of English, either spelled or written, the use of signs, although not forbidden to the pupils as a means of intercommunication, being reduced to a minimum, and every encouragement being given to the pupil to substitute for them either writing or spelling. In other respects the general methods of development in the two departments are similar, action writing, picture writing, and the interrogative method of testing and adding to information being largely relied upon for purposes of language teaching and mental development. The work in both departments is divided into primary and advanced stages, the former covering the first four and the latter the last six years of the term of instruction. In the former, attention is devoted principally to developing the faculties and imparting knowledge, and in the latter stage the elements of a common school education are imparted. The ultimate ends of oral and manual training are similar, the aim being to give a good English education and to prepare for college those who may desire to pursue a higher course of instruction.


The history of the Institution has been marked by the readiness displayed by the Board of Directors to adopt every improvement that gave reasonable promise of benefit to the pupils. This has been especially true in regard to methods of Instruction, and while always conservative in its policy, the institution has kept fully abreast of contemporary progress. The method of instruction at first adopted was the manual or Sicard, and as no evidence was brought forward, in this country at least, to dispute its claim to superiority, it was conscientiously and zealously pursued. When, however, the success of methods of teaching the deaf speech and by speech was demonstrated, they were at once introduced into the Institution and subjected to a practical test under the eyes of the Board of Directors. Satisfactory as the results were, no undue haste was displayed to extend the scope of oral teaching until it was demonstrated beyond question that a much larger per centage of the deaf could profit by oral teaching than was generally supposed. Then, very gradually, oral teaching was extended, and at the present time the Institution is slowly and carefully advancing to that mean between systems and methods which shall assure to each and every pupil the greatest possible measure of benefit. I cannot better describe the aim of the Institution in this respect than by quoting from the able address of the principal, Mr. Crouter, on the occasion of the opening of the new buildings of the Institution at Mt. Airy:


"In the pursuit of its object this Institution recognizes all methods of acknowledged educational value; in the instruction of its pupils it employs that method that promises most benefit to the child. May it be taught to speak, it insists upon the use of pure oral methods. Should results not seem to justify the prolonged employment of such means they are discontinued and the instruction of the child is carried forward by manual methods-spelling, writing, picture-reading and signs. It is believed that in pursuing this course the great end and aim of the Institution may best be subserved, and the welfare of every pupil best be promoted. It is but right to mention in this connection that the work of the school is tending more and more toward oral methods, and that all pupils who come to us hereafter shall, by a decision of the Directors, have opportunity of profiting by that method.


As at present organized the intellectual work of the Institution is conducted in an oral department in which fully forty per cent of the attendance share in the benefits of oral methods, and in a manual department, subdivided into primary and advanced sections, wherein the instruction of the remainder is carried on by manual methods. Shall the oral department increase until it absorbs the whole or greater part of the manual department? Results alone must answer that important question. Certain it is that whatever method accomplishes most for the culture and well-being of our pupils the Board of Managers will not hesitate to adopt and carry forward with the utmost diligence and zeal.


Below is given a brief outline of the course of instruction:


FIRST GRADE. a. LANGUAGE, (oral and written ). b. ARITHMETIC. c. PENMANSHIP.


a. Articulation and Speech-reading. Nouns: objects in the class-room; articles of dress; articles of food; articles of furniture in daily use; parts of the body; names of most common animals and birds; names of classmates and teachers; divisions of time, as morning, noon, evening, day, night, days of the week, and months of the year. -The articles a, an and the are to be taught with these words; also the singular and plural forms.- Adjectives: such as good, bad, young, old, sweet, sour, hard, soft, wise, stupid, weak, strong, pretty, homely, light, heavy, quick, slow, etc., etc.; color, as black, red, white, blue, green, yellow; numeral adjectives, as one, two, three, four, five, etc. Conjunction, and. Prepositions: in, into, out, of, on, over, under, by, for, off. Pronouns: personal pronouns, I, you, he, she, it, in all cases and numbers. Verbs: to be (present and imperfect tenses,) and verbs that express simple actions, (see first two columns of verbs in the vocabulary). Simple Questions: who, what, where, do, have, can, and to be. The principal elements of a sentence are indicated and their relations to one another are shown by the use of figures.


