Mabel Farrington Gifford

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Mabel Farrington Gifford, in a 1922 publication.

Mabel Farrington Gifford (August 19, 1880 – May 1, 1962) was an American speech therapist and lecturer, an expert on stuttering and other speech disorders. She was director of the Speech Clinic at the University of California at Berkeley for 25 years.

Early life[edit]

Mabel Farrington Gifford was born in Winona, Minnesota. She stuttered in childhood, and finished high school at age 20, in Pomona, California. She attended the Corrective Speech Institute in Buffalo, New York, and studied with H. G. Brainard, a neurologist in Los Angeles. Speech was a family interest: her brother Guy Stevens Farrington was on the faculty at Stanford University, also lecturing on speech disorders, and his wife Alice was an actress known for giving dramatic recitations, who also taught public speaking.[1]


Gifford's work focused on early intervention for speech disorders, with expert services offered through the public schools. She developed California's first teacher training program for identifying and managing speech disorders in the classroom.[2] Gifford was on the faculty of the Special Education department at San Francisco State Teachers College, and director of the Speech Clinic at the University of California from 1915 to 1940.[3] She demonstrated her techniques at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915.[2] After World War I, she worked with returning veterans on speech rehabilitation.[4][5] In 1925, she was appointed Assistant State Superintendent of Public Instruction.[6]

Gifford was president of the Speech Arts Association of California in 1922,[7] and was a founding member of the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) in 1926.[8] and From 1926 she was director of the Bureau of Correction of Speech Defects in the California Department of Education. She also served as president of the Western Speech Association in 1949.[9]

Among her published writings were Speech Defects and Disorders and their Correction (1926),[10] How to Overcome Stammering (1940),[11] Correcting Nervous Speech Disorders (1940),[12] and Speech Correction in the Elementary School (1948).[13]

Personal life[edit]

Gifford retired in 1952. She died ten years later, in Long Beach, California, aged 81 years.[14]


  1. ^ "Mrs. Farrington to Read Comedy" Stanford Daily (July 9, 1935): 1.
  2. ^ a b Nichol Roe, Mabel Farrington Gifford: A Visionary for Change (Master's thesis, California State University at San Marcos 2016).
  3. ^ Judy Duchan, "A History of Speech-Language Pathology" (2011).
  4. ^ Louis J. Stellman, "Interesting Westerners" Sunset Magazine 42(1)(January 1919): 48.
  5. ^ "Expert Restores Speech Spoiled by Shell Shock" Pittsburgh Press (September 4, 1918): 9. via Newspapers.comopen access
  6. ^ "S. F. School Expert Given State Office" Oakland Tribune (September 19, 1925): 11. via Newspapers.comopen access
  7. ^ Louis Lyons and Josephine Wilson, eds., Who's Who Among the Women of California (Security Publishing 1922): 153.
  8. ^ Judith Felson Duchan, "What Do You Know of Your Profession's History?" The ASHA Leader (December 2002).
  9. ^ Mabel Farrington Gifford, "Speech Correction Comes of Age in California" Western Speech 13(1)(1949).
  10. ^ Mabel Farrington Gifford, Speech Defects and Disorders and their Correction (Harr Wagner Publishing Company 1926).
  11. ^ Mabel Farrington Gifford, How to Overcome Stammering (Prentice-Hall 1940).
  12. ^ Mabel Farrington Gifford, Correcting Nervous Speech Disorders (Prentice-Hall 1940).
  13. ^ Mabel Farrington Gifford, Speech Correction in the Elementary School (California State Department of Education 1948).
  14. ^ "Pioneer Educator Answers Final Call" San Francisco Public Schools Bulletin 33(38)(June 11, 1962).

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