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Teaching a deaf-mute to talk. Training School for Deaf Mutes, Sulphur, Oklahoma.
Teaching a deaf child to talk. Training School for Deaf Mutes, Sulphur, Oklahoma.
Photo: Library of Congress
Digital ID nclc 05255



Entries concerning the history of educational programs including those for the the intellectually and physically disabled.




  • Acts And Resolves Relating To The Institution For The Blind (1870)A Report from the Thirty-Eighth Annual Report Of The Trustees Of The Perkins Institution And Massachusetts Asylum For The Blind,1870. "These acts and resolves illustrate the changing population and goals of the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the Blind during the mid-nineteenth century."
  • Alexander Graham Bell and His Role in Oral EducationWritten by Brian H. Greenwald, Ph.D., Gallaudet University. "The promise of a more homogeneous society allowed oralism to emerge as the most attractive option to educate deaf people. Such strategies paralleled the general assimilation movement through the supposed uplifting of the deaf community by halting sign language use, reducing the importance of residential schools, and decreasing intermarriage among deaf partners."
  • AmericanizationUntil the start of the 20th century, Americans typically believed in the power of the “melting pot” to create a common culture out of the various groups coming to America. However, this surge in immigration led to the creation of Americanization programs.
  • Americanization - selected publications
  • Annual Report Of The Trustees Of The New-England Institution For The Education Of The Blind, 1834Annual reports to state legislatures were one of the key methods by which trustees and superintendents of schools for disabled children argued for additional government funding. In this report, the trustees of the New-England Institution for the Education of the Blind tried to appeal to legislators’ sympathies by stating that the asylum served primarily poor children, documenting the school’s extensive public support, and describing the ways in which pupils were prepared to support themselves after graduation.
  • Apology For Going To College (1905)At times Helen Keller found her college experience frustrating and exhausting, but she gloried in the knowledge she gained. Perhaps even more satisfying to Keller were the new social roles claimed by college-educated women. In this excerpt, Keller discusses the benefits of attending college—an opportunity that had only recently become available to women.
  • Because A Father Cared (1960)Article by Margaret McDonald, appearing in The Rotarian, 1956. "But when this fine couple -- this Rotary couple, as you would call them -- found that their pretty little girl would never develop mentally, they felt that their heartache was unique, and they soon discovered that few can fathom the grief of those whose loved ones are condemned to the land of the living dead."
  • Book Relief in MississippiArticle by Beatrice Sawyer Rossell, Editor, Bulletin of the American Library Association, appearing in The Survey, 1935. "'The people are book hungry,' said one of the librarians who has a reading-room in her home. 'A little boy knocked at my door at six o'clock in the morning to borrow The Dutch Twins. I passed a house the other day where a little girl was sitting on the porch reading aloud to her family of five people, not one of whom could read. An old man who was once a school teacher and a young girl who loves reading are each walking miles carrying books to share with people who otherwise would be without them.'"
  • Bureau of Vocations for Women (1921)
  • Bureau of Vocations for Women, September 1915. (Woman's Occupational Bureau)
  • Claiborne, Virginia Spotswood McKenney
  • Dewey, John (1859 - 1952): Educator, Social Reformer, PhilosopherJohn Dewey was the most significant educational thinker of his era and, many would argue, of the 20th century. As a philosopher, social reformer and educator, he changed fundamental approaches to teaching and learning. His ideas about education sprang from a philosophy of pragmatism and were central to the Progressive Movement in schooling.
  • Edelman, Marian WrightBy SWHP staff, 2022. Marian Wright Edelman has been recognized and celebrated for her talents and tireless advocacy on behalf of children and families. Edelman was founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF).
  • Education of Deaf and Blind African Americans in Virginia, 1909-2008History of Virginia's first school for African American deaf and blind children.
