MSS 193

Consumers Organization for the Hearing Impaired, Inc. (COHI), 1977-1986

Consumers Organization for the Hearing Impaired, Inc., Records, 1977-1987

Gallaudet University Archives

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Gallaudet University Archives

Call No.: MSS 193

Creator: Consumers Organization for the Hearing Impaired, Inc. (COHI)

Title: Consumers Organization for the Hearing Impaired, Inc., Records, 1977-1987

Quantity: 3.5 linear feet (7 document boxes)

Abstract: Records from the Consumers Organization for the Hearing Impaired (COHI), a nonprofit organization representing the needs and interests of the hard of hearing. Includes correspondence, publications, board and committee minutes, newsletters, and financial data.


Administrative Information

Acquisition Information: Papers donated to Gallaudet University, 1994.

Processed By: Christopher Shea, [October] 2013.

Processing Note:

Conditions on Use and Access: This collection is open to the public with no restrictions. Photocopies may be made for scholarly research.

Related Material in the Archives:

Vertical Files

· Consumers Organization for the Hearing Impaired. Gallaudet University Archives, call number: Deaf Associations

Agency History

COHI was founded in 1977 out of a collaboration between the Washington Area Group for the Hard of Hearing (WAG-HOH) and the Organization for the Use of the Telephone (OUT). Both groups felt there was a need for a national society reflecting the interests of the hard of hearing. COHI’s members were drawn from those who preferred to communicate through lipreading and mechanical amplification rather than sign, and as such did not feel fully represented by the National Association of the Deaf or other deaf groups.

COHI’s first president, Dr. George Fellendorf, was a former executive director of the Alexander Graham Bell Association and was editor of The Volta Review from 1962 through 1978. Fellendorf remained as executive director after he was succeeded in the presidency by Charles Vlcek in 1980. COHI’s other presidents included Maxwell Schneider (1982), Robert Silber (1984) and Milt Jacobson (1985).

COHI lobbied the government on issues of interest to the hard of hearing and worked to draw attention to the challenges faced by the hearing impaired. COHI also provided members with information on hearing aids and other assistive technology, including new developments in the field and how to get the best use out of them.

During the mid-1980s, COHI collaborated with NAD to create an Assistive Devices Center at NAD’s headquarters, where new and improved devices could be showcased. COHI staff also worked on designing a catalog of hearing aids and other devices, although that project was abandoned in favor of giving the organization’s endorsement to the catalog of a hearing aid dealer, Mid-Audio.

COHI came to an end in 1986 when the organization’s board of directors was unable to find volunteers to fill necessary administrative positions, including president and treasurer. The board then voted to disband the organization. The group remained in nominal existence until 1987 while its final president, Milt Jacobson, closed out its legal and financial affairs.

At the time it closed down, COHI’s staff was working on a “cookbook” of directions for the hard of hearing who wished to build and/or improve their own amplifiers and other devices. Publication of this book was transferred to the National Association for Hearing and Speech Action (NAHSA). The remainder of COHI’s assets were either returned to WAG-HOH or given to the Veterans Organization for Hearing Impaired (VOHI).

Scope and Content

The bulk of these records cover the late 1970s and early 1980s (1979-1984), with a smaller amount of material from the later 1980s and very little from before 1979. The great majority correspondence and other material was created and collected by George Fellendorf, Maxwell Schneider, and Milt Jacobson, as well as COHI secretary Pam Bukowski. Other COHI officers, including Charles Vlcek and Robert Silber, are less well represented.

The records include extensive documentation of the board of directors via minutes, as well as a large collection of mostly undifferentiated correspondence. Also present is a nearly complete run of COHI’s The Reporter newsletter, a small amount of the group’s financial records, and some photographs of COHI members at meetings and events.

There is also a small collection of material from other groups dedicated to the deaf and hard of hearing, particularly IFHOH (the International Federation for the Hard of Hearing), which COHI had a close working relationship with. Other groups represented include COHI’s sponsors, WAG-HOH and OUT; Self Help for the Hard of Hearing (SHHH), a group with goals similar to COHI’s and which became the present-day Hearing Loss Association of America; and the New York League of the Hard of Hearing.

Series Descriptions

Series 1: Constitution and bylaws, 1977-1982

Box 1

Includes copies of the original proposal for COHI and a description of its goals and methods, as well as the original bylaws and records from a 1982 revision.

Series 2: Board of directors records, 1979-1986

Boxes 1-2

Minutes and agendas from COHI’s board of directors. This series also includes some memoranda, mostly related to scheduling meetings or planning agendas. Some of initial president and executive director George Fellendorf’s correspondence is also present; see series 5 for more.

The series also includes some material related to the election of COHI’s officers and board, including letters to the membership, lists of candidates, and ballots. Election materials are also included in series 4.

