Tag Archives: Alice Hagemeyer

In an earlier post I did suggest that there would be a librarian-ish spin to future posts about Deaf History Month, March 13-April 15.  It’s only fair because the whole idea of a month to celebrate the history of the nation’s deaf community did come from a remarkable librarian, Alice Hagemeyer.  With her persistent pressure the National Association of the Deaf and the American Library Association established the Deaf History tradition in 2006.

Another reason for the spin is that one hard of hearing librarian continues the tradition with her Speak Up Librarian blog, managed by a “hard of hearing librarian who will never tell you to s-h-h-h.”  Sarah Wegley reinforced my interest in books that feature deaf and hard of hearing children (or dogs) that help explain deafness to kids.  I mention dogs because the first post I found on the Speak Up Librarian’s site was actually about a deaf dog, a border collie named Kiefer, a dog who signs and generously shares illustrations and explanations of ASL  Kiefer actually has his own Facebook page and blog, so children can understand when their friends and family members are deaf or hard of hearing.

Inspired by Kiefer I soon discovered a world of children’s books, both factual and fiction, for children who want to learn about deafness and Deaf culture.  Because I am not expert on Deaf culture or children’s books, I can only list the books, though my expectation is that the sources I’ve used exercised good judgment is writing, illustrating, publishing or putting them on library or bookstore shelves.

Carole Addabbo, Dina the Deaf Dinosaur

Lorraine Aseltine, Evelyn Mueller, Nancy Tait, I’m Deaf and It’s Okay

Josh Berk, The Dark Days of Hamburger Helper

Barbara D. Booth, Mandy

Andy Russell Bowe, A World of Knowing: A story about Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet

Keelin Carey, The Smart Princess and Other Deaf Tales

Patricia A. Dyreson, A Very Special Egg (also an introduction to Easter symbolism)

Kate Gaynor, Karen Quirke, illus A Birthday for Ben

Ron Hamilton, Peggy B. Deal (illus), Alan and the Baron

James Riggio Herlan, Nicole Simmonds, illus. Can You Hear a Rainbow?

Anthony John, Five Flavors of Dumb

Wendy Kupfer, Let’s Hear It for Almigal

Patricia Lakin, Robert C. Steele (illus), Dad and Me in the Morning

Christy Mackinnon, Silent Observer

Marlee Matlin and Doug Cooney, Nobody’s Perfect

Marlee Matalin, Deaf Child Crossing

Isaac Millman, Moses Goes to a Concert

Isaac Millman, Moses Sees a Play

Isaac Millman, Moses Goes to the Circus

Eifi Nijssen, Laurie

Jeanne Whitehouse Peterson, I Have a Sister, My Sister Is Deaf

Jean Davies Okimoto, A Place for Grace

Delia Ray, Singing Hands

Anita Riggio, Secret Signs: Along the Underground Railroad

Ginny Rorby, Hurt Go Happy

Gloria Roth Lowell, Karen Stormer Brooks, Elena’s Ears, Or How I Became the Best Big Sister in the World

Betty Rushford, Best Buddies and The Fruit of the Spirit

Pete Seeger, Paul DuBois Jacobs, The Deaf Musicians

Brian Selznick, Wonderstruck: A Novel in Worlds and Pictures

Andrea Stenn Stryer, Kami and the Yaks

Michael Thai, “Goodbye Tchaikovsky

Myron Uhlberg, Dad Jackie

Myron Uhlberg, Hands of My Father: A Hearty Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love

Jan Wahl, Kim Howard (lllus), Rosa’s Parrot

Dawn L. Watkins, The Spelling Window.

This incomplete list is the tip of a wonderful iceberg loaded with great books and great people.  Starting with the title and author it’s fairly easy to find more about reading level and content of individual books.

One way to learn about other books is to check the Gallaudet University Press which maintains a robust publisher’s list of children’s books and videos, many of which are great introductions for hearing youngsters who are learning about ASL in child care or pre-school.

Another good source is the Speak Up Librarian where Sarah not only speaks up but keeps up.  One resource she lists is her favorite blogs, a dozen or more sites that share tips on books and more resources of and for the deaf community.

Or ask your local librarian, ASL teacher or independent bookseller what’s the latest greatest book on their shelf or order list.  If you have problems finding a good read for a child speak up – and be sure your message is heard.

Deaf History Month – A Time and Tools to Explore 150 years of the Deaf Community in Mnnesota

Deaf History Month is like no other national celebration in many ways, including the fact that the month starts on March 13 and ends April 15, those dates being so important to Deaf history that the “deaf community has made an exception to the rule.”   I love it!

