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  Deaf History, Europe

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Deaf Education

1500s: Geronimo Cardano: Deaf people are capable of using their minds (IT)

1500s: Geronimo Cardano: Deaf people are capable of using their minds (IT)

Geronimo Cardano was the first physician to recognize the ability of the deaf to reason.

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1520 - 1584: Pedro Ponce de León, the first teacher of the deaf (ES)

1520 - 1584: Pedro Ponce de León, the first teacher of the deaf (ES)

Dom Pedro Ponce de Leon, O.S.B., (1520–1584) was a Spanish Benedictine monk who is often credited as being "the first teacher for the deaf".

His work with deaf children focused on helping them to learn how to speak language audibly. He also instructed children in writing and in simple gestures.

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1620: Juan Pablo Bonet, the first book on the subject of manual alphabetic signs (ES)

1620: Juan Pablo Bonet, the first book on the subject of manual alphabetic signs (ES)

In 1620, Juan Pablo Bonet published the first book on the subject of manual alphabetic signs for the deaf.

Bonet was of the first teachers to devise and record in print a sign alphabet, and his system has had some influence on modern sign languages. However, he was also typical of his age in believing that signing was only a step towards an ideal of oralism rather than a valid form of communication in itself.

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1669 – 1724: Amman, Johann Konrad (NL)

1669 – 1724: Amman, Johann Konrad (NL)

Johan Konra Amman became a teacher of the deaf around 1690 when a deaf girl, Esther Collader, was brought to him; he succeeded in teaching her to speak. 

Amman strongly believed in oral techniques using lipreading and articulation teaching. His process consisted principally in exciting the attention of his pupils to the motions of his lips and larynx while he spoke, and then inducing them to imitate these movements, until he brought them to repeat distinctly letters, syllables and words.

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1670 – 1750: Étienne de Fay: First deaf teacher of the deaf in France

1670 – 1750: Étienne de Fay: First deaf teacher of the deaf in France

Étienne de Fay was born deaf into a noble family, then placed with the monks at the Abbey of St Jean in Amiens. From 1720 to 1725, he was the first deaf teacher known in France who taught deaf children, before the Abbé de l'Epée.

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1712 - 1789: Abbé Charles Michel de l'Epée

1712 - 1789: Abbé Charles Michel de l'Epée

"Abbé Charles Michel de l'Epée of Paris founded the first free school for deaf people in 1755."

"He first recognized and learned the signs that were already being used by deaf people in Paris and then developed his sign system. He added a signed version of spoken French."

 

 

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1715 – 1806: Thomas Braidwood

1715 – 1806: Thomas Braidwood

Thomas Braidwood (1715–1806) was a Scottish educator, significant in the history of deaf education. He was the founder of Britain's first school for the deaf.

Braidwood changed his vocation from teaching hearing pupils to teaching the deaf, and renamed his building Braidwood's Academy for the Deaf and Dumb, the first school of its kind in Britain.

The educational approach utilized a "combined system" incorporating sign language, articulation, speech, and lip-reading. Braidwood's input into the development and application of a signed language has been credited as one of the most significant influencers of what would become British Sign Language. 

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1727 - 1790: Samuel Heinicke (DE)

1727 - 1790: Samuel Heinicke (DE)

"Samuel Heinicke was born April 14, 1727, in the part of Europe that is now the eastern part of Germany. In 1754, he began tutoring students—and one of them was deaf. This deaf student reportedly was a young boy. He used the manual alphabet to teach that deaf pupil."

"In 1777, his reputation as a deaf educator was so well established that he was asked to open the first (oral) public school for the deaf. This school opened in Leipzig, Germany and it was the first school for the deaf officially recognized by a government."

 

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1742 - 1822: Abbé Sicard, Teacher of the Deaf (FR)

1742 - 1822: Abbé Sicard, Teacher of the Deaf (FR)

Roch-Ambroise Cucurron Sicard (20 September 1742 – 10 May 1822) was a French abbé and instructor of the deaf.

In 1789, on the death of the Abbé de l'Épée, he succeeded him at a leading school for the deaf which Épée had founded in Paris.

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1747 - 1799  : Pierre Desloges

1747 - 1799 : Pierre Desloges

In 1779, Piere Desloges wrote what may be the first book published by a deaf person, in which he advocated for the use of sign language in deaf education.

