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Deaf Timelines – History & Heritage


As I was compiling the History & Heritage Series,  I realized the great need to also compile the History and Heritage of the Deaf in a sequence Timeline. Then I thought why not compile Deaf history and heritage to also include secular,  sports, technology, religious, missions and news events.

As I compiled information from many sources I quickly learned to appreciate those who have gone before and made this new Timeline manual possible. It would not have been possible without their research and knowledge. Also, modern technology via Internet help make it very convenient.

Again, we appreciate those who have gone before and recorded Deaf History and Deaf Heritage. We express our gratitude for their diligence, research and recording of deaf history and heritage. We express our gratitude for their diligence, research and recording of deaf history and heritage.

Deaf Timelines will continually be updated with new available information. Please send your dated information, changes, and suggestions to SWM. Visit our Website for More Information: SilentWord.org

Dr. Ted Camp, Founder, Silent Word Ministries.

Please Note: Your suggestions, corrections, updates and comments are welcomed. We plan to continually update and revise as needed and reprint – Ted Camp.

Order Online

[Edited by Hannah Coburn a willing servant of the Lord]

Credits – References – Resources
Deaf Heritage by Jack Gannon (NAD)
ASL Info – www.aslinfo.com/trivia.cfm
NAD Timelines – www.nad.org
Deaf Population of the USA (1971)
Jerome Schein & Marcus Delk, Jr. (NAD)
Sorenson Communicationswikipedia.org
Many Internet Sources

First Printing June 2010
Revised February 2013
Revised June 2014
September 23 2016

Order online for most recent version


Deaf History & Heritage Series
Deaf Timelines

Order online for most recent version.

Bible Days – Religious! “And they bring unto him (Jesus) one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech… And he took him aside…and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit…touched his tongue…looking up to heaven… saith …Ephphatha …Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain” (Mark 7:32-35). This is the first Bible recording about a born deaf person. – TC

Ancient Times – Quintus Pedius a Roman painter was the first deaf person in recorded history known by name. This is recorded in a single passage of the Natural History by Roman author Pliny the Elder. american-sign-language.com/famous-deaf-people.html

1000 BC – Hebrew law provided that the Deaf have limited rights to property and marriage. These laws protected deaf people from being cursed by others but prevent the deaf from participating fully in rituals of the Temple.

1000 BC – The Talmud denies Deaf property rights. The Torah protects the deaf from being cursed by others, but does not allow them to participate fully in rituals of the Temple. Special laws of marriage and property were established for deaf-mutes, but deaf-mutes were not allowed to be witnesses in the courts.  www.pbs.org/wnet/soundandfury/culture/dhpop/popup1.html

360 BC – Plato’s Cratylus. Socrates mentioned the use of signs by the deaf. He said persons born perfect but without speech gave no sign of intelligence. Therefore, Deaf people are incapable of language and ideas.

355 BC – “Those born deaf all become senseless and incapable of reason” (Aristotle).

99-55 BC – Lucretius, a Latin Poet who wrote only one poem. In his poem, he wrote, “To Instruct the deaf, no art can ever reach, no care to improve them, and no wisdom teach.” His one work was titled De Rerum Natura.

77 AD – Pliny the Elder published his Natural History. He mentioned Quintus Pedius, the son of a Roman Consul. Quintus was a very talented artist who happened to be Deaf. In order to be an artist, he had to first receive permission from Caesar Augustus.

354-430 AD – Augustine believed that “faith cometh by hearing” so deafness is a hindrance to faith. However, he believed that Deaf people could learn and thus were able to receive faith and salvation. He referred to bodily movements, signs, and gestures, and believed that these modes were capable of transmitting thought and belief. He implied they were equal to spoken language in terms of reaching the soul.

529  – The Justinian Legal Code of Emperor Justinian is the first know legal document that describes deaf people under five specific conditions and on the basis of where a deaf person fits within that structure, provides them limited legal rights for the first time in history (Submitted by Julian Hertan Auslan & Deaf Studies Centre – Kangan Institute, Melbourne Australia.

The Justinian code included: The deaf and dumb by nature. The deaf and dumb by accident. The deaf from birth who were not deaf. The deaf not from birth but by accident. The deaf who were not dumb.  (Handbook of Disability). The present law denied deaf people the ability to hold property, make contracts, or write a valid will. This code aided that certain deaf in certain cases were capable and had certain legal rights (Wikipedia; American Annals of Deaf by Allen Fay).

721 – St. Bede wrote about St. John of Beverly teaching a deaf-mute to speak.

1485 – Rudolphus Agricola wrote about a deaf-mute who learned to read and write.

1500 – Girolamo Cardano was the first physician to recognize the ability of the Deaf to reason and the first to challenge Aristotle’s belief that hearing was a requirement for understanding.

1500 – Joachin Dubellay (1522-1560), a deaf poet published Hymn to Deafness.

1521 – Dutch humanist, Rudolf Agricola, said Deaf could communicate via writing. He advocated the theory that the ability of speech was separate from the ability of thought.

1550 – Pedro Ponce de Leon began teaching the Deaf.

1575 – Lasso, a Spanish lawyer, argued that those who learn to speak are no longer dumb and therefore have a right to primogeniture (inheritance).

1614-1684 – John Bulwer a British Physician studied gestures. He published Philocopus, or The Deaf and Dumbe Man’s Friend in 1648 and Chirologia, also known as The Natural Language of the Hand in 1644. These were the first English books on deaf education and language. These books showed the use of manual signs but did not refer directly to the sign language of the Deaf. Bulwer also advocated the establishment of a school for the Deaf.

1616 – G. Bonifacio published a treatise discussing Sign Language, Of The Art of Signs.


1620 – Juan Pablo Bonet published the first book on education of the deaf. Earliest records of Deaf Education occurred in Spain. Melchor de Yebra and Juan Pablo de Bonet were prominent during this era. De Yebra was familiar with the hand alphabet used by monks sworn to vows of silence. He published those handshapes and publicized their use for religious purposes among deaf people to promote understanding of spiritual matters. Bonet reproduced de Yebra’s  Simplification of the Letters of the Alphabet and Method of Teaching Deaf Mutes to Speak. He supported oralism, but used finger spelling to teach speech and literacy. He used this methodology so the deaf could be integrated with hearing society.

1644 – John Bulwer published Chirologia (The Natural Language of the Hand).

1648 – John Bulwer published The Deaf and Dumb Man’s Friend.

1653 – John Wallis published De Loquela (a method of teaching English and speech).

1661 – George Dalgarno (Scotland) published Art of Communication.

1662 – Dr. John Wallis taught Whaley, a deaf man, to read and write.

1680 –  George Dalgarno, a Scottish Tutor, taught students to lipread, speak, and fingerspell. He published conclusions about education of the deaf in Didascalocophus, also known as The Deaf and Dumb Man’s Tutor, which supported the use of fingerspelling and gestures.

1691 – Alberti, a German physician, published the first book specifically regarding deafness. He stated that hearing and speech were separate functions. He believed Deaf people were rational and capable of  thought, even though they lacked speech. He showed that the Deaf could read lips, understand speech, and readwithout the ability to hear.

1700 – Johann Ammon (1669-1724) a Swiss medical doctor developed and published methods for teaching speech and lipreading to the deaf called Surdus Laquens.

1755 – 1760 Samuel Heinicke established the first oral school for the deaf in Germany.


