MSS 195

Randolph, John D., 1923-1992

The John D. Randolph Papers, 1940-1985

Gallaudet University Archives

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Gallaudet University Archives

Call No.: MSS 195

Title: The John D. Randolph Papers, 1940-1985

Quantity: 2.5 linear feet (4 document boxes, 1 artifact box)

Abstract: Papers of deaf patent examiner, lawyer, chemist, and target shooter John D. Randolph. Includes correspondence, class notes, personal possessions, and more.


Administrative Information

Acquisition Information: Collection created from several donations given to Gallaudet by Mr. Randolph between 1984 and 1986.

Processed By: Christopher Shea, February 2014.

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:


  • Papers of John D. Randolph, 1944-1982. Gallaudet University Archives, call number: MSS 70

Museum Artifacts

  • Two rifle shooting trophies, 1967, 1969
  • Eight jacket patches from shooting competitions, 1970
  • Desk pen set, undated
  • Gas-powered model airplane, 1943
  • Shooting jacket, undated
  • Sports suit from World Games, undated
  • National Rifle Association silverware, undated
  • Six wall plaques from shooting competitions, 1967-1981


  • John D. Randolph [picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, call number: Portraits

Vertical Files

  • Randolph, John D. Gallaudet University Archives, call number: Deaf Biographical

Biographical Sketch

John Dennis Randolph was born 1923 in Claremore, Oklahoma. As a child, he moved frequently because his father worked in the oil industry and the family traveled to wherever jobs were available. He attended public schools in Texas and Oklahoma. He experienced progressive hearing loss over his childhood from a variety of diseases, starting with whooping cough in 1926, scarlet fever in 1932, and a double mastoid infection in 1935 that left him completely deaf in one ear and with severe hearing loss in the other.

Mr. Randolph transferred to the Texas School for the Deaf in 1933 and graduated in 1940, going on to Gallaudet College. While at Gallaudet, he came close to failing out of the school due to personal conflict with Elizabeth Peet, who taught French and refused to have Mr. Randolph in her class. With the support of college president Dr. Percival Hall, Mr. Randolph was allowed to go to the University of Texas to complete his French requirement for graduation. He stayed at UT to study for a master’s degree in organic chemistry, although he was told by friends and associates that he was making a mistake; they feared discrimination against deaf workers in the scientific field would prevent him from getting a job.

Mr. Randolph graduated in 1948 and first found work doing cancer research at the Rees-Stealy foundation in San Diego. When the grant for that project expired in 1953, he returned to UT for further study, and then took a job as an analytical chemist for the federal Bureau of Mines in 1955. The next year, he transferred to the US Patent Office, where he worked as an examiner for the rest of his career.
At the same time, Mr. Randolph enrolled in Georgetown Law School, receiving an LL.B. degree in 1960. During the 1960s and 1970s, he was heavily involved in target shooting competitions, particularly in the World Games for the Deaf. He was a liaison for the 1965 World Games in Washington and was captain of the American shooting team for the 1969 team in Belgrade. He also participated in the 1973 World Games in Malmö, Sweden.

After suffering a serious heart attack at work, Mr. Randolph retired in 1982. He passed away on June 30, 1992.

Scope and Content

These papers can be divided into three main groups: education, Patent Office, and shooting. The first group includes class notes and some classwork from Mr. Randolph’s studies at the University of Texas and Georgetown Law, as well as his diploma and yearbook from the Texas School of the Deaf.

The material related to the Patent Office consists mostly of decisions from the office’s Board of Appeals, of which Mr. Randolph was an acting member. A small amount of regular correspondence from his work as a patent examiner is also included.

The material on shooting focuses mainly on Mr. Randolph’s involvement in the 10th, 11th, and 12th World Games for the Deaf as a technical liaison and team captain, particularly the 11th World Games (1969). It includes correspondence, event results, bulletins and programs from the World Games, as well as correspondence and results from other shooting competitions that Mr. Randolph participated in.
These papers also include a small collection of Mr. Randolph’s personal artifacts, including eyeglasses and a hearing aid.

Many of the series in this set of papers are accompanied by notes from Mr. Randolph, written in the mid-1980s when he made his donations to the Gallaudet University Archives. The notes help explain the history and significance, from Mr. Randolph’s point of view, of these items. They have been kept with their associated material where possible, and the remainder have been filed together for reference.

Series Descriptions

Series 1: University of Texas classwork and notes, 1946-1947

Box 1

This series consists of material created by Mr. Randolph while studying at the University of Texas. It includes a set of handwritten calculus work with the instructor’s notes appended, as well as class notes and examinations from courses on chemistry and bacteriology. MSS 70 includes his examinations and quizzes from the same period.

Series 2: Law school notes, 1956-1970

Box 1

Typed and handwritten notes from Mr. Randolph’s studies at Georgetown Law School in the late 1950s, as well as a small set of notes from law review school in 1970. Includes class notes from courses on criminal, constitutional, property, negotiable instruments, and labor law, as well as a 1951 booklet on how to study law that Mr. Randolph used while a student. MSS 70 includes much more of his class notes from Georgetown.

