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Deaf without limits Deaf and Hard of Hearing Pioneers

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1 Deaf without limits Deaf and Hard of Hearing Pioneers
CDSS Office of Deaf Access

2 Sister teresa of cartegeña author (c. 1425-?)
Sister Teresa was a Spanish author and nun who fell deaf between 1453–1459, which influenced her two known works Arboleda de los Enfermos (Grove of the Infirm) and Admiraçión Operum Dey (Wonder at the Works of God). The latter work represents what many critics consider as the first feminist tract written by a Spanish woman. Cartageña wrote her first work Arboleda de los Enfermos in reaction to the solitude of her deafness. Approximately one to two years later, she penned a defense of her first essay called Admiraçión operum Dey in response to outspoken male critics of her eloquent and well-conceived style of writing. Both Arboleda and Admiraçión are semi-autobiographical works that provide an authentic written voice of the Medieval female, a true rarity among works of the Middle Ages.

3 Princess Joan Stewart, Lady Dalkeith Princess joan stewart, lady dalkeith (1428-1486)
Joan Stewart, Princess of Scotland, was a daughter of James I, King of Scots, and Princess Joan Beaufort of England. Joan was born deaf and reportedly used sign language in public, which was thought to be scandalous behavior during the Fifteenth Century. Her second marriage was to James Douglas, 4th Baron Dalkeith, who became the Earl of Morton, bestowed upon the Baron by the Scottish crown upon their marriage. It was from this time that Joan was called “the dumb lady (muta domina) of Dalkeith.” She was buried in 1486 at Dalkeith Church. Joan's effigy on the Morton Monument is said to be the world's oldest image of a known deaf person. The Morton Monument

4 Charles bonnet, biologist and botanist (1720-1793)
Charles Bonnet was born March 13, 1720, in Geneva, Switzerland. He was not only deaf, but suffered from asthma, and gradually became blind. Bonnet was a lawyer by profession, but studied entomology (insects) on the side, writing many works on butterflies, ants, and caterpillars. He discovered the process called parthenogenesis, reproduction from a single parent, by studying aphids at age 20, a very important discovery to the world of science. When Bonnet became blind, he changed his topic of interest to botany, studying the process of photosynthesis with the aid of assistants. When he could no longer experiment, he had his ideas written down and other scientists Continued with his work. Bonnet wrote a paper about species extinction, the time when an organism is no longer reproducing and all members of the species are deceased, thereby giving rise to Bonnet’s catastrophism theory claiming that earthquakes and floods created massive levels of extinction . Bonnet was the first to conceive of the notion of evolution, that to survive, species must evolve.

5 Pierre Desloges Early French Deaf Author (1747-ca.1799)
The Abbé De l’Epee is credited, by some, as having invented sign language. This is incorrect. Pierre’s book shows that French Sign Language pre-dated the establishment of the school for the Deaf in Paris, showing that the language was the invention of deaf people. Desloges was also the author of a number of political books well received during the time of the French Revolution. He published up until 1792, though it is only conjectured that he died sometime in 1799. . Pierre Desloges was born in France in He moved to Paris when still a young man to take up the trades of bookbinding and upholstering. Although he had been deafened since the age of seven from smallpox, he did not learn to sign until 1774, when he was taught to sign by a deaf Italian. Five years later, in 1779, he published his first book, perhaps the first ever to be published by a deaf person. In the book, he advocated for the use of sign language in deaf education, seen as a rebuttal to the written views of the Abbé Claude-François Deschamps de Champloiseau who was a naysayer of sign.

