Papers of Amos Kendall, 1856-1857

Gallaudet University Archives

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Gallaudet University Archives

Call No: MSS 20


Title: Papers of Amos Kendall, 1856-1857

Quantity: 0.5 Linear Feet (1 document box)


Note: This document last updated 2008 October 30.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information: Unknown.

Processed by: Michael J. Olson

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

See ALADIN for full listing

  • Amos Kendall [picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Portraits
  • Photograph album of Toivo Lindholm [picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Photograph Album AL 43
  • Mary Sydney Gold, 1973-1974. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: SMSS
Vertical Files

Amos Kendall. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Biographical

Biographical Sketch

Amos Kendall was the Postmaster General under Andrew Jackson and it was on land he owned that Gallaudet University and Kendall elementary school was built on.

Amos Kendall was born August 16, 1789 in Dunstable, Massachusetts. He attended Dartmouth College in 1807 and graduated top of his class in 1811. He then moved west to seek opportunities and found himself in Kentucky where he settled in Frankfurt, Kentucky in 1816.

He was the editor of the Argus of Western America. He was highly involved in politics and managed to gain a position in the Jackson Administration after the 1828 victory. He was a skilled speech writer and helped write some speeches for Andrew Jackson.

In 1835, he became the Postmaster General and helped reform the Post Office and he continued until 1840 when he resigned to help Martin Van Buren run his unsuccessful campaign.

After he left Washington, he began to have difficulties, running into debt after unprofitable purchases in the west. In an attempt to get himself out of debt, he borrowed money to buy farmland outside of Washington DC.

He became seriously ill, and four of his family members died within a span of fourteen months. It wasn’t until Samuel Morse approached him in 1845 to help him with his Telegraph business that he got out of debt and became successful again. He became so successful that by 1859, he was a millionaire.

On June 13, 1857, The Columbia Institution for the Deaf, now known as Kendall School, was established. Amos Kendall was the first president and continued until 1864.

He appointed Edward Miner Gallaudet as the first principal of the school, and in 1859, he gave 8,000 dollars for the construction of a building. Amos Kendall obtained federal support for both the Kendall school and the Gallaudet College that was to be established 1864.

Kendall was married twice, first in 1818 to Mary B. Woolfolk who later died, and in 1826 to Jane Kyle. With both wives, he had 14 children. He died in Washington, D.C. on November 12, 1869.

Scope and Content

The collection contains one box of letters, articles, subscription papers, petitions, deeds, and a list of pupils. The collection, which consists of approximately 25 items, dated from 1856 to 1857.

Included in this collection, there is a folder which contains letters written between Amos Kendall and Platt H. Skinner, concerning Skinner who established the first school for the deaf and the blind which was located on G Street between 20th and 21st Streets NW in Washington, DC and also on the conditions of deaf pupils.

Kendall wrote several drafts of letters for publication and petition letters to the Congress and to the Government of the District of Columbia concerning the establishment of the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind.

Included in the collection contains a letter that Kendall wrote to the Board of Directors, offering a house and lot for the use of the school on his property at Kendall Green. A rough draft of deeds on Kendall Green property is included.

Series Descriptions and Folder Lists

No. Series
Box Folder Title of Folder Date
1 1 Article for publication – “The Deaf & Dumb & Blind” 1857?
1 2 Correspondence – Skinner, Platt H. 1856-1857
1 3 Letter to the Board of Directors from Amos Kendall – presenting House and Lot to the Institution 1856
1 4 Original draft of subscription paper 1857
1 5 Original draft of subscription paper – “To the Benevolent” 1857?
1 6 Petition to Congress – An Act to incorporate the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind 1857?
1 7 Petition letter to the Alderman and Common Council of the city of Washington, DC n.d.
1 8 Rough Draft of Deeds – Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind – Amos Kendall 1856

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