History Through Deaf Eyes – State School in an Expanding Nation

Following the example of the American School for the Deaf, other states began to establish schools for deaf children. Schools opened in New York in 1818, Pennsylvania in 1820, Kentucky in 1823, Ohio in 1827, and Virginia in 1838. By the 1850s, twenty schools had been established; by the turn of the century, more than 50. Most states had residential schools, some more than one. Private and religious schools for deaf students became common in larger cities.

Deaf people standing in front of the North Dakota School for the Deaf

Devil’s Lake. When the school was founded in 1890, citizens of the town furnished the building free of charge. By the end of the first year, 23 students were enrolled and the school continued to grow. North Dakota School for the Deaf c. 1881

Colorado Mute and Blind Institution

Administrators and teachers kept in touch through meetings and correspondence. This letter from the Colorado Mute and Blind Institute to a teacher at the Kentucky Deaf Mute Institute shows the Colorado school building. Kentucky School for the Deaf An 1893 rendering of the proposed Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb shows several buildings, roads, and the entrance gate to the campus. Gallaudet University Archives, Number 92-6, Engraver William R. Cullingworth From H. Van Allen, “The Pennsylvania Institution” in Histories of American School for the Deaf, 1817-1893, ed. Edward Allen Fay (Washington, D.C., Volta Bureau.)