Series 3: Patent Office correspondence, 1965-1981

Box 1

A fragmentary selection of material from Mr. Randolph’s time at the Patent Office, including correspondence and memoranda and a copy of a 1965 certificate of commendation.

Series 4: Board of Appeals decisions, 1976-1978

Boxes 1-2

Mr. Randolph worked on the Patent Office’s Board of Appeals, although he was never formally appointed to the board and served only as an acting member, which caused him some resentment. The Board reviewed appeals of patents rejected by other examiners and either affirmed or reversed them.

This series consists of official decisions on cases Mr. Randolph ruled on as part of the Board, including notes on the patent claims under review, lists of applicable articles in the scientific literature, and explanation of why the claims were accepted or rejected.

Series 5: Shooting correspondence and records, 1960-1985

Boxes 2-3

Mr. Randolph was an avid amateur gunsmith and target shooter. He was captain of the American shooting team at the 11th World Games for the Deaf (1969) and served as a liaison and advisor at the World Games in 1965 and 1973.

The bulk of this series consists of correspondence regarding the various World Games that Mr. Randolph was involved in, particularly the 11th, where he faced great difficulty in recruiting and training skilled deaf shooters and in bringing his team’s guns safely into Yugoslavia. This includes correspondence with CISS, with other shooters, and with military authorities at Quantico regarding use of their shooting range. Bulletins, programs, and results from the World Games are also included.

Also present are some correspondence and results from other shooting events that Mr. Randolph competed in; copies of shooting regulations from CISS, the International Olympic Committee, and the International Shooting Union; and other correspondence regarding shooting, including some letters written to the Washington Post and Senator Ted Kennedy arguing against a gun control bill Senator Kennedy proposed in 1967. This series also includes an assortment of jacket patches from CISS, National Rifle Association, and other shooting events. Series 7 includes other artifacts related to the World Games and Mr. Randolph’s shooting.

Series 6: Other items, 1940-1986

Box 3

A small collection of items that do not fit in the above series, including Mr. Randolph’s Texas School for the

Deaf diploma and yearbook; some notes he wrote on his donations to the Gallaudet University Archives; articles and clippings on the history of Mexia, Texas, where he lived for a while as a child; reprints of chemistry articles he coauthored; photographs of himself and some model airplanes he built while at Gallaudet; and more.

Series 7: Artifacts, 1940s-1985

Boxes 4-5

A collection of personal items from Mr. Randolph’s life, including his alarm clock, hearing aid, and two pairs of eyeglasses. Other items of interest include his diploma for serving as a liaison at the 1965 International Games for the Deaf, nametags and ID cards from several World Games, a slide rule he used over the course of his career, and a couple of rifle targets he fired on during an NRA competition.

Series Description and Folder Lists

Box Folder Title Date(s)
1 1 Calculus work from University of Texas 1946
1 2 Class notes and work from University of Texas 1946-1947
1 3 Class notes from Georgetown Law School 1957-1958
1 4 Class notes from Georgetown Law School 1958
1 5 Class notes from Georgetown Law School 1959
1 6 Class notes from Georgetown Law School 1960
1 7 Class notes from law review school 1970
1 8 Patent office correspondence 1965-1981
1 9 Board of Appeals decisions 1976-1978
2 1 Board of Appeals decisions 1977
2 2 Board of Appeals decisions 1977
2 3 Board of Appeals decisions 1977
2 4 CISS and other shooting regulations 1960-1963
2 5 Correspondence on gun control 1967
2 6 Correspondence on shooting 1966-1985
2 7 9th International Games for the Deaf shooting results 1961
2 8 10th International Games for the Deaf shooting results and correspondence 1964-1965
2 9 11th World Games of the Deaf programs and bulletins 1969
2 10 11th World Games of the Deaf shooting bulletins and results 1969
3 1 11th World Games of the Deaf shooting correspondence 1966-1969
3 2 12th World Games for the Deaf programs 1973
3 3 Other correspondence on World Games shooting 1973-1977
3 4 Results of shooting competitions 1968-1971
3 5 Patches from shooting competitions and groups 1967-1968
3 6 GCAA awards program 1982
3 7 Magazines on history of Mexia 1955-1964
3 8 Note accompanying slide rule 1984
3 9 Notes on donations 1984-1986
3 10 Photographs Undated
3 11 Reprint papers on chemistry 1950-1951
3 12 Selective Service card and note 1948
3 13 Texas School for the Deaf diploma 1940
3 Texas School for the Deaf yearbook 1940
4 Alarm clock Undated
4 Rifle targets (2) Undated
5 10th International Games for the Deaf diploma 1965
5 Eyeglasses (2) Undated
5 Hearing aid Undated
5 Slide rule Undated
5 NRA winter league medallion Undated
5 12th World Games for the Deaf identity card 1973
5 12th World Games for the Deaf American Athletic Association of the Deaf identity card 1973
5 10th World Games for the Deaf identity tag 1965
5 7th World Winter Games for the Deaf identity tag 1975
5 Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms identity card 1985
5 Name pin Undated

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