6 John Goodricke Dutch Deaf Astronomer (1764-1786)
John Goodricke was born September 17, 1764, in Groningen, a large town in the Netherlands. When John was a baby, he contracted a high fever which caused him to become deaf. As a boy, Goodricke attended the school for the deaf under Thomas Braidwood’s tutelage at the Braidwood Academy. Goodricke excelled in math and science and, as a young man, made great strides in the field of astronomy befriending and working with a neighbor, a Mr. Pigott, who also had an interest in stars. Goodricke and Pigott studied a star named Algol, which, because of it’s changeable brightness, he named it a ‘variable star.’ When Mr. Goodricke published his discoveries in astronomy journals and books in his late teens, other astronomers became very impressed with his work. At 19 years of age, John Goodricke was given the Godfrey Copley Medal from the Royal Society, and, after making more astronomical discoveries, was chosen as a Fellow in the Royal Society, very prestigious for a man only 21 years old. John died from an illness few weeks later on April 20, 1786, due to spending many hours at night out in the cold watching his beloved stars.

7 . John Brewster, Jr. Deaf American Folk Artist and Portrait Painter (1766-1854)
John Brewster, Jr. was born in Hampton, Connecticut in 1766, the third child of Dr. John Brewster and his first wife Mary Durkee, descendant of the Mayflower Pilgrim leader, William Brewster. His father was a member of the Connecticut General Assembly and active in local church affairs. John was deaf from birth and grew up in a time when there was no standardized deaf sign language yet in use in America. A kindly minister took John under his wing and taught him to paint in the 18th Century English “Grand Manner” style of portrait painting, and by the 1790’s, he was traveling throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, and eastern New York State offering his portrait services to wealthy merchant class friends and family. From 1817 to 1820, Mr. Brewster attended the Connecticut Asylum in Hartford, what is now known at the American School for the Deaf, where he learned sign language. His education there seems to have resulted in him painting more sensitive and realistic portraits. He lived most of the time near his brother, Dr. Royal Brewster, in Buxton, Maine. John died in 1854.

8 Ludwig van Beethoven Late-Deafened Composer (1770-1827)
In 1792, he chose Vienna as his new residence and took lessons from Haydn, Albrechtsberger, Schenck and Salieri. By 1795 he had earned a name for himself as a pianist of great fantasy and verve, admired in particular for his brilliant improvisations. Around the year 1798, Beethoven noticed that he was suffering from a hearing disorder. He withdrew into increasing seclusion for the public and from his few friends and was eventually left completely deaf. By 1820, he was able to communicate with visitors and trusted friends only in writing, availing himself of "conversation notebooks." The final years in the life of the restless bachelor were darkened by severe illness and by the struggle over the guardianship of his nephew Karl, upon whom he poured his solicitude, jealousy, expectations and threats in an effort to shape the boy according to his wishes. When Beethoven died, about thirty thousand mourners and curious onlookers were present at the funeral procession on March 26, 1827. Ludwig van Beethoven Late-Deafened Composer ( ) Ludwig van Beethoven, the second-oldest child of the court musician and tenor singer Johann van Beethoven, was born in Bonn in 1770. Ludwig's father drilled him thoroughly with the ambition of show-casing him as a child prodigy. Ludwig gave his first public performance as a pianist when he was eight years old. At the age of eleven he received the necessary systematic training in piano performance and composition from Christian Gottlob Neefe, organist and court musician in Bonn. Employed as a court musician in Bonn since 1787, Beethoven was granted a paid leave of absence in the early part of 1787 to study in Vienna under Mozart. He was soon compelled to return to Bonn, however, and after his mother's death, had to look after the family.

9 Erastus “Deaf” Smith American Frontiersman and Hero of the Republic of Texas (1787-1837)
Erastus “Deaf” (pronounced “Deef”) Smith was born in New York, to Chilaib or Caleb and Mary Smith. In 1798, his family migrated Southwest to Natchez, Mississippi. “Deaf” settled in Texas in 1821 when it became part of Mexico for health reasons, but returned to Natchez in His stay in Texas helped his recovery, but he never regained the ability to hear as clearly as he did before his illness, suffering partial hearing loss, hence Erastus’s nickname. He was called “El Sordo” by the Mexicans in Texas which also means ‘deaf person’ in Spanish. It was because he was able to navigate easily between the disparate Texas cultures that his ability as scout, guide, and spy was well utilized. He became involved in Stephen Austin’s Texas revolutionary cause and gathered intelligence before the Battle of Conception in He was wounded in the Grass Fight later that year, later serving as a courier to William Barrett Travis at the Alamo, carrying Travis’s letter from there on February 15, He also led Mrs. Almeron Dickinson to Gen. Sam Houston in Gonzales to report the fate of the Alamo’s defenders. For his bravery, a county in Texas is now named Deaf Smith County in his honor. He even married a Tejana woman in 1822 helping to win the trust as a trader and scout, by the Mexican Texans, or Tejanos.

