Areas of Study

MSS 43 – Schowe, Benjamin Marshall, Sr., 1893-1979

Papers of Benjamin M. Schowe, Sr., 1912-1977

Gallaudet University Archives

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Gallaudet University Archives

Call No.: MSS 43


Title: Papers of Benjamin M. Schowe, Sr.,1912-1977

Quantity: 14.0 Linear Feet (28 document boxes)


Note: This document last updated 2006 January 9.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information: The papers of Benjamin Marshall Schowe, Sr., were donated to the Gallaudet College Archives by his son, Ben Schowe, Jr., in June of 1980.

Processed by: Michael J. Olson. 1982 November 18.

Processing Note:

Conditions on Use and Access: This collection is open to the public with some restrictions. Photocopies may be made for scholarly research. Restricted files are in folders indicated by an asterisk.

Related Material in the Archives:


  • Ben M. Schowe, Sr. [picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Portraits

Vertical Files

  • Benjamin M. Schowe. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Biographical

Biographical Sketch

1893 Benjamin M. Schowe was born September 29 in Columbus, Indiana.
1906 At the age of 13 he became Deaf.
1913 Schowe entered Gallaudet College.
1918 In four years, plus preparatory school, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree.
1918 The same year he married Dorothy Conover, Class of 1918.
1919 Following graduation Schowe became Personnel Manager for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio.
1920 His son, Ben Schowe, Jr., was born.
1934 Schowe was promoted to Labor Economics Research Specialist.
1939-1946 He became the first Vice President of the Gallaudet College Alumni Association.
1946-1950 It wasn’t long until Schowe became the President of the Gallaudet College Alumni Association.
1951 Schowe earned his Honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Gallaudet College.
1958 After 40 years Schowe retired from Firestone Tire & Rubber Company.
1979 Benjamin M. Schowe, Sr., passed on September 26 at Akron, Ohio.

Scope and Content

The Benjamin Marshall Schowe, Sr. Papers consists of correspondence and personal papers of Ben M. Schowe, Sr., a 1918 graduate of Gallaudet College, who held for almost 40 years as the position of labor economist with the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio. This collection, dated from 1912 to 1977, includes approximately 30,000 pages of correspondence and some 10,000 pages of manuscripts and notebooks. The bulk of the materials falls into the period of his years on the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company and as President of Gallaudet College Alumni Association, specifically 1930 to 1960.

The collection includes a large amount of correspondence which is in General Files. This collection concerns the problems of deaf people’s life, i. e., their employment and education. Ben’s correspondence talks about his philosophy and opinions about deaf people and his personal writings about deaf people’s problems and how they might be solved.

While Ben was a labor economist for the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, he corresponded with federal authorities from the Civil Works Projects about hiring deaf employees. Also he interviewed and hired deaf people to work in the Firestone Company. There are some surveys of deaf workers which were published and distributed to federal agencies and companies across the United States during the 1940’s.

There is correspondence between Ben Schowe and his alma mater, Gallaudet College. His correspondence is concerned with the education of deaf students, theories and methods of sign language vs oralism, general philosophies of education and pedagogy, and staff and administrators of the college. Ben was vice president and then president of the Gallaudet College Alumni Association. The most exciting group of this collection regards the charge of nepotism against President Percival Hall of Gallaudet during the mid 1940’s. Also he corresponded with the alumni about the future development of Gallaudet College.

Ben Schowe was a member of National Association of the Deaf and National Fraternal Society of the Deaf. The collection consists correspondence between these deaf organizations about the problems of deaf people in getting jobs, obtaining insurance, and problems with the Work Projects Administration which prohibited deaf employees in getting jobs with them. Ben was a member of the Industrial Committee for the National Association of the Deaf which was involved in these matters.In the collection, there are some correspondence and materials about Ohio where he lived most of his life. His concern was to help deaf people of Ohio make a better life for themselves without unnecessary legal and attitude barriers.

There are manuscripts which are published and unpublished, wrote articles for publications, some about deaf employment and some for pleasure.

The collection consists of correspondence, personal and business related with typewritten and handwritten. Also there are notes, articles, publications, miscellaneous materials, printed materials, pamphlets, reports, speeches and published and unpublished manuscripts.

Among Ben M. Schowe, Sr.’s correspondents were Tom L. Anderson, Albert W. Atwood, Leon Auerbach, Stanley K, Bigman, Ignatius Bjorlee, Maxine Tull Boatner, Hubert Bonner, Guilbert C. Braddock, Earnest E. Calkins, Cornett R. Orin, Alan B. Crammatte, Louise Culpher, Ernest G. Draper, Sidney B. Fay, Leonard M. Elstad, James T. Flood, Irving S. Fusfeld, Edward Denison Gallaudet, Jack R. Gannon, Robert Greenmun, Oscar Guire, Percival Hall, Agatha T. Hanson, Kenneth Hodgson, Jay Cooke Howard, Dick Kennedy, Wesley Lauritsen, Eric Malzkuhn, Gordon B. McKeeman, Richard W. Meisegeier, Edward C. Merrill, Jr., Herbert C. Merrill, Edwin W. Nies, James N. Orman, David Peikoff, Albert T. Pimentel, Henry J. Pulver, Winfield Scott Runde, Arthur L. Roberts, Jerome D. Schein, A. M. Schlesinger, Ben Schowe, Jr., Frederick Schreiber, Charles D. Seaton, Carl B. Smith, Roy J. Stewart, William C. Stokoe, Jr., Frank B. Sullivan, Nina Van Oss, McKay Vernon, Cadwallader Washburn, Boyce R. Williams, and E. C. Wine.

Series Descriptions and Folder Lists

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