Birth AnniversariesAll names listed here are heroes, inventors and/or achievers for making lasting contributions to society. All are deaf unless otherwise noted.
January 4, 1809 Louis Braille Died January 6, 1852 Born in Coupvray, France; last home address site: Paris
Inventor of braille in 1824 This world-wide reading system uses different formations of raised dots to denote different letters of the alphabet. Unfortunately, the school in those days banned students from using it, but they still learned it in secret.
February 1, 1922 Frederick C. Schreiber Died September 5, 1979 Born in Brooklyn, NY Last home address site: Kensington, MD
Writer, editor, activist, and well known for his powerful and creative leadership; first Executive Director of the National Association of the Deaf serving from 1969 to 1979
February 9, 1840 Laura Redden Searing Died August 10, 1923 Born in Somerset County, MD Last home address site: San Mateo, CA
Newspaper correspondent who once interviewed President Lincoln, Civil War generals and soldiers using pad and pencil
February 11, 1847 Thomas Alva Edison Died October 18, 1931 Born in Milan, OH Last home address site: Orange, NJ.
Inventor and scientist who received 1,093 patents and who said his deafness helped him concentrate on his experiments and research
February 25, 1804 Thomas Brown Died March 23, 1886. Born in Henniker, NH, also his last home address site
First deaf American grassroots leader and a NAD seed planter in 1850s
First deaf politician in New Hampshire Organized the first deaf convention in America on September 26, 1850February 28, 1854 Edwin Allan Hodgson Died August 13, 1933 Born in Manchester, England; last home address site: New York City
Second president and one of the three co-founders of NAD. Known as the driving force behind the founding of the NAD. Editor of Deaf Mutes’ Journal, one of the most popular, influential and widely read newspapers of its day
March 20, 1798 Sophia Fowler Gallaudet Died May 13, 1877 Born in Guilford, CT; her last home address site: Hartford, CT
Influential advocate to the US Congress on behalf of education of deaf people in the 1860s and who was known as "Queen of the Deaf Community" Deaf wife of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and mother of Edward Miner Gallaudet, first president of Gallaudet University Died in Washington, DC when visiting his son.
March 21, 1900 David Peikoff Died January 28, 1995 Born in Yanoschina, Polava Province, Russia; last home address site: Greenbelt, MD
Dynamic leader who was known to hold the office of many deaf organizations and for his remarkable career in fundraising
April 13, 1904 Byron Benton Burnes Died August 25, 1999. Born in Batavia, IA; his last home address site: Martinez, CA.
April 19, 1787 Erastus “Deaf” Smith Died November 30, 1837 Born near Poughkeepsie, NY; last home address site: Richmond, TX
Chief scout and spy for a Texas army; Texas’s folk hero. He helped Texas get independence from Mexico. One county in Texas was named "Deaf Smith" after him.
220th birth anniversary in 2007April 26, 1849 Robert P. McGregor Died December 21, 1926 Born in Lockland, OH Last home address site: Columbus, OH
First president and one of the three co-founders of NAD Educator, administrator, writer, skilled orator and leader Founder of the Ohio Home for the Aged and Infirm Deaf in 1896, now known as Columbus Colony
May 23, 1862 William Ellsworth Hoy Died December 15, 1961. Born in Houcktown, OH; last home address site: Cincinnati, OH.
First deaf major leaguer. He taught his teammates signs which some have become useful for umpires throughout the world like “calling balls” and “strikes”
June 15, 1813 John Carlin Died April; 23, 1891 Born in Philadelphia. Last home address site: New York City
Artist, writer and advocate who contributed greatly to the cultural life of the deaf community in the 19th century
June 27, 1880 Helen Adams Keller Died June 1, 1968 Born in Tuscumbia, AL Last home address site: Westport, CT
First deaf-blind author and lecturer who received many honors for her global advocacy on human rights
June 27, 1925 Andrew Jackson Foster Died December 3, 1987. Born in Birmingham, AL; last home address site: Ibadan, Nigeria
American educator who founded thirty-one schools and many other programs for deaf people in thirteen African countries; first African American to graduate from Gallaudet College.
