Areas of Study

MSS 211

Pimentel, Albert T., 1933-

The Albert T. Pimentel Papers, 1958-1999

Gallaudet University Archives

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Gallaudet University Archives

Call No.: MSS 211

Creator: Pimentel, Albert T., 1933-

Title: The Albert T. Pimentel Papers, 1958-1999

Quantity: 5 boxes (3.5 linear feet)

Abstract: Papers of Albert T. Pimentel, an educator, advocate, and expert on deafness and disability issues. Includes speeches, correspondence, reports, certificates and awards, photographs, and clippings.

Note: This document last updated January 2016.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information: Donated to the Archives by Albert T. Pimentel, 2007.

Processed By: Christopher Shea, December 2015.

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 Archives


  • Half figure pose of Albert T. Pimentel [photograph]. Gallaudet University Archives, call number: Portraits

Vertical Files

  • Albert T. Pimentel. Gallaudet University Archives, call number: Deaf Biographical

Biographical Sketch

Albert T. Pimentel was born to hearing parents but began to lose his hearing at age three, eventually becoming completely deaf by the time he was twenty. He originally attended public schools, but went to college at Gallaudet, entering in 1954.

After graduating Gallaudet with a bachelor’s degree in history in 1957, Pimentel taught English at the Louisiana State School for the Deaf. In 1959, he received a M.Ed. degree in educational psychology from Louisiana State University. Looking to further his education in psychology, he became coordinator of the program for multiply handicapped deaf children at Porterville State Hospital (now the Porterville Developmental Center) in California. This led him to further work in psychology and rehabilitation, including serving as the psychologist of the Tennessee School for the Deaf from 1961 to 1967 while lecturing on rehabilitation at the University of Tennessee and consulting on rehabilitation issues in Tennessee, New Jersey, and West Virginia.

In 1967, Pimentel was hired as the executive director of the newly formed Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). At that time, interpreting was not generally thought of as a professional job, and the RID only had a few hundred members. During Pimentel’s term, the RID moved aggressively to emphasize professional standards, recruitment, and organization, and by the time he left in 1971, the RID had grown to over three thousand members with chapters in 39 states.

At the same time, Pimentel was also active in founding the Professional Rehabilitation Workers for the Adult Deaf (PRWAD), the organization that would eventually become ADARA. He served as the organization’s first treasurer, and later as a board member and managing editor of its journal, JADARA.

Pimentel joined the Gallaudet staff in 1971, first as director of public service programs, overseeing adult education and community outreach initiatives, and simultaneously served as assistant to President Edward C. Merrill from 1977 to 1978 and an associate professor in the Department of Counseling from 1978 to 1979. In 1978, he became director of Gallaudet’s National Academy. By this time he was a well-known expert in disability issues and rehabilitation, and was often sought for governmental testimony, speaking engagements, and quotes in the media. He advised Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign on disability issues, and served as part of Carter’s transition team after the 1976 election.

During these years, Pimentel had also been involved with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) as a committee chairman, board member, and secretary-treasurer. In 1979 he was elected executive director of the NAD, overseeing the organization’s education, advocacy, and fundraising programs.

In 1985, Pimentel moved on to Northwestern Connecticut Community College, where he served first as a counselor and then director of career education, providing sign language and interpreter training as well as technical and career education for the deaf. He eventually left this position to become the headmaster at the Fanwood School for five years until his retirement.

During his career, Pimentel has also served on many different committees and boards, including the boards of the Rochester Institute of Technology, the Willie Ross School for the Deaf, and the American School for the Deaf. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Rhode Island.

Scope and Content

The bulk of these papers come from projects and events that Pimentel participated in during his professional career. It includes the texts of speeches and papers he gave, as well as correspondence, reports, event photographs, and clippings reporting on his activities.

Also present are a variety of award plaques and certificates that Pimentel has received, and a few souvenirs he collected from deaf-related events.

Series 1. Speeches, correspondence, and photographs, 1958-1999

Box 1

A collection of Pimentel’s correspondence on various topics, mostly related to deafness and disability. Also includes speeches on similar topics, photos from events he appeared at, and a draft copy of his foreword for the book Working with Deaf People.

Series 2. Correspondence and testimony for government, 1973-1983

Box 2

The bulk of this series is correspondence from Pimentel’s involvement with various federal committees concerned with deafness and disability issues. These include the White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals and President’s Committee on the Employment of the Handicapped under President Ford and the White House Conference on Aging under President Nixon. Also includes the text of testimony Pimentel gave on disability issues to Congress and to the Maryland state government.

