Elizabeth E. Farrell
Elizabeth E. Farrell (1870– October 15, 1932) was an American educator, first person to teach a class of special education students in an American public school, and first president of the Council for Exceptional Children.
Early life and education
Elizabeth Farrell was born in Utica, New York. She attended Utica Catholic Academy and the Oswego Normal and Training School. When she finished basic teacher training in 1895, she pursued further study at New York University and Teachers College, Columbia University, eventually earning a bachelor's degree.
Farrell taught one year at a small school in Oneida Castle, New York before accepting a position at Henry Street Settlement in New York City. She taught at Public School No. 1 while living at the settlement house, and working with Lillian Wald, the director of Henry Street. Her students, all boys, were a range of ages, and thus the class was called "ungraded". Soon other "ungraded" classes were established in New York schools, after her model; in 1906 Farrell became director of special education, with the title "Inspector of Ungraded Classes."
As Inspector, Farrell began a diagnostic clinic to test schoolchildren for underlying causes of poor academic achievement. She also began a journal, titled Ungraded, to share findings with other special education professionals. She was a frequent lecturer, and taught pioneering special education courses at Teachers College Columbia University and at the University of Pennsylvania. Her authority over classrooms throughout New York's public schools raised concerns about loss of local control, and in 1917 teachers unanimously approved a resolution to limit her influence.
In 1922, she became one of the founders and the first president of the International Council for Exceptional Children.
Personal life and legacy
Farrell died in Cleveland, Ohio, in the autumn of 1932, age 62. Earlier in 1932, she was honored at a luncheon marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Ungraded Class Teachers' Association, an organization she founded. Speakers at her memorial service included her Columbia University colleagues Leta Stetter Hollingworth and Edward L. Thorndike.
- "Oswego Alumna Pioneered Special Ed" Oswego Alumni Magazine (Fall/Winter 2011).
- P. I., "Elizabeth E. Farrell, 1870-1932: A Biographical Sketch" Journal of Special Education 15(3)(October 1981): 322-323. doi: 10.1177/002246698101500302
- Julia Grant, The Boy Problem: Educating Boys in Urban America, 1870-1970 (JHU Press 2014): 101. ISBN 9781421412603
- Philip L. Safford and Elizabeth J. Safford, A History of Childhood and Disability (Teachers College Press 1996): 181-182. ISBN 9780807734858
- Kimberly E. Kode, Elizabeth Farrell and the History of Special Education (Council for Exceptional Children 2002). ISBN 0865869685
- Elizabeth E. Farrell, "Atypical Children" New York Times (November 5, 1909): 8. via Newspapers.com
- Paul Irvine, "Elizabeth E. Farrell (1870-1932)" in Cecil R. Reynolds and Elaine Fletcher-Janzen, eds., Encyclopedia of Special Education (John Wiley & Sons 2007): 888. ISBN 9780470174197
- Michael M. Gerber, "A History of Special Education" in James M. Kauffman and Daniel P. Hallahan, eds., Handbook of Special Education (Routledge 2011): 6-11. ISBN 9781136869624
- "School Defectives a Problem for City; Dr. Elizabeth E. Farrell Tells Teachers the Number is Alarming" Brooklyn Daily Eagle (March 3, 1920): 23. via Newspapers.com
- "Teachers' Rating Work of Principal; Council Protests that Those of Ungraded Class Instructors are Badly Treated" Brooklyn Daily Eagle (March 10, 1917): 7. via Newspapers.com
- Margret Winzer, The History of Special Education: From Isolation to Integration (Gallaudet University Press 1993): 335. ISBN 9781563680182
- "Elizabeth Farrell Dies in Cleveland" New York Times (October 17, 1932): 15.
- "Ungraded Class Head Honored at Anniversary Fete" Brooklyn Daily Eagle (March 6, 1932): 6. via Newspapers.com
- "Laud Miss E. E. Farrell" New York Times (February 20, 1933): 12.
- The Elizabeth Farrell School, P. S. 116K, website.
- Works by or about Elizabeth E. Farrell at Internet Archive
- Judy Duchan, Getting Here: A short history of Speech Pathology in America
- New York Times article on Farrell's work January 27, 1913
- Kimberly Ellen Kode, "Guarding the sacred fires: Elizabeth E. Farrell's contributions to the creation of special education in New York City" (PhD diss., Marquette University 2001).