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The History of Gallaudet University

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150 Years of a Deaf American Institution

On April 8, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln and the U.S. Congress signed legislation giving the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind the authority to grant collegiate degrees. At that moment, what became Gallaudet University began a century and a half of offering a collegiate liberal arts education to deaf and hard of hearing students. Containing more than 250 photographs and illustrations, David F. Armstrong's The History of Gallaudet University chronicles the development of this small school into a modern, comprehensive American university.

At first a tiny college with fewer than 200 students, Gallaudet University's growth paralleled the emergence of the American Deaf Community and the history of the nation in general. In the same way that the country's land-grant universities brought higher education to more American students than ever before, Gallaudet offered the same opportunities to deaf students for the first time. Gallaudet University mirrored other institutions in addressing major issues of the time, from legislated segregation to the Civil Rights movement that inspired the struggle by deaf people to gain control of the governance of their university. Most critically, this volume details poignantly the evolution of American Sign Language as a language of scholarship at Gallaudet during a time when its use in educational institutions was largely discouraged or prohibited. Through story and image, this volume traces the historic path that Gallaudet University traveled to be recognized as the finest institution of higher education for deaf people in the world. [David F. Armstrong; (2014) 212 pages; hard cover]

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