It was in part a rebuttal of the views of Abbé Claude-François Deschamps de Champloiseau, who had published a book arguing against the use of signs.

Desloges explained, "like a Frenchman who sees his language belittled by a German who knows only a few French words, I thought I was obliged to defend my language against the false charges of this author." He describes a community of deaf people using a sign language (now referred to as Old French Sign Language).

 

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1753 - 1829: Ottavio Assarotti

1753 - 1829: Ottavio Assarotti

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1755: First School for the Deaf in France, Abbé Charles Michel de l'Epée

1755: First School for the Deaf in France, Abbé Charles Michel de l'Epée

"Abbé Charles Michel de l'Epée of Paris founded the first free school for deaf people in 1755."

 

 

 

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1772 - 1836: Roberto Francisco Prádez, first Deaf teacher of the Deaf in Spain

1772 - 1836: Roberto Francisco Prádez, first Deaf teacher of the Deaf in Spain

Roberto Prádez was Spain's first deaf teacher of the deaf. Although he has been neglected historically, Prádez is a founding father of deaf education, a heroic figure who contributed crucially to the establishment and operation of Spain's first state-sponsored school.

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1767 - 1828: Jean-Baptiste Pouplin (BE)

1767 - 1828: Jean-Baptiste Pouplin (BE)

Jean-Baptiste Pouplin was a Belgian teacher of French origin. He was the founder of one of the first schools for deaf students on the European continent, in Liège in 1819.

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1772 - 1846: Jean Massieu, First Deaf Teacher of the Deaf in France

1772 - 1846: Jean Massieu, First Deaf Teacher of the Deaf in France

Jean Massieu (1772 – July 21, 1846) was a pioneering deaf educator. One of six deaf siblings, he was denied schooling until age thirteen when he met Abbé Sicard, who enrolled him in the Institute national des jeunes sourds de Bordeaux-Gradignan, the Bordeaux School for Deaf Children.

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1760: First School for the Deaf in the UK, Edinburgh

1760: First School for the Deaf in the UK, Edinburgh

In 1760, Scottish teacher, Thomas Braidwood founded Braidwood Academy for the Deaf and Dumb in Edinburgh. The school's rapid gain of public attention could be credited to Thomas Braidwood's brazen advertising of his methods and his institution.

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1778: First School for the Deaf in Germany, Leipzig

1778: First School for the Deaf in Germany, Leipzig

In 1778 Samuel Heinicke opened the first German public school for the education of the deaf in Leipzig. 

Heinicke insisted that lipreading was the best training method because it made his students speak and understand the language as it was used in society. 

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1779: First School for the Deaf in Austria, Vienna

1779: First School for the Deaf in Austria, Vienna

The first Austrian school for the deaf (Taubstummeninstitut) was established in Vienna in 1779 after a visit by Emperor Joseph II to Abbé de l'Epée's school in Paris.

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1779 - 1823: Peter Atke Castberg (DK)

1779 - 1823: Peter Atke Castberg (DK)

Castberg was provided with a grant from the King of Denmark to study deaf education in Europe for two years (1803 - 1805), including de l'Epée school in Paris.

At his return in 1805, Castberg began teaching eight deaf children, and on April 17, 1807, the King signed the charter for Døvsstumme-Institutet i Kiøbenhavn (The Institute of the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen).

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1785 - 1869:   Laurent Clerc, Deaf Teacher of the Deaf

1785 - 1869: Laurent Clerc, Deaf Teacher of the Deaf

Louis Laurent Marie Clerc (26 December 1785 – 18 July 1869) was a French teacher called "The Apostle of the Deaf in America" and was regarded as the most renowned deaf person in American Deaf History.

With Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, he co-founded the first school for the deaf in North America, the Asylum for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, on April 15, 1817. 

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1786: First School for the Deaf in the Czech Republic, Prague

1786: First School for the Deaf in the Czech Republic, Prague

The Institute for the Deaf  was founded on December 7, 1786 in Prague.

From 1787, Karel Berger taught reading and writing with the finger alphabet. He created concepts with the help of characters and deaf and hard of hearing students also learned to articulate.

The real genius of sign language, which was ahead of its time in this area, was Václav Frost. His method was called "Frostr's combined method", also "Czech method" and "Prague", which from today's point of view means that it is a bilingual teaching. Frost used sign language to teach some subjects and, among other things, practiced articulation, reading and writing. He was aware that the deaf needed both. 

