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Dec 9, 2022
Manuscripts – The Simon J. Carmel United States Deaf Skiers Association (USDSA) Records, 1966-1978
King Jordan Student Academic Center 1255
Carmel, Simon J. (Simon Jacob), 1938-
The Simon J. Carmel United States Deaf Skiers Association (USDSA) Records, 1966-1978
Gallaudet University Archives
Repository: Gallaudet University Archives
Call No.: MSS 217
Creator: Carmel, Simon J. (Simon Jacob), 1938-
Title: The Simon J. Carmel United States Deaf Skiers Association (USDSA) Records, 1966-1976
Quantity: 6 boxes (3 linear feet)
Abstract: Records of the United States Deaf Skiers Association, a group dedicated to promoting amateur deaf skiing, as collected by founding member Dr. Simon J. Carmel. Includes correspondence, clippings, brochures, ephemera, and more.
Note: This document last updated March 2017.
Acquisition Information: Donated to the Archives by Simon J. Carmel, 1987.
Processed By: Christopher Shea, March 2017.
Conditions on Use and Access: This collection is open to the public with no restrictions.
Related Material in the Archives
In 1968, 45 deaf skiers from around the country gathered in Park City, Utah, for the first national meeting. At this meeting, several people, including Jerome Moers and Simon J. Carmel, urged that a national deaf ski organization be created. The idea found favor, and the yet unnamed group elected Joe Cohen as its first president and began work on creating a constitution and by-laws. Carmel was originally chosen as Eastern Director, and later served as president as well.
At the group’s second meeting, in 1970, the name United States Deaf Skiers Association was settled on, and the group agreed to have biennial meetings. The constitution and by-laws were approved and the board of directors was formalized. The USDSA also affiliated itself with the American Athletic Association for the Deaf (AAAD). This was so it could be recognized by the Comité International des Sports des Sourds (CISS), the international deaf sports governing body. CISS recognition allowed USDSA to participate in the World Winter Games for the Deaf (now the Winter Deaflympics) by selecting and training the United States ski team. The USDSA also held its first officially sanctioned races at the 1970 meeting.
Cross-country skiers were added to the group in 1972. The USDSA successfully bid to host the 1975 Winter World Games for the Deaf at Lake Placid, New York, in 1975. In 1998, the group admitted snowboarders and changed its name to the United States Deaf Skiers and Snowboarders Association (USDSSA). It continues to be active in sanctioning and promoting deaf winter sports.
Simon J. Carmel, born deaf in 1938, attended Gallaudet University, receiving a BA in physics from Gallaudet and a MA and Ph.D. in cultural anthropology at American University. At Gallaudet, Dr. Carmel was a noted athlete in soccer and swimming, representing the United States in swimming at the World Games for the Deaf in 1961. In 1962, he became interested in skiing and trained as a member of the Washington Ski Patrol, as well as becoming a qualified ski instructor. In 1967, he singlehandedly organized, trained, and coached the first American team to participate in the World Winter Games for the Deaf. In 1971 he was team director, and in later years he continued to be involved in fundraising, organizing, and training for the World Winter Games. Besides skiing, he has many other interests, including stage magic, deaf folklore and humor, sign language, and Jewish and Russian deaf history, and led an oral history program to document the stories of deaf Holocaust survivors. He worked as a crystallographer at the National Bureau of Standards and has also been a professor on the NTID faculty.
Scope and Content
The bulk of these papers is Dr. Carmel’s correspondence on skiing and ski-related events, both as an individual and an officer of the USDSA. Researchers seeking a more comprehensive look at the history of the USDSA should probably start with MSS 95. This collection also has extensive material on Dr. Carmel’s work with hearing ski groups to gain mainstream recognition for deaf skiers.
Also included are some clippings and publications related to deaf skiing, as well as some material on the 1971 USA ski team for the World Winter Games for the Deaf.
Series 1. USDSA records, 1967-1978
A small collection of correspondence, clippings, and publications on skiing, both general and deaf-related. Includes some correspondence with deaf ski clubs around the country, as well as the results of a project to gather statistical information on deaf skiers.
Series 2. Individual correspondence, 1968-1976
Dr. Carmel’s correspondence with individuals related to the USDSA’s mission. The bulk is correspondence with Tom Hassard, who served as USDSA’s competition director and chair of the United States deaf ski team during the period covered by these records. There is also some correspondence with Art Kruger of the AAAD and some correspondence with directors of ski resorts about arranging events at their sites.
Series 3. Event records, 1966-1976
Records of various deaf ski-related events, including training clinics, conventions, and competitions. Of particular interest is some material on the 1971 World Winter Games for the Deaf US ski team, including a set of post-Games questionnaires for skiers. Also includes some programs and other material from USDSA conventions.
Series 4. Mainstream ski organization records, 1967-1975
Bulk is records from the United States Ski Association (USSA) and one of its affiliate groups, the United States Eastern Amateur Ski Association (USEASA). Dr. Carmel worked with both groups to gain recognition and accommodation for deaf skiers, such as mandating that ski patrollers carry a pencil and pad so they could communicate with the deaf. He chaired a Deaf Skiers Committee as part of both the USSA and the USEASA. Also includes some material from other hearing ski interest groups.
Series 5. Other winter sports records, 1968-1975
Includes correspondence and clippings on deaf figure skaters, such as the Mariani and Sheehan families, as well as correspondence with Barry Strassler, who was then chair of the United States Deaf Hockey Committee.
Gallaudet University, chartered in 1864, is a private university for deaf and hard of hearing students.
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