Series 3: Other committee records, 1979-1982

Box 2

Minutes, correspondence, and reports from specific subject committees established by the Board. The Assistive Devices committee records include several reports on amplification technology by inventor John Lekas, who worked with COHI as a consultant. The Financial committee records include some reports from the treasurer; for more on this subject, see series 8.

Series 4: Annual meeting records, 1979-1982

Boxes 2-3

Agendas and minutes from COHI’s annual membership meetings, as well as announcements and other correspondence to the membership about the meetings. Also includes a copy of George Fellendorf’s 1979 keynote speech and ballots from the 1981 election for the COHI board of directors. See series 2 for more election material.

Series 5: Correspondence, 1979-1986

Box 3

General correspondence of COHI. Most correspondence is directly from the presidents, particularly George Fellendorf and Milt Jacobson. See series 7 for Maxwell Schneider’s correspondence. In Fellendorf’s case, this series also includes a set of “F-Grams,” mini-newsletters where he shared his thoughts and plans with the membership. Some of Fellendorf’s correspondence is also included in series 2 and 7.

This series includes correspondence with other groups and individuals, general letters to the membership, and requests for information and/or assistance from hard of hearing persons around the country.

See series 3 for some correspondence from COHI’s governing bodies.

Series 6: Publications, 1979-1986

Box 4

Material created and published by COHI staff. Includes brochures; a set of COHI’s quarterly newsletter, The Reporter; and fact sheets, papers, releases, and other items on assistive devices, assembled to support the creation of the COHI device catalog.

Series 7: Maxwell Schneider correspondence and subject file, 1978-1983

Boxes 4-5

A file created by Maxwell Schneider during his term as COHI president (1982-1983). Includes Mr. Schneider’s correspondence with other COHI members and officers; letters and publications from WAG-HOH, the New York League of the Hard of Hearing, and other groups in the same field as COHI; and material on subjects of interest to the group, such as assistive devices.

Series 8: Financial records, 1977-1987

Boxes 5-6

Most of this series consists of COHI’s daily cash book and ledgers. It also includes preliminary budget work and some quarterly financial reports issued by the group’s treasurer, as well as a contract for a personal loan from Maxwell Schneider to COHI. See the financial committee reports in series 3 for similar information.

Series 9: Member lists, 1980-1986

Box 6

Mailing lists of COHI’s member individuals and organizations, covering several years of the group’s history.

Series 10: IFHOH records, 1980-1986

Boxes 6-7

Records from the International Federation of the Hard of Hearing, a group based in Europe. COHI was closely affiliated with IFHOH, and raised money by selling copies of IFHOH’s conference proceedings in the US. Includes minutes of IFHOH’s meetings, some correspondence, and an incomplete run of IFHOH’s journal. One unusual item in this collection is a vinyl record produced by a Swedish hard of hearing group, which holds songs and poems about hearing loss.

Series 11: Other group records, 1979-1986

Box 7

A collection of material from groups with similar outlook and aims to COHI, particularly its founding groups WAG-HOH and OUT. The bulk of the collection consists of newsletters, brochures, and press releases. See series 7 for more material from other groups for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Series 12: Photographs, 1981

Box 7

A small collection of mostly black-and-white snapshots, with a few slides and negatives included. Most of the photographs are unlabeled but seem to have been taken at COHI meetings and events.

