Edward Miner Gallaudet
Edward Miner Gallaudet
Edward Miner Gallaudet, c. 1893
|Born||February 5, 1837|
|Died||September 26, 1917(aged 80)|
|Spouse(s)||Jane M. Fessenden, 1858-1866; Susan Denison, 1868-1903|
As a youth, he enjoyed working with tools and also built an "electrical machine." He kept birds, fowl, and rabbits, spending most of his time in the city, but also occasionally venturing into the country. He had a fond memory of climbing a hill with his father, and another fond memory of his father introducing the subject of geometry to him. His father died when he was 14, just after he graduated from Hartford High School in Hartford, Connecticut. He then went to work at a bank for three years. He didn't like the "narrowing effect" of the mental monotony of the work, and he quit to go to work as a teacher at the school his father founded. He worked there two years, from 1855 to 1857. While he was teaching, he continued his education at Trinity College in Hartford, completing his studies for a bachelor of science degree two years later.
In 1857, Amos Kendall donated 2 acres (0.81 ha) of land for the establishment of a school for the deaf and blind in Washington, D.C., and asked Gallaudet to come to Washington to help lead this school. Edward Miner quickly agreed and became the first principal of the Columbia Institution for the Deaf.
In 1864, Gallaudet sought college status for the Columbia Institution and got it when President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill into law which authorized the Columbia Institution to award college degrees—a law which was not strictly necessary, but which Gallaudet desired. This first college of the deaf eventually became Gallaudet University.
Edward Miner Gallaudet was the president of Gallaudet College/Columbia for a remarkable 46 years (1864–1910), was the head administrator for 53 years (1857–1910), and was the President of the Board of Directors for 47 years (1864–1911). He was a staunch advocate of sign language. He recognized the value of speech training, but also recognized that speech training was not for everyone. Although he initially preferred manualism, stating that sign language was the “natural language of deaf people”, throughout his life he came to believe that students should be educated using whichever method fit their specific needs—which could include speech training. He concluded, “no one method is suited to the conditions of all the deaf”. Still, he sometimes referred to oralism as the “artificial method” and deemed that it was only a “partial success”.
Gallaudet was awarded honorary degrees by Trinity College in 1859 (M.A.) and 1869 (LL.D.), the Columbian University (later George Washington University) also in 1869 (Ph.D.), and Yale University in 1895 (LL.D.).
Gallaudet was a member of the District of Columbia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution and served as the District Society's president from 1897 to 1899.
After retiring as president of Gallaudet College, Gallaudet returned to Hartford.
He is buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford.
Edson Fessenden Gallaudet, who was Edward Miner Gallaudet's fifth child (and second child with his second wife Susan) was an early pioneer in the field of aviation, being the first to experiment with wing warping, and the founder of the first aircraft factory in America.
"The same arguments which go to show that knowledge is power, that the condition of a people is improved in proportion as the masses are educated, have their application with equal weight to the deaf..."—Edward Miner Gallaudet, 1864.
"Deafness, though it be total and congenital, imposes no limits on the intellectual development of its subjects, save in the single direction of the appreciation of acoustic phenomena."—Edward Miner Gallaudet, 1869.
"As eternity is longer than time, as mind is stronger than matter, as thought is swifter than the wind, as genius is more potent than gold, so will the results of well-directed labors toward the development of man's higher faculties ever outweigh a thousand fold any estimate in the currency of commerce, which man can put upon such efforts."—Edward Miner Gallaudet, 1870.
- (National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Volume 9, New York: James T. White & Company, 1899, pp. 140–141.)
- Boatner, Maxine Tull. 1959. Voice of the Deaf--A Biography of Edward Miner Gallaudet. Washington: Public Affairs Press, p. 174.
- Crouch, Barry (Spring 1989). "Gallaudet, Bell & The Sign Language Controversy". Sign Language Studies. 62: 71–80. JSTOR 26203973.
- Gannon, Jack. 1981. Deaf Heritage–A Narrative History of Deaf America, Silver Spring, MD: National Association of the Deaf, pp. 332-333 (PDF Archived 2012-04-24 at the Wayback Machine.)(PDF Archived 2012-04-24 at the Wayback Machine.)
