By: Shelley Udzinski (07/06/16)
While Thomas Gallaudet is perhaps the most prominent name in US deaf history, equally as impressive are the accomplishments of his son, Edward Miner Gallaudet. What is perhaps the most intriguing fact is that he began his journey in deaf history at the young age of 16, two years after the passing of his father.
In 1855, he began his career as a teacher at the American School of the Deaf, founded by his father, while pursuing a bachelor of science degree at Trinity College. In 1857, he became the first principle of the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and the Blind in Washington, D.C. During that time, Gallaudet desired to further recognition of the Institution by obtaining official college status, and was successful in this venture in 1864 when President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill permitting the Columbia Institution to award college degrees to its attendees.
Edward Gallaudet remained employed in several roles at the College for 53 years, advocating the use of sign language throughout his career. He dedicated his life to advance deaf education, beginning at a very young age, and that is why I believe him to be one of the most impressive figures in deaf history.