 

 

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1790: First School for the Deaf in the Netherlands, Groningen

1790: First School for the Deaf in the Netherlands, Groningen

On April 14, 1790, Henri Daniel Guyot founded the first Institute for the Deaf in the Netherlands.

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1792: First Public School for the Deaf in the UK, London

1792: First Public School for the Deaf in the UK, London

England’s first public institution for deaf children known as ‘London Asylum for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb Children of the Poor’ was started in London in 1792

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1796 - 1874: Andreas Christian Møller, Deaf Founder of the first school for the deaf in Norway

1796 - 1874: Andreas Christian Møller, Deaf Founder of the first school for the deaf in Norway

Andreas Christian Møller (born 18 February 1796 in Trondheim, died 24 December 1874) was a Norwegian wood turner and deaf teacher who founded the first school for the deaf in Norway. Andreas Møller is therefore considered the «father of deaf education».

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1800 - 1883: Tomasso Pendola

1800 - 1883: Tomasso Pendola

Tommaso Pendola (Genoa, June 22, 1800 - Siena, February 12, 1883) was an Italian priest and educator, known above all for his work as an educator of the deaf.

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1803 - 1886:Ferdinand Berthier (FR)

1803 - 1886:Ferdinand Berthier (FR)

Ferdinand Berthier (September 30, 1803 - July 12, 1886) was a deaf educator, intellectual and political organiser in nineteenth-century France, and is one of the earliest champions of deaf identity and culture.

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1805: First School for the Deaf in Spain, Madrid

1805: First School for the Deaf in Spain, Madrid

The year 1805 marked the opening in Madrid of the Royal School for Deafmutes.

Roberto Francisco Prádez was Spain's first deaf teacher of the deaf and a key figure in deaf education during the early 19th century, It was to his efforts that the Royal School for Deafmutes owed much of its success, and at times during its precarioius first three decades, its very existence.

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1806: First School for the Deaf in Russia, Pavlovsk, St. Petersburg

1806: First School for the Deaf in Russia, Pavlovsk, St. Petersburg

"From 1806, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna sponsored educatioal work among deaf children in St. Petersburg. With philanthropic support, the largest school in Russia, the St. Petersburg Institute for the Deaf (Санкт-Петербургское училище глухонемых), emerged there."

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1807: First School for the Deaf in Denmark, Copenhagen

1807: First School for the Deaf in Denmark, Copenhagen

"The kg. Danish Institute of Deafness in Copenhagen (kgl. Døvstumme-Institut, 1807-1949) was established by the Fundats of April 17, 1807, at the initiative of Dr. P. A. Castberg. He rented a house in Sølvgade, but when a law of 1817 ordered the teaching of all the deaf children of the country, he had to move to a larger house in Stormgade."

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1809: First School for the Deaf in Sweden, Stockholm

1809: First School for the Deaf in Sweden, Stockholm

Sweden's first school for the deaf and blind, Manillaskolan, was founded in 1809. 

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1810 - 1891: Claudius Forrestier, Deaf Teacher (FR)

1810 - 1891: Claudius Forrestier, Deaf Teacher (FR)

Claudius Forestier was the director of the institution des sourds-muets in Lyon from 1852 until 1891 and one of the founders of the Société centrale des sourds-muets in 1838.

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1814 - 1865: Václav Frost  (CZ)

1814 - 1865: Václav Frost (CZ)

Václav Frostwas born on February 4, 1814 in Nosálov, he died on June 21, 1865 in Konojedy (Litoměřice district), and was buried in Olšany cemeteries in Prague.

In 1840 he was called as the first teacher to the Prague Institute for the Deaf and Dumb, of which he became director and catechist in 1841. 

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1815: Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (USA, 1787 - 1851)

1815: Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (USA, 1787 - 1851)

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet travelled to Europe in 1815 to study methods of education for the deaf.

After several months in Paris, Gallaudet returned to the United States with Laurent Clerc, a deaf teacher. They founded the American school for the deaf in 1817.

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1817: First school for the Deaf in the USA, Hartford

1817: First school for the Deaf in the USA, Hartford

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet met the French educators Abbe Sicard, Laurent Clerc, and Jean Massieu, of the Institut Royal des Sourds-Muets in Paris.

