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Hartford, Connecticut

Rich Repository of Deaf History

By

Updated September 10, 2010

Hartford, Connecticut is a repository of deaf history, particularly the histories of Thomas Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc. Graves, memorials, and even a museum are in Hartford.

Graves with Deaf History

There are three cemeteries in Hartford that hold the graves of people in deaf history:
  • Cedar Hill Cemetery (Maple Avenue). Thomas Gallaudet and his son, Edward Miner, Gallaudet University's founder, are both buried here. Others from the Gallaudet family are also buried here, including Sophia Fowler Gallaudet, Thomas Gallaudet's wife.
  • Old North Cemetery (Main Street). Alice Cogswell is buried here. There is also a plot where students and others associated with the American School for the Deaf are buried.
  • Spring Grove Cemetery (Main Street). This cemetery is the resting place for the Peets, Laurent Clerc, and two principals of the American School for the Deaf.

Memorials to People in Deaf History

In addition to the famous Gallaudet/Alice statue at the American School for the Deaf, there are additional memorials in Hartford. In Gallaudet Square, there is a Founders Memorial that consists of two giant hands making the sign for "Light" as a deaf girl stands between the hands. The light represents the gift of Thomas Gallaudet to the deaf - the gift of education. Trinity College Chapel has a pew that has at its end, a carved memorial of Thomas Gallaudet depicting him teaching a deaf child about God. Another church, the Center Congregational Church on Main Street, has a stained glass memorial window showing Thomas Gallaudet.

Also, it is not in Hartford, but in Washington, DC (information provided by Gary Viall): In the North Corridor of the Great Hall (of Education) of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, Thomas H. Gallaudet's name is included among other great educators.

Historic Schools for the Deaf

Before the American School for the Deaf at 139 North Main Street in West Hartford was built, there was the first school for the deaf at Bennett's City Hotel on Main Street. Another school was at 54 Prospect Street. For 100 years, from 1821 to 1921 the school was at 690 Asylum Avenue.

Museums Honoring Gallaudet

The American School for the Deaf at 139 North Main Street in West Hartford has the Gallaudet Museum. In this museum are Gallaudet's eyeglasses, books, oil portraits of Gallaudet and Clerc, and even Sophia Fowler's wedding dress.

An illustrated, detailed PDF of historic deaf sites in Hartford can be downloaded from the ASD website. This PDF includes a map to guide tourists.

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