Areas of Study

MSS 159

Andersson, Yerker J.O., 1929-

Papers of Yerker Johan Olof Andersson, 1873-2005 Gallaudet University Archives

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Gallaudet University Archives

Call No.: MSS 159

Creator: Andersson, Yerker

Title: Yerker Johan Olof Andersson Papers, 1873-2005

Quantity: Linear Feet ( document boxes)


Note: This document last updated 2005 November 17.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information: The Yerker Andersson Papers were given to the Gallaudet University Archives by Dr. Yerker Andersson periodically from 1977 to 2005.

Processed by: Ulf Hedberg, 2005 September 1.

Processing Note: MSS 13 was merged with the Andersson papers to create the MSS 159 Collection.

Conditions on Use and Access: This collection is open to the public with the exception of Boxes 95-97, which are restricted. Photocopies may be made for scholarly research.

Related Material in the Archives


  • Clips of Gallaudet College [motion picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Film 284-4


  • Collection of World Winter Games for the Deaf, 1953-1979. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: MSS 130
  • Collection of Deaf President Now Protest, 1986-1988. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: MSS 148


  • Yerker Andersson. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Portraits


  • Leonard M. Elstad, 1917-1976. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: SMSS

Vertical Files

  • Yerker Andersson. Gallaudet University Archives. Call Number, Deaf Biographical

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Yerker Andersson was born as Jerker Johan Olof Andersson on November 29, 1929 in Vallentuna, Sweden. At the age of 7, he enrolled at the Manilla School for the Deaf in Stockholm in 1937. He received his diploma from the Manilla School in 1945. At the time of his naturalization in 1960, he took Yerker as his official name.
After his graduation, he attended the NKI School (Nordiska korrespondensinstitutet), equivalent as a correspondence school, located in Stockholm and studied advanced courses in English, Swedish and arithmetic for three years. He received the diploma in 1949.

Prior to Yerker Andersson’s departure for his study in the United States, he was involved in Deaf organizations at the national and international levels, he has held board member positions Stockholms Dövas Förening (Stockholm Club of the Deaf) from 1951 through 1955 and was a member of numerous committees, leader of a three-week trip in Europe in 1953, editor of Swedish Deaf Club papers, correspondent of World Federation of the Deaf, evening course teacher, and study travels in Europe from 1949 through 1954 by train or bicycle.

Yerker Andersson was admitted to Gallaudet College, now known as Gallaudet University in 1955. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree with sociology as major in 1960. During the college years, he was involved in various student organizations, such as Exchange Editor of The Buff and Blue, member of the Alpha Sigma Pi Fraternity, Editor-in-Chief of the 1960 Tower Clock, President of the Ballard Literary Society, Parliamentarian during his junior year and was elected to Phi Alpha Pi Society, (an academic honor society of Gallaudet College) in 1960 and received numerous scholarships and awards.

In 1960, Yerker Andersson continued at Columbia University (Teachers College) in New York for a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and professional diploma in counseling. Right after graduation in 1962, he was offered a job as guidance counselor at the New York School for the Deaf in White Plains, New York, which he held until 1964.

Dr. Leonard M. Elstad, then President of Gallaudet College, offered Yerker Andersson a teaching position as Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department in 1964. Later, he was promoted to Associate Professor in 1968. He was the Department Chair of Sociology and Social Work from 1974 until 1980. He was also serving as a special assistant to the Dean of College of Arts and Science from 1980 to 1982. He enrolled in the doctorate program at the University of Maryland at College Park and graduated with a Ph.D. degree in Sociology in 1981. In 1982, Yerker Andersson was again promoted to Professor. Dr. Harvey Corson, the Provost formed a task force on American Sign Language and Deaf Studies in 1991. Dr. Andersson was appointed to serve the task force to examine the possibility of establishing a program or department in those disciplines, which eventually established a program within the field. He directed the program as a coordinator of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies Program from July 1993-July 1994 and served as Chair of the Department of Deaf Studies from 1994 to 1996.