August 13, 1861 George W. Veditz Died March 12, 1937 Born in Baltimore, MD; last home address site: Colorado Springs, CO
Writer, teacher, English-German translator, strong defender of ASL and politician Once had a personal interview with US President Woodrow Wilson. Seventh President of the NAD
August 24, 1810 Edmund Booth Died March 29, 1905. Born in Chicopee, MA
Last home address site: Anamosa, IA
Author, newspaper publisher, pioneer settler, gold miner, teacher and one of three co-founders of the National Association of the Deaf
August 31, 1805 Alice Cogswell Died December 30, 1830 Born in Hartford, CT, also her last home address site
Daughter of Dr. Mason Fitch Cogswell and first pupil to enroll American School for the Deaf
September 12, 1934 Gilbert C. Eastman Died December 2, 2006 Born in Middletown, CT Last home address site: Bethany Beach, DE
Author, playwright, professor, artist, leader, expert on Laurent Clerc, mentor, "Man of Mosaics" in television, theatre and the deaf community He once gave a speech at the American Library Association
September 17, 1761 Dr. Mason Fitch Cogswell Died December 17, 1830 Born in Canterbury, CT: his last home address site: Hartford, CT
First hearing father of a deaf child to advocate for quality education of deaf children in America One of the three cofounders of American School for the Deaf in Hartford, CT
December 16?, 1770 Ludwig van Beethoven Died March 26, 1827 Born in Bonn, Germany; last home address site: Vienna, Austria
Composed at total of nine symphonies, the 3rd - 9th all composed after he became deaf.
December 26, 1785 Laurent Clerc Died July 18, 1869 Born in La Balme, France Last home address site: Hartford, CT
First deaf teacher in America and a role mentor of many successful deaf teachers and leaders. One of the three cofounders of American School for the Deaf in Hartford
By order of year
Having an impact on lives of deaf individuals, nationally and globally
April 15, 1817 -- Establishment of the first permanent public school in the Western Hemisphere for deaf students, now known as American School for the Deaf, located in Hartford, Connecticut. Laurent Clerc, Dr. Mason Fitch Cogswell and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet were the school cofounders.
February 16, 1857 -- Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind, known as Kendall School, opens. Founded by Amos Kendall Now a part of the Laurent Clerc Center of Gallaudet University
April 8, 1864 -- Charter signed by United States President Abraham Lincoln authorizing the Board of Directors of Gallaudet University to grant college degrees to deaf students. Dr. Edward Miner Gallaudet and Amos Kendall were the cofounders of Gallaudet University
June 23, 1869 -- First Commencement of Gallaudet University, held at the First
Congregational Church in Washington, D.C John Carlin, the first deaf recipient awarded an honorary degree (Master of Arts)
August 25, 1880 -- First convention of the NAD which met in Cincinnati, Ohio Edmund Booth, Edwin A. Hodgson, and Robert P. McGregor were the co-founders of NAD, the first national membership organization in US to defend rights of deaf people to quality education, using sign language as their main communication medium. www.nad.org
June 26, 1889 -- The unveiling of Thomas H. Gallaudet and Alice statue at Gallaudet University by the National Association of the Deaf (US) during its 3rd convention in Washington, DC. In six years, its members had raised $13,000 for this statue.
June 27, 1889 -- Gallaudet University Alumni Association formed. Melville Ballard, first Gallaudet graduate from Class of 1866 was elected president GUAA became incorporated in 1908. http://alumni.gallaudet.edu/
September 1951 -- World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) established in Rome, Italy. Launched "International Day of the Deaf" on Sunday, September 28, 1958, now extended to the International Week of the Deaf, held annually in the last full week of September
Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults founded in Sands Point, NY Authorized by Act of Congress Nat-Cent News published in large print and Braille and edited by Dr. Robert J. Smithdas. www.hknc.org/
May 9, 2002 -- History Through Deaf Eyes exhibition opens at the Smithsonian Institution’s Arts and Industrial Building in conjunction with the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC and remains open until September 22.
(More to come)
By order of year
American Library Association (ALA) founded in Philadelphia on October 6, 1876.
