Edward Miner Gallaudet:
Edward Miner Gallaudet
The topic that I chose for my research paper is Edward Miner
Gallaudet. I chose him as my topic because he was a dominant force
in the education of the Deaf. Also, I believed that I could learn a
lot about the history of the Deaf and sign language through
researching his life, contributions, and accomplishments.
Edward Miner Gallaudet was the son of Thomas and Sophia Gallaudet.
He was born in 1837, making him fifty years younger than his father
and the eighth born child. Yet, this large age separation did not
hinder the bond that Gallaudet and his father had (Neimark, 1983).
Gallaudet’s contributions to the field of education began at a very
young age. At the tender age of sixteen, Gallaudet quit his bank
job, began part-time teaching at the American School, and also
enrolled in Trinity College (Neimark, 1983). He graduated from
Trinity College where he received both his Masters Degree and Ph.D.
(Wiegers, 2001). Gallaudet then began pursuing his father’s goal of
higher education for the deaf. In 1857, Amos Kendall, a Washington
philanthropist, offered Gallaudet the position of super-intendent at
the Columbian Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and the
Blind in Washington (Lane, 276). He was only twenty years old.
This Institute opened with only five pupils, and within a year,
grew to having eighteen pupils (Lane, 1984).
In 1864, Edward Miner Gallaudet received a charter for the world’s
first college for the deaf. This ultimately became Gallaudet
University (Wiegers, 2001). This name came about in honor of
Edward’s father, Thomas (Neimark, 1983). Gallaudet University
became a very popular and well-known University. Despite opposition
by other educators around the world, Edward supported and used
manual language at the institution. Many of the administrators and
educators who came to Gallaudet were trained to teach the deaf by
oral methods. Therefore, a compromise was made, known as the
"Simultaneous Method". This method was speaking and signing at the
same time (Neisser, 1983). This gave them a chance to read the
words on the lips of the instructors if they chose, while reading
Edward Miner Gallaudet is a very important part of the history of
the deaf culture. He accomplished more in a short period of time
than many did in there lifetime. He founded an institution,
received a charter for the world’s first college for the deaf,
interpreted a short course on Astronomy using interpretation,
sustained the use of manualism in the education of the deaf, and
opened the doors of his college to women, creating the opportunity
for deaf education for both males and females (Wiegers, 2001).
Gallaudet remained the president of Gallaudet College for a long 46
years. Through the years as he grew older he received many awards,
including ones from Trinity College and Yale. After a life full of
contributions, Edward died at the age of 80 in the year 1917
Carroll, Cathryn. (1993). A Father, A Son, and A University: Thomas
Hopkins Gallaudet. Edward Miner Gallaudet. Gallaudet University.
Retrieved 10, Nov. 2001: http://clerccenter.gallaudet.edu/InfoToGo/752.html.
Lane, H. When the Mind Hears. New York: Random House. 1984.
Neimark, A. A Deaf Child Listened. New York: William Morrow and
Neisser, A. The Other Side of Silence. New York: Alfred A. Knopf,
Weigers, Andrea (2001, Jan. 1). Augustana College: News and
Information. Introducing the Fabulous and Extraordinary Edward
Miner Gallaudet. Augustana College. Retrieved 9, Nov. 2001: http://inst.augie.edu/~anwieger/andreajinah.html.