See page of Yerker Andersson’s Professional and Other Activities for more information. (End of Document)
It was the VIth International Games of the Deaf held in Copenhagen, Denmark that inspired Yerker Andersson’s interest in international relations. Over the years, Yerker Andersson attended various international events such as World Federation of the Deaf and the International/World Games of the Deaf. He edited the foreign news published in The Deaf American from 1969 through 1987. Yerker Andersson was actively involved with the National Association of the Deaf, and chaired the NAD International Relations Committee and its work with the World Federation of the Deaf.
In 1975, at the VIIth World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf held in Washington, DC, Yerker Andersson was elected as Vice President. Since 1975, in collaboration with the members of the WFD, the Bureau set up strategic goals. They were to establish a network with the national federation of the Deaf of each nation to exchange information in efficient ways to influence their national governments to improve their rights, such as sign language, advocacy, and interpreting service. In 1983, WFD held the IXth World Congress in Palermo, Italy, that Yerker was elected and elevated to the presidency. During the 1980s and early 1990s, the strategic goals have been focused on aid to the developing countries, a Deaf majority at the Bureau level, and working with UNESCO to recognize sign language as the legitimate language of Deaf people. Andersson provided expert input about the Deaf community for the UN and WHO as well. In 1992, Yerker Andersson was the first Deaf leader to address the UN general assembly. Prior to the XIIth World Congress of the WFD, held in Vienna, Austria, Yerker Andersson stepped down as the President. After 32 years of service to Gallaudet University, Yerker Andersson retired in 1996. Afterward, he was honored as Professor Emeritus. In 1996, the United States President William Clinton appointed him to the National Council on Disability and he was the first Deaf individual who used sign language to serve the Council. Yerker Andersson’s term at the National Council on Disability expired in 1998. Notably, Yerker Andersson’s interests are collecting philatelic materials related to Deaf community, smoking pipes, books associated to the Deaf community, and shipbuilding.

Scope and Content

The Yerker Andersson Papers consist mainly of correspondence, E-mail correspondence, memorandums, minutes of meetings, reports, news clippings, printed materials, articles, and speeches.

The collection, which consist of approximately 82,000 pages, dates from 1947 to 2005, although there are Xerox copies of articles published in Deaf Swedish and German periodicals regarding international events from 1873 to 1934. The bulk of dates are mostly between 1980s through 1990s, which are during his faculty years at Gallaudet University and presidency of the World Federation of the Deaf. The strength of the collection is centered mostly on his professional activities at Gallaudet University and involvement with the World Federation of the Deaf.
The largest subject in the collection are focused on three mainly organizations, such as Gallaudet University, the National Association of the Deaf, and the World Federation of the Deaf. The significant subject aspect of the collection is about human rights focusing on disability and advocacy both on national and international levels through the National Association of the Deaf, the National Council on Disability, and the World Federation of the Deaf. Another significant part of this collection is how the Deaf Studies Department became a reality after decades, which started as a task force within Deafness-Related Concerns Council from late 1970s. Notably, Deafness-Related Concerns Council which was renamed later as President’s Council on Deafness.

Series Descriptions

Series 1: Gallaudet University

Boxes 1-31

This file group focuses only on Gallaudet’s academic, faculty related, and Yerker Andersson’s college years as well. The earliest date is from 1960 through 2005. The bulk dates are from 1970s through 1990s. It contains mostly memorandums and minutes from various committees, departments and offices. Early issues to Deaf advocacy and documents for the future establishing of Deaf Studies Department can be found in the group of Deafness Related Concerns Council. E-mail correspondences is organized in the chronological order, while correspondences for Foreign, Individuals and Organization are listed in the alphabetically order, but in the folders of the categories are ordered in the chronological order.

Series 2: General

Boxes 32-37

This category, one will find three major groups, District of Columbia Association of Deaf Citizens (DCADC), New York School for the Deaf in White Plains, (NYSD), and Printed Materials. In the folders of DCADC, there are copies of bylaws, constitutions, reports, and minutes of meetings, which are from the 1980s. At NYSD was Yerker Andersson’s first employment as a guidance counselor from 1962 to 1964. Finally, in the group of Printed Materials that Yerker Andersson has collected brochures, booklets, reports, etc. through his international collections.

Series 3: National Association of the Deaf

Boxes 38-42

The group of National Association of the Deaf (NAD), dates from 1964 through 2003. The bulk dates are from the 1970s and collections is mostly correspondence in the alphabetically order, such as countries and officers from the NAD. In the folders of each capital letters, one will find individuals organized in those folders. For instance, a letter written by Gary Olsen will be found in the folder of “Correspondence – O”. All letters are in the chronological order. When the NAD organized the World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf, it was ever first held on the America soil. Yerker Andersson was a representative for NAD’s International Relations Council who was involved in the planning of the VIIth World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf. The documents from the planning of the World Congress are found in this group.

Series 4: National Council on Disability

Boxes 43-49

The majority collection is quarterly minutes of meetings from the mid 1990s. There are folders of correspondences from the same time period.

Series 5: Personal

Boxes 50-52

There are four folders of the Xerox copies of published late 1800s in Sweden and Germany for Deaf history interest. In this group, there are many Christmas cards delivered to Yerker and his wife Anne Marie (Nancy) Andersson from the world, some of them are published with images showing sign languages, Deaf people, etc. There is a folder of conference badges that Yerker Andersson attended many conferences. One will find a copy of Yerker Andersson’s diploma from the Manilla School for the Deaf.