Impressed with the trio he joined them in Paris and learned as much as he could of the language and their methods. On his return to the United States, he invited deaf instructor Laurent Clerc to join him and, in 1817, they established the first permanent school for deaf children in the States, eventually known as the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut.

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1819: First School for the Deaf in Belgium - Walloon

1819: First School for the Deaf in Belgium - Walloon

"A school for the deaf and the blind opened in Liège, thanks to the efforts of Jean-Baptiste Pouplin.

In Februari 1819, the institute was founded and Pouplin became its director. Six months later, Joseph Henrion (1793 - 1868) was appointed as a deaf teacher to assist Pouplin, his father-in-law. Henrion was a former pupil of Sicard."

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1820: First school for the deaf in Belgium - Flanders

1820: First school for the deaf in Belgium - Flanders

The first school for the deaf in Flanders was established in 1820 in the mother monastery of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary in the Molenaarsstraat in Ghent.

In 1819, the young candidate sister Theresia Verhulst went to Paris for nine months to manage the school in order to learn the sign language method of priest Charles-Michel De l'Epée. After her return, she became the first principal of the school until her death in 1854.

 

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1825: First school for the Deaf in Norway, Trondheim

1825: First school for the Deaf in Norway, Trondheim

In Norway there was a deaf person, Andreas Christian Møller, who established the first school for the deaf back in 1825.

At this school, sign language was the language of instruction.

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1826 - 1863: Carl Oscar Malm (Finland)

1826 - 1863: Carl Oscar Malm (Finland)

Carl Oscar Malm was born in the Iso-Vahe ’rustholli’ estate in the parish of Eura on 12 February 1826.

Malm’s deafness was first noticed when he was expected to start speaking.

In August 1834, the 8-year-old Malm arrived at Manilla, the school for the deaf in Stockholm. The school’s most renowned teacher was Johan Gerhard Holtz, deaf himself. Malm was Holz’s private student until 1840, after which he became an actual student at Manilla. As was the common practice at the school, Malm learned two languages as Holtz’s student: the sign language used at the school and written Swedish.
Even during his school years, Malm dreamt of founding a school for the deaf in Finland. After returning to Finland, Malm started working as a private teacher for two deaf boys in the parsonage of Koivisto in February 1846. 

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1832 - 1899: Ernst Sokolovski (Estonia)

1832 - 1899: Ernst Sokolovski (Estonia)

On May 26 (June 5, according to the new calendar), 1863, Sokolovski met a deaf boy for the first time. Sokolovsky's heart told him: he must also teach the deaf.

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1834 – 1910: Fritz Hirn, Deaf Teacher of the Deaf (FI)

1834 – 1910: Fritz Hirn, Deaf Teacher of the Deaf (FI)

David Fredrik (Fritz) Hirn (1834–1910) is a pioneer of Finland’s Deaf club activities. He was a well-liked teacher in the Turku Deaf School and founded the first kindergarten for Deaf children. Even after retiring, he started collecting the first Finnish sign language dictionary.

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1847 - 1922: Alexander Graham Bell (USA)

1847 - 1922: Alexander Graham Bell (USA)

Alexander Graham Bell (March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922) was a Scottish-born American inventor, scientist, and engineer who is credited with inventing and patenting the first practical telephone. 

Bell's father, grandfather, and brother had all been associated with work on elocution and speech. Both his mother and wife were deaf, profoundly influencing Bell's life's work. 

His research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices which eventually culminated in Bell being awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone, on March 7, 1876.

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1856: Publication of Iconography des Signes, by Pélissier

1856: Publication of Iconography des Signes, by Pélissier

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1858: First School for the Deaf in Finland, Porvoo

1858: First School for the Deaf in Finland, Porvoo

In 1846, Carl Oscar Malm (1826 - 1863) established a private school for the deaf in Porvoo. In the school, Malm gave instruction in the sign language he had learnt at the Manilla School in Sweden. His objective was that the student should learn both sign language and written language at the same time.

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1866: First School for the Deaf in Vändra, Estonia

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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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1963: First School for the Deaf in Albania

For centuries, Albania did not have any facilities for deaf, blind and disabled people. It was not until 1963 that, due to the efforts of the communist government in Russia, a school was opened in Tirana for deaf, blind and visually disabled pupils. 

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Deaf Education (work in progress!)

 

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