Charles Michel Abbe de l’Epee

1755 – Charles Michel Abbe de l’Epee established first free school for the deaf in the world, The Royal Institution of Deaf and Mutes in Paris, France.L’Epee supported the school at his own expense until his death. Later, the government began to support the school. His successor was the Abbe Roch Concurrou Sicard (1742-1822). It was Sicard who brought Laurent Clerc and Jean Massieu to London where they met Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet.

1760 – Thomas Braidwood founded the first British Academy for the deaf in England.

1776 – Charles Michel Abbe de l’Eppe published “Instruction of deaf and dumb by means of methodical signs.”

1778 – Samuel Heinicke, “Father of the German Method” (pure oralism) established a deaf school in Leipzig.

1780 – Charles Green of Boston became one of the earliest deaf Americans to receive formal education overseas in Scotland.

1782 – R.A. Sicard opened a school for the deaf at Bordeaux: wrote Theorie Des Signes (dictionary of signs).

1784 – Abba Silvestri opened first school for the deaf in Rome, Italy.

1789 – Abbe de l’Epee died. He was founder of the first public school for the deaf and is recognized as bringing sign language to the “masses.” He established a free public school for the deaf. He was known as the “Father of the Deaf.”

1800 – The 19th Century was known as the Enlightenment Era Philosophers, Locke, Rousseau, and Condillac, debated the nature of language, the origin of language and thought, and signs. It was a period of spiritual  and intellectual awakening.

1807 – Rev. John Stanford discovered deaf children in New York City almshouse. He later attempted to instruct them.

1812 – John Braidwood: Braidwood was managing the private tutoring with both Deaf children and hearing children in the same family with first Deaf teacher, Thomas Bolling. They were being private-tutored while Cobbs was being renovated due to damage from the Revolutionary War of 1812 – (Submitted: Kathleen Brockway, Deaf History expert)

1814 – Thomas H. Gallaudet met Alice Cogswell (deaf).

1815 – Thomas H. Gallaudet departed for Europe to seek methods to teach the deaf.

1815-1816 – The Cobbs school established as first Deaf Residential School (with dormitory) with 5 Deaf boys. Braidwood was superintendent while Thomas Boling was a Deaf teacher. Thomas Boling is considered the first Deaf teacher in America – (Submitted: Kathleen. Brockway@gmail.com , Deaf History expert)

1816 – Laurent Clerc (deaf) returned to America with Thomas H. Gallaudet.

1817 – American School for the Deaf was founded in Hartford, Connecticut by Mason Cogswell, Thomas H. Gallaudet, and Laurent Clerc. Note: The school was first referred to as Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb persons.

1818 – The New York Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb was founded.

1820 – Pennsylvania School for the Deaf founded April 12, 1820, by David Seixas in his private home on Market Street. After one year relocated to Eleventh & Market streets.

1823 – Kentucky School for the Deaf opened in Danville.  First school supported by state.

1928 – Nellie Zabel Willhite died on January 13, 1928. Nellie Z. Willhite was considered as the first recorded deaf female airplane pilot.

1829 – Ohio School for the Deaf opened in Columbus.

1830 – Thomas H. Gallaudet resigned as principal of American School for the Deaf.

1831 – Dr. Samuel Howe wasthe first director for the first school for the blind in the USA which later became known as the Perkins School for the Blind, he taught Laura Bridgman, who was the inspiration for Helen Keller.

1831 – Alice Cogswell died at the age of 25 years old.

1837 – St. Joseph’s School for the Deaf opened In St. Louis, Missouri. The first Catholic school for the deaf.

1839 – Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind opened in Staunton. The first school to integrate deaf and blind students.

1843 – Indiana School for the Deaf opened in Indianapolis.

1845 – North Carolina Schools (3) for the Deaf opened in Morganton (1845), Wilson (1965), and Greensboro (1975).

1845 – Tennessee School for the Deaf opened in Knoxville.

1846 – American Annals of the Deaf (AAD) began publication in Hartford, Connecticut at the American School for the Deaf.

1846 – Georgia School for the Deaf opened in Cave Springs.

1846 – Illinois School for the Deaf opened in Jacksonville.

1847 – American Annals of the Deaf first proposed idea of higher education for the Deaf.

1849 – South Carolina School for the Deaf opened in Spartanburg.

1850 – Arkansas School for the Deaf opens in Little Rock.

1851 – Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet died September 10, 1851.

1851 – Missouri School for the Deaf opened in Fulton.

1852 – Louisiana State School for the Deaf opened in Baton Rouge.

1852 – Wisconsin School for the Deaf opened in Delavan.

1853 – New England Association of the Deaf was established at Montpelier, Vermont.

1854 – News! (Gallaudet) AAD featured an article, “The National College for Mutes” by John Carlin.  The first honorary degree was granted to him in 1864.

1854 – Mississippi School for the Deaf opened in Jackson.

1854 – Michigan School for the Deaf opened in Flint.

1855 – John J. Flournoy innovated an independent deaf state just for the deaf. 

1855 – Iowa School for the Deaf opened in Council Bluffs.

1856 – News! (Gallaudet) Gallaudet University begins. Amos Kendall donated two acres of land and a house to found a school for the deaf, dumb, and the blind.  

1857 – News! (Gallaudet) On June 13, Kendall School (now Gallaudet University) was incorporated as the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind on land owned by Postmaster General, Amos Kendall.

1857 – Texas School for the Deaf opened in Austin.

1858 – Alabama School for the Deaf opened in Talladega.

1859 – St. Mary’s School for the Deaf opened in Buffalo, New York.

1860 – California School for the Deaf opened in Berkeley.

1861  News! (Gallaudet) School buildings were used by Civil War soldiers as a hospital for sick soldiers. The soldiers were the Pennsylvania regiment under Colonel Samuel Black.

1861 – Kansas State School for the Deaf opened in Olathe.

1863 – Minnesota School for the Deaf opened in Faribault.

1864 – News! (Gallaudet) Gallaudet College Chartered. On April 8, 1864 (charter day for Gallaudet College/University) President Abraham Lincoln signed the charter that granted the college the authority to award degrees. Edward M. Gallaudet became the first president and continued until 1910. Gallaudet University is the only accredited facility for the Deaf in the United States to offer college degrees.

1865 – Empire State Association of the Deaf formed. The first state association of the Deaf.

1866 – News! (Gallaudet) Melville Ballard was the first graduate of the college.

1866 – Joanna Sullivan born in Feeding Hills, Massachusetts. She was the faithful “Teacher” of blind and deaf Helen Keller. Anne Sullivan died in 1936. (Book available SWM).

1866 – Frederick L. Olmsted presented National Deaf Mute College (Gallaudet University).

1867 – Clarke School for Deaf opened in Massachusetts.

1867 – Lexington School for Deaf opened in New York City, becoming the first pure oral school in the country. Clarke School soon followed in Northampton, Massachusetts.

1868 – Maryland School for the Deaf opened in Frederick, Maryland.

1869 – North Carolina became the first state to provide an institution for the education of black deaf children. The school was named the Governor Morehead School.

1869 – Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf opened in Edgewood.  

1869 –  News! (Gallaudet) Amos Kendall died.

1870 – Ohio School became the first school for the deaf to play baseball.

1870 – Oregon School for the Deaf opened in Salem.

1870 – West Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind opened in Romney.

1871 – News! (Gallaudet) Chapel Hall completed construction. President Grant dedicated the building. Mortgage on Kendall Green was paid with $70,000 from Congress.

1872 – Nebraska School for the Deaf opened in Omaha.

1873 – George Wallis published; “Language of Touch – a narrative illustrating the instruction of the Blind and Deaf Mute” based on deaf blind woman named Mary Bradley.