Of particular interest is a file of correspondence between Pimentel and Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign and transition team in 1976-1977. It includes the text of a speech on disability issues written by Pimentel for then-Governor Carter, as well as an invitation to the Carter inauguration with tickets and souvenirs.

Series 3. Papers on travel, 1974-1985

Box 2

Correspondence and other materials from Pimentel’s speaking and survey trips, including a survey of deaf society in England and Portugal in the mid-1970s, a visit to the Abbe De L’Epee’s gravesite in France in 1980, and another trip to Portugal in the mid-1980s. Also includes some material on deaf life in Hawaii in the 1970s, and photographs and notes from a meeting with Norman Tsu, the first Chinese person to graduate from Gallaudet.

Series 4. Papers from Registry of the Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), 1966-1970

Box 2

A small collection of papers, mostly from Pimentel’s term as executive director of the RID (1967-1971). Includes reports, brochures, speeches, and the proceedings of the RID’s first conference in 1970. See series 6 for a souvenir from that last event.

Series 5. Award plaques and certificates, 1968-1995

Boxes 3-5

An assortment of plaques and other awards given to Pimentel by various agencies during his career, including the White House, the American School for the Deaf, the National Technical Institution for the Deaf, and the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf. Of note is his president’s gavel from TDI. Note that one of the awards from Northwestern Connecticut Community-Technical College is broken; the medallion that was originally attached to the plaque has fallen off.

Series 6. Other artifacts, 1970-1995

Box 5

Other items Pimentel collected during his career, including souvenir paperweights, a keychain from the 6th World Congress of the Deaf, and a T-shirt from a speech he gave to a Canadian deaf group.

Box Folder Title Year(s)
1 1 Clippings 1966-1995
1 2 Correspondence 1959-1999
1 3 Correspondence and clippings on NTID at University of Tennessee 1966
1 4 Correspondence with American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities 1974
1 5 Correspondence with National Research Council 1975
1 6 CV and letters of recruitment 1961-1976, 1996
1 7 Foreword for Working with Deaf People Undated
1 8 Letters of appreciation 1964-1988
1 9 List of awards Undated
1 10 Photograph of Northwest Campus dedication 1985
1 11 Photographs 1980s
1 12 Photographs with politicians 1958-1986
1 13 Programs from events 1975-1987
1 14 Reports and testimony on deaf education in Connecticut 1989-1997
1 15 Speeches 1974-1988
1 16 Speeches 1974-1994
1 17 TDI Agents and Personnel Manual 1975
2 1 Correspondence for White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals 1975-1976
2 2 Correspondence and speeches for Carter campaign and inauguration 1976-1977
2 3 Speech and correspondence for President’s Committee on the Employment of the Handicapped 1975
2 4 Testimony for government committees 1973-1983
2 5 White House Conference on Aging correspondence and agenda 1971
2 6 Brochures and booklets from Denmark 1977
2 7 Correspondence and clippings on Portugal visit 1984-1985
2 8 Correspondence and minutes on WFD convention and France visit 1980
2 9 Correspondence and report on trip to England and Portugal 1974-1977
2 10 Correspondence and reports on deaf in Hawaii 1975-1978
2 11 Photos and conversation notes with Norman Tsu 1979
2 12 Background information 1966
2 13 Proceedings of first conference 1970
2 14 Speeches and progress reports 1968
3 American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities recognition award 1977-1978
3 American School for the Deaf community service award 1994
3 Central Jersey Club of the Deaf humanitarian award 1980
3 Intermountain Special Studies Institute appreciation 1995
3 Northwestern Connecticut Community-Technical College Board of Trustees merit award 1998
4 Northwestern Connecticut Community-Technical College Northwest Deaf Club award 1997
4 NTID Alumni Relations Office award 1994
4 Teletypewriters for the Deaf Inc. president’s gavel 1974-1976
5 Texas Society of Interpreters for the Deaf award 1968
5 White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals certificate 1977
5 CSUN Daniel T. Cloud Leadership Award 1978
5 Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf Oral Deaf Adults Section achievement award 1976
5 District of Columbia Rehabilitation Association award 1974
5 Victorian Council of Deaf People T-shirt 1995
5 6th World Congress of the Deaf Abbe L’Epee keychain 1971
5 International Congress on Education of the Deaf paperweight 1963
5 Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf first convention paperweight 1970

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