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American Annals of the Deaf

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The Spanish National Deaf School: Portraits from the Nineteenth Century

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1. Catherine J. Kudlick, “Disability History: Why We Need Another ‘Other,’”, paragraph 1.

2. Harlan Lane, The Deaf Experience, trans. Franklin Philip (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984), 12. Lane was concerned specifically with the efforts of hearing people to teach deaf pupils to speak, but I believe it fair to extend his assessment of Deaf history to efforts by hearing teachers with other approaches as well.

3. See, for example, Harlan Lane, When the Mind Hears: A History of the Deaf (New York: Random House, 1984, reissued by New York: Random House Vintage Books, 1989), and the references cited in 2 and 17.

4. A landmark work is Jack R. Gannon, Deaf Heritage: A Narrative History of Deaf America (Silver Spring, Md.: National Association of the Deaf, 1981).

5. Owen Wrigley, The Politics of Deafness (Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press, 1996), 50.

6. For arguments against the classification of culturally and linguistically deaf people as disabled, see, for instance, Harlan Lane, “Constructions of Deafness,” in The Disability Studies Reader, ed. Lennard J. Davis (New York: Routledge, 1997), 153–171. For a discussion of the position that Deaf history is a subgenre of disability history, see Kudlick, “Disability History,” paragraphs 32–33.

7. Researcher Leah Hager Cohen, in Train Go Sorry: Inside a Deaf World (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1994), 74, 82, encountered similar problems: After perusing the records of New York’s Lexington School for the Deaf in an effort to learn more about her deceased grandfather, alumnus Samuel Cohen, the author concluded that “in all the letters, the telegrams, the documents, the medical records, I couldn’t locate Sam himself. . . . When I go looking for Sam, it seems I come up only with papers, sheaves of dry correspondence about him and for him but never by him. . . . Sam’s own motions—the words of his hands, the path of his body as it worked the [basketball] court—are traceless; once realized and finished, they left no mark.”

8. For example, in an unpublished supplement to the official Memoria for academic years 1874–1876 (May 24, 1877, leg. 6244, Educación y Ciencia, Archivo General de la Administración Civil del Estado), Pedro Cabello y Madurga, director of the Madrid school, confided to the director general of Public Instruction that in the official document, “I omit explanation of some facts that if, because their nature and consequences cannot and should not be left unmentioned, neither is it appropriate to include them in a document destined for publication. . . .” This deliberate omission, Cabello went on to say, was made in the interest of the reputation and good name of the school, and ultimately, in the interest of the Spanish government.

9. Lane, “Constructions of Deafness,” 153–171.

10. In the words of this early Christian church father and author, “We acknowledge, indeed, how much pertains to our own transgressions: from what source of culpability does it come that innocent ones deserve to be born sometimes blind, sometimes deaf, which defect, indeed, hinders faith itself, by the witness of the Apostle, who says, ‘Faith comes by hearing (Rom. X, 17).’ Now, truly, what bears out the assertion that the soul of the ‘innocent’ is in the image of God, inasmuch as the liberation of the one born foolish is by his rich gift, if not that the bad merited by the parents is transmitted to the children?” Augustini, Sancti Aurelii, Hipponensis Episcopi Traditio catholica, Saecula IV–V Opera Omnia, Tomus Decimus, contra Julianum, Horesis Pelagianea defensorum, Liber Tertius, Caput IV–10. Excudebatur et venit apud J. P. Migne, Editorem, 1865, cited in Ruth E. Bender, The Conquest of Deafness: A History of the Long Struggle to Make Possible Normal Living to Those Handicapped by Lack of Normal Hearing (Cleveland: Case Western Reserve University Press, 1970), 27.

11. Licenciado Lasso, Tratado legal sobre los mudos, ed. Álvaro López Núñez (Madrid: Sobrinos de la Sue. de M. Minuesa de los Ríos, 1919), 95.

12. Juan Manuel Ballesteros, in Curso elemental de instruccion de sordo-mudos, Juan Manuel Ballesteros and Francisco Fernández Villabrille (Madrid: Colegio de Sordo-mudos y Ciegos, 1845), part 1, 76.

13. Francisco Fernández Villabrille, “Un sordo-mudo ante el tribunal,” in Revista de la Enseñanza de los Sordo-mudos y Ciegos, ed. Juan Manuel Ballesteros and Francisco Fernández Villabrille (1851): 71–74.

14. Francisco Fernández Villabrille, “Sordo-mudos,” in Enciclopedia moderna. Diccionario universal de literatura, ciencia, artes, agricultura, industria y comercio, t. 32, ed. Francisco de Paula Mellado (Madrid: Establecimiento de Mellado, 1855), 607–627.

15. Salustiano de Olózaga, speech read at the Madrid school’s public examination, September 16, 1835, reproduced in Miguel Granell y Forcadell, Historia de la enseñanza del Colegio Nacional de Sordomudos desde el año 1794 al 1932 (Madrid: Colegio Nacional de Sordomudos, 1932), 163–168.

16. Harlan Lane, The Mask of Benevolence. Disabling the Deaf Community (New York: Knopf, 1992), 38.

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