MSS 78 – St. Ann’s Church for the Deaf, est. 1852

Collection of the St. Ann’s Church for the Deaf, 1853-1984

Gallaudet University Archives

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Gallaudet University Archives

Call No.: MSS 78


Title: Collection of the St. Ann’s Church for the Deaf, 1853-1984

Quantity: 2.5 Linear Feet (5 document boxes)


Note: This document last updated 2006 January 9.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information: St. Ann’s Church for the Deaf papers were donated to the Gallaudet University Archives by Henry L. Buzzard.

Processed by: Kevin D. Corbitt. 1989 August 11.

Processing Note: Revised by Margaret A. Steedman, 1998 May 29.

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

Deaf Rare

  • Statements respecting St. Ann’s Church for Deaf-Mutes presented at a public meeting in the large chapel of the University, Wednesday evening, November 16, 1853, together with an abstract of the Proceedings of a meeting held by deaf-mutes, Thursday eve. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Rare
  • Proceedings of a meeting in relation to St. Ann’s Church for Deaf-Mutes. Wednesday, May 19, 1858. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Rare


  • Papers, Rev. Otto B. Berg, 1909-1995. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: MSS 115
  • Collection / The Church Mission to Deaf-Mutes, 1921-1988. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: MSS 120
  • Papers, Henry L. Buzzard, 1951-1993. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: MSS 67


  • Rev. John Chamberlain Collection, 1875-1890. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: SMSS
  • Papers, Nadia Bolz-Weber, 2004-2005. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: SMSS
  • Papers, Edwin Allan Hodgson, 1909. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: SMSS

Vertical Files

  • St. Ann’s Church for the Deaf. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Subject

Historical Sketch

In 1852, Thomas Gallaudet, the son of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and elder brother of Edward Miner Gallaudet, established St. Ann’s Church for the Deaf in the chapel of New York University on the first Sunday in October. From 1852-1902, for fifty years, Thomas Gallaudet served as vicar of St. Ann’s. During September of 1854, St. Ann’s was legally incorporated and five years later, in July of 1859, St. Ann’s moved into its own building. In 1872, Thomas Gallaudet organized “The Church Mission to Deaf Mutes”. In 1876, the first home for aged and informed deaf people was established in New York City. This home was named the Gallaudet Home and was moved to a new property along the Hudson River near Poughkeepsie, NY in 1887.

In 1895, the original church building was sold and services were held at St. John the Evangelist church. St. Ann’s Church for the Deaf merged with St. Matthew’s Church in 1897 amid acrimonious debate; St. Matthew’s assumed responsibility for St. Ann’s. Within a year, a new church building was consecrated by Bishop Potter on December 26, 1898.

The Gallaudet Home burned down in 1900 and two years later, in 1902, on August 27, the founder of St. Ann’s, Thomas Gallaudet, died. The new vicar is John Chamberlain and he served from 1902-1921. During his term, the rebuilding of the Gallaudet Home took place in 1903. St. Ann’s Guild House was dedicated on December 12, 1912. In 1921, John Chamberlain died and John H. Kent took over as vicar until the late 1920s. In the late 1920s, Guilbert C. Braddock became vicar and served until the mid 1940s. his tenure saw controversy flare about the relationship of St. Ann’s and St. Matthew’s. Edwin Nies serves St. Ann’s prior to his ordination as a clergyman, and in 1948, sees the ties severed between St. Ann’s and St. Matthew’s. The building was sold and services were held at St. Mark’s in the Bouwerie church from 1949-1960. Edwin Nies completes his tenure as vicar in 1964. Services were held at St. Michael’s church from 1960-1963, then at All Angels’ Church from 1963-1966. In 1964, Eric J. Whiting took over as vicar and served until 1970, when Jay Croft took over for six years until 1976. Columba Gilliss served as vicar from 1976-1984 and turned the reins over to Steven Hagar.

Scope and Content

The St. Ann’s Church for the Deaf collection consists largely of printed religious matter, the records of church organizations, correspondence to and from various vicars, and a number of clippings from various sources related to the deaf.

The collection which consists of approximately 1500 items, dates from 1853-1984. The bulk of the collection consists of materials related to St. Ann’s. This includes materials printed by St. Ann’s, articles about St. Ann’s, and correspondence from several vicars. Vicars whose correspondence is included in the papers are: Thomas Gallaudet, John Chamberlain, John H. Kent, and Guilbert C. Braddock. Generally the letters written and received by the vicars reflect the mission work of St. Ann’s. Most prevalent is correspondence concerning the Gallaudet home. Parish organizations left considerable printed and manuscript records. These include report books, expenditure and statements, printed material such as by-laws and invitations, and letters received by the organizations.