1874 – News! (GallaudetGallaudet purchased the personal library of Charles Baker of England. The library is part of Archives’ Baker Collection of rare books related to the Deaf.

1874 – Lutheran School for the Deaf opened in Detroit, Michigan.

1874 – Colorado School for the Deaf opened in Colorado Springs.

1875 – Deaf Mutes’ Journal published. A popular newspaper of the Deaf.

1875 – Cincinnati Public School for the Deaf opened in CincinnatiOhio.

1875 – New York State School for the Deaf opened in Rome, NY.

1875 – Chicago Day Schools for the Deaf opened in Chicago, Illinois.

1876 – Technology! (Telephone) Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. He also used his influence to implement the practice of oralism, banning the use of sign language in 1880 at the Milan conference – thus restricting communication for the deaf blind.

1876 – Rochester School for the Deaf opened in Rochester, NY.

1876 – Rhode Island School for the Deaf opened in Providence.

1876 – Governor Baxter School for the Deaf opened in Portland, Maine.

1876 – Henry W. Syle & AW Mann were the first Deaf ordained clergymen in USA.

1877 – News! (Gallaudet) Sophia Fowler Gallaudet died. She was born in 1798 and entered ASD at the age of 19 with her older sister and a cousin. She married in 1821 to Thomas H. Gallaudet. She had 8 children with Gallaudet and became the Kendall School’s first matron when her son, Edward, was invited to be the superintendent of the Columbia Institution. 1918 – The first woman’s dormitory was named in her memory.

1879 – Beverly School for the Deaf opened in Beverly, Massachusetts.

1880 –  The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) was established in Cincinnati, Ohio. The first president was Robert P. McGregor of Ohio. He formed the local committee for the first convention. The conference addressed issues of social change, Deaf education, Deaf Marriage, rights, privileges, legislation, support of Gallaudet College, and combined system.

1880 – International Congress of Educators of the Deaf met for Milan Conference. T. H. Gallaudet  attended. James Denison was the only deaf person to attend. The conference overwhelmingly supported oralism. The American delegation and Richard Elliot were the sole opponents.

1880 – South Dakota School for the Deaf opened in Sioux Falls.

1880 – Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama. As a child she became deaf and blind from “Brain Fever” or “Scarlet Fever.” She lived to be 87 years old. She died in 1968.

1881 – Religious! Episcopal Conference of Church Workers Among Deaf was established.

1881 – News! (Gallaudet) New gymnasium (Ole Jim) was completed. The gym was funded by Congress. It was the nation’s first indoor swimming pool.

1883 – Sports! Gallaudet football organized with coach John Hotchkiss.

1883 – Ennals Adams Jr.  was the first African-American at Gallaudet.

1883 – Scranton School for Deaf  (Pennsylvania School for the Deaf) opened in Scranton.

1883 – Marie H. Katzenbach School for the Deaf opened in West Trenton, NJ.

1883 – Alexander G. Bell read Memoir upon the Formation of a Deaf Variety of the Human Race at the American Academy of Sciences in New Haven, CT, and to the Conference of Principals of American Schools for the Deaf.

1884 – Alexander G. Bell was concerned about intermarriage among deaf and stated they should not marry because this isolated the deaf from hearing society and encouraged births of deaf children. This sparked debate for prohibition of marriage among the deaf.

1884 – Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind opened in Ogden.

1884 – Northern New York School for the Deaf opened in Malone.

1885 – Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind opened in St. Augustine.

1886 –  News! (Gallaudet) Construction of Dawes House was completed. Dawes House was designed and planned by Deaf architect Olof Hanson.

1886 – News! (Gallaudet) First women admitted to Gallaudet College on conditional basis.

1886 – SportsWilliam “Dummy” Hoy began his fifteen year career in professional baseball. He was widely attributed for developing the hand count and signals of safe, out, balls and strikes for umpires in baseball. He played for the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Senators. (His life story is available SWM)

1886 – Washington State School for the Deaf opened in Vancouver.

1887 – Alexander G. Bell established the Volta Bureau.

1887– New Mexico School for the Deaf opened in Sante Fe.

1887 – Sports! Albert Berg (deaf) accepted an offer to coach football at Purdue University.

1889 – News! (Gallaudet) Statue of Thomas H. Gallaudet and Alice Cogswell, sculpted by Daniel Chester French was unveiled. Robert P. McGregor said: “With the appearance of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet upon the scene, the history of the deaf of this country begins. Commanding the highest art of the sculptor, his children of silence have placed his statue here in commemoration of his grand work in their behalf. It springs from their hearts; it is worthy of them; it is worthy of the sculptor who created it…it is sublime in the nationality, the universality of the sentiment which it symbolizes.” (Note: Statue picture on back pages this manual)

1890 – British Deaf Association was founded.

1890 – North Dakota School for the Deaf opened in Devils Lake.

1892 – News! (Gallaudet) Alto Lowman was the first deaf woman to graduate from Gallaudet College (University).

1892 – Cleveland Day School for the Deafopened in Ohio.

1892 – News! (Gallaudet) The OWLS for Deaf students was formed. Before then, women newly admitted to the College were only there on an experimental basis. The men considered them of somewhat an intrusion. They could not attend Literary Society meetings without a female chaperone. The first president of OWLS was Agatha Tiegel Hanson.

1893 –  News! (Gallaudet)  Agatha Tiegel Hanson (president of OWLS) was the first woman to graduate with a four year degree, a Bachelor of Arts. She delivered the commencement speech. The Gallaudet College Alumni Association met in Chicago and drafted a petition to rename the National Deaf Mute College as Gallaudet College in honor of Thomas H. Gallaudet. Note: The petition was accepted and college was renamed in 1894.

1893 – World Congress of the Deaf met in Chicago.

1893 – Montana School for the Deaf and the Blind opened in a two-story farm house in  Boulder.  The school was later moved to Great Falls.

1894 – News! National Deaf-Mute College was changed to Gallaudet College.

1894 – News! Ground was broken for the Volta Bureau building in NW Washington. Funds were derived from the Volta Prize that Alexander G. Bell won for inventing the telephone. Volta Bureau’s purpose was to become a center to house information on deafness.

1895 – News! (Gallaudet) May Martin was hired as the first female faculty at Gallaudet College. She departed the position in 1900 to marry Henry L. Stafford and died in 1908.

1895 – Minneapolis Day School for the Deaf opened in Minnesota.

1896 – Sports! (Gallaudet) Deaf women students established a basketball team. First captain was Emma Kershner, in 1997 their record was 3-0. Male students did not have a basketball team until 1905.

1897 – Sports(Gallaudet) William Geiluss, a deaf place kicker on Gallaudet College football team, sent the ball over the bar 27 times out of 31 tries between 1897 and 1901.

1898 – Oklahoma School for the Deaf opened in Sulphur.

1900 – News! (Gallaudet) Elizabeth Peet joined female faculty as Dean of Women.

1901 –  News! The National Fraternal Society of the Deaf was formed for insurance for Deaf men. An auxiliary in 1910 for women and then admitted women as full members in 1951.

1901 – News! (Gallaudet) The Kappa Gamma fraternity was established at Gallaudet, the first permanent fraternity on campus. The first Grand Rajah was John Fisher in 1901.

1901 – Technology! The first electric hearing aid (radio aid) was developed.

1901 – Sports! First football game played between two deaf schools. The Tennessee School for the Deaf  and the North Carolina School for the Deaf. North Carolina won 51-0.

1902 – Diamond Head School for the Deaf opened in Honolulu, Hawaii.

1902 – Helen Keller earned a BA degree cum laude at Radcliffe College.