10 A History of the Deaf-Blind Before Helen Keller: Julia Brace and Laura Bridgman
She fulfilled her communal duties well, and excelled in sewing and knitting, though she made her grievances known when her unwanted “celebrity” status became too onerous for her. She seemed to dislike the curious and inquisitive. Her memory of facts was tenacious, but it had no grasp of abstractions, and she had no comprehension of an idea of a Deity. Most everyone has heard of Helen Keller and her great achievements even though she was deaf and blind, but few know anything about three of her predecessors, at least two having some notoriety in their day, Julia Brace and Laura Bridgman. The first well-known deaf-blind person was Victorine Morriseau ( ), a native of France, who successfully learned French as a child, and had some success with communicating in tactile sign language. Julia Brace was born in 1807 in Hartford, Connecticut. She became deaf-blind from typhus at age five. She had no special education until she enrolled at the Hartford school in June of 1825 at almost 18. While there, she acquired tactile American Sign Language from the other students. She was said to have been feisty, inquisitive, and tenacious when it came to having her rights and needs met. Julia Brace ( ) She was still kind and gentle enough to care for the sick and made an excellent nurse. Samuel Gridley Howe took Julia under his wing and enrolled Julia at his Perkins School for the Blind in He tried to teach her the English language, but she preferred to remain communicating in sign language, returning to the Hartford school in 1843 where she continued as a boarder until 1860. Julia died in 1884 in Bloomfield, Connecticut, and is buried in an unmarked grave in the West Hill Cemetary. -Continued-

11 A Brief History of the Deaf-Blind Before Helen Keller: Julia Brace and Laura Bridgman-Cont.
Laura Dewey Lynn Bridgman was born in Hanover, New Hampshire in 1829 to Daniel and Harmony Bridgman. She lost her eyesight, hearing, senses of smell and taste, as well as a brother and two sisters, to scarlet fever when she was an infant. Laura recovered from the illness, but still remained deaf-blind. As a child, she learned to sew and knit through touch, but had no concept or knowledge of language as a means of communication. Laura was sent to the Perkins Institution for the Blind in Boston in 1837, a special school, that was run by Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe and Lydia Hall Drew. Miss Bridgman eventually learned the whole alphabet and the ten digits as well as a broad education. On July 24, 1839, Laura wrote her own name legibly. She learned rudimentary math as early as June of She began to keep a journal in 1841 and had a visit from the author Charles Dickens in By 1843, she had a succession of special teachers assigned to her, teaching her geography, astronomy, and religious instruction; she was writing religious poetry by 1867. She died in 1889 and was buried in Dana Cemetery in Hanover, New Hampshire. Laura Bridgman ( )

12 Thomas Alva Edison Famous American Inventor with Early Hearing Loss (1847-1931)
Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847 to Samuel Ogden Edison, Jr. and Nancy Matthews Elliott in Milan, Ohio. Edison was famous for being an American inventor and entrepreneur, developing devices that greatly influenced the world of his day, and far beyond. Edison invented: the phonograph, the motion picture camera, a longer-lasting and practical light bulb, a stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, a battery for an early electric car, and mass usage electrical power. He is also credited with being the father of the first industrial research laboratory He developed scarlet fever at an early age, which led to hearing problems. These became exacerbated by multiple inner-ear infections. But he would later attribute his hearing loss to being struck on the ears by a train conductor who caught him in a fire on a boxcar where he had been doing his lab experiments; the conductor threw him off the train. It happened, he said, in Smith’s Creek, Michigan. Edison was the fourth most prolific inventor in history, holding 1,093 patents in his name before he died on October 18, 1931 in West Orange, New Jersey. He was to become well known by his nick-name, “The Wizard of Menlo Park,” a phrase coined by a newspaper reporter.

