Roch-Ambroise Auguste Bébian

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Roch-Ambroise Auguste Bébian
Roch-Ambroise Auguste Bébian2.gif
Born (1789-08-04)August 4, 1789
Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe
Died February 24, 1839(1839-02-24) (aged 49)

Roch-Ambroise Auguste Bébian (b. August 4, 1789 at Pointe-à-Pitre (also written: Ponte-à-Pitre), Guadeloupe; d. February 24, 1839 Pointe-à-Pitre) was one of the first hearing educators in France to achieve native-level fluency in French Sign Language. He wrote an important book titled "Mimographie," which was published in 1825, which utilized a method of writing signs.

From the Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe, his father sent him to live in France to obtain a high-school education under the auspices of his godfather, the Abbé Roch-Ambroise Cucurron Sicard, who was the successor of the Abbé de l'Épée as the director of the Institution Nationale des Sourds-Muets de Paris. The Abbé Sicard sent him to live with the Abbé Jauffret. He completed high school at the Lycée Charlemagne in Paris where he was regarded as a brilliant student, after which he dedicated himself to studying Deaf education.

He followed the advice of Abbé Sicard and began working with three Deaf teachers: Jean Massieu, Ferdinand Berthier and Laurent Clerc, at the Institution Nationale des Sourds-Muets de Paris, and wrote a book titled "Essai sur les sourds-muets et sur le langage naturel," which was published in 1817, that dealt with the educational philosophy and methods of the school, as well as the nature of French Sign Language.

He turned down offers to become principals of schools for the Deaf in New York City and also St. Petersburg, and set up at school on Montparnasse Boulevard in Paris. Later he became principal of a school in Rouen and then moved back to Guadeloupe, where he founded a school for black students.

He won an award from the French Academy of Sciences for writing a eulogy for the Abbé de l'Épée titled: "Éloge historique de l'abbé de l'Epée" (1819).


Works by Bébian:

  • Bébian, Auguste. 1817. Essai sur les sourds-muets et sur le langage naturel, ou Introduction à une classification naturelle des idées avec leur signes propres. Paris: Dentu.
  • Bébian, Auguste. 1826-1827. Journal de l’instruction des sourds-muets et des aveugles, rédigé par M. Bébian. Volume 1 (1826) 374 pages. Volume 2 (1827) 168 pages. Paris: Institution Spéciale des Sourds-Muets.
  • Bébian, Auguste. Suite de l'examen des diverses méthodes employées pour l'instruction des sourds-muets; école de l'Abbé Sicard. Journal de l'instruction des sourds-muets et des aveugles, 1826, 1, 320-335; 2, 22-53.
  • Bébian, Auguste. Notice sur l'Institution Impériale des Sourds-Muets de Saint-Petersbourg. Journal de l'instruction des sourds-muets et des aveugles, 1826, 1, 91-95.
  • Bébian, Auguste. Instruction des sourds-muets aux Etats-Unis. Journal de l'instruction des sourds-muets et des aveugles, 1826, 1, 356-364.
  • Bébian, Auguste. Sourd-Muet accusé de rébellion et de violence contre les agents de l'autorité. Journal de l'instruction des sourds-muets et des aveugles, 1826, 1, 39-42.
  • Bébian, Auguste. Cours d'assises de Paris, audience du 6 juillet 1826; vol commis par un sourd-muet. Journal de l'instruction des sourds-muets et des aveugles, 1826, 1, 42-46.

Preface by Bébian:

Works about Bébian:

  • Bernard, Yves. 1992. La Mimographie de Bébian (1789–1839) - Le signe est l'ombre de l'idée. In: La Caravelle, Volume 118 (1992), pp. 15–17. Also in: Liaisons: Bulletin du Centre National de Formation des Enseignants Intervenants auprès des Jeunes Sourds (CNFEJS), Volume 7, December 1995, pp. 34–64
  • Berthier, Ferdinand. 1911. Biographie de Bébian, published in serial in Le Colonial (a journal published in Guadeloupe) on May 17, 24 and 31 and June 14, 1911.
  • Buisson, Ferdinand Edouard (editor). 1887. Dictionnaire de pédagogie et d'instruction primaire de Ferdinand Buisson, Tome I, 1ère partie, p. 179. Download text of article: (French)

Other works which contain information about Bébian:

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