1903 – African-American children were transferred from Columbia Institution to the Maryland School for Colored Deaf Mutes in Baltimore.

1905 – SportsLuther H. Taylor (deaf) played on the 1905 New York Giants team which won the World Series.

1906 – Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind opened in Gooding.

1909 – Virginia School for the Deaf opened in Hampton.  

1909 –  On April 7, President William Howard Taft overturned Roosevelt’s earlier decision to prohibit deaf people from taking civil service exams for federal jobs.

1910 – News! (Gallaudet) February 6, 1910. A big fire in the College Hall caused $25,000 in damages and losses. Students, faculty, and fire department worked hard to put out the fire. It was bitter cold and the water turned into ice, encasing the entire building in ice.

1910 – News! (Gallaudet) Percival Hall was installed as the president of Gallaudet College.  He was a Harvard graduate. In 1892 he earned a B.A. degree and earned his Master’s degree in 1893. He first taught at New York School for the Deaf then returned to Gallaudet in 1895 as a professor of mathematics.

1910 – News! (Gallaudet) Percival Hall was installed as president of Gallaudet College.  He was a Harvard graduate. In 1892 he earned a B.A. degree and earned his Master’s degree in 1893. He first taught at New York School for the Deaf then returned to Gallaudet in 1895.

1910 – The Volta Review began its publications.

1910 –  Alice Nicholson was installed as the first female Editor-in-Chief of The Buff and Blue. The next female Editor-in-Chief, was Alice McVan in 1927-1928.

1911 –  Arizona School for the Deaf and the Blind opened in Tucson.  

1912 – Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low, a late-deafened woman founded the Girl Scouts of America in Savannah, Georgia. In 1919, the Illinois School for the Deaf was the first to start a scout troop for girls.

1914 – Dr. Harry Best published The Deaf; Their Position in Society and the Provisions for their Education in the U.S.

1914 – Edwin Nies was the first deaf person to earn a Doctor of Dental Sciences. He earned the degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

1914 – Central Institution for the Deaf opened in St. Louis.

1916-1920 – News! Deaf women began an era of female leadership of state associations. Annie Lashbrook and Alice Terry were elected as Presidents of the Empire State Assoc. of the Deaf and the California Assoc. of the Deaf. Olga Anderson presided over the North Dakota Assoc. of the Deaf.

1917 – Dr. Edward M. Gallaudet died September 26. Son of Thomas H. Gallaudet.

1921 – Technology! Earl Hanson patented the first vacuum-tube hearing aid.

1922 – Alexander Graham Bell died in Nova Scotia, Canada on August 1, 1922.

1922 – Sports! Rolf Harmsen became first deaf athlete to run the 100-yard dash in 9.8 secs.

1923 – Sports! (Gallaudet) Football field, “Garlic Field,” was renamed “Hotchkiss Field.”

1924 – Sports! The International Committee of Silent Sports (ICSS) was founded by E. Rubens Alcais (France) and Antoine Dresse (Belgium). The first International Games for the Deaf were held in Pershing Stadium in Paris. In 1965 the first games in USA were in  Washington, DC.

1926 – Edith Fitzgerald published Straight Language for the Deaf.

1926 –  Deaf artist Henry Humphrey Moore died.

1928 – News! Nellie Zabel Willhite (deaf) was licensed to fly in South Dakota. She is  believed to be the first solo deaf pilot in the world.

1930 –  U.S. Bureau of the Census did a national census of deaf people.

1933 – Sports! Everett “Silent” Rattan won 109 straight wrestling matches as a deaf wrestler.

1934 – Federal survey of the deaf and hard of hearing began under U.S. Office of Education.

1934 – Sports! (Gallaudet) Gallaudet had its first Homecoming football game against Shenandoah College. Gallaudet won 7-6.

1935 – Douglas Tiden, Deaf sculptor and artist died August 6, 1935. He created lovely portraits, and statuettes. He graduated from Berkeley School and also taught there.

1936 – Religious! One of the first Baptist Deaf ministries was organized in Wealthy Street Baptist Church, 2233 Michigan St. NE in Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503, by Rev. Harold Christensen (a deaf graduate of Nebraska School for the Deaf in Omaha). Gilbert L. Branagan (deaf) continues to lead the deaf ministry (gbran57@att.net).


1936 – Anne Sullivan, “Teacher” of Helen Keller, died October 20, 1936.  Joanna “Anne” Sullivan was known all her life as the teacher of Helen Keller.  Anne Sullivan was born in Feeding Hills, Massachusetts on April 14, 1866. She became an orphan and was placed in Perkins Institution for the Blind because her eyes were weakened but a childhood infection. She was later chosen to teach Helen Keller.

1937 – George Veditz died March 12, 1937. He was a fierce defender for the preservation of American Sign Language (ASL) and an advocate for the Deaf community to have its own culture. In 1910 he filmed American Sign Language. This film is now regarded as one of the most important documents in Deaf history. Veditz served as the president of the National Association of the Deaf in 1907.

1937 – Edward Miner Gallaudet was born on February 5, 1937. He was the son of Thomas H. Gallaudet and later became the first president of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. He remained president for 46 years.

1937 – Ernest Marshall produced a motion picture in Sign Language for deaf audiences.

1940 – Helmer Myklebust published The Psychology of Deafness.

1942 – The John Tracy Clinic for the Deaf was opened in Los Angeles.

1943 –News! The Thomas H. Gallaudet Liberty ship wasbuilt and commissioned for World War II. Later, during an with Soviet Union, it was renamed the Maikop.  In 1951 it was sold.

1943 – Deafness and the Deaf in the United States by Harry Best published.

1943 – Sports! (Gallaudet) The season of the 5 Ironmen came into the tournament with a 4-11 record. The Gallaudet team played with only five men and no alternates. 1943 was also the year Gallaudet won the pennant. The five Ironmen were Hal Weingold, Earl Roberts, Paul Baldridge, Roy Holcomb, and Don Padden.

1945 – Sports! The American Athletic Association of the Deaf was established in Akron, Ohio, where the Deaf worked for Firestone and had established a colony.

1947 – News! Rhulin Thomas of D.C. became the first deaf aviator to fly coast to coast.

1947 – News! (Gallaudet) Hall retired as president of Gallaudet College and Leonard M. Elstad was named as third president of Gallaudet College.

1947 – (Gallaudet) Alpha Sigma Pi Fraternity founded on campus. Founding fathers: Archie Stack, Taras Denis, and Andrew Vasnick.

1947 – Religious! One of the first known Deaf Interpreted church services in a Baptist Church was provided at Akron Baptist Temple in Akron, Ohio. Pastor Dallas F. Billington was touched by a local deaf couple and provided an interpreter in all church services.

1949 – Religious! Rev. Carter Bearden (deaf) appointed a Southern Baptist Missionary in Waco, Texas, where he served as the conference’s first president in 1949 and 1950 before moving to Atlanta to serve Southern Baptists’ first national missionary to the deaf. Rev. Carter Bearden, B.D., Th.M attended Gallaudet College. He received B.A. from Baylor University. B.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and Th.M. from Columbia Theological Seminary. He served 39 years as field consultant to deaf ministries throughout the Southern Baptist Convention. 2014 – Rev. Carter Bearden is presently retired.

1950 – Technology! Behind the ear transistor hearing aids became available.

1950 – Religious! First service for the deaf interpreted at a Billy Graham Crusade in Portland, Oregon. After observing the Deaf, Billy Graham decided that “Deaf Interpreting” would be made available at all his future crusades.

