Released with the PBS film, 200 photographs with a historical narrative depict the American Deaf community and its place in our nation’s history.
In 2001, the Smithsonian Institution presented the landmark photographic exhibition History Through Deaf Eyes, representing nearly 200 years of United States deaf history. Drawing heavily on the extensive archives at Gallaudet University, the curators created an exhibition that drew more than 400,000 people viewed at the Smithsonian and in 12 cities during a five-year national tour. Its popularity prompted the production of a documentary film for national broadcast on the Public Broadcasting System. Now, the photographs, quotes, and stories from this remarkable exhibit and documentary have been assembled in a book of stunning beauty and poignant images, Through Deaf Eyes: A Photographic History of an American Community.
Featuring more than 200 full-color photographs, Through Deaf Eyes depicts the story of Deaf America and also affords readers the opportunity to learn about the nation’s broader history. The values and judgments of society have had an impact on the education, employment, and family life of deaf people, while historical eras often can be illuminated by examination through a Deaf lens. Photographs reveal the character of Deaf people in school settings, the workplace, during wartime, and using their cultural signature, American Sign Language. For both deaf and hearing readers, the Deaf community portrayed in Through Deaf Eyes offers a unique and fascinating perspective on the value of human difference.
Douglas Baynton is Associate Professor of History at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA.
Jack R. Gannon is former Special Assistant for Advocacy to the president of Gallaudet University and is the curator of the History Through Deaf Eyes exhibition. He and his wife Rosalyn live in New Market, MD.
Jean Lindquist Bergey is the Director of the History Through Deaf Eyes Project at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC.
"An enlightening and engaging collection of photographs and historical accounts is interspersed with personal anecdotes in this companion to a PBS documentary of the same name. This is an ideal introduction for anyone who has ever puzzled over the difference between deaf and Deaf (the latter refers to deaf culture)."— Publishers Weekly
"This informative and well-illustrated volume is recommended for undergraduate and large public libraries."— Library Journal
"The authors have done justice to successfully documenting an important visual history of Deaf America. The book reads well, and the quality and organization is evident throughout. Educators, students, and other interested individuals, particularly families, should see this book. A strong foundation in Deaf History is something that deaf and hard-of-hearing children should receive from their families because it can enhance the development of self-esteem, self-concept, and self-confidence and, as such, contribute to the development of the child's individual and social identity."— Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education