b. Writing numbers to 20, and mental addition and subtraction. How many --?


c. Careful instruction with crayon and pencil, to be followed by pen and ink exercises in books.




a. A two months' review of First Grade work. Articulation and Speech-reading. Nouns: Names of the parts of the bodies of quadrupeds, birds and fishes; names of implements in common use about the house, barn, farm, etc. Adjectives: continued, as in First Grade, together with this, that, these, those, many, a few, several, some. Conjunctions: but and or. Pronouns: same as in First Grade, adding myself, himself, herself, and their plurals. Prepositions: from, at, through, of, before, behind, between, after, around. Verbs: second two columns of verbs in the vocabulary; present, past, future tenses, the infinitive mood; simple and compound actions; may and must. Adverbs: simple adverbs, as not, often, never, sometimes, now, soon, very, much, etc. Simple Questions: with whose, which, when, will, and may. The figures 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 are used to indicate the principal elements in a sentence, and to show their relations to one another.


b. Mental addition and subtraction in practical problems; dollars and cents; notation to 500.


c. Copy-book work.


d. On paper and board.




a. Articulation and Speech-reading. Nouns: The different classes of artisans; the articles made by each; their use, etc., the time of day; the seasons. Adjectives: their comparison-three degrees, including more, and most, each, and every, one, other, another. Conjunctions: if and because. Pronouns: the relatives who and which. Prepositions: without, among, along, near, above, below, within, etc. Verbs: present, past and future tenses continued; the infinitive and imperative moods; thorough drill on will and would, can and could. Adverbs: continued as in Second Grade. Colloquial and narrative forms, Elliptical exercises. Action and picture writing. Journal and simple stories. Figures are used to show the grammatical relations of the parts of a sentence.


b. Multiplication and division. Mental exercises in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Practical problems involving the four rules. Currency continued.


c. Copy-book exercises, twice a week.


d. Prang's Drawing Book, No.1. f




a. Articulation and Speech-reading. Nouns: continued miscellaneously; somebody, nobody and anybody. Adjectives: comparisons of, continued. Conjunctions: either-or, neither-nor, when, while, and since. Pronouns: personal and relative, continued. Prepositions: completed. Verbs: active and passive voices; exercises in the indicative, infinitive and imperative moods; have and had, may and might, shall and should. Adverbs: of time, place and manner. Elliptical exercises. Description of actions, pictures, persons, animals, and things. Historical sketches. Journals. Stories. Letter-writing. Figures are used to show the grammatical relations of the parts of a sentence.


b. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Mental and practical problems. Currency continued.


c. Copy-book exercises, twice a week.


d. Divisions of land and water. Map of the United States (outline ).


e. Prang's Drawing Book, No.2.




a. Articulation and Speech-reading. Nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions, continued as in Fourth Grade. Special drill in the active and passive voices, and the use of auxiliary verbs; present and perfect participle. Action and picture writing. Historical sketches continued. Natural history. Journal. Stories.


b. Practical exercises involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. U. S. Currency. Fractions begun. Mental exercises.


c. Divisions of land and water, reviewed, and descriptive lessons of principal countries of the earth. Outline maps.


d. Twice a week.


e. Prang's Drawing Book, No.4.




a. Articulation and Speech-reading. Sentence writing involving the variou9 parts of speech and illustrative of the use of words and phrases. Participial constructions continued. Natural History. Narrative and descriptive composition. Journal writing. Stories.


b. Fractions continued, with practical problems. Weights and measures begun. Mental exercises.


c. Manuscript lessons, prepared by the teacher.


d. Mitchell's Intermediate.


e. Twice a week.


f. Prang's Drawing Book, No.5.




a. Articulation and Speech-reading. Sentence building. False syntax. Analysis, using diagrams. Participial and adverbial phrases. English Composition.


b. Denominate numbers completed, and fractions also. Practical problems. Loss and gain. Making out accounts; drawing notes, checks, receipts, etc.


c. American History completed.


d. Mitchell's Intermediate continued.


e. Prang's, No.6.




a. Articulation and Speech-reading. Composition. Elementary grammar and analysis. Thorough drill on connectives. Incorporation of new words and phrases.


b. Interest and discount, with practical problems. Exercises in commercial forms, as notes, receipts, bills of account, etc., continued.