Series Descriptions and Folder Lists

No Series

Box Folder Title of Folder Date
1 1 By-Laws and Related material 1929-1936
1 2 Special Liturgies; 25th Anniversary Sermon, Prayer for the Parish 1877-1966
1 3 Statements Respecting St. Ann’s Church for Deaf Mutes 1853
1 4 St. Ann’s History 1854-1952
1 5 St. Ann’s-St. Matthew’s Controversy, Correspondence 1937-1944
1 6 St. Ann’s-St. Matthew’s Controversy, photostats of incorporations and newspaper articles 1854-1922
1 7 Report of Rev. Guilbert C. Braddock; memberships lists 1888-1945
1 8 Inventory of Objects (2 copies) n.d.
1 9 Financial Papers and Statements 1904-1970
1 10 Diocesan correspondence and Circulars 1921-1932
1 11 Letters from parents and guardians of children to be confirmed: cards with confirmation or baptismal information 1931-1943
1 12 Correspondence to and from John E. Hasler 1927
1 13 Miscellaneous Correspondence 1922-1984
1 14 Articles about the church and vicar’s who served the parish 1897-1977
1 15 Building Fund; Men’s Club (Miscellaneous manuscript and printed materials) 1920-1979
1 16 St. Ann’s Choir, Script for “We, the People” (National Broadcasting Company Script #N-419) 1950
2 1 Virginia Butler Gallaudet Association, Address Book, Secretary’s Report Book, Correspondence, Circulars, Banners 1918-1948
2 2 Woman’s Parish Aid Society, Letters 1931-1947
2 3 Woman’s Parish Aid Society, President’s Book, By-Laws, Reports, Circulars 1941-1945
2 4 Anniversary Celebrations, Programs and Cards 1912-1977
2 5 Annual Meetings 1964-1969
2 6 Dedication Programs, Virginia Butler Gallaudet Memorial Reredos and New Church and Center 1935-1966
2 7 Newsletter 1919-1982
2 8 Printed Event Announcements; Printed Social Calendars 1914-1966
2 9 Printed Orders of Service 1921-1960
2 10 St. Ann’s Publications 1913-1938
2 11 Gallaudet, Rev. Thomas: Correspondence, Photographs of Rev. Gallaudet, 25th Anniversary Sermon 1877
3 1 Gallaudet, Rev. Thomas: Record of Marriages, Baptisms and Funeral Services Performed by Rev. Gallaudet 1850-1902
3 2 Gallaudet, Rev. Thomas: Printed Pamphlets about Rev. Thomas Gallaudet, manuscript Memorial from Church Mission to Deaf-Mutes 1895-1909
3 3 Correspondence to and from Rev. John Chamberlain 1901-1913
3 4 Correspondence to and from Rev. John H. Kent 1924-1929
3 5 Correspondence to and from Rev. Guilbert C. Braddock 1924-1944
3 6 Articles on Deaf People and Deafness: Religion 1914-1979
3 7 Church Mission to Deaf-Mutes: Constitution and By-Laws, Correspondence, Reports, Printed Material 1888-1985
3 8 Church Work for the Deaf: Various Printed Reports 1881-1919
3 9 Diocesan Bulletin: The Bulletin 1931-1961
4 1 Episcopal Conference of the Deaf: Conference Materials, Correspondence, paper on Evangelism 1975-1980
4 2 Gallaudet Home (New York): Admissions and Residents 1923-1960
4 3 Gallaudet Home (New York): Bills, Financial Appeals, Proposed Sale 1890-1954
4 4 Gallaudet Home (New York): Gallaudet Home News 1948-1964
4 5 Gallaudet Home (New York): Miscellaneous Correspondence and Printed Material 1888-1982
4 6 Orders of Service: Various Churches; A Plea for an Institutional Church for the Deaf in Chicago: All Soul’s Church…Fiftieth Year 1912-1945
4 7 St. Mark’s-in-the-Bouwerie: Various Printed Memorabilia 1951-1958
4 8 Silent Churchman: The Silent Missionary: The Deaf Churchman: The Deaf Episcopalian 1906-1979
4 9 Various Missions 1922-1927
4 10 Various printed Religious Materials: General n.d.
5 1 Application: New York Institution for Deaf and Dumb 1873
5 2 Conference of Deaf Instructors: Paper and Proposed Agenda n.d.
5 3 Gallaudet Day: New York Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, Report 1904-1946
5 4 Information Kit, “Christian Education and Hearing Impaired Children;” Printed Materials on Deaf Education 1966-1975
5 5 Articles on Deaf People and Deafness: General 1912-1977
5 6 Publications by English Deaf Benevolent Organizations 1921-1934
5 7 Publications by American Deaf Organizations 1951-1974
5 8 Silent Worker: Clippings 1921-1929
5 9 Anniversary programs: Various Deaf-Related Organizations 1937-1960
5 10 Unidentified Manuscript Fragments n.d.

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