  • Education Of The Blind (1833)"It has long been to us a matter of surprise that the blind have been so much neglected. Our age, compared with those that have passed away, is truly a humane one; never has more attention been paid to individual man than now; never has the imperative duty of society to provide for the wants of those whom nature or accident has thrown upon its charity, been more deeply felt, or more conscientiously discharged...."
  • Effect of Economic Conditions Upon the Living Standards of Negroes (1928)Presentation by Forrester B. Washington, Director, Atlanta School of Social Work, given at the 55th Meeting of the National Conference on Social Welfare, 1928. "The problems which I will discuss are health, education, delinquency, crime and family disorganization. They follow logically those discussed by Mr. Thomas. In addition, I will attempt to summarize his paper and my own and present our combined recommendations."
  • Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was a cornerstone of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty” (McLaughlin, 1975). This law brought education into the forefront of the national assault on poverty and represented a landmark commitment to equal access to quality education.
  • Farmville Protests of 1963Written by Kate Agnelli, MSW. "One of the most well-known Supreme Court decisions in U.S. history, Brown v. Board of Education declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. One of the provisions of the decision was that public schools in the United States were to integrate 'with all deliberate speed,' but in many places, local and state governments resisted for months and years."
  • Frazier, Edward FranklinEdward Franklin Frazier (September 24, 1894 – May 17, 1962) — Advocate for social justice, administrator, author and social work educator. Written by Angelique Brown, MSW
  • Good Citizenship: The Purpose of Education (1930)Article by Eleanor Roosevelt, appearing in Pictorial Review, 1930. "But there still remains a vast amount to be done before we accomplish our first objective—informed and intelligent citizens, and, secondly, bring about the realization that we are all responsible for the trend of thought and the action of our times."
  • Hatcher, Orie Latham
  • Horace Mann And The Creation Of The Common SchoolHorace Mann (1796-1859), “The Father of the Common School Movement,” was the foremost proponent of education reform in antebellum America. An ardent member of the Whig Party, Mann argued that the common school, a free, universal, non-sectarian, and public institution, was the best means of achieving the moral and socioeconomic uplift of all Americans.
  • Instruction Of Idiots (1849)This article written by J. G. W. appeared in a Philadelphia Quaker periodical as efforts to educate children with cognitive disabilities first started in the United States.
  • John J. Smallwood and the Temperance, Industrial and Collegiate Institute
  • Kindergarten A Child-Saving Work -1882This entry was a presentation by Mrs. Cooper at the Ninth Annual National Conference of Charities and Corrections, 1882. Mrs. Cooper was internationally known as a pioneer in kindergarten education. Her ideas were endorsed by American educators, and she... led the founding of a teacher training institute, and in 1892 she founded and was elected first president of the International Kindergarten Union.
  • Kindergarten: Practical Results Of Ten Years' Work - 1889This entry was a presentation written by Mrs. Sarah B. Cooper at the Sixteenth Annual Session of the The National Conference of Charities And Correction, 1889. Mrs. Cooper was internationally known as a pioneer in kindergarten education. Her ideas were endorsed by American educators, and she...led the founding of a teacher training institute, and in 1892 she founded and was elected first president of the International Kindergarten Union. The Kindergarten takes hold of the child at the most important epoch of life,- the formative period. Impressions precede expressions, and we should be most careful that the child receive none but the best impressions, especially when we consider that these will be lasting and affect his whole after life.
  • Kindergartens: A History (1886)This entry is a presentation by Constance Mackenzie at the Thirteenth Annual Session of The National Conference Of Charities And Correction, 1886. "'The kindergarten itself does not, of course, bear directly upon crime,' writes one of our correspondents; 'but, if the entire after education of the child were carried out according to the principles of the kindergarten, there can be no doubt that its effects would be strongly felt in every direction.'"
  • Lincoln University in PennsylvaniaLincoln University in Pennsylvania was founded in 1854 by John Miller Dickey, a Presbyterian minister and his wife, Sarah Emlen Cresson. It claims the title of the first degree-awarding school of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the United States.
