Memorial Hall Library

Deaf History Month

Deaf History Month is from March 13-April 15. Wondering why it's not just March 1-March 31st? That date range encompasses 3 important dates in Deaf history:

  • March 13, 1988: After protests from students' Deaf President Now movement, Gallaudet University appointed its first-ever deaf president, I. King Jordan.
  • April 8, 1864: President Abraham Lincoln signed the charter of Gallaudet University in Washington, the world's first institute of higher education for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing.
  • April 15, 1817: The first permanent public school for the deaf, the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut, opened.

In honor of Deaf History Month, here are some memoirs and biographies of deaf individuals.


	Longshot : the adventures of a deaf fundamentalist Mormon kid and his journey to the NBA
Longshot : the adventures of a deaf fundamentalist Mormon kid and his journey to the NBA
by Lance Allred

The NBA's first legally hearing-impaired player traces his unlikely journey from the son of a Montana polygamist to a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, in an account that describes his relationship with grandfather Rulon Allred, his struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and his professional playing experiences in Europe.

	I was number 87 : a deaf woman's ordeal of misdiagnosis, institutionalization, and abuse
I was number 87 : a deaf woman's ordeal of misdiagnosis, institutionalization, and abuse
by Anne M. Bolander

"I was six years old, alone and terrified, and no one knew that I was deaf". So began Anne Bolander's five-year ordeal at an institution for mentally retarded children. Emotions were not allowed at the institution, where children were beaten bloody for laughing, crying, or even touching another child. Children lived a robotic existence, and like robots, were known by numbers instead of names. Anne was #87.She endured five years of this abuse before being removed and placed in St. Mary's of Providence Center, where teachers correctly assessed her as deaf, not mentaly retarded. 

	Shouting won't help : why I--and 50 million other Americans--can't hear you
Shouting won't help : why I--and 50 million other Americans--can't hear you
by Katherine Bouton

A former senior editor at The New York Times traces her own experiences of hearing loss while evaluating a growing epidemic of hearing impairment in America, drawing on medical and specialist insights to identify possible causes while sharing perspective on how hearing loss affects everyday life.

	No excuses : growing up deaf and achieving my Super Bowl dreams
No excuses : growing up deaf and achieving my Super Bowl dreams
by Derrick Coleman

The first deaf athlete to play offense in the NFL—and win a Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks—relates his inspirational story of hard work and determination in his own words.

	The imprisoned guest : Samuel Howe and Laura Bridgman, the original deaf-blind girl
The imprisoned guest : Samuel Howe and Laura Bridgman, the original deaf-blind girl
by Elisabeth Gitter

Presents the inspiring story of deaf-blind Laura Bridgman's troubling, tumultuous relationship with the director of Boston's Perkins Institution for the Blind, who rode Laura's outstanding achievements to his own fame but who could not cope with the intense, demanding adult she became.

	The story of my life : the restored edition
The story of my life : the restored edition
by Helen Keller

The personal recollections and correspondence of Helen Keller, supplemented by the reports of her teacher Annie Sullivan, reveal the problems and obstacles that she surmounted in overcoming her handicaps.

	I'll scream later
I'll scream later
by Marlee Matlin

The Academy Award-winning, hearing-impaired actress describes how she lost her hearing at the age of eighteen months, the challenges of being a role model for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, and her personal struggles with addiction and abuse.

	Song without words : discovering my deafness halfway through life
Song without words : discovering my deafness halfway through life
by Gerald Shea

Bringing new insight into the nature and significance of language, the author, who discovered at the age of 34 that he had been deaf since childhood, shares how he compensated through his amazing ability to translate the melody of vowels. 

	Beethoven : anguish and triumph : a biography
Beethoven : anguish and triumph : a biography
by Jan Swafford

An esteemed music historian provides a rich, detailed overview of the life of Ludwig van Beethoven, traveling from Enlightenment-era Bonn to the musical capital of Europe, Vienna, to vividly describe the composer's career, ill health and romantic rejections.

	The unheard : a memoir of deafness and Africa
The unheard : a memoir of deafness and Africa
by Josh Swiller

Describes one young man's efforts to reconcile his deafness in an unforgiving, hearing world by undertaking a two-year sojourn in a remote village in Zambia as a Peace Corps volunteer where he found a remarkable world marked by both beauty and violence.