13 William E. “Dummy” Hoy Famous Deaf Baseball Player (1862-1961)
William Ellsworth “Dummy” Hoy is probably the best known deaf Major League Baseball player. He was born May 23, 1862 in Houcktown, Ohio, and attended the Ohio School for the Deaf, first playing for them before going to the majors as an American League center fielder. He debuted in 1888 and ended his career in 1902, having played for four major league teams (one of only 29 players to have done this) including the Cincinatti Reds and two Washington, D.C. teams. He is credited with causing the establishment of signals for safe and out calls. Dummy was 99 when he died on December 15, 1961 in Ohio.

14 Douglas Tilden Deaf Sculptor (1860-1935)
Douglas Tilden, one of California’s finest sculptors, was born May 1, 1860 into a wealthy family. Tilden fell victim to an epidemic of scarlet fever and lost his hearing when he was almost four. His family adapted to the sudden hearing loss by sending him to the California Institution for the Education and Care of the Indigent Deaf and Dumb, and the Blind (now California School for the Deaf). As a pupil, Tilden showed artistic talent and enthusiasm for the outdoors, which he combined into his artwork. He went on to study at the San Francisco School of Design, then spent a year studying at the University of California. After graduation and a frustrating job search, Tilden returned to his old school, where he proved to be a natural and passionate teacher. After seeing a plaster sculpture created of his younger brother in 1883, Tilden was hooked. He learned the art of sculpting quickly and by 1885, he sold his first statue, The Tired Wrestler. The Mechanics Monument, San Francisco Tilden ‘s sculpture, entitled The Baseball Player, was erected on the Champs Elysees. He also created The Bear Hunt and The Tired Boxer. The Tired Boxer garnered Tilden an honorable mention at the prestigious 1890 Salon, the highest status ever achieved by an American. Tilden, the only deaf full-time teacher at the Mark Hopkins Institute, taught sculpture classes through gesturing. He retired from the Institute in 1902 devoting all his time to his sculpture.

15 Juliette Gordon Low Founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA (1860-1927)
Juliette Magill Kinzie Gordon was born in Savannah, Georgia, and was known as "Daisy" for most of her life because when her uncle saw her as a baby girl, he said, "I'll bet she'll be a daisy!." Another one of her nicknames was "Little Ship." Her grandparents in the North called her that because she would always beg to hear the story about her great-grandmother, who was captured by Indians. Even though she was a captive, she was always joyful, so the Indians started calling her "Little-Ship-Under-Full-Sail." When she was about 25 years old, Juliette suffered an ear infection which was treated with silver nitrate. This treatment damaged her ear, causing her to lose a great deal of her hearing in that ear. At the age of 26, even though her parents had apprehensions, she married William Mackay "Willy" Low on December 21, 1886, which happened to be her parents' 29th wedding anniversary. A grain of rice thrown at the wedding became lodged in Juliette's good ear. When it was removed, her ear drum was punctured and became infected, causing her to become completely deaf in that ear. Her hearing was severely limited for the rest of her life. Her marriage to Mr. Low proved to be childless and unhappy. Although the couple moved to England, Juliette continued her travels and divided her time between the British Isles and America. During the Spanish-American War, Juliette came back to America to aid in the war effort. She helped her mother organize a Juliette Gordon Low ( ) convalescent hospital for wounded soldiers returning from Cuba. Her father was a commissioned general for the U.S. Army and served on the Puerto Rican Peace Commission. (Continued)

