Nellie Zabel Willhite – First Deaf Woman Pilot

by Clayton Shell | November 16, 2017 Nellie Zabel Willhite was the woman that I had found in my research on “Deaf people in History.” Born November 22, 1892, in Box Elder, South Dakota, she became the first woman to fly in South Dakota, and the first deaf woman pilot. She was not born deaf, […]

Marie Heurtin – the French Helen Keller

by Alyssa Weeks | November 14, 2017 My favorite person in deaf history is Marie Heurtin. You might know her as the French Hellen Keller but to many she is not known at all. Her story was one of trials and tribulation. Marie was a deaf-blind girl who had absolutely no manners and behaved like […]

Famous Deaf People

No Hearing People Here! Deaf people have been more in the spotlight than you know. There are so many famous deaf people and famous hard of hearing people who have been the founders of many organizations, been pioneers in deaf education, written books, painted famous artworks, held world records in sports, acted on several well-known […]

Juliette Gordon Low – Deaf Founder of the Girl Scouts

Juliette Gordon Low was a deaf woman who was best known for being the founder of the Girl Scouts organization. Juliette Gordon Low Articles by Students Who is your favorite person from deaf history? Juliette Gordon Low, a Hero to All People by Jodi J (Parsons, KS, USA) | January 24, 2013 Perhaps no greater tribute […]

LeRoy Colombo – Famous Deaf Lifeguard

LeRoy Colombo was a famous deaf lifeguard entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for saving 907 lives. Leroy Colombo Articles by Students LeRoy Colombo by Leah Ward (Williamsburg, Virginia, U.S.) | January 4, 2010 LeRoy Colombo was born on December 23, 1905 in Galveston, Texas. He was diagnosed with spinal meningitis when he […]

Laurent Clerc

Laurent Clerc played a significant part in the history of American Sign Language and was the first deaf teacher of the deaf in America. He was also among the first of these educators in the world and has been known as “The Apostle of the Deaf in America” and “The Father of the Deaf.” Not […]

Laura Redden Searing – First Deaf Female Journalist

Laura Redden Searing was born in 1839 and is best known for being the first deaf female journalist. She was sent by the St. Louis Republican to cover the American Civil War in 1860 and lived a life where she never allowed her deafness or age to hold her back. Laura Redden Searing Articles by Students […]

Laura Bridgman – The First Helen Keller

Laura Bridgman was the first deaf-blind person to learn language. When you think about the first deaf-blind child to be educated, you will most likely think of Helen Keller. In reality, though, Helen’s frustrated teacher was not the first to attempt this type of education. She was born on December 21, 1829 in Hanover, New […]

Helen Keller – The First Deaf-Blind College Graduate

Helen Keller is an internationally acclaimed author and lecturer. And that is so amazing because she was deaf and blind. When I was in elementary school, we learned all about Helen Keller. I completed a report on her and dressed up as Anne Sullivan in the fourth grade. Helen is the most famous deaf-blind person […]

Sean Berdy

Sean Berdy is a deaf actor, comedian and dancer. He was in Sandlot 2, Legend of the Mountain Man, The Deaf Family, and is best known for his role as Emmett on the hit TV show Switched at Birth. Sean Berdy Articles by Students Sean Berdy by Alex (Buffalo) | May 15, 2014 O.K., O.K., […]

Heather Whitestone – The First Deaf Miss America

Heather Whitestone McCallum is known as “Miss Deaf America” (even though Miss Deaf America is a different pageant). She was the first deaf woman to be crowned Miss America in the Miss America pageant. Heather is both beautiful and intelligent, and it’s nice to see that the panelists didn’t discriminate against her because she’s deaf. […]

George William Veditz

George Veditz was a former president of the National Association of the Deaf of the United States and was one of the first to film American Sign Language. George William Veditz Articles by Students George Veditz by Alyssa Mattingly | October 20, 2016 “ASL is not just a different language, it is a different medium […]

Linda Bove – “Linda the Librarian”

Linda Bove was born on November 30, 1945 in Garfield, New Jersey to deaf parents. She majored in library science at Gallaudet University and received her bachelor’s degree in 1968. She then got into the acting profession and performed for the National Theatre of the Deaf (NTD) recently after it was formed in 1967. In […]

