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Dec 9, 2022
Manuscripts – MSS 21 – Morse Family, 1815-1892
King Jordan Student Academic Center 1255
Gallaudet University Archives
Repository: Gallaudet University Archives
Call No.: MSS 21
Title: Collection of the Morse Family
Quantity: 0.5 Linear Feet (1 document box)
Note: This document last updated 2006 January 5.
Acquisition Information:Edward Milas donated the Morse family collection to the Gallaudet University Archives in 1991.
Processed by: Ulf Hedberg. 1989 December 1.
Conditions on Use and Access: This collection is open to the public with no restrictions. Photocopies may be made for scholarly research.
Samuel Finley Breese Morse, was born on April 27, 1791 in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He was the son of Jedidiah Morse, a well known pastor. He attended Yale College. Although he was indifferent about his studies, he was fascinated by lectures on the emerging study of electricity.
In 1825, Morse moved to New York to pursue his passion in painting, an art he studied in England. He received much acclaim and became a much respected painter.
Morse became fascinated at the possibility of an electric telegraph. He struggled with the idea and financial backing and eventually invented what is popularly referred to world wide as Morse Code.
In 1848 he made his cousin his second wife, she was described at deaf and dumb. They had several children together. Morse, financially stable, was very generous, donating money to several colleges and organizations. He died of pneumonia on April 2, 1872 at the age of 80.
The Morse Family Collection includes materials related to his inventions, and some personal correspondence between members of the Morse Family. The collection dates from 1815 to 1892 and consists of 49 items.
The majority of the papers are dated during the 1880’s. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence, descriptions & drawings of inventions, patents, and patents filed.
In this collection there is no information related to deafness, with the exception of one letter in which Samuel F. B. Morse mentions that his second wife, Sarah Elizabeth Griswold was deaf. She studied at and graduated from the New York Institution for the Deaf in 1833.
Gallaudet University, chartered in 1864, is a private university for deaf and hard of hearing students.
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