  • Orie Latham Hatcher, Woman's Club, Richmond, Va., 1904
  • Perkins School for the BlindPerkins School for the Blind is located on a 38-acre campus on the Charles River in Watertown, Massachusetts, with partner programs in 65 countries. The school is committed to providing education and services that build productive, meaningful lives for children and adults around the world who are blind or deafblind, including those with additional disabilities.
  • Place of The Kindergarten in Child-Saving: 1900Paper presented by Eva Harding, M.D. at the Twenty-Seventh Annual Session of The National Conference Of Charities And Correction, 1900. "Perhaps in no field of sociological effort has more intelligent and corrective progress been made, in recent years, than in the treatment of children and the recognition of prenatal influences, which have only recently been regarded as of importance. There has been a constant advance in the recognition of that period in the lives of children when they should become objects of educative and considerate direction."
  • Precarious Learners: Race, Status and the Making of Virgin Islands Education from 1917-1970When the United States purchased the Danish West Indies (now U.S. Virgin Islands) from Denmark in 1917, the change in the islands’ political status profoundly impacted the educational options afforded to those residing in the territory. Being new subjects of a U.S. empire primarily concerned with preventing enemy expansion in the Caribbean basin both improved and complicated Virgin Islanders’ access to comprehensive education. For those residing in the U.S. Virgin Islands, American citizenship both exposed and exacerbated the precarious conditions of learning and belonging in a U.S. territory. Warped by a history of racialized domination and economic deprivation, education for Black Virgin Islanders has long been fraught by the conditions of precarious citizenship. 
  • Prince Edward County, VA School ClosingsWritten by Joan Lowe. "In 1959 Shirley turned 6 years old. Her excitement grew as fall approached because she would be going to school for the first time. What she didn't understand was that 1959 was to be different. The US Federal Court had ordered Prince Edward County, Virginia, where Shirley lived, to desegregate its schools. And the county school board, rather than integrate their system as ordered, closed all the public schools."
  • Public Aid For The Feeble-Minded (1889)This entry was a presentation by Mrs. George Brown at the Sixteenth Annual Session of The National Conference Of Charities And Correction, 1889. "In an assemblage like this Conference, it must be an axiomatic proposition that the State should educate all its dependent children. It is not charity: it is simply providing for those of its own household...The question, then, is, in what respects must this provision for the feeble-minded differ from that given to others?"
  • Public School Classes For Mentally Deficient Children (1904)Presentation by Lydia Gardiner Chase at the National Conference Of Charities And Correction, 1904. "Perhaps none have been more misunderstood than the mentally deficient. Through neglect, these children will degenerate into the ranks of the defectives and the delinquents; through individual training, some can be saved for the social body and the condition of all can be improved."
  • Relation of the Kindergarten to Social Reform: 1888This entry was a presentation by Kate Douglas Wiggin at the Fifteenth Annual Meeting of The National Conference of Charities and Correction, 1888. Wiggin was an American educator and author of children's stories. She devoted her adult life to the welfare of children in an era when children were commonly thought of as cheap labor.
  • Richmond School of Social Economy - Beginnings. October 1916 - July 1917
  • Richmond School of Social Economy - Opening Term. Fall 1917.
  • Schools for a Minority (1939)Article written by Gould Beech, appearing in Survey Graphic, 1939. " was 'too great a compliment to attribute to the Negro child the ability to gain equal education for one dollar to every seven spent on the education of the white child...' And yet even against such handicaps, the Negro race has advanced in little more than three generations from 80 percent illiterate to better than 80 percent literate—a heartening measure of capacity to make bricks with such straw as there is.,,,Educational discrimination is only one phase of the Negro's economic, political and social status, but it is perhaps the most vital standard by which his participation in American life is measured."
  • Schools for New Citizens (1941)Article written by Viola Paradise appearing in Survey Graphic, 1941. "September . . . a new school term. Not only for America's millions of school children, but for some two and a half million adults, as well. Under the sponsorship of local school boards, WPA, settlements, unions, churches, they study subjects ranging from simple English to international relations, from Diesel-engine operators to dietetics."
