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Dec 9, 2022
Manuscripts – The Barbara M. Kannapell Papers, 1964-1991
King Jordan Student Academic Center 1255
Kannapell, Barbara M., 1937-
The Barbara M. Kannapell Papers, 1964-1991
Gallaudet University Archives
Repository: Gallaudet University Archives
Call No.: MSS 191
Creator: Kannapell, Barbara M.
Title: The Barbara M. Kannapell Papers, 1964-1991
Quantity: 20 linear feet (18 document cases, 1 flat storage box)
Abstract: Papers created by deaf linguist and educator Dr. Barbara M. Kannapell while at Gallaudet University. Includes correspondence, dissertation, papers and articles, surveys, course materials, notes, manuscripts, and more.
Acquisition Information: Papers donated to Gallaudet University by Dr. Kannapell in 1995.
Processed By: Christopher Shea, July 2013
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:
Illustrated by Betty G. Miller. Gallaudet University Archives, call number Autograph
Festival of American folklife [videorecording] : [no.] 4, Thurs. afternoon, 6/25/81. Gallaudet University Archives, call number: Deaf Video 9
Born in 1937 to deaf parents, Barbara Kannapell attended Indiana School for the Deaf, graduating in 1956. She went on to attend Gallaudet College, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Deaf Education in 1961.
The next year, Kannapell began work at Gallaudet’s Office of Institutional Research as a research assistant under Dr. Harry Bornstein, the creator of Signed English. She collaborated with Dr. Bornstein on several books and papers and was responsible for co-writing several Signed English books for children, as well as teaching Signed English and statistics courses at Gallaudet.
Kannapell took her master’s degree in Educational Technology at the Catholic University of America in 1970, and in 1973 she transferred to Gallaudet’s Office of Educational Technology, where she worked as a research assistant specializing in the use of media and technology in deaf instruction. During this period, she also taught signed English and American Sign Language (ASL) courses at Gallaudet and the University of Maryland.
In 1972, Kannapell co-founded Deafpride, Inc, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the rights of deaf children and adults, especially minorities, as well as promoting bilingual education for the deaf. She served as its president until 1985.
Kannapell took a new position as a linguistics specialist at Gallaudet’s Instructional Development and Evaluation Center (IDEC) in 1979. IDEC, a newly founded division of Gallaudet’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), consulted with educators at all levels and providing new instructional technologies and techniques. As a linguistics specialist at IDEC and a member of the Deafness-Related Concerns Council (DRCC), Kannapell played a leading role in developing a revised orientation curriculum for Gallaudet faculty and staff.
In 1985, Dr. Kannapell received her Ph.D. in Sociolinguistics at Georgetown University. However, in early 1986, federal budget cuts led the Gallaudet administration to close IDEC, eliminating Dr. Kannapell’s position. She took a fellowship with Dr. I. King Jordan while continuing to teach classes in deafness and deaf culture at Gallaudet, and then worked as a freelance researcher and teacher for the remainder of the time period covered by these papers.
Today, Dr. Kannapell teaches at the Community College of Baltimore County.
Scope and Content
These papers cover Dr. Kannapell’s activity during her first term of employment at Gallaudet University, as well as some material created after her departure from full-time employment at Gallaudet in 1986. The bulk of the material ranges from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s. The papers are devoted to professional, rather than personal, subjects.
Two of the largest series cover Dr. Kannapell’s Ph.D. dissertation and her work on a revised orientation curriculum for Gallaudet University. In the case of her dissertation, the records present include an unbound copy of the dissertation as well as articles, papers, and other material that Dr. Kannapell drew on while writing the dissertation.
The orientation curriculum material is focused mostly on the handbook Orientation to Deafness, written by Dr. Kannapell, including early drafts of the book, evaluations of the drafts, and final copies, as well as some material on the push to revise the orientation curriculum and on videotapes produced to support the new orientation procedure.
