MSS 166

Levine, Edna Simon, 1910-1992

Papers of Edna Simon Levine, 1941-1982

Gallaudet University Archives

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Gallaudet University Archives

Call No.: MSS 166


Title: Papers of Edna Simon Levine, 1941-1982

Quantity: 17.5 linear feet (23 document boxes and 4 oversized boxes)

Abstract: This collection consists of articles, audio reels, booklets, correspondence, journals, magazines, completed and edited manuscripts, Newsletters, photographs, psychology testing documents and objects, reports, speech drafts, and workshop materials.


Administrative Information

Acquisition Information: The Papers of Edna Simon Levine was donated to the Gallaudet University Archives by Edna Simon Levine on April 17th, 1982 periodically until September 30th, 1983.

Processed By: Jeffrey Peterson, 2008 August 19.

Processing Note: Please see Gallaudet University Archives staff for assistance with viewing photographs and objects.

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


  • Edna Simon Levine [picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Portraits

Vertical Files

  • Edna Simon Levine. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Biographical

Biographical Sketch

Edna Simon Levine was born November 29, 1910, in New York City, New York. Levine began her career focusing on the deaf after training as a teacher at the Lexington School for the Deaf in Manhattan, New York. She then went on to receive her bachelor’s, master’s (1939), and doctorate (1948) in clinical psychology from New York State University. She earned a second master’s degree in special education in 1951 from the Teacher’s College at Columbia University. She received an honorary degree from Gallaudet in 1969. Levine taught educational psychology for 15 years at New York State University. Her prime objective as a Psychologist of the deaf was helping the deaf cope with social isolation.

Levine was also an author, researcher, clinician, advocate, and trainer of other professionals in the field of deafness. Levine had over 36 pieces of her work published in magazines, journals, and/or newspaper articles; her published books include Youth in a Soundless World (1956), Psychology of Deafness (1960), Lisa and Her Soundless World (1974), and Ecology of Early Deafness (1981). Levine also helped organize the first comprehensive dictionary of sign language in 1964.

In 1972 Levine directed a United Nations Task Force on Deafness and a 1974 national conference on training psychological workers of the deaf. She initiated the New York State Psychiatric Institute’s mental health program for the deaf and founded New York University’s research and training center for deafness and deafness rehabilitation. She also formed the Deaf Repertory Theater, helped create the Foundation for the Deaf, and worked on adapting telephones for the deaf which included experiments with videophones.

Furthermore, Levine was a president of the Psychology Commission of the World Federation of the Deaf and a former board member of the American Psychological Association, the American Hearing Society, the Inter-Branch Library Association of New York, and the New York League for the Hard of Hearing.

Edna Simon Levine passed on April 7th, 1992.

Scope and Content

The Papers of Edna Simon Levine consists of 23 document boxes and 4 oversize boxes that range in date from as early as 1941 to as late as 1982. The majority of content is from mid-1960 to mid-1970.

Documents in the papers range from advertisements, articles, booklets, charts, correspondence, fliers, lists, manuscripts, memorandums, newsletters, programs, proposals, psychology tests, reports, speeches, and workshop paperwork.

The bulk of the papers are correspondence and manuscripts. The strongest component of the collection is correspondence. In this section materials range from discussions regarding workshops, research, organization activity, requests for reprints and recopies of manuscripts, personal correspondence, and requests-personal and professional- for assistance regarding a specific deaf child. The weakest part of the collection is speeches since most of them are not labeled with the date or corresponding location where the speech was given.

Also included in the collection are 3 oversize boxes containing toys and physical objects used for psychological testing (Boxes OV 1-3); an oversize box with 10 photographs, a poster of a boy with a doll set, full-sized graphics used for appendices in Levine’s book Psychology of Deafness, and 123 slides from a slideshow of “Lisa and Her Soundless World” (Box OV 4); and lastly, 1 document box containing film and audio reels (Box 23). Please see archives staff for assistance with viewing photographs and objects.

