On April 17, 1817, the first United States school for the deaf was opened in Hartford, Connecticut. Three years later, a parent from Stark County applied for state aid to send his son to the school, as no comparable facilities were available in Ohio. It took nine long years, but after much work from dedicated individuals, Ohio opened the fifth residential school for deaf students in the United States.
The Ohio School for the Deaf, located at 500 Morse Road, continues to serve students from kindergarten through 12th grade, with preschool programs for children as young as six weeks old. Their curriculum is designed to engage their students, providing them with the means to navigate the world in which they live and help them to become contributing members of their communities. Both spoken English and American Sign Language (ASL) are used throughout the program to promote bilingualism.
To celebrate the school’s 175th anniversary in 2004, Lance and Catherine Fischer authored “The Ohio School for the Deaf: 175 Glorious Years;” the book was published by the school three years later. It is a thorough history of the school, as well as its students, faculty, and staff. It includes copious illustrations and stories about prominent attendees, such as William Ellsworth “Dummy” Hoy, former Cincinnati Reds outfielder and the first deaf athlete to play Major League Baseball. Readers can read about students’ experiences via first-hand accounts from two alumni: William H. Zorn (Class of 1889) and Marjoriebell Stakley Holcomb (Class of 1943), or see reunion pictures from the 2004 anniversary celebration, with photos of reunited graduating classes from 1930 through 2004.
Please take a moment and read about this Ohio treasure!
Thank you to Shannon Kupfer, Digital/Tangible Media Cataloger at the State Library of Ohio, for this week’s post!