16 Juliette Gordon Low Founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA-Cont
As early as 1901, due to her husband's infidelities, Juliette intended to get a divorce. However, her husband died before the divorce proceedings could be finalized. When his will was read, Juliette discovered that her husband had left his money to his mistress. She was left with a small widow's pension. It was in 1911 that Juliette met Second Boer War hero (and founder of the Scouting movement) Robert Baden-Powell and his sister Agnes. Juliette and Sir (later Lord) Baden Powell shared a passion for sculpture and art. Ms. Low also enjoyed working with iron. While in the UK, Juliette worked as a Girl Guide leader for troops she organized in Scotland and London. Juliette decided to found something similar for the girls of America. On March 12, 1912, Juliette gathered 18 girls to register the first troop of American Girl Guides. Margaret "Daisy Doots" Gordon, her niece and namesake, was the first registered member, but did not attend the first meeting. The name of the organization was changed to Girl Scouts the following year. The organization was incorporated in 1915, with Juliette serving as president until 1920, when she was granted the title of founder. Juliette was known for being eccentric and charming. She also wrote poems; sketched, wrote and acted in plays; and became a skilled painter and sculptor. She had many pets throughout her life and was particularly fond of exotic birds, Georgia mockingbirds, and dogs. Juliette died January 17, 1927, from breast cancer, and was buried in her Scout uniform.

17 Deaf Leader and Advocate
George W. Veditz Deaf Leader and Advocate ( ) George Veditz was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1861 to German- speaking immigrants. He was deafened by illness at the age of nine. He attended the Maryland School for the Deaf in Frederick, Maryland and was a top student at Gallaudet College. After graduating from Gallaudet, he taught at deaf schools in Maryland and Colorado. Mr. Veditz founded the Colorado Association for the Deaf and was twice voted president of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). George Veditz was a staunch advocate of Deaf rights and an opponent of oralism, or the oral method of teaching the deaf; throughout his life, he defended the use of sign language eloquently. He spearheaded a project to record people using sign language on film, a pioneer of Deaf film making, and a legacy of early 20th Century ASL in action. George died in 1937.

18 Calbraith “Cal” Perry Rodgers Pioneering Pilot with Hearing Loss
( ) Calbraith (or Cal) Perry Rogers was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in Cal Rodgers became totally deaf in one ear and partially deaf in the other at six years of age due to scarlet fever. A wealthy sportsman and amateur pilot, Cal took up William Randolph Hearst’s offer of a $50,000 prize to be the first to fly across the United States coast-to-coast, and he succeeded on December 10, He died in Long Beach in 1912 as the result of a plane crash during an exhibition event. Cal Rodgers Aviation Pioneer

19 Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Humanitarian, Educator, Advocate, and Lecturer (1880-1968)
The name of Helen Adams Keller is known around the world as a symbol of courage in the face of overwhelming odds, yet she was much more than a symbol. She was a woman of luminous intelligence, high ambition and great accomplishment. She devoted her life to helping others. Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, on June 27, When she was only 19 months old, she contracted a fever that left her blind and deaf. When she was almost seven years old, her parents engaged Anne Mansfield Sullivan to be her tutor. With enormous dedication, Miss Sullivan was able to help develop Helen's enormous intellect. Keller quickly learned to read and write, and spoke by the age of 10. When she was 20, she entered Radcliffe College, with Miss Sullivan at her side to spell textbooks – letter by letter – into her hand. Four years later, Radcliffe awarded Helen Keller a Bachelor’s degree magna cum laude. After graduation, Helen Keller began her life's work of helping blind and deaf-blind people. She appeared before state and national legislatures and international forums, traveled around the world to lecture, and to visit areas with a high incidence of blindness, and wrote numerous books and articles. She met every U.S. president from Grover Cleveland to Lyndon Johnson, and played a major role in focusing the world's attention on the problems of the blind and the need for preventive measures. Miss Keller won numerous honors, including honorary university degrees, the Lions Humanitarian Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and election to the Women's Hall of Fame. During her lifetime, she was consistently ranked near the top of "most admired" lists. She died at her home of Arcan Ridge, in Easton, Connecticut, on June 1,

