History Through Deaf Eyes – Home Skills – Training for Girls

Like other Americans of the 19th and early 20th centuries, most deaf people worked in trades. Schools for deaf students were among the first in the nation to offer vocational training in addition to academic courses. Sewing, cooking, and hairstyling were some of the classes offered for deaf girls.

teaching deaf students how to cook

Nutrition, menu planning, and shopping for food were among the skills taught in schools. These girls are learning how to follow a recipe in a cooking class at the Kendall School in Washington, D.C., in 1925.

Gallaudet University Archives

sewing North Dakota School for the Deaf

Students from the North Dakota School for the Deaf pose for a picture to demonstrate the variety of skills they are learning in sewing class. In addition to sewing their own clothes, girls were often responsible for darning and mending clothes for boys and younger children at the school.

State Historical Society of North Dakota – 0258-14