logo blue Deaf History -


1800 - 1900

1800 - 1900

1861 - 1918: Francis Maginn (UK)

Francis Maginn (1861–1918) was a Church of Ireland missionary who worked to improve living standards for the deaf community by promoting sign language and was one of the co-founders of the British Deaf Association.

1861 - 1937: George W. Veditz, First Person to Film Sign Language (ASL)

1861 - 1937: George W. Veditz, First Person to Film Sign Language (ASL)

In 1904, Veditz became president of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). He had strong opinions about preserving sign language, so during his years as president he worked closely with Oscar Regensburg, the first chairman of NAD's Motion Picture Fund Committee to produce some of the earliest films that recorded sign language.

Consequently, these videos are some of the most significant documents in deaf history. 

1862 - 1943: Conrad Svendsen (NO)

Conrad Svendsen (19 August 1862 – 9 September 1943) was a Norwegian teacher for the deaf, priest and magazine editor.

1866: First School for the Deaf in Vändra, Estonia

In 1866, under the leadership of Pastor Ernst Sokolovski, a school for the deaf was opened in Vändra. (Kotsar, Kotsar 1997, 9).

1867: First School for the Deaf in Iceland, Páll Pálsson

1867: First School for the Deaf in Iceland, Páll Pálsson

The first school for the deaf was founded on September 4th 1867 when  Rev. Páll Pálsson was appointed the teacher of the deaf. He took „mute“ students into his home and taught them using finger-spelling and gestures.

Páll used the Danish manual alphabet because he had been educated in Denmark himself. It can be assumed that at this time Icelandic Sign language started to develop amongst the students.

1869 - 1943: Fernand Hamar, Sculptor (FR)

Fernand Joseph Job Hamar, born 15 July 1869 in Vendôme and died 10 March 1943 in Paris, was a French sculptor.

During the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, between the Battle of Orleans (1870) and the Battle of Le Mans, the Prussian army pushed the Army of the Loire around Le Temple. The noise of the cannons caused the deafness of Fernand Hamar, according to his family. Around his tenth birthday, he entered the Institut National de Jeunes Sourds de Paris.

1870's: Deaf Victorians in the UK

1870's: Deaf Victorians in the UK

Documentary (BSL with English subtitles) with dramatic inserts. Starring some well-known modern Deaf actors, Deaf Victorians shows us what life was like for Deaf people in Victorian times. 

1870-1950: Peder Christian Pedersen, Painter (DK)

Peder Christian Pedersen was born on 12-10-1870 and died on 11-5-1950 in Aalborg. Ship paintings and other maritime environments were his specialty.

Slava Raškaj's bust in Zagreb

1877 - 1906: Slava Raškaj, Painter (Croatia)

Slava Raškaj (2 January 1877 – 29 March 1906) was a Croatian painter, considered to be the greatest Croatian watercolorist of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Being deaf ever since her birth, due to the difficulties in communication, she gradually withdrew from people, but not before her talent was noticed.

Her works have been exhibited since 1898 in art pavilions of Zagreb, Moscow and Saint Petersburg. It was the best part of her short career when most valuable works were done, especially those painteid in this very Garden, by the ponds. A series of paintings of water lilies (‘Lopoci’) are considered as a sort of a hallmark of this great artist.

Bust of Slava Raškaj in Nazorova Street in Zagreb.

Davis & Kidder’s patented Magneto-Electric Machine, c.1880

1880: Electrotherapy

As electricity became a part of everyday lives in the nineteenth-century, practitioners became excited about its applications for deafness and other ailments.

1880: the Milan Conference

1880: the Milan Conference

The Second International Congress on Education of the Deaf was (despite the name) the first international conference of deaf educators held in Milan, Italy in 1880. It is commonly known as "the Milan Conference".

After deliberations from September 6 to 11, 1880, the conference declared that oral education (oralism) was superior to manual education and passed a resolution banning the use of sign language in school.

1885:  First School for the Deaf in Croatia, Zagreb

1885: First School for the Deaf in Croatia, Zagreb

The deaf Institute was founded on 1 October 1888 with the name: "Privatinstitut Lampe". Lampe used only sign language in his teaching. His school prospered because people really appreciated his attempts to prepare deaf pupils for society.


Until the year 1888, Lampe maintained his school solely by voluntary contributions. In that same year, an association which aimed towards the foundation of an institution for the deaf in Croatia, undertook the management of the school, which shortly after started to expand and flourish."