Who We Are
News & Stories
Jan 26, 2023
Jan 19, 2023
November 11, 2022
November 17, 2022
November 19, 2022
University Wide Events
No Communication Compromises
Areas of Study
Changing the world
Community & Innovation
Research Experiences & Services
Your Journey Starts Here
Tools & Resources
Explore Our Campus
Dec 9, 2022
Manuscripts – The Harlan Lane Collection, 1800-2011
King Jordan Student Academic Center 1255
Lane, Harlan, 1936-
The Harlan Lane Collection, 1800-2011
Gallaudet University Archives
Repository: Gallaudet University Archives
Call No.: MSS 204
Creator: Lane, Harlan, 1936-
Title: The Harlan Lane Collection, 1800-2011
Quantity: 23 boxes (12 linear feet)
Abstract: Collection of research material and notes for books, as well as copies of historical letters. Created by psychologist Harlan Lane, a nationally recognized researcher and popular author in speech, language, and deaf culture.
Note: This document last updated July 2015.
Acquisition Information: Assembled from several donations given to the archives by Dr. Lane between 2010 and 2013.
Processed By: Christopher Shea, June 2015.
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:
The Harlan L. Lane Papers [undated]. Gallaudet University Archives.
Lane, Harlan L. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Biographical
Born 1936 in Brooklyn, Harlan Lane attended Columbia University, taking a BS and MS in psychology in 1958 and then going on to Harvard University, where he studied with B. F. Skinner and received his Ph.D. He was a professor at the University of Michigan and then transferred to the Sorbonne in Paris, where he received a doctorate in linguistics. In 1973, Dr. Lane returned to the U.S., where he was a visiting professor at the University of California at San Diego. He then relocated to Boston to join the faculty at Northeastern University, where he founded their Center of Research in Hearing, Speech, and Language.
Dr. Lane’s first book related to deaf culture was The Wild Boy of Aveyron (1976), for which he extensively researched the history of the early teacher of the deaf Jean-Marc Itard. This led him to research other teachers of the deaf and write When the Mind Hears (1984), a mainstream and critical success about the history of deaf education.
Since then, Dr. Lane has written or co-written several books on deaf history, genealogy, and culture, including A Journey into the Deaf-World (1996, with Robert Hoffmeister and Ben Bahan), The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community (1999), A Deaf Artist in Early America: The Worlds of John Brewster Jr. (2004), and The People of the Eye: Deaf Ethnicity and Ancestry (2011, with Ulf Hedberg and Richard Pillard).
Among other honors, Dr. Lane has received a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, a Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of the Deaf, an Award of Merit from the World Federation of the Deaf, and has been named a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the government of France.
Scope and Content
This collection is divided into two major parts. The first is material related to some of Dr. Lane’s books, including When the Mind Hears, People of the Eye, A Deaf Artist in Early America, and The Wild Boy of Aveyron. It mostly consists of notes and research material, correspondence with publishers and collaborators, and clippings of reviews.
The other part is a collection of photocopies of 18th- and 19th-century letters, diaries, and travel notes, primarily from Mason Fitch Cogswell and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. It also includes some material from Edward Miner Gallaudet, Laurent Clerc, the Rev. Joseph Cogswell, and others. The originals of these items are held by Yale University, the Library of Congress, and the Connecticut Historical Society.
Also present is a small collection of pins, buttons, award plaques, and other items that Dr. Lane has collected over the course of his association with the deaf community.
Series 1. When the Mind Hears, 1978-1991
Material from Dr. Lane’s breakthrough book When the Mind Hears, originally published in 1984 by Random House. Presented as an “autobiography” of Laurent Clerc, this book is also a study of the struggle between oralist and manualist methods of deaf education and a survey of early educators of the deaf. The bulk of this series is arranged following the chapters of the book, with Dr. Lane’s notes and research material presented for each chapter. The series also includes an extensive card catalog of research and topic references that Dr. Lane created while researching this book. These catalog cards refer to an extensive collection of photocopied texts that Dr. Lane used for research; these copies are held separately by the Gallaudet University Archives.