c. English History.


d. Elements of Physiology and Hygiene.


e. Mitchell's Intermediate, completed.


f. Prang's, No.7.




a. Articulation and Speech-reading. Composition. Swinton's Language. Kerl's English Grammar.


b. Completed, including square root and cube root.


c. Outline of General History.


d. Well's Natural Philosophy, commenced.


e. Mitchell's Physical.


f. Prang's, No.8.




a. Articulation and Speech-reading. Swinton's Language Lessons. Kerl's Grammar and Rhetoric.


b. Reviewed.


c. Berard's English and American reviewed.


d. Well's Natural Philosophy, completed.


e. Mitchell's Physical.


f. Prang's, No.9.


g. Alden's Citizen's Manual.


The educational work of the school is not confined entirely to the classrooms. Whatever is calculated to impart information and aid the mental development of the pupil is encouraged. The pupils, under proper supervision and direction, maintain senior and junior literary societies, which they manage themselves, and the exercises of the weekly meetings of which consists of lectures, debates and various other features of a literary character. The influence of these societies has been most beneficial. Frequent lectures on instructive and interesting topics are given by the teachers. Each department has a large library for the use of the pupils, supplied with a variety of the best literature suited to their years and advancement. The reading matter is further supplemented by the efforts of the pupils themselves, who have formed reading clubs and have subscribed for the best periodical literature of the day. Social reunions of the pupils of the various departments are held occasionally, when they are given an opportunity of mingling with the opposite sex. In every way an effort is made to reduce the isolation inseparable from the loss of hearing and the monotony of institution life to a minimum.


The industrial training afforded by the Institution constitutes an important part of its educational work. From the very establishment of the school instruction in various industries has been given. In the first report of the Institution (1823) it appears that provisions were made for teaching the pupils cabinet making, shoemaking, coopering and weaving. In subsequent years the trials and difficulties encountered rendered it impossible for the Institution to give this department of its work the attention that it deserved, but at no time was it entirely neglected. For the past ten years instruction in printing, tailoring, shoemaking, dress-making, shoe-fitting and knitting has been given, and the female pupils have been given instruction in housework and cooking under the direction of the matrons. In the new industrial building, now nearly completed, in addition to the ample facilities afforded for the above industries, arrangements are made for the teaching of plumbing, blacksmithing, weaving, baking, plastering and bricklaying, and photography. In the estimation of the Board of Directors industrial training is of no less importance than intellectual training, and no effort will be spared to return the children entrusted to the care of the Institution not only intelligent but independent and self-supporting citizens.


In connection with the classes in printing in the industrial department two papers are printed. The Silent World is published weekly, and is devoted to the dissemination, among the hearing, of information in regard to the deaf and their education, and to news items of interest to the deaf themselves. Its circulation is not confined to Pennsylvania, but extends to nearly every State in the Union. The Little World is published daily, during the school term, and is devoted to school items and other reading matter suited to the intelligence of the various grades of pupils, and is, in general, intended as an auxiliary to the work of the school-room, It does not circulate outside of the Institution.


The artistic education of the children is not neglected, and for half a century instruction in drawing has been given. In the new industrial building ample provisions will be made for art education and every opportunity will be afforded children with artistic tastes to develop and cultivate the faculty.


The domestic arrangements of the Institution are as complete as are those of instruction. The large household is under the general supervision of a competent steward. Each department building is under the care of a matron, who has general charge of its domestic affairs. Male and female supervisors and attendants have charge of the children outside of the school-room, and the children are constantly under a supervision sufficient to prevent any harm, either physical or moral, while in no way interfering with their rights or native self-respect. A wholesome and liberal diet is provided, and a well-appointed laundry supplies the pupil with two changes of linen a week. Comfortable clothing is provided winter and summer, the boys wearing a neat uniform of cadet cloth, and the -girls- sic dresses to suit as far as possible their individual taste. In case of sickness the children are placed under the care of a well-trained nurse, and are afforded the very best medical attendance. The consulting staff of physicians and surgeons of the institution includes some of the most distinguished specialists in the city. The buildings are models as far as sanitation is concerned. In short, nothing that can conduce to the mental, moral or physical well-being of the pupils is neglected.