  • Segregation. Color Pattern from the Past--Our Struggle to Wipe it Out. Survey Graphic, January 1947
  • Sunday School Libraries and LessonsWritten by Laurie Block, Disability History Museum Staff. "At the beginning of the 19th century, many Americans were concerned about the moral education of children. With the constitutional separation of Church and State, many asked: whose job is it to teach values?"
  • The Challenge of the DepressionWritten by Julia Wright Merrill, Executive Assistant, Library Extension Board. "The work of the library, unlike that of many business organizations, grows rather than diminishes in times of depression. Do not trustees have a responsibility for wise spending of the funds available and for an effort to secure an adequate appropriation for the coming year?"
  • The G.I. Bill of Rights"The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of June 22, 1944—commonly known as the G.I. Bill of Rights—nearly stalled in Congress as members of the House and Senate debated provisions of the controversial bill. Some shunned the idea of paying unemployed veterans $20 a week because they thought it diminished their incentive to look for work. Others questioned the concept of sending battle-hardened veterans to colleges and universities, a privilege then reserved for the rich. Despite their differences, all agreed something must be done to help veterans assimilate into civilian life."
  • Towne, Laura MatildaIn 1861, the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina fell to the Union army. Faced with defeat, the entire white population fled, leaving their homes, belongings, and ten thousand slaves. Towne arrived on the Sea Islands in April 1862, one of the first Northern women to go south to work during the Civil War. She participated in the Port Royal Experiment, the first large-scale government effort to help former slaves. The teachers who went south sought not only to teach the freedmen how to read and write, but hoped to help them develop socially and morally. They saw themselves as missionaries who would "bring the light of God's truth" to people they assumed were in need of such enlightenment.
  • Twilight, Alexander (1795 - 1857)For the next twelve years he learned reading, writing and math skills while performing various farming duties. He was able to save enough (probably with some assistance from the farmer for whom he labored) to enroll in Randolph’s Orange County Grammar School in 1815 at the age of 20. During the next six years (1815-1821) he completed not only the secondary school courses but also the first two years of a college level curriculum. Following his graduation from Randolph he was accepted at Middlebury College, entering as a junior in August of 1821. Two years later he received his bachelor’s degree. Middlebury College claims him to be the first African-American to earn a baccalaureate degree from an American college or university.
  • War Opens Up New Fields for Women's Endeavor. Orie Latham Hatcher and the Bureau of Vocations, July 1917
  • Washington, Booker TaliaferroDuring his era, Booker T. Washington exerted much power on behalf of the African American community. Though many Black intellectuals disagreed with him and his tactics, his way of thinking appealed to many middle and working class Blacks. His connections with the prominent White Americans allowed him to serve as a conduit for funds that served African American community.
  • Washington, Forrester BlanchardForrester Blanchard Washington (1887-1963) — Social Work Pioneer, advocate for African Americans and educator. Written by Angelique Brown, MSW.
  • Wiggin, Kate Douglas Smith (1856-1923)In 1881, Kate married (Samuel) Bradley Wiggin, a San Francisco lawyer.‪ According to the customs of the time, she was required to resign her teaching job.‪ Still devoted to her school, she began to raise money for it through writing, first The Story of Patsy (1883), then The Birds’ Christmas Carol (1887). Both privately printed books were issued commercially by Houghton Mifflin in 1889, with enormous success. Ironically, considering her intense love of children, Kate Wiggin had none. She moved to New York City in 1888.‪
  • WPA Travelling Libraries (1937)The depression came and county libraries were sorely stricken financially. Rescuing funds from the Federal government through relief agencies came in the nick of time. Numerous employees were being furloughed, others were having their salaries cut for the third or fourth time, book repair and book purchases had ceased, many buildings were sadly in need of repair and service was cut to the bone in the summer of 1933.