Articles of Interest
Asylum St. & Ave. in Hartford

Asylum Street & Avenue

in Hartford

 Published in The New Era

March 1935 

Hartford takes pride in the fact that she is the home of the school for the deaf in the new world and we of the school family are proud of Hartford for her insistence on retaining the name of Asylum on the thoroughfare which the school faced before its removal to West Hartford when proposals have been made periodically, asking its name be changed.


The first movement was made in 1881 to change the name to Garfield Avenue in honor of the late President James Garfield but it fell flat.  The second one was in 1917 when the convention of American Instructors of the Deaf, the National Association of the Deaf and the Alumni Association of our School endorsed a resolution at the Centennial to change the name to Gallaudet Avenue in honor of Dr. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, founder of our school.  The Mayor of Hartford, Frank Hagarty favored such action but the property owners along the thoroughfare did not approve so the change was not made.


Recently a movement has been made to change the name to Hooker Avenue, presumably to honor Thomas Hooker, the founder of Hartford.  But the property owners again, have not expressed themselves in favor of it.


We all feel that Asylum Street and Avenue is of historic value since it derives from the site of the first institution in the United States for instruction of deaf mutes and congratulate the property owners along Asylum Street and Avenue for their action in leaving it as it is – to commemorate the past.


It may interest our people to read several statements which were made against the proposed change in name and urging Hartford to preserve its history in the names of its streets.

Deaf Killed by Train in 1894

Deaf Mutes Killed

Run Over by a Shore Line Work Train in East Haven


New Haven, May 9, 1894 – William E. Bunnell and George C. Williams, two deaf and dumb men, while going fishing, this morning, were struck by a work train on the Shore Line division of the Consolidated road in East Haven and instantly killed. Their bodies wee horribly mangled.


William E. Bunnell, the older of two men killed, was a student at the Hartford Deaf and Dumb Asylum from 1875-1878, and while at the institution fell in love with and afterward married Miss Hattie Wilson, also a deaf mute, who, with one child, eight years old, survives him. He was 35 years old.


George C. Williams, the other unfortunate, was 25 years old, and had been at the Hartford institution from 1880 to 1883. He was a remarkable penman, and at the time of his death was in charge of the penmanship department in a business college in this city.


Both men were not entirely deaf and could talk fairly well.


William E. Bunnell, Jr. (ASD #2035) married Hattie Wilson (ASD #1833).    


George C. Williams (ASD #2244) left ASD 1883 on account of health.  



Deaf Potpourri

Deaf Potpourri


Asylum Headstone & Burial Plot: Located in the Old North Cemetery in Hartford, there is a brownstone pillar capped with a square pediment bearing the inscription “Asylum.”  This pillar marks the resting place of 25 ASD pupils and one officer of the school, Salmon Crossett.  The names of the pupils, aged 10 to 24, are inscribed on the four sides of the pillar, along with the dates of their deaths (during the school year) and their home towns.


Bank Note: Before the National Bank Act of 1863 was passed (during President Lincoln’s administration), individual banks could issue their own currency.  The Hartford Bank chose to decorate their note with an engraved vignette of the American School for the Deaf building and grounds of Hartford.  Complementing the image is a portrait of founder Thomas H. Gallaudet.  This note was issued on September 1, 1862.


CCSU Dorms: Central Connecticut State University was founded in 1849.  By that time, Thomas H. Gallaudet was well known as an inspirational educator and advocate for the professional education of teachers, and was chosen to give the school inaugural address at the opening ceremonies.  This man’s dormitory on campus-Thomas H. Gallaudet Hall-was named after him when it was constructed in 1967.


Envelope: It was once said that the American Asylum was so famous that a person only had to address correspondence to the “Asylum” and it would be delivered to the school without delay.


1983 Postage Stamp: The issuance for the Thomas H. Gallaudet Stamp took place on June 10, 1983.  As the founder of ASD, Gallaudet was the 14th person to be honored in the “Great Americans” series by the U.S Postal Service.  This was noted as a most fitting tribute to Gallaudet-“the man who heard with his heart the yearning of those who cannot hear”.


1993 Postage Stamp: “Deaf Awareness” was the theme for the pair of stamps issued on September 20, 1993 by the U.S Postal Service.  One depicts a mother signing “ILY” (I love you) to her baby, while the other features a close-up of the “ILY” handshape.  The stamps, printed in pairs on sheets, were the first U.S postage stamps to directly portray Deaf persons.


Trinity Chapel: In the chapel Trinity College there is a carved wooden pew showing Thomas H. Gallaudet teaching a Deaf child the sign for “God.”  On the panel is Christ curing a Deaf man, while above the panel stands the angel Gabriel.  Two of Gallaudet’s sons graduated from Trinity College from the League for  the Hard of Hearing in 1939.


USS Gallaudet: In commemoration of Thomas H. Gallaudet, the Maritime Commission announced the naming of one of the new Liberty ships after him in 1943; it was launched the same year.  Naming the ship was suggested to the Ship Naming Committee by the American Federation of the Physically Handicapped.   