Dummy Hoy (William Hoy) – The First Deaf Major League Baseball Player

Dummy Hoy made history as the first deaf major league baseball player. He’s also not famous just because he was deaf; he was also a remarkably talented and skilled baseball player. Dummy was anything but dumb. Baseball is known as America’s sport, and Hoy had a lot to do with what happens in baseball today. […]

Sue Thomas

Sue Thomas was a deaf undercover specialist for the FBI. She was the inspiration for the TV series Sue Thomas: FBEye, an international speaker, author, and founder of Kennels of Levi: EPEC Service Dogs for people who are physically challenged. She was also the founder of WaterBrooks – a Christian spiritual renewal center – and […]

Famous Deaf Actors – Bringing ASL to Life

Truly Inspirational There have been several famous deaf actors in the media that have made significant contributions to the deaf community and hearing society. If not for them and their influence in mainstream entertainment, deaf awareness may not be where it is today. These famous deaf people changed the Deaf world by showing hearing society […]

Marlee Matlin – Deaf Academy Award Winner

Marlee Matlin was born in Morton Grove, Illinois on August 24th, 1965. After she came down with the German Measles at the age of eighteen months, she lost her hearing and became deaf. When she was young, she communicated with her family and friends using sign language. When she was seven years old, Marlee started […]

Ferdinand Berthier

by Catherine Ritchie | July 22, 2017 The Deaf community has a rich culture with many prominent figures in its history. Some whose names are fairly well known such as Gallaudet and Helen Keller and other’s whom receive less recognition despite their important contributions. My favorite person thus far in Deaf history is one of […]

Johnnie Ray – Deaf “Father of Rock and Roll”

by Jennifer Hatley | July 7, 2017 I find music to be my outlet for so many different things. I chose Johnnie Ray (John Alvin Ray) as he was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. John Alvin Ray made his debut and held his popularity in the 1950s. I find that being able to find […]

Teresa de Cartagena

by Jack | April 7, 2017 Teresa de Cartagena was a nun in 15th Century Spain. She is remarkable for being Spain’s first feminist writer as well as for being deaf and writing positively about it. Teresa went deaf in her late twenties/early thirties. She was devastated by this, thinking that God was punishing her […]

Regina Olson Hughes

by Cynthia Brainerd | February 27, 2017 Regina Olson Hughes (1895-1993) became fully deaf at the age of 14, due to the effects of scarlet fever. She could still speak fluently, but had to find new ways of communicating with the world around her. She attended the famous Gallaudet College where she later lived for […]

I. King Jordan – Deaf People Can Do Anything Except Hear

by Brent | November 9, 2017 This now famous quote is from my favorite person in Deaf history – I. King Jordan. He became the first Deaf president of Gallaudet University as a result of the Deaf President Now movement in 1988. Before that time, the premier university for the Deaf was led by hearing […]

Kevin Lucas Smire

by David Cooper | October 13, 2016 The deaf person wrote about was Kevin Lucas Smire who was also known as “Deaf Kev.” He was born on October 28, 1996 and is 19 years old. I picked him because I love music so I searched for hours looking for a deaf musician and I found […]

Matt and Kay Daigle

by Karri Kimery | August 18, 2016 As I was reading about people in the deaf community, I came across Matt and Kay Daigle.  These two met in 1993, at Deaf/Hearing touring theater company where they were both cast members.  These two are comedy partners.  While they were at a cartooning convention in Missouri, Kay […]

Gertrude Ederle

by Natalie Picone | August 27, 2016 In 1926 at the age of 19, Gertrude Ederle was the first woman to swim across the English Channel.  Twenty-one miles from Dover, England to Cape Griz-Nez. Gertrude was born to German immigrants in New York City on October 23, 1905.  She was one of five children.  Ederle […]

Louise Fletcher

by Lisa | February 3, 2016 I’m going to talk about someone here who first opened my eyes to sign language, and that is the actress Louise Fletcher. Louise Fletcher was not deaf herself, but was born to deaf parents. She most famously played Nurse Ratched in the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. […]