20 George E. Hyde Deaf and Semi-Blind Historian of the Plains Indians (1882-1968)
George Hyde was born in Omaha, Nebraska on June 10, By the time he was 16, George was profoundly deaf as well as semi-blind due to illness. Hyde had established friendships with the Native Americans in and around Omaha, Nebraska. From an early age, he was fascinated with their teachings, sign language communication, and culture. George wrote lively but authoritative monographs and books about his subjects, one of them being the Sioux leader George Bent (pictured at lower right). George used both powerful corrective lenses and a magnifying glass to write down the data and first-hand accounts he collected from his native Nebraskan informants. George’s career as a Plains Indian Historian was a natural outgrowth of the love and admiration he had for Native Americans, making research a joy, despite his physical limitations. Where previous historians had relied on “official” documents and accounts from secondhand sources, George Hyde went directly to the source for his books, an innovative approach for his time. His major works include Red Cloud’s Folk (1937), A Sioux Chronicle (1956) and Spotted Tail’s Folk (1961), today considered classics in their genre. George Hyde died at age 85 in 1968 in his native Nebraska.

21 She married Prince Andrew of Greece in 1903, having four daughters and Prince Philip. They were exiled in 1917 with most of the Greek royal family . The family returned to Greece a few years later but were again exiled because Prince Andrew was blamed, in part, for the defeat of Greece in the Greco-Turkish War occurring between 1919 and The family was returned to Greece in 1935 when the monarchy was restored. Alice was committed to a sanatorium in 1930 due to paranoid schizophrenia, separating her from her husband for the rest of their days. After Alice recovered, to a degree, she began an itinerant, closeted existence in Central Europe, away from prying eyes, not speaking to the rest of the family until The funeral of her daughter, Cecile, killed with her husband and two of their children in a plane crash in 1937, helped her resume contact with her remaining family. Princess Alice returned to Athens in 1938 to work with the poor, staying in Athens during World War II where she sheltered Jewish refugees of the War. After the War, Alice founded an order of Greek Orthodox nursing nuns called the Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary. After the fall of King Constantine II of Greece and the imposition of military rule there in 1967, she went to live out her days at Buckingham Palace with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, dying of cancer on December 5, 1969. Princess Alice of Battenberg Princess of Greece Mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh ( ) Princess Alice was born Victoria Alice Elizabeth Julia Marie in Windsor Castle on February 25, 1885, to Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of the House of Hesse; born congenitally deaf. She grew up in Germany, England, and the Mediterranean.

22 Eleanor “Nellie” Zabel Willhite
First Deaf Aviatrix ( ) Eleanor “Nellie” Zabel was born in Box Elder, South Dakota on November 22,1892. Nellie came down with the measles at the age of two, leaving her totally deaf. She enrolled in aviation school, her first solo flight taking place in She became South Dakota’s first woman to have a pilot’s license and the first deaf woman in history to learn to fly a plane. She named her first plane “Pard” in honor of her father. Nellie was inducted into the South Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame just before her death on September 2, 1991.

23 Robert H. Weitbrecht Scientist and Inventor of the TTY Machine (1920-1983)
His schooling later took him to Santa Ana Junior College and the University of California at Berkeley., He eventually graduated with a Masters in Astronomy at the University of Chicago. He was an electronics scientist at the U.S. Naval Air Missile Test Center, and earned the U.S. Navy’s Superior Accomplishment Award after working on the Manhattan Project. In 1948, he helped create the first worldwide radio communications system and later created a camera for focusing on stars. With two other deaf scientists, he created the Phonetype Acoustic Coupler, now called the TTY machine. The TTY was groundbreaking in that it allowed deaf people to communicate over the telephone. Robert died after being hit by a car in May of 1983. Image Courtesy of TTY image courtesy of Robert H. Weitbrecht was born on April 11, 1920 in Orange, California, deafened by illness from a young age. His mother taught him to read lips before he was sent to school with other deaf children, where he was taught to read and to speak using the oral method. One of his teachers took him to factories when he was a child, instilling in him a love of science and how things worked. This lead to Weitbrecht being only truly happy when around, and working with, machines.