March 15 commemorates the 1988 victory of the ‘Deaf President Now’ movement when students at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC staged a protest demanding a deaf President for the University.  I. King Jordan was named President as a result of their demonstration.  The month ends on April 15, 1817, the day the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, CT, the first public school for the deaf, opened its doors.   Mid-month is the commemoration of the signing of the charter for Gallaudet University by President Lincoln in 1864.

Deaf History Month is unique in another way also.  The very existence of the celebration is a tribute to a single librarian, Alice Hagemeyer, who in 2006 led the campaign for the American Library Association and the National Association of the Deaf.  Lamenting the lack of services for the deaf and the deaf community’s disinterest in libraries, Hagemeyer pointed out that the ASL sign for public library isn’t city library but hearing library…..

 With a special nod to Alice Hagemeyer, this and future posts about Deaf History Month will had an admittedly librarian-biased cast.  The month offers a chance to explore some of the people, the stories and the resources of deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing Minnesotans.

In an October 2012 issue of Digital Delights, of Minnesota Reflections, Teika Pakalns offers n illuminating introduction to the deaf-related resources recently added to the Minnesota Digital Library.  “Until now,” she writes, “deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing Minnesotans have been all but invisible in the archives of Minnesota’s history.”  Digital technology and a partnership between the Minnesota Digital Library and the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing have changed everything.  Using digital technology the two organizations have taken on the task of opening the collections of Charles Thompson Memorial Hall, the Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens, and the Minnesota Academy for the Deaf Alumni Association Museum.

The history of the deaf community and services in Minnesota is rich with resources and great stories that are only now being told.  What is now opened to the public and to scholars is the rich story of the lives and accomplishments of the deaf community.

Of course deaf and hard of hearing people have always been involved in the history of the state.  Some wonderful legends, such as that of Oscar E. Garrison, the deaf man who founded Wayzata, have survived. The stories of other lives, contributions and impact are lost altogether.

Records in the Minnesota Digital Library actually begin with the opening of the present-day Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf.  Established in 1863 in a Faribault storefront it was soon moved to nearby Mott Hall, the start of today’s campus and the site of countless monumental events in the history of deaf education.  As just one example, Edward Miner Gallaudet and Alexander Graham Bell attended at least one national conference in Faribault.  There they discussed the advisability of employing deaf teachers to teach deaf students which, Pakalns notes, “became part of the oralism vs. manualism debate” that continues to this day.

In 1885 graduates of the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf held their first reunion; they voted then to form an association that became the Minnesota Association of the Deaf (now the Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens).  The records of the MADC are also in the digital library.  Pakalns cites many of the names to be found in those files, among them the name of Cadwallader Lincoln Washburn of the famed flour milling family  A graduate of the Academy for the Deaf Washburn went on to become a prominent artist renowned for his drypoint etchings

Washburn was friends with one Charles Thompson, a wealthy Minnesotan who had a horse farm near Windom and a camp at the “deaf colony’ in Alexandria.  Charles Thompson and his wife Margaret Brooks Thompson became generous benefactors of the deaf community.

When Charles Thompson died Margaret dedicated the first deaf clubhouse in America to his memory.  The Charles Thompson Memorial Hall, designed by Thompson’s deaf friend and noted architect Olof Hanson, was completed in 1918.  At what must have been the groundbreaking ceremony, a raft of dignitaries joined deaf and hard of hearing Minnesotans to celebrate the auspicious occasion.  The Minnesota Reflections digital collection includes an article from The Companion magazine, dated November 15, 1916, which describes the event in detail.

Today, Charles Thompson Memorial Hall is familiar to many Twin Citians as the stately building at 1824 Marshall West of Fairview in St. Paul, just across the street from the Merriam Park Library.  As of December 30, 2011 The Charles Thompson Memorial Hall is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The designation establishes Thompson Hall’s historical significance “as a building that continues to serve its original mission as a clubhouse and civic center for the deaf community.”  The recognition also celebrates “the historical contributions of the community in establishing and maintaining this cherished building.”  Members of the deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing community are already at work on plans for the Centenary of the Charles Thompson Hall set for 2016!

Technology also delivers a lengthy interview about the history of Charles Thompson Memorial Hall.  The interview with Doug Bahl is part of the Minnesota Deaf Heritage Interview Series which records stories of 14 prominent deaf Minnesotans recorded by the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Metro Division in 1997 and remastered in 2011.  The video collection is made accessible through ASL, open captions, voiceovers and transcripts of audio content with video descriptions included.

Take time during Deaf History Month to explore the riches of Minnesota Reflections and the primary resources that tell the stories of Minnesota’s heritage contained there.  Bear in mind that the Minnesota Academy for the Deaf is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, a good time to reflect on the history with the help of this ever-expanding digital treasure..   You’ll find yourself immersed in a fascinating community about which most of us have much to learn.  The good news, the tools are great and the stories are even better!