Series 6: Speeches/Publications

Boxes 53-54

In this collection, there are two boxes collected of Yerker Andersson’s articles and speeches. The bulk date is from the 1980s through 1990s. Most of them are focused on sociology and Deaf culture. Important note, there is a copy of his speech at the United Nation’s General Assembly in 1992.

Series 7: World Federation of the Deaf

Boxes 55-94

Yerker Andersson was elected as Vice President and President from 1975 until his resignation in 1995. The dates for this collection are from 1951 to 2000. The bulk date is 1980s and 1990s. The collection is mostly agendas, correspondences and reports. From Box 55 to Box 58, one will find the agendas of the Bureau Meetings in the chronological order. Box 58 consists of agendas of meetings from the General Assembly covering from 1975 to 2003, except 1983 and 1987. The Box 73, one will find minutes of meetings of both Bureau Meeting and General Assembly. There are many reports, mainly from the Deaf organizations and projects scattered through in this group. There are correspondences organized in 23 boxes. All are in alphabetical order, Deaf related organizations, non-governmental organizations such as International Labour Office, UNESCO, World Health Organization, UN offices in New York, Geneva and Vienna, WFD administrative officers (Liisa Kauppinen, Rajli Ojala, etc.), Individuals of American citizens and countries. All letters are in chronological order. Note: A letter from South Africa can be found in the Gallaudet, NAD and WFD, depending on the letter’s content and Yerker Andersson’s dual roles and postal addresses. It is recommended that the researcher check all groups rather than just one group.

Series 8: Restricted

Boxes 95-97

They are closed for the public for 25 years. The release date is the end of 2029.

Professional and Other Activities

1962-1964 Guidance Counselor, New York School for the Deaf

1964-1968 Assistant Professor Sociology, Gallaudet College

1965-1968 Board Member, Gallaudet Chapter of the American Association of University Professors

1966-1967 Vice President, Gallaudet Chapter of the American Association of University Professors

1968-1982 Associate Professor, Sociology, Gallaudet College

1969-1970 Vice President, Phi Alpha Pi

1969-1972 Advisor, Alpha Sigma Pi

1969-1987 Foreign news editor, The NAD Broadcaster

1970 Chair, Faculty Salary Committee

1970-1971 Secretary, Committee A (Faculty Welfare)

1970-1971 President, Gallaudet Chapter of the American Association of University Professors

1970-1971 President. Phi Alpha Pi

1970-1974 Member, Cultural Affairs Committee

1971-1972 Member, Committee A (Faculty Welfare)

1972-1973 Chair, Committee A (Faculty Welfare)

1972-1975 Member, College Senate

1972-1980 Member, Research and Development Committee, National Association of the Deaf

1972-1983 Chair, NAD International Relations Committee

1973-1975 Member, Campus Resources Committee

1974-1976 Member, Budget-Finance Advisory Board

1974-1975 Member. Committee E (non-degree credit)

1974-1980 Chair, Department of Sociology and Social Work

1975 Coordinator of interpreting services, VIII Winter Games for the Deaf, Lake Placid, NY

1975-1977 Chair, Committee E (non-degree credit)

1975-1983 Vice President, World Federation of the Deaf

1976-1978 Vice Chair, Undergraduate Faculty

1977 Member, Historical Buildings Committee

1977-1979 Member, Landscape Committee

1977-1979 Member, NAD Committee on International Symbol for Deafness

1977-1980 Member, Committee S (Self-evaluation)

1977-1982 Member, Ole Jim Committee

1977-1985 Member, International Center on Deafness Advisory Board

1978-1980 Assistant Director, NAD Centennial Convention Policy Committee

1980-1982 Special Assistant, Dean of College Arts and Science

1980-1984 Advisor, Alpha Sigma Pi

1981-1983 Advisor, Student Body Government

1982-1996 Professor, Sociology, Gallaudet College

1983-1984 Member, Faculty By-laws Review Committee

1983-1995 President, World Federation of the Deaf

1984-1986 Member, Compensation Committee

1985-1987 Member, Honorary Degrees Committee

1985-1987 Member, President’s Council on Deafness

1985-1988 Member, Committee G (Admissions)

1986-1988 Member, Sexual Harassment Committee

1990-1996 Member, International Center on Deafness Advisory Board

1992 Co-chair, Task Force on American Sign Language/Deaf Studies

1993-1994 Coordinator, American Sign Language/Deaf Studies Program

1994-1996 Chair, Department of Deaf Studies

1995-2002 Member, National Council on Disability

1997-2002 Chair, Steering Committee, Nippon World Deaf Leadership


1982 Faculty-Staff Award of the Year, Gallaudet College

1983 International Solidarity Merit Award, WFD

1989 Powrie V. Doctor Medallion, Gallaudet University

1992 Distinguished Faculty Award, Gallaudet University

1994 Distinguished Award, National Association of the Deaf

Click here to folder listing

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