24 Roy Kay Holcomb Father of “Total Communication” (1923-1998)
Roy became an administrator at Gallaudet, popularizing the deaf learning system known as “Total Communication.” Total Communication is a philosophy first proposed by Holcomb which stated that each deaf student had a right to whatever form of teaching discipline and deaf communication style was the most suitable or appropriate for that child. This philosophy represented a breakaway from the rigidity of a total oral approach to deaf education, oralism having dominated the education of the deaf for nearly a century before Holcomb’s new philosophical approach. Roy Holcomb died of Parkinson’s disease on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1998. Image courtesy of Roy Kay Holcomb was born on July 24, 1923 in Texas, one of eight children born to a dirt-poor laborer’s family. No one realized Roy was deaf until he was nine years of age, after which he was enrolled in the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin, Texas, a strictly oral-based, military-type school. Roy struggled with his schooling, but he read well and excelled at baseball and basketball, and was the Blue Bison’s leading scorer after enrolling in Gallaudet University in He was one of Gallaudet’s “Five Iron Men” at the Mason-Dixon Conference Tournament at Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland. Roy played in all three games, winning the Tournament. After graduating Gallaudet University in 1947, Roy married his deaf spouse Marjoriebell “Mabs’ Starkey and raised two deaf sons.

25 Andrew J. Foster Deaf Educator (1925-1987)
Dr. Andrew J. Foster, a pioneer in education for deaf individuals, was instrumental in founding twenty-two schools and an equal number of religious programs for deaf children in more than twenty African countries. These institutions, which marked the beginning of education for the deaf in Africa, also created opportunities for Foster's African students to attend Gallaudet College. Foster later received an honorary doctoral degree from Gallaudet for his contributions to the education of deaf people. A deeply religious man, Foster taught sign language to many Africans so they could fulfill his favorite Bible verse, Isaiah 29:10: "In that day, the deaf will hear the words of the book." Dedicated and tireless, he continued opening schools in Africa until the end of his life in Foster was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1925, and lost his hearing at age eleven after suffering from spinal meningitis. Drawn to a career in education, he attended the Alabama School for the Negro Deaf in Talladega and, in 1954, became the first African American to graduate from Gallaudet College in Washington, D.C. After obtaining his master's degree, Foster set out to achieve his childhood dream of establishing schools for deaf students. In 1956, Foster founded the Christian Mission for Deaf Africans, and a year later he opened the Accra Mission School for the Deaf in Accra, Ghana. He also established a boarding school for deaf children in Mampong-Akwapim, near Accra, and a mission in Ibadan, Nigeria.

26 Image courtesy of
Gil Eastman Deaf Actor, Director, Playwright, Teacher, and Writer ( ) Having been asked to teach at Gallaudet University, Gil founded and chaired the Department of Drama (later to be called the Theatre Arts Department) where he taught Drama and “Visual-Gestural Communication,” a course he designed personally, until 1992. Mr. Eastman translated the Greek Tragedy Antigone into American Sign Language (ASL) and he wrote other plays, including: Sign Me Alice, Laurent Clerc: A Profile, Hands, What?, Aladdin and His Magic Lamp, Sign Me Alice II, and Can Do: A Revue. He helped found the National Theatre of the Deaf and went on tours with them from In the late 1980’s, Gil was co-host of the Emmy Award-winning news magazine program on cable, called “Deaf Mosaic” which featured stories of deaf people around the world. Mr. Eastman died on December 2, 2006. ( Gilbert C. Eastman was born into a hearing family in Middletown, Connecticut on September 12, 1934. He graduated from the American School for the Deaf in 1952 having learned ASL, as well as learning to communicate at home using speechreading and writing on paper with his parents and using fingerspelling with his two brothers. Eastman received a B.A. degree from Gallaudet University in 1957 and an MFA in Drama from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., which was a pioneering achievement for someone deaf.

