MSS 98
Sowell, James William, 1874-
Papers of James W. Sowell, 1901-1950

Gallaudet University Archives
Descriptive Summary
Repository: Gallaudet University Archives
Call No.: MSS 98
Title: Papers of James W. Sowell, 1901-1950
Quantity: 0.5 Linear Feet (1 document box)
Note: This document last updated 2006 January 9.
Administrative Information
Acquisition Information: The James W. Sowell collection was donated to the Gallaudet University Archives by Elizabeth Sowell Morrow.
Processed by: Cheryl L.Morris. 2000 May 23.
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
Vertical Files

  • James Sowell. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Biographical

Biographical Sketch
James William Sowell was born near Athens, Alabama, on October 27, 1874, and grew up in Alabama most of his life. He became Deaf at nine years old. James W. Sowell attended to Alabama School for the Deaf at Tallahassee, Tennessee. James W. Sowell went to Gallaudet College and graduated with the class of 1900. He married his college sweetheart, Maude Brizendine, in 1901. James W. Sowell began his teaching career at the Maryland School for the Colored Deaf for two years and continued his work in literature at John Hopkins University, where he completed his Master’s degree. James and his wife later moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where James taught at Nebraska School for the Deaf for 18 years. He taught his pupil English language and especially in literature. Later, he became the principal of the school. He also was the editor of the Nebraska Journal during the height of the controversy over educational methods, contributing to the support of the “combined system.” James W. Sowell went for his doctorate degree at the University of Nebraska, majoring in Old English literature, philosophy, and education, but he never completed the program. He did his research in the field of “Development of the Sensibility of the Deaf through Literature.” When the school changed to pure oralism, he had to leave his job. After leaving his job, he worked for the Gas department as an accounts clerk at the Metropolitan Utilities District until he retired in 1946.

Scope and Content
James W. Sowell collection contains one box of biography, letters, book, poetry, speeches, studies in Literature, thesis, and grades. The collection, which consists of approximately 100 items dated from 1901 to 1950. The collection covers several articles of his biography, copy of a published book of Sowell’s poetry, letters about his poetry, newspaper clippings and articles about Sowell, photography of Sowell with Dr. E.M. Gallaudet, a written poem for Dr. E.M. Gallaudet for his 70th birthday, and information on literature studies. The collection also covers several items from Nebraska University, which are grade reports, receipts, a questionnaire for James W. Sowell’s study in Literature, and thesis research about deaf education. Series Descriptions and Folder Lists

No Series

Box Folder Title of Folder Date
1 1 James W. Sowell biography 1946 -1949
1 2 Copy of Published book of Sowell’s poetry 1948
1 3 Letters 1901-1915
1 4 Letters about his poetry 1916-1947
1 5 Miscellaneous 1915-1947
1 6 Photography and poem n.d.
1 7 Speeches n.d.
1 8 Studies in Literature 1909-1919
1 9 Thesis and Grades from Nebraska University 1910-1920

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