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Dec 9, 2022
Manuscripts – MSS 85 – Kentucky School for the Deaf, est. 1823
King Jordan Student Academic Center 1255
MSS 85 – Kentucky School for the Deaf, est. 1823
Collection of Kentucky School for the Deaf, 1824-1919
Gallaudet University Archives
Repository: Gallaudet University Archives
Call No.: MSS 85
Title: Collection of Kentucky School for the Deaf, 1824-1919
Quantity: 0.5 Linear Feet (1 document box)
Note: This document last updated 2006 January 3.
Acquisition Information: The Kentucky School for the Deaf collection was donated to the Gallaudet University Archives by Leland Murray.
Processed by: Gary W. Brooks. 1998 May 7.
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:
On April 10, 1823, the Kentucky Asylum for the Tuition of the Deaf & Dumb, with subsequent name change to the Kentucky School for the Deaf, became the first state supported school of its kind in the nation and in the western hemisphere. The three schools established in the United States prior to the Kentucky School for the Deaf were private. The Kentucky School was also the first school established west of the Alleghenies.
The impetus for beginning a school for persons who are deaf came from General Elias Barbee whose daughter, Lucy, was deaf. General Barbee, while serving as a state senator in the Kentucky General Assembly in 1822, collaborated with Judge John Rowan, who wrote the legislation authorizing the school in the fall of 1822 and on December 7th that year was signed into law by Governor John Adair.
The school was the recipient of two federal land grants in 1826 and 1836. These tracts of land in Florida and Alabama were eventually sold to acquire additional capital to acquire additional lands and to assist the construction of facilities for the school. Henry Clay and others were instrumental in acquiring the federal grants for the school.
The school also served deaf persons from outside the Commonwealth on a tuition basis. It was thought in those early years that the Kentucky School might be the only school for deaf persons necessary in the west. Pupils from all the southern states except for Florida were served at KSD. Other states as far away as Montana sent students to KSD for study. When other states established their own schools, that practice ceased.
At first, students were limited in attending the Kentucky School for the Deaf to three terms. Wisely the leadership of the school quickly observed the ineffectiveness of only a three year school experience and successfully expanded the terms of attendance. State and federal laws now permit programs for deaf persons preschool through high school at the Kentucky School for the Deaf. Graduates of the Kentucky School usually attend college, technical school, or enter the work force. Many become professionals and some return to their alma mater to carry on the mission of school.
[Extracts from Kentucky School for the Deaf History-Danville-Boyle County, Kentucky, copyright by Danville-Boyle County 1997.]
Scope and Content
The Kentucky School for the Deaf collection contains one box of letters, vouchers, financial records, and contracts.
The collection which consists of approximately 100 papers dated from 1824 to 1919. The collection covers endorsement letters regarding financial support to expand and remodel buildings, vouchers from different manufacturing companies, billing statements, construction contracts, correspondence and letters from Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, Laurent Clerc, and J.A. Jacobs.
Series Descriptions and Folder Lists
Gallaudet University, chartered in 1864, is a private university for deaf and hard of hearing students.
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