Thomas Jefferson Memorial Building of the Library of Congress opens November 1, 1897.
Two American educators, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Horace Mann, each have a mosaic piece in their name in the ceiling of the Gallery of Education.1907
The National Literary Society of the Deaf in Washington, D.C., established February 6, 1907 by six co-founders, officially becomes a partner of the Center for the Book, Library of Congress on March 13, 2007 www.folda.net/nlsd
Howard County Public Library founded in Columbia, Maryland, The Howard County Library American Sign Language Collection, July 2002 Special fund established in honor of George Veditz, the 7th president of the National Association of the Deaf. http://hclibrary.org
Book: Signs of Silence: Bernard Bragg and the National Theatre of the Deaf, by Helen Powers
Book: The Forgotten People, by W.H. Woods, Sr.
First Full Week in December
Formed December 1-7, 1974 by the D.C. Public Library in US
Former names: Deaf Awareness Week, Deaf Action Week and Deaf Heritage Week
The week recognizes birth anniversaries of Laurent Clerc and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. (See Crossroads Annual Events)1975
Book: Notable Deaf Persons, by Guilbert C. Braddock. Edited by Florence B. Crammatte
A group of concerned librarians met in late June during the 100th anniversary of the American Library Association in Chicago to discuss a need to form a separate unit for deaf people
Book: Sign Language and the Deaf Community: Essays in Honor of William C. Stokoe, edited by Charlotte Baker and Robbin Battison, published in June, by the National Association of the Deaf
Book: Deaf Heritage: A Narrative History of Deaf America, by Jack R. Gannon, published in June, by the National Association of the Deaf
Book: A Rose for Tomorrow: Biography of Frederick C. Schreiber, by Jerome D. Schein, published by the National Association of the Deaf
Book: Black and Deaf in America: Are We that Different, by Ernest Hairston and Linwood Smith
Book: History of the College for the Deaf: 1857-1907, by Edward Miner Gallaudet. Edited by Lance J. Fischer and David L. de Lorenzo
Book: Out of Silence and Darkness: The History of the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind: 1958-1983, by Robert Hill Couch and Jack Hawkins, Jr.
Book: When the Mind Hears: A History of the Deaf, by Harlan Lane
Book: Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language: Hereditary Deafness on Martha’s Vineyard, by Nora Ellen Groce
Book: I Didn’t Hear the Dragon Roar, by Frances M. Parsons and Donna L. Chitwood
Book: Lessons in Laughter: The Autobiography of the Deaf Actor, by Bernard Bragg as signed to Eugene Bergman
Book: Deaf Women. A Parade Through the Decades, by Mabs Holcomb and Sharon Wood
Book: A Place of Their Own: Creating the Deaf Community in America, by John Vickrey Van Cleve and Barry A. Crouch
Book: Seeds of Disquiet: One Deaf Woman’s Experience, by Cheryl M. Heppner
FOLDA-NAD (now called Library Friends) formed as a section of the National Association of the Deaf July 4, 1994 in San Antonio, Texas
Book: Deaf Persons in the Arts and Sciences: A Biographical Dictionary, by Harry Lang and Bonnie Meath-Lang
Book: Great Deaf Americans: The Second Edition, by Matthew S. Moore and Robert F. Panara.
Deaf History Month
March 13 -- April 15
Formed 1997 by FOLDA in US A spin-off from Clerc-Gallaudet Week
Since 2006, the American Library Association and National Association of the Deaf have been working together to have it proclaimed by the US President. It takes time. In the meantime mayors, county executives and governors are encouraged to proclaim the month in their local jurisdiction. (See Crossroads Annual Events)Book: On His Deafness and Other Melodies Unheard, by Robert F. Panara
Book: Sign Me Alice & Laurent Clerc: A Profile/Two Deaf Plays
by Gilbert C. Eastman
Book: The Deaf Mute Howls, by Albert Ballin Introduction by Douglas C. Baynton
Book: On the Edge of Deaf Culture: Hearing Children/Deaf Parents. Annotated Bibliography by Thomas Bull
(More to come)