Series Description

Series 1: General

Boxes 1-2

In this series is a small variety of documents such as advertisements for Levine’s books; agendas for conferences and workshops; articles about Levine, her research, or items in her field of interest; booklets regarding psychology and deafness along with a few from Sweden and Iran; and, lastly, charts that were used for manuscripts or presentations. Articles from 1945 to 1975 and booklets from 1945 to 1977 make up the majority of this series.

Series 2: Correspondence

Boxes 3-9

This group contains ingoing and outgoing correspondence as early as 1941 to as late as 1982. The group contains some personal correspondence but is predominantly related to the organization of workshops, publishing of her books, requests for re

prints and copies of her work printed in journals and magazines, and organization activities.

Series 3: General

Box 10

This Unit contains a few fliers from events; forms from organizations for nominations and some form blanks that were used for tests; general materials from the International Task Force meetings in Copenhagen and Rome in 1972; invitations to events; invoices; a few journals regarding the deaf and/or psychology; materials from the Foundation for the Deaf, Inc. from 1949-1960; and lists such as agency contacts, directories, test subjects, and personal notes. Materials in this unit range from 1947 to 1976. Most of the materials in this series are lists from 1963-1973.

Series 4: Manuscripts

Boxes 11-15

This series consists of documents that were printed in magazines and journals as well as drafts for Levine’s books from 1942 to 1980. There are also manuscripts that were presented to organizations and during conferences regarding psychology and deafness. Of special note is an entire draft of “Ecology of Prelinguistic Deafness,” the title of which would later be changed and become her published book Ecology of Early Deafness in 1981.

Series 5: Newsletters/Proposals

Boxes 16-17

Series 5 is made up primarily of newsletters from deaf or psychology organizations, including several from Gallaudet, and a few newsletters from foreign countries such as Israel and Japan. Newsletters range in date from 1959 to 1982. Proposals for research, the establishment of rehabilitation centers and/or programs, and devices such as specialized telephones for the deaf also create the bulk of this series. The range in dates for proposals is 1954 to 1973. Lastly in the series there are several folders committed to programs for banquets, workshops, and other organization events as well as materials related to Levine’s research with picture phones in the late 1960s.

Series 6: Psychology Tests

Boxes 18-19

This series contains numerous tests that Levine used during her research regarding psychology and the deaf. Tests range from physical-motor batteries to standardized education tests. Some tests have been modified for use with deaf subjects.

Series 7: Reports/Speeches

Boxes 20-22

This grouping is comprised mostly of reports based on Levine’s research with deafness and psychology from 1955 to 1973. This includes progress reports from Levine’s various research projects, reports from workshops and conferences, and final reports given based on gathered results. Papers containing speeches from about 1952 to 1967 are the second largest portion of this series. Most of the speeches do not have a specific date documented or state where they were presented. There are also several folders that contain general standardized education tests, materials relating to various workshops from 1955 to 1966, and one folder for unidentified edited manuscripts.

Series 8: Objects/Photographs

Boxes 23, OV 1-4

Series 8 contains three oversize boxes with physical objects that were used for research and testing, one oversize box with pictures, and 1 document box with audio and film reels. The audio and film reels are from the International Task Force meeting in Rome in 1972, a cassette of Lisa and Her Soundless World that was most likely used for a slideshow, one unidentified audio reel, and a film reel labeled “Deaf Post Rubele Child.” Box OV 4 contains a folder with 10 unidentified photographs, a poster of a boy and a doll set (most likely the same doll set in Box OV 2), full-sized appendices used in Levine’s book Psychology of Deafness, and 123 slides from a slideshow of Lisa and Her Soundless World. Examples of objects are arrangement tests such as peg boards, puzzles, doll sets, and sound-making toys like bells and party rattles. (Please see archives staff for assistance with viewing photographs and objects.)

Click Here to View the Folders List

Click Here to View the Objects List

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