Demolition of Old Hartford, the

The Demolition of Old Hartford, 1921


OLD HARTFORD landmark, and scene of many hours of skating and sliding fun, was the Old reservoir on  top of Asylum Hill just back of the American School for the Deaf.


Before removal to West Hartford in 1821. The rear of the school may be seen in this photo.


Hartford Times Photo

First, First, First

First, First, First


American School for the Deaf is well known as the first school for the deaf in America, established in 1817.  We all may not realize that ASD is also the first school for children with disabilities in America. It is also the first elementary and secondary program in America to receive state aid for Education.  Besides, it is the first recipient, in the same category of federal assistance to Education, when President James Monroe personally presented to Dr. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet on the Hartford campus a land grand for 23,000 acres in the Alabama Territory.  


Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet was the first principal/teacher of the Connecticut Asylum for Education and Instruction for the Deaf and Dumb in America. 


Laurent Clerc, a graduate of the French School for the Deaf in Paris, became the first deaf teacher of the deaf in America, the first trainer of teachers of the Deaf in America, the first deaf administrator of a school for the Deaf in America (Philadelphia), the first deaf person to address the Congress and meet President James Monroe in 1818, and the featured speaker at the opening of the Columbia Institute for the Deaf (now Gallaudet University) in Washington, DC, in 1867. 


Alice Cogswell was the first Deaf girl pupil to attend the Connecticut Asylum for Education and Instruction for the Deaf and Dumb (American School for the Deaf (ASD) now) on April 15, 1817.


When Laurent Clerc assumed the Principalship of the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in 1821, he took with him Abigail Dillingham, Class of 1821. Under Clerc’s auspices, she became a teacher at the P.A. School. Abigail became the first American-trained Deaf teacher at Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, at least a year before (also ASD-trained) Mary Rose Totten (at New York School for the Deaf) and four years before George Loring and Wilson Whiton at ASD.


American School for the Deaf is the first school in the United States to employ Deaf teachers. 


Of America’s first five Deaf teachers, they, except one, were ASD Alumni/ae, and three of them were members of our first class.  The first, Abigail Dillingham (ASD #4) of Lee, Mass., was a mature woman of 31 when she entered on April 16, 1817. In 1821, ASD, in effect, “loaned” Laurent Clerc to the infant Pennsylvania School for the Deaf to train teachers and establish a competent faculty there. As Miss Dillingham was a mature lady and a competent signer, Clerc took her to Philadelphia with him, where she taught a class of beginning students until her untimely death in 1824. In a letter written in 1822, Clerc commented favorably on her ability as a teacher. 


The second, Mary Rose (ASD #19), from New York City, spent only one year at ASD, but she formed a lasting friendship with Alice Cogswell.  She subsequently transferred to the New York school, where she soon became an assistant teacher.  In 1826, Mary married DeWitt C. Mitchell (hearing), a teacher in the New York and Canajoharie schools, and after his death, Nathan M. Totten (deaf). She would serve as matron in the New York and Illinois schools. Dr. Mickey Jones of the Illinois School has published an excellent short sketch of the life of Mary Rose in the school’s Advance Magazine.


Little is known about the third, John Gazley, save that he was a student at the New York school, where he served briefly as an assistant teacher in the early 1820’s.  


The fourth, Wilson Whiton of Hingham, Mass. (ASD #3), entered ASD with Alice Cogswell and fellow Bay-Stater George H. Loring.  A bas-relief showing these three students with their teacher (THG) is embedded in the entrance to Gallaudet Hall. Upon completing his studies, Whiton was invited by Gallaudet to become an assistant teacher here; and he served in that capacity for the remainder of his professional life.  The ASD. Archives holds two photographs of Whiton as a mature teacher and one of his wives.  


The fifth, George H. Loring of Boston (ASD #2), entered ASD with Alice Cogswell and Wilson Whiton on April 15, 1817. Deaf and nearly blind in one eye, he nevertheless became Gallaudet’s star pupil.  Upon completing his course, he became an assistant teacher at ASD, serving for several years before returning to Boston, where he became the focus of the Deaf community in eastern Massachusetts.  Besides being a master of signing and English composition, Loring was also proficient in French and Italian.  


Lydia Howard (Huntley) Sigourney was Alice Cogswell’s first hearing teacher in an all-hearing classroom (including her two sisters) at a school Daniel Wadsworth helped to establish for girls only at his mother’s home.


Miss Eliza H. Wadsworth became the first full-time instructor to specialize in speech work in America in the 1950s. 


Samuel Greene, Class of 1867, became the first Deaf teacher to teach Deaf children at the School for the Deaf in Ontario, Canada.


Johnny Samuels was the first male African American teacher in 1975. Dr. Nathie Marbury was the first deaf female African American teacher in 1975.


Rev. Abraham Ogier Stansbury was the first hearing steward (housemaster) in Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb Persons in the history of ASD and America in 1817.


Hon. John Cotton Smith was the first hearing Board President of the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in America in 1817.