Nanette Fabray

by Nanette Kaufmann (Kissimmee, Florida) Award winning actress and advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities. Her honors representing the handicapped are many, including the President’s Distinguished Service-vice Award and the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award. She and Helen Keller are the only women to receive the Public Service Award from the American Academy of […]

David Michalowski

by Anonymous David Michalowski, profoundly deaf since birth, grew up in Chicago, Illinois. He competed at the United States Figure Skating National Championships from 1978 until 1982, including the 1980 Winter Olympic Trials, and at four international competitions from 1980 until 1982, including the Winter World University Games twice. David became the FIRST deaf figure […]

Dr. Candace McCullough

by Anne (Richmond, VA) Dr. Candace McCullough is the first Deaf psychologist to set up a counseling business. She makes counseling services accessible to Deaf people all over the states. Dr. McCullough is a Deaf psychotherapist, licensed in Maryland and the District of Columbia. She holds certifications as an Approved Clinical Supervisor and a Distance Credentialed […]

Braam Jordaan

by Anonymous Braam Jordaan was born profoundly Deaf to Deaf parents in Benoni, Johannesburg. He has achieved outstanding art recognition both locally and internationally. After graduating from TAS, he worked for several high-end film and animation companies on high-end projects for BMW, Coronation, Nampak, Mitsubishi, Yardley, Musica, World Wildlife Fund, Rabea Tea, American Eagle and […]

Lou Ferrigno

by Hannah (Indiana) Lou has been an inspiration to many deaf, he played the Hulk in the original series, he also appeared in “I love you, Man” and appeared as himself in “The King of Queens” and also performed in Hercules. Lou was also a body builder and worked closely with former governor of California, […]

Joseph Henry Sharp

by Kristyn Murray (Houston, Texas) Joseph Henry Sharp was one of the founding members of the Taos Society of Artists, a group that produced some of the most significant artwork in American history. Born in 1859, he became Deaf after an incident where he almost drowned in a river at the age of 12. By […]

Joel Barish – Contemporary Deaf Performer

by Sara Huang (Taipei, Taiwan) | March 12, 2013 I have read a lot about the oppression of the Deaf, but I really appreciate people who have embraced Deaf culture and have a passion for studying the social fabric of Deaf people in other countries. Joel Barish has traveled the globe and has been filmed […]

Henry Kisor – Famous Deaf Author

Henry Kisor is the author of What’s that Pig Outdoors? and other novels based on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan locales. Deaf all his life, blogger, professional editor and writer for Chicago newspaper, humorist. “The average deaf person has the peripheral vision of a fish-eye lens, almost 180 degrees, and spots the tiniest movement within […]

Thomas Alva Edison

by Kamalakannan (India) Another famous deaf person is Thomas Alva Edison who was born on February 11, 1847. He was an American scientist, inventor, and businessman. However, many people don’t know that Edison had a hearing loss since childhood and reportedly lost more of his hearing and became technically deaf in his early teens. Thomas […]

Granville Redmond

by Grace (Canada) My favorite deaf historical figure is Granville Redmond. His struggle to be accepted by the common man is fairly touching, and his paintings are simply out of this world! Throughout his life, he accomplished much more than most do. Aside from creating a wealth of inspiring, beautiful artwork, he also worked with […]

Robert Hoskin

by Joseph Heenan (Frankston, Australia) | March 8, 2013 The 48 year old Australian named Robert Hoskin is a well-known deaf filmmaker who has won several film awards from his short films shot in 35mm film format intended for festival screening some years ago. He has expertised in 35mm film making activities for nearly 20 […]

Bob Hiltermann

by Anonymous | March 2, 2013 Bob Hiltermann is a well known Deaf actor and is known for: Founder of Deaf West Theater (Fountain Theater) in North Hollywood California. All My Children, Children of a Lesser God, Cold Case. Drummer for the only Deaf Band Beethoven’s Nightmare. Teacher of American Sign Language in Mission Hills […]

Alice Cogswell – The Beginning of American Deaf Education

When you are 9 years old, you don’t think about making history. Alice Cogswell made history at the age of 9 by sparking the beginning of the creation of American Sign Language and American deaf education. Alice is known as the young deaf girl who inspired Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet–the man who began the education of […]