History Through Deaf Eyes – A College

On April 8, 1864, a year before the end of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed an Act of Congress to “authorize the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind, to confer degrees.” The collegiate division of the institution was named National Deaf-Mute College in 1865, and in 1894, Gallaudet College.

Now named Gallaudet University, it remains the only accredited liberal arts university for deaf students in the world. In addition to providing deaf people with the opportunity to attend college, prepare for professional work, and assume leadership roles, Gallaudet contributed to the building of a stronger national Deaf Community.

Gallaudet University campus

Pictured here is Chapel Hall at Gallaudet University. The weathervane on top of the building, says “I.D.D.” for the “Institution for the Deaf and Dumb.” At that time, the term “dumb” meant a person who did not speak.

Gallaudet University Archives c. 2001 and c. 1892