- Crouch, Barry A. “Gallaudet, Bell & The Sign Language Controversy.” Sign Language Studies, vol. 62, 1989, pp. 71–80. JSTOR, doi:10.1353/sls.1989.0008.
- Fay, Edward F. “Edward Miner Gallaudet” at the Wayback Machine (archived September 1, 2006), American Annals of the Deaf, Volume 62, Number 5, November 1917, pages 399-403.
- Fay, Edward F. “President Gallaudet’s Retirement” at the Wayback Machine (archived September 1, 2006), American Annals of the Deaf, Volume 55, Number 4, September 1910, pages 301-307.
- Gallaudet, Edward Miner, Gallaudet Inaugural Address, 1864. (Download text of address: http://saveourdeafschools.org/edward_miner_gallaudet_inaugural_address.pdf Note: The footnote refers to Peet (1850) and Peet (1858))
- Gallaudet, Edward Miner, History of the College for the Deaf, 1857—1888, 1888—1906-7, Original Manuscript. (Download entire manuscript: http://www.gallyprotest.org/history_of_the_college_for_the_deaf.pdf, or page by page: http://www.gallyprotest.org/history_of_the_college_for_the_deaf/history_of_the_college_for_the_deaf_page_1.pdf, etc.)
- Gallaudet, Edward Miner (1983) History of the College for the Deaf, 1857-1907, Washington, DC: Gallaudet College Press. (LINK to Google books.)
- Gallaudet, Edward Miner, Opening Address at the First Commencement of Gallaudet, 1869. (Download text of address: http://saveourdeafschools.org/edward_miner_gallaudet_address_1869.pdf)
- Gallaudet, Edward Miner, Address at Dedication of the Main Central Building (now "College Hall"), 1871. (Download text of address, see PDF pp. 8–9: http://saveourdeafschools.org/columbia_institution_for_the_deaf_annual_report_1871.pdf)
- Gallaudet, Edward Miner, 1879, A Manual of International Law, New York: A.S. Barnes & Co.
- Gallaudet, Edward Miner, 1881, "The Milan Convention," in American Annals of the Deaf, Vol. XXVI., No. 1., January 1881, pp. 1–16. (Download text: http://saveourdeafschools.org/edward_miner_gallaudet_the_milan_convention.pdf)
- Gallaudet, Edward Miner, 1881, Remarks on the Combined System, American Annals of the Deaf, Vol. XXVI., No. 1., January 1881, pp. 56–59.
- Gallaudet, Edward Miner, 1895, "Some Incidents in the Progress of Deaf-Mute Education in America--1890-1895," paper presented at the Fourteenth Convention of the American Instructors of the Deaf at Flint, Michigan. (Download text: http://saveourdeafschools.org/edward_miner_gallaudet_1895.pdf)
- Gallaudet, Edward Miner, "What is Speech Worth to the Deaf?" Address given in Paris in 1900. [Download text of address which was included in the Columbia Institution's 1899-1900 Annual Report: http://saveourdeafschools.org/edward_miner_gallaudet_address_1900.pdf]
- Gallaudet, Edward Miner, History of the Columbia Institution for the Deaf, 1911. (Download text: http://saveourdeafschools.org/edward_miner_gallaudet_history_of_the_columbia_institution.pdf)
- Gallaudet, Edward Miner, Address given on Presentation Day, 1914. (Download text of address: http://saveourdeafschools.org/edward_miner_gallaudet_address_1914.pdf)
- Boatner, Maxine Tull, 1959, Voice of the deaf; a biography of Edward Miner Gallaudet. Washington, DC: Public Affairs Press. (Download public-domain book: http://gallyprotest.org/voice_of_the_deaf.pdf, or download chapter by chapter: http://gallyprotest.org/voice_of_the_deaf_chapter_1.pdf, http://gallyprotest.org/voice_of_the_deaf_chapter_2.pdf, etc.)
- Historic film of Edward Miner Gallaudet, 1910
- Articles by Edward Miner Gallaudet in the Silent Worker
| President of Gallaudet University
June 22, 1864–June 22, 1910