Another large part of these papers is devoted to Dr. Kannapell’s correspondence on various professional subjects. The remainder of the papers covers various surveys, publications, and other projects from Dr. Kannapell’s career, including educational videotapes, course materials, and records from task forces and committees she served on.
Series 1: Correspondence, 1970-1991
Dr. Kannapell’s professional correspondence. Includes several files of general correspondence, then correspondence on specific topics.
Material of special interest in this series includes correspondence and reports from the Deafness-Related Concerns Council (DRCC), an organization formed to represent deaf faculty and staff at Gallaudet and which later became the President’s Council on Deafness. The DRCC’s work was a major impetus in the revision of Gallaudet’s faculty and staff orientation curriculum, as represented in series 3.
This series also includes correspondence from other groups that provided a deaf perspective on Gallaudet’s functions and practices. These include the Gallaudet Deaf Caucus and Committee Z, the latter a group that worked on reforming deaf education at Kendall Demonstration Elementary School (KDES).
Correspondence on the closing of the IDEC office is also included, as well as correspondence on workshops, symposia, and other events that Dr. Kannapell attended after leaving Gallaudet.
Series 2: Dissertation, 1972-1985
This series centers around Dr. Kannapell’s Ph.D. dissertation, “Language Choice Reflects Identity Choice: A Sociolinguistic Study of Deaf College Students,” presented at Georgetown University in 1985. A typed text of the dissertation is included, as well as Dr. Kannapell’s outline and initial notes for the dissertation. The remainder of the series consists mostly of articles and papers that she used in writing the dissertation, occasionally including a few pieces of notes or correspondence written by Dr. Kannapell.
The research material is concerned with sign language, culture, and the deaf community. Several papers by Dr. William C. Stokoe and Dr. James C. Woodward are included. Of particular interest is a copy of an early paper by Dr. Kannapell, “The Deaf Person as a Teacher of American Sign Language” (1977, box 4/folder 7).
Series 3: Orientation Curriculum, 1980-1986
Boxes 7-12, 19
During the early 1980s, Gallaudet’s deaf faculty and staff became dissatisfied with the orientation program used teach new employees how to understand and interact with the deaf. In 1982, the Deafness-Related Concerns Council (DRCC), later known as the President’s Council on Deafness, sent a report to the university president, Dr. Edward C. Merrill. In this report, they laid out their criticisms of the orientation and their ideas for improvement. A new orientation curriculum was devised, including videos on deafness and a handbook titled Introduction to Deafness, written by Dr. Kannapell.
This bulk of this series consists of several early drafts of Introduction to Deafness, as well as final published copies. The book was released in both short and long forms, with the short form intended for staff who had only limited involvement with the deaf community and the long form intended for faculty and staff who were expected to interact extensively with the deaf. Evaluation forms for early copies of the text are also included.
This series also includes a copy of the initial DRCC report to President Merrill; transcripts, waiver forms, and other material related to the videotapes produced to support the orientation curriculum; and a collection of articles and other material used for research purposes by Dr. Kannapell.
For other material from the DRCC, see series 1.
Series 4: Professional Documentation, 1972-1987
This series includes materials created by Dr. Kannapell to track and document her professional career, including resumes/CVs, goal lists, activity reports, job descriptions, and some related correspondence. It also includes a file of research and notes created by Dr. Kannapell while preparing to interview for the chair of Gallaudet’s Sign Communication department in 1987.
Series 5: Course Materials, 1972-1990
This series covers material created by Dr. Kannapell for courses, workshops, and symposia she taught. This includes syllabi, class lists and evaluation forms, reading and resource lists, and similar records. The bulk of the records are related to classes in deaf culture and deaf studies that Dr. Kannapell taught in the mid-1980s.