The Institution, having a large number of children committed to its care who from their condition are wholly without moral or religious instruction, endeavors to inculcate, without any sectarian bias, those broad moral and religious principles upon which Christianity is based. No attempt at theological discussion or sectarian instruction is made, and no principles are inculcated which will in any way interfere with their joining upon graduation such church as their parents may prefer, but the endeavor is to give them an adequate conception of a Heavenly Father, of a Saviour, of the distinction between good and evil, and of their duties to God, to one another, and to themselves. For this purpose a Sunday-School meets each Sunday afternoon, and on every Sunday morning and evening, lectures are given by teachers, calculated to reach their hearts and affections, to point out the principles of right living here and to prepare them for the life to come.


Throughout its long career the Institution has been particularly fortunate in possessing a Board of Directors which has been devoted to the interest of the school. These gentlemen, among whom are numbered some of the most distinguished citizens of Philadelphia, have given the Institution the most appreciative oversight and the most careful supervision. They have executed the duties of their position not in a merely nominal and perfunctory manner, but have taken an active share in the management of the Institution, have made the subject of deaf-mute education a personal study, and have been keenly alive to the needs of the Institution. The success of the Institution is as much owing to their disinterested efforts for its welfare as to any other single cause. Nor has their interest been confined to superintendence. Some of the most liberal benefactors of the school have been members of the Board of Directors. The opening of the new buildings on October 8, 1892, was made doubly impressive by the announcement that one of the most active members of the board, John T. Morris, had made a free gift of $50,000 towards the completion of the industrial building.


The Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb is a corporation chartered under the laws of the State of Pennsylvania.


Although possessing some means of its own, thanks to the gifts and bequests of benevolent people, its main support is derived from the annual appropriation of the Legislature. It is hoped that with the enlarged capacity of the school this appropriation will be increased so as to permit the admission of a larger number of pupils. The term of instruction is ten years, and applicants for admission must be over seven years of age and under twenty-one, unless there be good reasons for earlier admission. The school is free to all deaf children of the State of suitable age and of good physical and intellectual condition. The school term is from the fifteenth of September to the last Wednesday in June. All applications for information regarding admissions, etc., must be made to the principal. A payment of $30 gives a life membership in the corporation, and the annual subscription is $5. The value of the buildings and grounds is fully $1,000,000, and the annual expenditure for general support and ordinary repairs, etc., approximates $125,000.*


The results of the seventy-five years of the Institution's labors are best observed in its graduates. During this period 3000 children have been under instruction, and the great majority of them have become intelligent, industrious and self-supporting citizens of the commonwealth, amply justifying the expenditure which the State has made on their account. A number of them have graduated from the National Deaf Mute College at Washington, and have taken high rank, both for scholarship and uprightness of character. Many of the graduates have become teachers of the deaf, and have lent their best efforts to the furtherance of the noble work to which they themselves are so deeply indebted. There has scarcely been a time in the Institution's history when there have not been several graduates on its staff of teachers. Among those who devoted long and useful lives to the service of the Institution may be named James C. Murtagh, Joseph O. Pyatt and Thomas Jefferson Trist.


Aside from these, and from those who have found honorable and useful fields of activity in the varied industries of our great State, the Institution can point with pride to graduates who have taken a high position in the artistic and technical pursuits, to ministers of the gospel, teachers, clerks, merchants, etc., etc. Among its graduates may be named Albert Newsam, admitted to have been the most skilful lithographer of heads of his day; and John Carlin, a portrait and landscape painter of great merit. To have raised such a great number of human beings from a condition of utter mental darkness and helplessness into useful and intelligent citizens is much; but to have enabled them to rise to positions of honorable distinction among their more fortunate fellow-beings is worthy of the highest praise and deepest admiration.


Below is given a list of the officers, instructors and staff on March 1, 1893:






Secretary, JOHN F. LEWIS.




Directors. -- Term expires in October, 1893. -- F. Mortimer Lewis, Morton P. Henry, Samuel A. Crozer, Del. Co.; Caleb J. Mime, George Gilpin, Robert R. Corson, Francis I. Gowen, Charles E. Dana, T. DeWitt Cuyler.