27 I. King Jordan First Deaf President of Gallaudet University
On March 13, 1988, due to the “Deaf President Now” movement on campus, I. King Jordan was chosen as the President of Gallaudet University, the only deaf person to hold that office before Jordan’s tenure. The students, alumni, staff, faculty and friends of Gallaudet University thought that, since the college is the only one with all programs and services designed especially for the Deaf and hard of hearing, it was important that a deaf president was chosen to lead Gallaudet. Jordan announced his intentions to retire from his position at Gallaudet on September 1, 2005, retiring in December of 2006. Irving King Jordan was born to hearing parents on June 16, 1943 in Glen Riddle, Pennsylvania, a small town near Philadelphia. Jordan became deaf at the age of 21 due to a motorcycle injury when he was flung into the windshield of a car resulting in a skull fracture. Jordan went on to Gallaudet University earning a doctorate there in psychology, eventually becoming Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He made numerous scholarly contributions to his field of study in his various appointments at Gallaudet.

28 Vint Cerf Hard of Hearing Co-Founding Father of the Internet
Vint Cerf was born Vinton Gray Cerf on June 23, 1943 in New Haven, Connecticut. He is recognized as one of “the fathers of the Internet” along with American computer scientist Bob Kahn. His string of honorary degrees and awards include: The National Medal of Technology The Turing Award The Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Membership in the National Academy of Engineering Cerf graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in Mathematics, then on to IBM as a systems engineer supporting QUIKTRAN. Cerf was instrumental in connecting the first two nodes of the ARPANet, predecessor of the Internet, working with Robert E. Kahn who was working on the ARPANet hardware architecture. Cerf went on to become an assistant professor at Stanford University where he conducted research on packet network interconnection protocols and co-designed the DoD TCP/IP protocol suite with Mr. Kahn. Cerf was co-founder of the Internet Society with Bob Kahn in 1992. In 1997, Cerf joined the Gallaudet University Board of Trustees, as he was hard of hearing. Cerf was instrumental in forming ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and was on their Board from Since September, 2005, Cerf has worked as a Vice President of Google, as their Chief Internet Evangelist.

29 Marlee Matlin Deaf Actress of Stage, Film, and Screen
At the time, Marlee was not only the youngest actress to win an Oscar for Best Female Performer, but the only deaf person to do so, then and now. She played a deaf widow in the movie Bridge to Silence and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her work as the lead female role in the television series Reasonable Doubts ( ); she was also nominated for an Emmy Award for a guest appearance in Picket Fences. Matlin has appeared on many TV shows and has been nominated for Primetime Emmys for her roles on Seinfeld, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and The Practice. Marlee has written three books: Deaf Child Crossing, Nobody’s Perfect, and I’ll Scream Later, her autobiography. She starred in the movie What the Bleep Do We Know? In 2004 and was in the cable series The L Word from 2007 to She received a star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood on May 6, Matlin is married to Kevin Grandalski, and has four children, two sons and two daughters. Marlee Beth Matlin was born on August 24, 1965 in Morton Grove, Illinois. Marlee has been deaf since she was 18 months old, losing all the hearing in her right ear, and 80% in her left ear, possibly due to a congenitally malformed cochlea when she was born. Matlin was in a deaf children’s theater group from the age of seven when she played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. She continued with the group into her late teens when she was discovered by the actor/director Henry Winkler. Winkler was searching for the right person to play the lead female role in the film version of the play Children of a Lesser God (1986) which would also star William Hurt. ‘Lesser God’ brought Marlee a Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a Drama and an Oscar for Best Actress.

30 The End Thank you for watching!
As we conclude our Deaf Without Limits: Deaf and hard of Hearing Pioneers slideshow presentation, we would like to acknowledge and thank these informative websites and webpages for their valuable information: About.Com, Deafness at newsletters/a/famousdeaf.htm Wikipedia Deaf Scientist Corner at and Deaf People.Com at PowerPoint Presentation developed and provided by Scott Bonilla-McIntyre, Office Technician, Office of Deaf Access

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