1951 – News! The first World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf was held.

1953 – News! (Gallaudet) Delta Epsilon founded as first Greek Letter Sorority for deaf women. Founders: Gloria Wojick, Ann Lister, Joan Macaluso, and Eloise Bolen.

1953 – California School for the Deaf opened in Riverside.

1953 – Religious! The Bill Rice Ranch in Murfreesboro, TN was established by Dr. Bill and Cathy Rice. They saw the spiritual need of the Deaf because of their deaf daughter, Betty. This was one of the first known deaf camp. The Bill Rice Ranch continues to invite deaf young people to attend a free week of camp.  Contact: BillRiceRanch.org


1954 – News! (Gallaudet) Andrew Foster was a Deaf missionary to the Deaf in Africa from 1956 until his death in 1987. He became the first Black Deaf person to earn a bachelor’s degree from Gallaudet College and the first to earn a master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University, and received a master’s degree from Seattle Pacific Christian College. He founded Christian Mission for the Deaf in 1956, and set out for Liberia, Africa. He established the first school of his mission in Ghana. He was the first African American graduate of Gallaudet College. He established 31 schools and 2 centers for the Deaf in Africa. His also founded Christian Mission for the Deaf Africanin 1956.

1954 – News! (Gallaudet) The Columbia Institution of the Deaf and Dumb was reorganized. Gallaudet College became the parent institution, containing the college as well as the Graduate Department and Kendall School.

1954 – News! (Gallaudet) The OWLS changed their name to Phi Kappa Zeta.

1954 – News! Supreme Court outlawed segregation forcing colored schools for the deaf to close and integrate with institutions serving white children.

1956 – Jewish leaders in Deaf community organized the National Congress of Jewish Deaf.

1956 – NAD officials and state representatives met at the Missouri School for the Deaf to reorganize the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).

1957 – News! (Gallaudet) Ida Wynette Gray Hampton was the first deaf African-American woman to graduate from Gallaudet College.

1958 – Technology! President Dwight Eisenhower signed PL-85-905 which established  Captioned Films for the Deaf.

1958 – Religious! Deaf ministry established by Trinity Baptist Church, 800 Hammond Blvd., in Jacksonville, Florida. First leader was Dorothy Morgan. 2014.

1958 –  (News) September became National Deaf Awareness Month. The purpose of Deaf Awareness Month is to increase awareness of deaf awareness and deaf issues worldwide.

1960 – News! Maxine Boatner published Voice of the Deaf, a bio Dr. Edward M. Gallaudet.

1960 – News! Stokoe published his findings about sign language as a legit language. His publication did not attract much attention until it was republished in 1965 with Casterline and Croneberg as Dictionary of ASL on Linguistic Principles.

1960 – Junior National Association of the Deaf was established for deaf youths. Their first national convention at Gallaudet was in 1968.

1961 – William Ellsworth Hoy died on December 15, 1961. “Dummy” Hoy was considered as the forefather of “Sports Hand Signals.” He finished his career in Los  Angeles after playing a record 1,792 professional baseball games. He died at the age of 99.

1961 –  Georg von Bekesy won Nobel Prize for inner-ear research.

1963  – International Congress on Education of Deaf met at Gallaudet College.

1963 – Sports! (Gallaudet) The Gallaudet Basketball team played in their first international game against the University of  Paris. The match was closely contested, but Gallaudet lost.

1964 – Technology! “Picturephone” demonstrated (AT&T) at World’s Fair.

1964 – Technology! TTY Introduced – Robert Weitbrecht (deaf) invented the acoustic coupler (TTY) similar to the American textphone. The coupler allowed the use typewriters to send messages via telephone. The first conversation was between Weibrecht and James C. Marsters which read, “Are you printing now?” Robert Weitbrecht died on May 19, 1983.

1964 – News! President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Public Law 89-36, which provided  establishment and operation of a National Technical Institute for the Deaf. NTID is a federally-funded institution was the first known technological college for deaf students..

1964 – The NAD gave women members the right to vote.

1964 – Registry of Interpreters for Deaf (RID) organized in Muncie, Indiana.

1964 – Sports! The National Deaf Bowling Association was organized.

1965 – Sports! American Athletic Association of the Deaf sponsored the 10th International Games for the Deaf in Washington, DC.

1966 – News! (Gallaudet) Dr. N. Judge King was the first African-American faculty hired at Gallaudet College. Fred Schreiber became the first executive director of the NAD.

1966 – The National Theater of the Deaf was established.  The theater of the deaf went on their first national tour in 1967.

1966 – (News) The Telecommunications Act is signed by President Bill Clinton. It is the first major overhaul of telecommunications law in almost 62 years. The Telecom Act is a guide to the actions taken by the FCC to implement the Act included mandated closed captioning, which is now widely available for the deaf and hard of hearing community.

1966 – Religious! Silent Word Ministries. PO Box 889, Trenton, Georgia was founded by missionary Dr. Ted Camp to reach the Deaf world with the Gospel through publications, mission board, newspaper, literature and a Bible correspondence program. The ministry has publishes free tracts, Bible courses, and a Christian newspaper. It is a worldwide Deaf ministry. Contact: Office@SilentWord.org or View: www.SilentWordMinistries.

1967 – News! (Gallaudet) The Laurent Clerc Cultural Fund was presented to Gallaudet to promote projects and activities which would lead to the cultural enrichment of Deaf people.

1968 – Technology! Alexander Graham Bell Association and National Association of the Deaf formed Teletypewriters for the Deaf in Indiana.

1968 – National Technical Institute for the Deaf opened in Rochester, NY.

1968 – Religious! Thomas Road Baptist Church (Pastor Jerry Falwell) in Lynchburg, Virginia began a Deaf ministry. Sue Willmington, a nationally certified interpreter, became the church interpreter. In 1973 The nationwide Old-Time Gospel Hour with Jerry Falwell was founded, and Sue Willmington was the “Interpreter” in a small circle on TV. The Deaf referred to her as the “Lady in the Circle.” This opened the doors for many other TV programs and churches to provide interpreters for the Deaf.

1968 – Missions! (Peru) Baptist Deaf Pastor Vernon Miller was commissioned to become one of the first Baptist Deaf missionaries to Peru. Vernon Miller founded the Efata Deaf Church and also a deaf school in Villa El Salvador, Peru. The ministry continues under the direction of Joe Kotvas. Contact: jkotvas@efata.org. (See 1977 for more updated info)

1968 – Missions!  (USA) Eugene Kimmel resigned the pastorate to become a missionary to teach Sign Language in churches. 2011 – Hands for Christ Ministry started over 200 deaf church ministries. Eugene Kimmel is now in Heavenhfc-kimmel@juno.com.

1969 – News! (Gallaudet) Edward Merrill became the fourth president of Gallaudet College.

1969 – National Technical Institute for the Deaf opened in Rochester, New York.

1969 – Tennessee Temple School for the Deaf opened in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

1969 – The Silent News launched. First issue, dated January 1, 1969. First headline was, “Silent News is Born.” Silent News reprinted stories from the media about deafness and deaf awareness. The paper ceased after its founder, Julius Wiggins, passed away in 2001.

1969 – Missions! (Mexico) Rancho Sordo Mudo (Deaf Ranch) established by  Missionaries Ed & Margaret Everett. Sons Luke and Eddie now directors.  www.ranchosordomudo.org

1970 – News! The Model Secondary School for the Deaf began operation through PL 89-694 enacted in 1966. It was to provide educational programs for deaf high school students.

1970 – First Deaf woman to earn a PhD was Nansie Sharpless at Wayne State University.

