Historical Artifacts

A Collection of ASD Artifacts

Coffee Urn (Silver)

Silver Coffee Urn

“Presented Mrs. Sophia F. Gallaudet As a testimonial of affectionately, Remembrance from the scholars of the Columbia Institution For the Deaf & Dumb, Washington, D.C. June 27th, 1866”

This silver coffee urn was presented by the school to Sophia Fowler Gallaudet upon her retirement as first matron in 1866.

This urn was gifted to the school in 1983 by Mrs. Horace (Eilen)Barry with a note to Executive Director Winfield Mc Chord:

“I am so glad you are enjoying the coffee urn. It is now in its rightful place, and it is lovely to have it so appreciated and used”.

Daguerreotypes of Thomas and Sophia Gallaudet

Courtesy of Gallaudet University Archives

Envelope addressed to ASD
Eyeglasses and Case - Thomas Gallaudet's

Thomas Gallaudet’s Eyeglasses and Case

Hartford Bank Note


Hatbox TBD


Instructional books, early 1800s – ASD Archive
Pew - Gallaudet in Trinity College Chapel

Gallaudet Pew in Trinity College Chapel

If you visit Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., there is a place where you can find ASD co-founder Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet in the Chapel. Completed in 1932, the Chapel was designed in the English Perpendicular Gothic style by Philip Frohman, who also designed the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.

Inside the Chapel you will see many beautiful hand-carved pew ends. Near the front altar, there is one entitled, “League for the Hard of Hearing Pew End – 1939.” The arm piece shows Rev. Thomas. H. Gallaudet sitting and making the sign for God.

Gallaudet and the deaf French teacher Laurent Clerc introduced what is now American sign Language to America. Two of Gallaudet’s sons, Edward Miner and Thomas (who graduated from Trinity in 1842) expanded and continued their father’ work.

The main panel of the pew end shows Crist curing a deaf man, while the Angel Gabriel stands above, ready to blow his horn.

The Chapel, at Trinity College, 300 Summit St., Hartford, Conn., is normally open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on weekends.

Portrait Bust of Lydia H.H. Sigourney

Portrait Bust of Lydia Howard Huntley Sigourney – 1842

Lydia Sigourney was Alice Cogswell and her sisters’ teacher before ASD was founded in 1817. 

Plaster bust from life was made in 1842 by the American portrait sculptor, Chauncey Bradley Ives, an American sculptor. .

 Lydia Sigourney
School Seal Carved by Joe Giordano

School Seal – 1936

Designed by Alma Chadwick Jayne (Teacher)

Carved by Joe Giordano (Deaf Teacher)

Scrolls Used at the Old Hartford School
Stained Glass Window at Yale University

Stained Glass Window of Rev. Thomas Gallaudet and students at Yale University

At Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, there is a beautiful stained-glass window of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet with 3 students at the American School for the Deaf. It is on the fourth floor of the Sterling Memorial Library. It’s a great honor for T.H.G., who graduated from Yale University in 1805. He founded the American School for the Deaf in 1817. For more information about Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, read his biography. 

“Rev. Thomas Gallaudet Teaching the Deaf and Dumb,” stained glass window by G. Owen Bonawit, Slavic Reading Room, Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University, c. 1930.

Time Capsule at Gallaudet Building

Time Capsule at Gallaudet Building

The Laying of the cornerstone of the Gallaudet Building took place on July 22, 1920. However, before the cornerstone was sealed, ASD’s President at the time – Henry Perkins – Placed a time capsule inside the foundation. As he did, he addressed the audience:

“A feature of this occasion is, in conformity with an old custom, the sealing up of a box containing old papers dating from the time of the founding  of the school, a city directory of today, the current newspapers, school reports, and coins of the present year. This, in a way links us to the past and with the future, an symbolizes the continuity of our body of work”.

This time capsule was unearthed during the demolition of the Gallaudet building on March 5, 2015 by Executive Director Jeffrey Bravin.

Wedding Dress - Sophia Fowler Gallaudet

Sophia Fowler Gallaudet’s Wedding Dress

Sophia Fowler (Student #15) stayed at the school for four years.  Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet fell in love with her and asked her to marry him.  On August 29, 1821, after she had completed her studies in the spring of 1821, they got married at Center Church in Hartford, CT. 


TAB  Hartford Bank Note

Hartford Bank Note, pre-1860 – ASD Archives

Prior to the National Currency Act of 1863, the federal government did not issue paper currency.  However, bank notes were issued by local banks, presumably backed by the bank’s cash reserves.  Some time prior to 1860 the Hartford Bank issued this note, featuring a vignette of ASD and a portrait of Thomas H. Gallaudet.

TAB  Tiles

Souvenir Tiles for 150th Anniversary of ASD in 1967

TAB  Envelope addressed to ASD

Envelope addressed to ASD, ca 1870 – ASD Archives

When this envelope was printed, ASD was commonly referred to as “The Asylum.”  One only to address their correspondence accordingly and it was to be delivered.

TAB    Scrolls Used at the Old Hartford School

Hand-Painted Teaching Scrolls Used at the Old Hartford School, ca. 1830

These hand-painted teaching scrolls actually used at the Old Hartford school, show objects common to a child everyday experience in the 1830s and 1840s, together with the words by which they were known.

TAB  Instructional books, early 1800s – ASD Archives

Instructional books, early 1800s – ASD Archives

From the beginning, Thomas H. Gallaudet and other ASD teachers published textbooks and teaching manuals.  These are among the earliest instruction books for the Deaf in the U.S. and are outstanding examples of first-hand instruction in sign language, as noted in the continual use of pictures.  With the addition of typesetting and floor-model presses in the school’s print shop, ASD became a major publisher of these schoolbooks for Deaf children.

TAB    Daguerreotypes of Thomas and Sophia Gallaudet

                   Courtesy of Gallaudet University Archives

HOLD TAB  Founders Statue Model

Founders Statue Model

Located at the corner of Asylum and Farmington Avenues in Hartford, the Founders Statue was completed by Frances L. Wadsworth in 1953.  The statue depicts a small girl lifted by two hands, the ten fingers of which represent the ten benefactors of ASD.  The hands are unfolding to form the beginning of the manual sign for “enlightenment.” In her left hand is an open book, representing the opening of the door to education.

HOLD TAB    Quilt Patterns – Schools

Quilt patterns by Deaf schools

HOLD TAB     Notebook for Henry A. Beer

A Notebook for Henry A. Beer

The notebook was gifted from Laurent Clerc to his grandson Henry A. Beer.

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