MSS 44 – Stokoe, William Clarence, 1919-

Papers of William C. Stokoe, 1948-1982

Gallaudet University Archives

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Gallaudet University Archives

Call No.: MSS 44


Title: Papers of William C. Stokoe, 1948-1982.

Quantity: 0.5 Linear Feet (1 document box)


Note: This document last updated 2006 January 10.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information:

Processed by: Ulf Hedberg. 1990 January 19.

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:


  • Quiet champion, Part 1 [motion picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Film 15-2
  • Quiet champion, Part 2 [motion picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Film 30-2
  • 112th Commencement [motion picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Film 63-8
  • 60 minutes-language of the deaf, [motion picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Film 9-8
  • Salk Institute Film on sign language [motion picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Film 19-4


  • William C. Stokoe, Jr. [picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Portraits

Vertical Files

  • William C. Stokoe. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Biographical

Biographical Sketch

William Clarence Stokoe was born on July 21, 1919 in Lancaster, New Hampshire. In 1942 he received a B.A. degree in English from Cornell University. He received a Doctor of Philosophy in 1946 from the same university.

From 1955 to 1971 he worked as a professor of English at Gallaudet College. He became a Professor of Linguistics in 1968. In 1971 he established and became the Director of a research laboratory called the Linguistics Research Laboratory. Dr. Stokoe has since been recognized as a an authority on American Sign Language, a natural language of the Deaf community. He has contributed to and written many articles and books in the field of linguistics, sign language, and Deaf culture.

The Linguistics Research Laboratory was dissolved upon the retirement of Dr. Stokoe in 1984.

Scope and Content

The William Clarence Stokoe Collection. The collection consists of approximately 150 items dating from 1948 to 1982. The majority of the papers date from about 1950s to 1960s. The bulk of the collection contains articles, clippings, memorandums, news releases, and printed materials relative to Dr. Stokoe.

In the folder of clippings contains some biographical information and some of his successful works in linguistics research. The next folder contains essays written by Dr. Stokoe, and includes an essay entitled “Language and the liberal arts at Gallaudet College” that Dr. Stokoe criticized. There is also a response to this particular essay in the folder of memoranda.

“Sign Language: An Outline of the Visual Communication Systems of the American Deaf” and other printed booklets are included in the folder on printed materials. The collection is arranged alphabetically by subject.

Series Descriptions and Folder Lists

No Series

Box Folder Title of Folder Date
1 1 Articles 1955-1979
1 2 Clippings 1958-1980
1 3 Essays 1960-1978
1 4 Memorandums 1966-1968
1 5 News Releases 1955-1971
1 6 Printed Materials 1948-1978
1 7 Miscellaneous 1962-1982

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