1970 – The Learning Center for the Deaf was founded.

1970 – (News) John Louis Clarke (Deaf artist & sculptor) 1881 -1970. Education: St. John’s School for the Deaf.  He signed his name, “Cutapuis,” which means “The-Man-Who-Talks-Not.” In 1918 American Art Galleries awarded him a gold medal for bear sculpture. Spokane Art Association awarded a silver medal in 1928    The Montana Clarke Western Art Gallery & Museum in Montana features his bronzes, paintings, Carvings, & pictures.

1971 – News! Jerald Jordan (Deaf) was the first American elected president of sports ICSS.

1971 – Deaf Census Conducted – Deaf Population of the United States by Jerome D. Schein and Marcus T. Delk, Jr. was conducted by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) in cooperation with Deafness Research and Training Center, NY University. It listed the National Census of the Deaf Population (NCDP). It also included state population of the Hearing Impaired, Deaf and Prevocationally Deaf. The last nationwide study of deafness was conducted by the US Bureau of Census in 1930. (Rare 1971 Deaf Census Book on file SWM).

1972 – National Association of the Deaf (NAD) hosted the first Miss Deaf America Pageant in Miami Beach, FL. First Miss Deaf America was Ann Billington who was also Miss Gallaudet.

1972 – First Captioned Television program introduced. “The French Chef” was the first captioned TV program. All TV screens 13 inches + had built-in closed caption.

1972 – Missions! (Mexico) Ronald M. Henson, Highland Park Baptist Church (Chattanooga, TN), became a missionary to the Deaf in Mexico with BIMI. He published a Mexican Sign Language book and video. Ronald H. Henson is now in Heaven. (Video Available SWM).

1974 – News! (Gallaudet) Donalda Ammons was the first female Editor-in-Chief of the Tower Clock at Gallaudet University.

1974 – National Association of the Deaf (NAD) did a census of deaf Americans; the counts were 13.4 million hearing impaired and 1.8 million deaf Americans.

1974 – Technology! The first telecommunications relay service was established by Converse Communications of Connecticut.

1975 – World Federation of the Deaf met in Washington, D.C.

1975 – News! On November 29, President Gerald Ford signed PL94-142  into law. The law guarantees each disabled child to receive a free, appropriate public education.

1975 – Missions! (Deaf Missionary) Ronnie B. Rice from Tennessee School for the Deaf and graduate of Tennessee Temple Schools in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was ordained in the Baptist ministry to preach the Gospel to the Deaf. 2014 – Ronnie Rice is a missionary to the deaf worldwide. Contact EM: IDMontrack1@yahoo.com

1975 – Missions! (Deaf Missionary) Missionary Allen Snare from Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (PSD) and graduate of Tennessee Temple Schools in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was commissioned into the Baptist ministry to preach the Gospel to the Deaf. 2014 – Allen Snare continues to serve as a missionary with Silent Word Ministries in Trenton, Georgia. He travels worldwide as a Deaf preacher reaching the deaf. Contact: (Office@SilentWord.org).

1975 – Religious! Elvista Baptist Church Peoria, Illinois began a deaf ministry withBruce Watt,  Hannah Inman, Mona Miller, Teri Hatcher, Don & Marion Webb. Leaders: Judy Risius/Al Reed. 2014: The ministry is still active EM: Elvistabaptist.org

1975 – Religious! Capitol City Baptist Church in Holt, Michigan, established a separate Deaf chapel ministry under the leadership of Pastor Erwin Robertson with Deaf leader Al Cooper. The Deaf Chapel services are conducted separately with deaf leadership with music leaders and teachers. 2014 – The ministry continues to be active.

1976 – News! (Gallaudet) The first Deaf Women’s Conference held in Washington, DC.

1976 – Closed Captioning Authorized – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorized Line 21 to be reserved for Closed Captioning. (Ted Camp represented the deaf community to the Commission.  Sears decided to sell decoders for closed captioned TV.

1977 – Missions! (Peru) Efata Baptist Church (Iglesia Bautista Efata), a deaf church, and a school were established in Lima, Peru by Deaf Missionary Vernon Miller. 2014 – The ministry continues under present pastor Missionary Joe Kotvas. Contact:   Jkotvas@efata.org

1977 – Religious! Missionary Jon Barr surrendered to be a missionary to the Deaf. He  and his wife, Diane, both graduated from Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. 2011 – He is now the President of Silent Word Ministries in Trenton, Georgia.  (SilentWordMinistries.org).

1978 – Religious! (Deaf Ministry) Bethel Baptist Church Deaf Ministry (Sellersville, PA), Founder: Becky Harris. Leaders: Tom & Joan Vannatta.  Email: (vannatta777@yahoo.com).

1979 – The American Association of Deaf and Blind, Inc was formed.

1980 – Technology! First regular series captioned by ABC were broadcast. Sears, Roebuck and Company began selling decoders for closed captioning for television.

1980 – National Association of the Deaf had its first female president, Gertrude Galloway.

1980 – News! (Theater) Phyllis Frelich won a Tony for her performance in Children of a Lesser God on Broadway.

1980 – Missions! (Philippines) Missionary Bob Himes of Bill Rice Ranch Missions began ministries to the deaf in the Philippines. In 1981 – He  established their first free deaf camp in Iloilo. 2011 He has established many deaf ministries in the Philippines. The Himes continue their free annual deaf camps.  EM: behimes6100@yahoo.com

1980 – Religious! (Deaf Church) Deaf Liberty Baptist Church in Overland Park, Kansas, was founded by Deaf Pastor David Hanson a graduate of Gallaudet College and Temple Deaf College in Kansas. Contact: (deaflibertybaptist.org).

1981 – Jack Gannon published Deaf Heritage. Deaf Heritage was the first community history book published by a Deaf author. (NAD)

1981 – Religious! DBFA – Deaf Baptist Fellowship of America was founded by Dr. John Clark. DBFA  is a fellowship of Deaf Christians that conducts annual meetings in host churches in America. Contact: EM: dbfa.net.

1982 – The National Black Deaf Advocates was founded.

1982 – Missions! (Worldwide) World Mission Society in El Paso, Texas, was founded by Don & Betty Cabbage. Dr. Don Cabbage has worked in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community internationally since 1967. WMS mission is to take the Gospel to Deaf people around the world. Don is very active with the deaf in Korea. Contact: doncabbage@juno.com

1984 – Technology! The Cochlear implant pioneered and now flourishes.

1984 – Sports! Jeffery James Float became the first Deaf person to win a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, California. He earned the gold medal at the men’s 4x 200-meter freestyle relay. He also finished fourth in the men’s 200-meter event. Jeffery Float also garnered 10 gold medals (unprecedented) in 10 events at the 1977 World Games for the Deaf in Bucharest.

1984 – Missions! Missionary Jim Bracelin surrendered to be a missionary to the deaf.  Jim and Terry later joined Silent Word Ministries in Trenton, Georgia. Jim serves as the vice-president and Director of SWM in in the Northeast area. Contact: SilentWordMinistries.org.

1985 – Sports! Deaf Women United was founded at the Deaf Women’s Conference prior to the World Games of the Deaf in Los  Angeles, California.

1986 – Films! Marlee Matlin (Deaf) won an Oscar for her first ever movie performance. She performed the role of Sarah in Children of a Lesser God.  She also was one of the first deaf on TV. Julianna Field won an Emmy for Love is Never Silent.

1986 – News! (Gallaudet) Gallaudet College became Gallaudet University.