Also includes various post-publication materials, including an uncorrected proof copy of the book, reviews, correspondence with the publisher and translators, and correspondence and scripts related to a potential adaptation of the book for British television. This adaptation was broadcast under the title Pictures in the Mind on the ITV channel in 1987.
Series 2. People of the Eye, 1914-2002
Written by Dr. Lane with Ulf Hedberg and Richard Pillard, People of the Eye traces the history and genealogy of interlinked deaf families through New England, particularly Maine. Most of this series consists of genealogical materials, such as pedigrees, biographies, and birth and death records, arranged by family name. This includes a special collection of genealogies from families on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.
The remainder of the material in this series includes research notes and data tables on various aspects of the historical New England deaf population, as well as some correspondence between Dr. Lane, his collaborators, and his publisher. It also includes a CD with the final manuscript of the book, in .pdf format, as delivered to the publisher.
Series 3. The Wild Boy of Aveyron, 1800-1992
Dr. Lane’s first book tells the story of Victor of Aveyron and the attempts to educate him and provide him with language. The series includes correspondence and notes, an extensive clipping file of reviews of the book, and some photocopies of letters written in Year 8 of the French Revolutionary calendar (1799). Of particular interest is an original letter by Dr. Jean Marc Itard, the physician who treated Victor, written in Year 9 (1800) to the directors of the institution where he was employed.
Series 4. A Deaf Artist in Early America, 1959-2006
In this book, Dr. Lane explored the life of deaf portraitist John Brewster Jr. (1766-1854), whose portraits of the New England mercantile elite are famed for their unique style and their depiction of the role of class and wealth in 18th- and 19th-century America. Dr. Lane’s book examines how Brewster interacted with both hearing and deaf societies at the time.
This series consists mostly of Dr. Lane’s correspondence about the book, some notes and genealogical material on Brewster and his subjects, and outlines for the book.
Series 5. Other correspondence and clippings, 1979-1990
A small collection of material not specifically related to Dr. Lane’s writing projects, including a collection of clippings on deaf education in France and some correspondence with libraries about obtaining research copies.
Series 6. Photocopies of Mason Fitch Cogswell correspondence, undated (1772-1925)
Boxes 18-20, 21
The bulk of this series consists of copies of letters sent to Mason Fitch Cogswell (1761-1830), the Connecticut physician whose backing and leadership helped fund Thomas H. Gallaudet’s American Asylum. This general correspondence is arranged by the surname of the sender.
There is also a collection of letters between Mason Cogswell and his various family members, including his father, Rev. James Cogswell (1720-1807); Mason’s daughter, Mary A. Cogswell (1801-1868), later Mary Cogswell Weld; her husband, Lewis Weld (1796-1853); and Mason’s brother, Sam Cogswell (1754-1790). Also includes some copied diaries from Mason F. Cogswell and Rev. James Cogswell, and some of Mason’s personal papers.
Series 7. Photocopies of Gallaudet and Clerc correspondence and other materials, undated (1808-1936)
Most of this series consists of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet’s correspondence, arranged chronologically. It also includes some sets of travel notes written by Edward Miner Gallaudet, as well as an 1816 set of conversation notes between Thomas H. Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc. Also included is a copy of the Clerc Galloway collection, which consists of clipped articles, correspondence, and various other material related to Laurent Clerc.
Series 8. Awards and plaques, 1991-2011
Boxes 20, 22-23
A collection of pins, plaques, certificates, and other items that Dr. Lane has been given by various deaf institutions, including the National Association of the Deaf, the World Federation of the Deaf, Gallaudet University, and the Registry of Interpreters of the Deaf.
Series Description and Folder Lists
Gallaudet University, chartered in 1864, is a private university for deaf and hard of hearing students.
Copyright © 2023 Gallaudet University. All rights reserved.
800 Florida Avenue NE, Washington, D.C. 20002