Term expires in October, 1894. -- T. Hewson Bache, M. D.; John T. Morris, Rev. Joseph A. Seiss, D. D.; Rev. W. N. McVickar, D. D.; Henry D. Welsh, Orlando Crease, Nathaniel B. Crenshaw, Samuel Y. Heebner, Samuel F. Houston.


Term expires in October, 1895. -- Emlen Hutchinson, A. R. Montgomery, Del. Co.; Henry LaBarre Jayne, Edward Bettle, Jr.; Stuart Wood, Eckley B. Coxe, Luzerne Co.; David Pepper, Rev. J. Andrews Harris, D. D.; Joseph H. Burroughs.


Ladies' Cosnmittee. -- Mrs. Frederic Collins, Chairman; Mrs. Henry C. Lea, Treasurer; Mrs Edward R. Wood, Secretary; Miss Eleanor C. Patter-son, Mrs. James Lesley, Miss Lydia T. Morris, Mrs. John H. Brinton, Miss Annie Bradford, Mrs. H. H. Houston, Mrs. E. W. Clarke, Mrs. J. B. Wattson, Miss Caroline Tyler Brown, Miss Mary E. Weld.


Physician -- RUSSELL H. JOHNSON, M. D.


Consulting Physicians and Surgeons. -- J. M. Da Costa, M. D., D. Murray Cheston, M. D., William Hunt, M.D., Thomas G. Morton, M. D., H. R. Wharton, M. D.


Ophthalmic Surgeons -- William Thomson, M.D., Gao. C. Harlan, M. D. Charles S. Turnbull, M. D.


Aural Surgeons. -- Charles H. Burnett, M.D., B. Alexander Randall, M.D.


Laryngologists. -- Harrison Allen, M. D., Arthur Ames Bliss, M. D.


Dentist. -- William Diehl, D. D. S.


Principal, A. L. E. CR0UTER, M.A.




Teachers -- Thomas Burnside, John P. Walker, M.A., George L. Weed, M.A., S. O. Davidson, B.A., Mrs. Annie B. Wall, Mary E. Smith, Fannie Wood, Mary L. Divine.




Chief Instructor. -- F. W. BOOTH, B. S.


Teachers -- Mrs. Sophia Trist, Julia A. Foley, Kate E. Barry, Kate S. Landis, Elizabeth R. Taylor, Mrs. F. W. Booth, Estelle V. Sutton, Louisa Young, Eva I. Gustin, Jerome T. Elwell, B.A.




Chief Instructor. -- FLORENCE C. MCDOWELL.


Teachers -- Susan E. Bliss, Emma Florence West, Mary B. Shaw, Mattie H. Bedford, Maud I. Griffeth, Emma Ross Thompson, Emma L. Plymptun, Constance S. Newton, Florence B. Dwier, Ella S. Dawson, Fannie Lucas, Anna Jameson, Olive E. D. Hart, Mrs. E. G. Ilurd, Edwin 0. Hurd, M. A., Jacob D. Kirkhuff, M. A.


Teacher of Drawing. -- Sophy W. Paddock.


A. H. Bodenhorn, Steward. J. H. Webster, Clerk.




Matron -- Sarah R. Briggs. Supervisor of Boys -- Robert M. Ziegler. Super-visor of Girls -- Eva A. Olver. Nurse -- Katie Koon.




Matron -- Anna M. Nathans. Supervisor of Boys -- E. A. Gruver. Assistant Supervisor of Boys -- Emma Weltmer. Supervisor of Girls -- Mary Loughridge. Nurse -- Susie Miller.




Matron -- Electa M. Peters. Supervisor of Boys -- Charles E. Fister. Super-visor of Girls -- Carrie M. Hess. Nurse -- Lizzie Teufel.


Chief Engineer -- William S. Blair. First Assistant -- George Green. Second Assistant -- L. C. McLary.




Editor Silent World, and Instructor in Printing -- H. Van Allen. Foreman of the Printing Office -- Henry D. Hodgson. Foreman of the Shoe Shop -- Joel C. Openshaw.Foreman of the Tailor Shop--Frank W. Weltmer. Foreman of the Carpenter Shop -- Henry C. Forney. Foreman of the Bakery -- William F. Drusedum. Foreman of Knitting and Shoe-Fitting -- Eliza Loughridge. Dressmaking -- Annie McClellan and Etta Kieffer.