1986 – Religious! (Deaf Church) Pastor Eugene Bordean (CODA)  founded Liberty Baptist Church of the Deaf – 1552 Elmore Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43224  2011 –  Present Pastor Rev. David  Mason (deaf). Contact: EM: jesuscares4you@wowway.com).

1987 – Religious! Deaf Baptist Ladies Retreat (DBLR) began in Rochester, NY. Founder: Slyvya Boyd. A Christian ladies fellowship in annual meetings throughout America. In 1993 a serving board was formed. Hundreds of deaf ladies across America and some foreign countries attend this annual meeting. Contact: Sharon Bordean. (deafladiesretreat.org).

1988 – News! (Gallaudet) Protest at Gallaudet University – (March 7) Students chanted, “Deaf President Now,” to remove Elisabeth Ann Zinser as president. They demanded a Deaf president. On March 10, 1988 they marched to the Capitol. Later, Zinser and Spilman (hearing) resigned. Phil Bravin became chairman of the Board and I. King Jordan became the first Deaf president.

1989 – Religious! (Deaf Church) Hampshire View Baptist Deaf Church – 360 Ednor Road, Silver Springs, Maryland – founded by Deaf Pastor Terry Buchholz, a graduate of Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The church organized Capital Baptist Deaf College www.deafbiblecollege.com. Also Biblical Vlogs www.hvbdc.com/vlogs.

1990 – Missions! (Africa) Chris and Lucinda Radebaugh of BIO (Baptist International Outreach)started a deaf ministry in Kenya. 1995 – They reached out into South Africa. 1996 –  Started the Baptist Chapel for the Deaf (now Bible Baptist Church of the Deaf).  2000 – Started the Bible Baptist College for the Deaf. 2004 – Started the Tshwane Deaf Baptist Church in Pretoria. 2007 – began a satellite deaf church in Johannesburg with missionary Jimmy Tsoukalas. 2010 – Expanded into Zimbabwe. (signsoflifesa@gmail.com).

1990  – The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. It was considered one of the most important laws for deaf individuals. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects the rights of the disabled to education, employment, accessible buildings, and other reasonable accommodations. This law prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.

1990 –  News! Deaf Way event took place in Washington, D.C. The International Conference attracted more than 5,000 Deaf people from nearly 70 countries. They gave their approval and support to the signing of the ADA (American Disability Act).

1990 – Technology! Text Pagers  – Due to the increased use of pagers, wireless telephones and personal digital assistants (PDA), two-way text paging grew in popularity. Technology helped shape the way deaf and hard-of-hearing communicate – Sorenson Communications.

1990 – Technology! Closed Captioning – PL 101-431, the “Television Decoder Circuitry Act” mandated closed-captioning decoder chips in all televisions over 13″ manufactured in or imported into the United States.

1992  – Missions! (Ecuador) Deaf Missionaries Ray and Anita Bradley (BIMI) started serving the Deaf in Ecuador. (Estimated Time 1992) Contact: rwamb@interactive.net.ec

1993 – Religious! Silent Word Ministries relocated from the Bill Rice Ranch in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to Trenton, Georgia. SWM has become one of the world’s largest deaf ministries. It specializes in free tracts, Bible courses, and a Christian newspaper. SWM also has a mission board serving nationally and worldwide. Visit Web site: SilentWordMinistries.org.

1994 – Technology!  Wynd Communications was founded and was the first company to deliver life-changing wireless communications services to deaf or hard of hearing people.

1994 – Intertribal Deaf Council was founded for Deaf people of Native American descent.

1994 – Religious! (Deaf College) Harvest Christian Deaf College, 1314 Old Three Notch Road in Ringgold, Georgia 30736, was established by Dr. Reggie Rempel  2011 – Harvest Ministries now includes a Christian Day School, Deaf College and a Deaf Church.  Contact@HarvestDeaf.org.

1995 – Missions! (Peru) Missionaries Lee and Eva Johnson began serving Deaf in Peru. They established the Iglesia Bautista para Sordos in Chiclayo. EM: leedeafperu@juno.com

1995 – News! The first issue of The Silent Word newspaper was sent free to deaf and deaf ministries. 2010 – The Silent Word newspaper now has over 50,000 in readerships, reaching worldwide via newspaper and Internet. Contact: SilentWordMinistries.org.

1995 – News! Heather Whitestone, Miss Alabama, became the first deaf woman to be crowned Miss America.

1995 – Technology! Motorola introduced the world’s first two-way pagers, which allowed users to receive text messages and e-mail and reply with a standard response.

1996 – Religious! (Deaf College) Capital Baptist Deaf College in Silver Springs, Maryland, was established by (Deaf) Terry Buchholz. EM: hvbdc@aol.com  or www.deafbiblecollege.com.

1997 – News! The World Federation for the Deaf and Blind was founded.

1998 – Technology! – Wyndtell was the first two-way pager marketed to the deaf world.

2000 – News!  The Silent Word Ministries headquarters was built in Trenton, Georgia, in a one-week building program by the Men & Women of Action. The office was dedicated to the memory of Alvin Spurgin, the first deaf person who influenced the ministry. 2010 – The ministry expanded into three buildings that headquarters a mission board, Deaf Bible Institute (Correspondence), Teaching and Training Bible Institute, Silent Word Newspaper, Internet ministry and a 24/7 ministry that reaches the deaf worldwide. SWM has beome one of the largest ministry to the the Deaf. For more information Contact: SilentWordMinistries.org

2000 – Technology! IP Relay Introduced – (November) IP Relay is a means of communication using the computer and internet for the deaf community. Rather than rely on a TTY and telephone to connect an operator, IP Relay utilizes a computer, the Internet and web browser to contact the IP relay operator who calls and voices the conversation between the deaf or hard-of-hearing person and the hearing person.  – Sorenson Communications.

2001 – Religious! Deaf Pastor Bruce Kelly established Deaf Baptist Church 3000 Jonquil Drive in Smyrna, GA. It us a deaf church with deaf leadership. It also specializes in reaching deaf young people in the Atlanta area. Contact: bavkelly@yahoo.com

2001 – Religious! (Hispanic Deaf Church) Mimmac Deaf Ministry established. Mimmac in Spanish means Mira Mis Manos y Cree (Look at my hands and believe..)  2010 – Relocated as “Miami Deaf Church” within “Miami Deaf Center.”  The church is now praying for Deaf leaders to minister within the church. Contact: Marcelo and Claudia Simonian<claudiasimonian@aol.com>

2002 – News! Deanne Bray-Kotsur (known as Deanne Bray) portrayed a deaf person on the TV program, “Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye.” The program originally aired on the Pax Channel from October 2002 to May 2005. Deanne played a deaf FBI employee based on a real-life person named Sue Thomas who had really worked for the FBI.

2002 – Technology! First “Sidekick” phone, released on October 1, was the first cellular phone to include instant messaging along with on-device email and a full QWERTY keyboard.

2002 – Technology! The original Hiptop was released in October. All the units, from the beginning, have featured “Menu”, “Back”, “Jump” and other keys accessible even when the unit was closed. The Hiptop also featured a speaker which is used for device sounds but not telephone. The headset jack serves a dual purpose, as it is also used for the accessory camera. A later revision of the Hiptop upgraded its screen from monochrome LCD to color LCD.  It is slightly bigger than any later Hiptop. It is rare to come across one in current times.

2003 – Technology! Sidekick became the first cellular phone to place unassisted TTY and Relay Operator calls through the phone’s web browser using a system developed by Jon B. Sharpe at Lormar Logic Company.

