Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet

June 1, 2017
Category: Submitted Posts

By: Nicole McGovern (10/31/16)

So many people in Deaf history are significant and have made a great impact on Deaf culture in today’s society. My favorite person from Deaf history would have to be Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. I chose Gallaudet as my favorite because he initiated American Sign Language in 1814. He was inspired by his neighbor’s intelligent deaf/mute daughter, and wanted to teach her. He gathered local support and eventually raised enough money to travel to Europe, where they had more effective ways of educating deaf/mute children. After studying the teaching methods of European peers Laurent Clerc and Jean Massieu, Gallaudet returned to America. He was so passionate about his mission that he spent a great deal of time raising money just so he could learn how to better educate deaf/mute children. He also brought Clerc back with him to America to help spread his teaching methods. Together, they started a deaf school, the American School for the Deaf, in 1817. Gallaudet is my favorite person in Deaf history because he was so determined to bring sign language and deaf/mute education to America, and all his determination and hard work paid off when he accomplished what he originally set out to do: give a better education to the deaf.