GALLAUDET: Friend of the Deaf by Etta DeGering
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GALLAUDET: Friend of the Deaf

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Nine years after his graduation from Yale in 1805, Thomas Gallaudet had tried and failed at law, teaching, the ministry and trade. Ill health, rather than lack of talent, had held him back each time. Then, in 1814, he discovered Alice Cogswell. She had gone deaf at two after an illness and, like all the other deaf mutes of early 19th century New England, she was slated for the half-life of the untutored handicapped. As she did in Seeing Fingers, the story of Louis Braille, (1962 p. 692, J-212) Mrs. DeGering draws a vivid picture of the period's customs and attitudes. She follows the first, simple steps of Gallaudet's efforts to teach the eager and intelligent Alice to recognize printed words. When he went to France to study the more advanced methods of educating the deaf that were employed there, the author makes good use of the touching correspondence between Alice and her teacher. Gallaudet's health ceased to be a draw-back and, on returning to this country, he established and ran a school for the deaf in Hartford which was to become a model for the nation. He married one of his students and the story of their marriage and family is handled with a nice blend of sentiment and insight without slighting his career. Well written and sure to take its place in popularity along with Seeing Fingers.

Publisher: McKay