2003 – The British Government recognized British Sign Language (BSL) (a two hand sign language) as a bona-fide language. This two-handed method is also used in Australia, England and other area countries.  (BSL DVD available SWM)

2003 – Technology! Videophone Introduced – VP-100 videophone introduced to provide deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing users with access to VRS. Videophone was available, granting Deaf people greater autonomy in telephone communications –   Sorenson

2003 – DeafNation wasfounded by brothers, Joel and Jed Barrish. The DeafNation Expo trade show is held in 10-15 different cities across America. DeafNation is the international leader in video content, news coverage, social networking and special events for the greater deaf and hard-of-hearing community. DeafNation.com – info@deafnation.com

2004 – Religious! (Missions) Silent Word Ministries International in Trenton, Georgia was established with Director, David Bennett a veteran missionary who served and established a deaf church in Brazil. The goal of SWMI is to send more Deaf and Hearing missionaries to establish Deaf Churches and Ministries in foreign countries (davidbennett@swmi.org).

2004 – Technology!  The Sidekick 2 was released July 10.

2004 – Technology! Videophone VP-200 was introduced. It included improved video quality and deaf-friendly features like visual caller ID, a pan/tilt/zoom camera, a new interface and remote control. – Sorenson Communications.

2005 – Sports! Gallaudet football enjoyed a 9-0 undefeated season with coach Ed Hottle.

2005 – Technology! Relay Operator providers (Hamilton, MCI, Sprint, Sorenson, and i711) provided direct Relay Operator access from the Sidekick using either one of the instant messenger clients or through a free download, and two companies (Lormar Logic and i711) provided direct TTY access. The free Lormar Logic service provided direct encrypted calling to the United States Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service.

2005 – News! Miss Deaf USA contest began in Las Vegas, Nevada.The first winner was Lacy Tingey of Washington D.C.

2006 – News! (Gallaudet) Students again marched on Gallaudet University, demanding the Board of Trustees rescind its appointment of Dr. Jane Fernandez as I. King Jordan’s successor as president. The GUFSSA (Gallaudet University Faculty, Students, Staff, and Alumni) gave them a voice in the naming of Jordan’s successor.

2006 – Technology! The SK3 was released and manufactured by Sharp. It was smaller than previous versions, measuring 130 mm wide x 59 mm high x 22 mm thick. All features, including the line-by-line scroll feature remained the same. Software remained basically the same, but with the addition of more applications.

2006 – News! (Cochlear Implants) Worldwide over 30,000 individuals with Cochlear implants (1999 – Over 3,000 cochlear implants) FDA approved cochlear implants in children as young as one-year. Excellent speech and hearing results resulted with proper training.

2007 – Technology! VRS Providers & FCC – Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced its decision to establish a multi-year reimbursement rate for relay service providers. The multi-year rate allows  VRS providers to increase numbers of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals who use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate.

2008 – Interpreter Courses! Sorenson Communications announced sponsorship of professional education courses that allows interpreters to improve their skills while earning college credit. It is accredited by American Council on Education (ACE). The six-course qualifies for Continuing Education Units for RID Certification Maintenance Program.

2009 – Technology! Sorenson Communications launched Video Center giving VP-200 videophone users a central location to access both information and entertainment in (ASL). Video Center includes SignMail messages/missed-call messages recorded in ASL; videos for  VRS services; deaf-related news; and educational information.

2010 – News! DeafNation Expo (July)  met in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was estimated that 23,400 people from 73 different countries attended this large annual event. DeafNation was founded in 2003 by Joel and Jed Barrish. Contact: info@deafnation.com. (Silent Word Ministries International team was very active at this event).

2010 – Religion! International Partnership Ministries in Hanover, PA launches worldwide Deaf ministry outreach into many countries. Contact:  deafministries@ipmworld.org

2010 – Technology! IP Relay – (October) Sorenson launched IP Relay. Messages and Outbound Caller I.D. (November) Sorenson began distribution of “Storytime” through Sorenson VP-200® videophones. New Deaf Kids Network™ (DKN™) Storytime will be available for individuals and schools. (December) The Video Center is available through BlackBerry (Note: All Sorenson services are provided at no cost to Sorenson users – SWM).

2010 – Sports! Pennsylvania School for the Deaf inducted Allen Snare into the P.S.D. Sports Hall of Fame as an outstanding athlete who excelled in football, basketball, and baseball during 1963-1967.

2010 – Gallaudet University Press published book on deaf people in the Holocaust, “Crying Hands by Horst Biesold. The fate of the deaf in Nazi Germany…few are aware that during the Nazi era human beings – men, women, and children–with impaired hearing were sterilized against their will, and that many of the deaf were also murdered.

2011 – News! – USA Today – Kara Rose. November 23, 2011: Schools see shortage of interpreters for deaf.  As states raise the requirements for deaf children in schools, some students are left without qualified translators in schools…. During the past seven years 26 schools  have adopted the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA)…. It is becoming hard to find qualified interpreters…but without a qualified interpreter, (deaf students) are just sitting there.

2014 – Religion!  Pastor David Hanson died March, 2014. In 1980 he founded and pastored Deaf Liberty Baptist Church in Overland Park, Kansas, until he died. He was a graduate from Gallaudet college and Temple Deaf College in Kansas. He also served as president of Deaf Baptist Fellowship of America.

2014 – Missions! Missionary John Peterson died on January 7, 2014. He was a veteran  missionary (ABWE) to the Deaf in Brazil and other South American countries. He also developed programs of the Deaf Sign language from eight different South American countries (available SWM). Jean, his wife, stated that his desire was to be buried in Brazil.

2016 – The DeafNation World Expo returns to Las Vegas for its annual event. It has become one of the world’s largest event for the deaf. Silent Word Ministries International with a ministry team also attended the event. For more info: DavidBennett@SWMI.org

2018 – Religious – Maxine “Max” Jefferies founder and Interpreter for many years of the Deaf ministry at First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana died January 27, 2018.

2018 – (News) President George H.W. Bush died November 30, 2018, Houston, TX – Born June 12, 1924, Milton, MA. President Bush was the signer of the 1990 American Disability Act (ADA) which also protects Deaf people  disabilities. The ADA protects the civil rights of more than 50 million Americans with disabilities. Its purpose is to make sure they have the same opportunities as everyone else to fully participate in public life. Under the ADA, a disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities include things like speaking, walking, caring for oneself, and performing manual tasks. The law also protects people with a history impairment and those who are regarded as having such an impairment.

2018 – (Religion) Deaf Evangelist John Clark died November 26, 2018. He was one of the first full time evangelist into the Deaf world. Living by faith to preach teach, pastor in deaf churches and evangelizing the deaf worldwide for many years. Dr. John Clark was founder DBFA Deaf Baptist Fellowship of America which meets annually for one week of Deaf Christian fellowship in a scheduled city. Two memorial services were conducted: Dayton, Ohio – Snellville, Georgia. He was 84 years old and his legacy and influence continues.

Deaf Timelines will continually be updated with new information as and when it is available. Contact: Ted Camp, SWM – TC@SilentWord.org


Deaf Timelines

Secular – Sports – Religious – Missions – Technology and News Events

Compiled and Edited By Dr. Ted Camp, SWM

Note: SWM has tried to verify and attest the following dates and information to the best of our ability. If you note any information or data that is incorrect, please advise us, and it will be corrected in the next printing. Our goal is simply to inform the public, those in deaf ministries, and especially the Deaf concerning their Deaf History & Heritage. – Dr. Ted Camp, SWM

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Silent Word Publications – PO Box 889 – Trenton, Georgia 30752