Series Description and Folder Lists

Box Folder Title Date(s)
1 1 Bylaws and certificate of authority Undated
1 2 Constitution and bylaws 1980-1982
1 3 Correspondence and proxy ballots on revision of bylaws 1980-1982
1 4 Guide to forming a chapter Undated
1 5 Initial proposal and goals 1977
1 6 Board of directors and executive committee minutes and agendas 1979-1981
1 7 Board of directors and executive committee minutes and agendas 1981-1982
1 8 Board of directors and executive committee minutes and agendas 1982-1983
1 9 Board of directors election ballots 1983-1985
1 10 Board of directors minutes and agendas 1984-1986
2 1 George Fellendorf correspondence and board minutes 1979-1980
2 2 Lists of board members 1982-1986
2 3 Assistive devices committee reports and correspondence 1981
2 4 Assistive devices committee reports and correspondence 1982
2 5 Committee descriptions and report form 1981
2 6 Communication strategies and membership committee reports 1979
2 7 Finance committee correspondence and reports 1979-1982
2 8 Legal counsel correspondence 1981
2 9 Legislative committee report Undated
2 10 Membership committee minutes and memoranda 1979-1982
2 11 Nominating committee correspondence 1980-1982
2 12 Public relations committee correspondence and clippings 1980-1982
2 13 Steering committee minutes and memoranda 1981-1982
2 14 Annual conference agenda and keynote speech 1979
2 15 Annual meeting correspondence and “State of COHI” 1981
2 16 Annual meeting minutes and financial report 1982
3 1 Annual meeting registration forms and board ballots 1981
3 2 Correspondence 1979
3 3 Correspondence 1979-1980
3 4 Correspondence 1980
3 5 Correspondence 1981
3 6 Correspondence 1982
3 7 Correspondence 1983-1985
3 8 Correspondence on publication sales 1982
3 9 Correspondence with Congress 1979-1981
3 10 Correspondence with membership 1982-1983
3 11 Correspondence with National Council on Communicative Disorders 1979-1982
3 12 Form letters to membership 1981-1983
3 13 George Fellendorf “F-Grams” 1979-1980
3 14 Milton Jacobson correspondence 1985-1986
3 15 Milton Jacobson notes and correspondence 1982-1986
3 16 Requests for information 1982-1983
3 17 Survey of member organizations 1980
4 1 Brochures Undated
4 2 Letterhead and envelopes Undated
4 3 Papers and technical reports on assistive devices 1981-1982
4 4 Press releases and publicity 1980-1981
4 5 The Reporter 1979-1986
4 6 The Reporter setting copy and correspondence 1981-1982
4 7 Alison Turner correspondence 1983
4 8 Article on Maria Fisher 1982
4 9 Articles and fact sheets on assistive devices 1981-1982
4 10 Articles and releases on audio loops 1979
4 11 Better Hearing Institute newsletter and brochures 1982
4 12 Bill Paschell correspondence 1982-1983
4 13 Bridgman Public Relations correspondence and releases 1982-1983
4 14 British Association of the Hard of Hearing brochures Undated
4 15 Captioning agencies correspondence 1982-1983
4 16 Catalog correspondence and fact sheets Undated
5 1 Catalogs of assistive devices 1981-1982
5 2 Citizens Against Noise brochures and newsletters 1982-1983
5 3 COHI membership correspondence 1982
5 4 Correspondence on circular letter 1982
5 5 Correspondence on tinnitus 1982
5 6 David Saks correspondence 1982
5 7 Delaware Speech and Hearing Center brochure and correspondence 1983
5 8 Draft article on Henri Chouard 1982
5 9 Fellendorf Associates consulting contract 1981
5 10 Gallaudet Research Institute brochure and fact sheet 1982
5 11 General board meeting items for discussion 1983
5 12 George Fellendorf correspondence 1981-1983
5 13 Harold Bate correspondence and fact sheets 1982-1983
5 14 HEAR correspondence and brochure Undated
5 15 Hearing aid manufacturers correspondence and directory 1982-1983
5 16 J. C. Rainman correspondence 1983
5 17 John Lekas correspondence 1981-1982
5 18 Maryland Humanities Council correspondence 1983
5 19 Maryland State Government correspondence 1981-1983
5 20 Mid-Audio Inc. catalog and correspondence 1983
5 21 Milt Jacobson correspondence and reports 1982-1983
5 22 NARIC bibliography and fact sheets Undated
5 23 National Association of the Deaf correspondence and brochure 1982
5 24 NCR brochure and annual report 1981
5 25 New York League for the Hard of Hearing journals and newsletter 1978-1982
5 26 Notes Undated
5 27 Organization for the Use of the Telephone correspondence 1982-1983
5 28 Pittsburgh Hearing, Speech, and Deaf Services brochures Undated
5 29 Roger Egeberg correspondence 1982
5 30 SHHH magazines and newsletter 1982-1983
5 31 Suzanne Pathy Speak-Up Institute newsletter 1983
5 32 Theatre Development Fund correspondence and fliers 1982
5 33 WBJC-FM correspondence 1983
5 34 William Gross correspondence 1982
5 35 Cash book 1978-1979
6 1 Cash journal 1977-1987
6 2 Contract for Maxwell Schneider loan 1981
6 3 Correspondence with IRS on termination of COHI 1987
6 4 Financial reports and budget proposals 1979-1985
6 5 Preliminary budgets 1982-1984
6 6 Treasurer’s correspondence 1981-1987
6 7 Treasurer’s reports 1981-1983
6 8 Member lists 1980-1986
6 9 IFHOH card and pin Undated
6 10 IFHOH correspondence 1982
6 11 IFHOH correspondence and orders for proceedings 1980-1982
6 12 IFHOH general meeting attendee kit 1982
6 13 IFHOH journal and brochures 1980-1986
6 14 IFHOH minutes and correspondence 1979-1984
7 1 IFHOH minutes and correspondence 1980-1981
7 2 IFHOH minutes and correspondence 1981-1982
7 3 Fellendorf Associates paper on demonstration center Undated
7 4 National Bureau of Standards booklet on hearing aids Undated
7 5 Newsletters and brochures from groups for deaf and hard of hearing 1979-1981
7 6 Organization for the Use of the Telephone reports and newsletters 1979-1981
7 7 WAG-HOH member lists 1984-1986
7 8 WAG-HOH newsletters and correspondence 1979-1981
7 Meeting photographs, June 13, 1981 1981
7 Photograph, negatives, and slides Undated
7 Photographs Undated

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