Series 6: Bilingual ASL Videotape Materials, 1975-1983
Records related to a pair of videotapes for bilingual English education developed by Dr. Kannapell in collaboration with Astrid Goodstein. These tapes, titled Building Vocabulary Through ASL and Building Idioms Through ASL, were intended to help ASL users improve their English skills. They were used as instructional aids in Gallaudet’s English language program. . At the time Dr. Kannapell created these tapes, she also collaborated with Bernard Bragg on a TV production, Be Bilingual, but it is not represented in this series. Included are transcripts of the videotapes and correspondence and notes discussing their content, as well as plans for lessons using the tapes.
Series 7: The Deaf Way Culture Committee Records, 1986-1989
Material related to planning for 1989’s The Deaf Way festival. Dr. Kannapell was part of the culture committee for the Deaf Way, and this series includes minutes and reports from that committee and a call for presentations. Several bibliographies of deaf-related videotapes from libraries around the country are also included; these were used to select videos to be shown at the event.
Series 8: Communication Evaluation and Remediation Task Force Records, 1980-1982
Boxes 15, 19
The Communication Evaluation and Remediation Task Force was established by Dr. David Tweedie, then dean of Gallaudet’s School of Communication, with the goal of evaluating the communication skills of incoming Gallaudet students and determining the need for a Communication Center that would help improve those skills. Dr. Kannapell was brought on to the task force as a specialist in linguistics, program development, and evaluation.
Included in this series are minutes from the task force’s meetings, reports and proposals produced by the task force, and records related to surveys conducted by the task force, including a large set of survey forms filled out by the faculty and printouts summarizing survey responses from faculty, staff, and students.
Series 9: Deaf Studies School Survey Records, 1989
Records of a survey conducted by Dr. Kannapell on behalf of the Council of American Instructors of the Deaf (CAID), with support from Gallaudet’s College of Continuing Education. Survey forms were sent to deaf education programs around the school to discover whether, and how, they were teaching deaf history and/or deaf studies. Includes completed response forms and Dr. Kannapell’s notes and breakdowns of the survey data.
Series 10: Other Writings, 1972-1986
A collection of Dr. Kannapell’s writings that do not fit into other series above. Includes some of her early notes and research on sign formation; transcripts for the ASL videotape Another Handful of Stories, on which she served as project coordinator; and the manuscript of a paper she wrote for a festschrift honoring Dr. William C. Stokoe, as well as related notes and correspondence.
Series 11: Harry Bornstein Research Papers and Survey, 1964-1976
A collection of papers by Dr. Harry Bornstein of Gallaudet’s Office of Institutional Research, covering subjects such as curricula for and teaching of the deaf. Dr. Bornstein is also known as the creator of Signed English. Dr. Kannapell is credited for her contributions to these papers, and on the last paper, New Signs for Instructional Purposes, she is listed as coauthor.
The series also includes some memos from Dr. Bornstein on his Signed English Project and a survey of faculty attitudes toward hearing students at Gallaudet on which Dr. Bornstein, Dr. Kannapell, and Howard L. Roy collaborated.
Series 12: Eugene Petersen Transcripts and Correspondence, 1986
Eugene Petersen was a deaf counselor who, in 1986, was awarded Gallaudet’s Powrie V. Doctor Chair to work on a book of oral histories of deaf people. The book was not published, due to Mr. Petersen’s death. His papers are held by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.
Dr. Kannapell was a member of Mr. Petersen’s advisory committee during the time he held the Doctor Chair. This series consists of correspondence between Mr. Petersen and Dr. Kannapell and the other members of the committee, an outline of Mr. Petersen’s planned book, and copies of several transcripts from interviews conducted by Mr. Petersen.
Series 13: Manuscript Collection, 1971-1988
A collection of other people’s articles and writings accumulated by Dr. Kannapell over her career. Includes materials by E. Lynn Jacobowitz, Ronald E. Sutcliffe, Dennis W. Wampler, Louie Fant, and others. Also includes various newsletters, articles, and publications on deaf culture, deaf education, and other subjects related to Dr. Kannapell’s field
Series Description and Folder Lists
Gallaudet University, chartered in 1864, is a private university for deaf and hard of hearing students.
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