George William Veditz

by Anonymous


(August 13, 1861 – March 12, 1937)

Was a former president of National Association of the Deaf of the United States and was one of the first to film American Sign Language.

Following his graduation from Gallaudet (Columbia) in 1884, he began to work as teacher at the Maryland School for the Deaf. He also continued to study at Gallaudet (Columbia) and obtained a master of arts degree in 1887. The next year, in 1888, he accepted a new position at the Colorado School for the Deaf, where he worked as a teacher for another seventeen years. Before the move to Colorado, he founded the Association of Deaf people of Maryland.

In 1907 he was elected president of the National Association of the Deaf of the United States (NAD). Its greatest then preoccupation was the preservation of sign language, that he saw as being threatened by the advance of the oralist proposals in the schools. In that time the cinema began to become popular, and Veditz dedicated the NAD to gather money to finance recordings of speeches in sign language.

The project, that began in 1910, aimed to film to masterful uses of sign language. One of the people recorded was the then director of Gallaudet, Edward Miner Gallaudet. The shootings of the NAD are the first registry done of sign languages in the world, and are considered a valuable document of Deaf history. In its shooting, Veditz does an enthusiastic defense of the right of the Deaf people to use sign language, talks of its beauty, as well as its value to humanity. The Library of Congress announced on December 28, 2011 that it had named the landmark 1913 film, The Preservation of the Sign Language, for inclusion in the National Film Registry.

“As long as we have deaf people on earth, we will have signs. And as long as we have our films, we can preserve signs in their old purity. It is my hope that we will all love and guard our beautiful sign language as the noblest gift God has given to deaf people.”–George Veditz, 1913.