Major John Caldwell, Dr. Mason F. Cogswell, Nathaniel Terry, Daniel Wadsworth, Timothy Dwight, Charles Sigourney, David Porter, and Joseph Battell, Sr. were the first hearing Board Vice-Presidents of the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in America in 1817. 


William Wolcott Ellsworth was the first hearing Board secretary of the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in America in 1817. 


Ward Woodbridge was the first hearing Board treasurer of the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in America in 1817.


Dr. Mason Fitch Cogswell, Alice Cogswell’s father, was the first physician in the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1822.


Julia Brace was the first deaf-blind female student to get the Education at American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1825.


Albert A. Nolen was the first deaf-blind male student to get the Education at American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1886. 


In 1825, ASD became the first racially integrated school in Connecticut with the first non-White student’s admission, Charles Hiller, a mixed-race boy from Nantucket. ASD’s racial integration started almost a decade before Prudence Crandall’s’ abortive attempt to establish a school for Black girls in Canterbury.  Between 1825-1870, twelve non-White students attended ASD.


Mary Smith, Class of 1829, her sister Sally Smith, Class of 1831, and Lovey Mayhew, Class of 1831, were the first deaf islanders to attend the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1825. 


Delia Doro Boardwin, Class of 1851, and Susan Frances Abigail Boardwin, Class of 1851, were the first deaf African American female students to attend the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1845.


In 1850, under the leadership of ASD graduates Thomas Brown, ‘1827, the first deaf leader, George Homer, ‘1830, and Jonathan Marsh, ’33, proposed and founded the New England Association in 1853. The oldest association for the deaf in the country was called the New England Gallaudet Association of the Deaf, in honor of the late Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. It was formed to promote the general welfare of the deaf in employment, applying for liability, compensation, and traffic laws, the value of the state labor bureaus, and the importance of civil rights. Its first convention was held in Montpelier, Vermont, in February 1953. Thomas Brown was the first president of the NEGA. 


In 1914, under the advice of the ASD Superintendent Frank R. Wheeler, the first name of the American School’s alumni association for the deaf was established.  This name lasted only a short time before it was changed to the American School for the Deaf Alumni Association (ASDAA). John D. Moran, Class of 1907, was the first temporary chairperson, and later, he became the first president of the ASDAA. 


In the 1920s, ASD was the first to provide a formal vocational educational program for deaf students. In 1967 ASD became the first vocational rehabilitation center in a school for the deaf in the country. Mr. Pierce Rakow became the first vocational principal in ASD. After Mr. Rakow retired in 1963, Mr. Edmond Cassetti became the first Director of the first Vocational Rehabilitation Center for the Deaf.


Until 1988, the United Aircraft Corporation had made it a policy not to employ deaf persons. Still, Dr. Boatner persuaded Mr. Eugene Wilson, president of the company, to give the deaf a trial. Robert Wilson, Class of 1935, was the first deaf man to be given a chance there, and within a week, the company asked the school for “another man like Wilson.” Subsequently, scores of deaf workers have been placed at the plant by ASD’s Placement Officer, Mr. J. P. Rakow. 


In 1965, ASD was the first to offer 16-week programs to develop skilled machine operators from unemployed or underemployed deaf adults. The plan was made possible by an $84,140 grant authorized by Congress under the MDTA (Manpower Development and Training Act) of 1962. It was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor and the State Department of Education.


The first adult education program for the Deaf in this part of the country started in March 1963 at the American School for the Deaf. The program began with 100 deaf adults from Connecticut and Massachusetts to attend the free program. The courses offered were English, reading, current events, insurance, practical economics and law, and other general academic subjects.  


ASD’s PACES (Positive Attitudes Concerning Education and Socialization) is a nationally recognized therapeutic Residential Treatment Program for deaf and hard of hearing students with emotional and behavioral challenges. At the time of its establishment in 1982, it was reported to be the first program of its kind in the United States. 


Isola Bella, the ASD’s first deaf camp in the United States, was founded in 1964, is passed down for deaf students to attend summer camps. Isola Bella is located on an island at Twin Lakes, Salisbury, CT. It was willed to ASD from one of the school’s corporators, Muriel Alvord Ward, and her husband, Ferrari Ward, in 1962.  Dr. Donald F. Moore, the Assistant Superintendent, was the first Director of the Camp Isola Bella in 1964 with staff (Frank Asklar, Judie (Stein) Cronlund, Judith (Mezzanotte) Gilliam, Alexis Gudalis, Jim McGill, Anna Maria Rinaldi, Bill Serry, Jonathan Twiss, and Paulita Twomey. 


The first deaf Boys’ basketball team was originated in the American school for the Deaf in 1906-1907. John D. Moran, Class of 1907, was the first Deaf youngest (ASD student) coach, and Guy J. Douglas, Class of 1907, was the first African American basketball player.


The first coached team for the deaf Girls’ basketball team occurred in 1914-1915. R. Dudley, C. Prue, F. Lewis, S. Jackson, and P. DiMeola played in bloomers, blouses with sleeves rolled up, full-length stockings, ties, and tennis shoes. 


Walter C. Rockwell, ‘1909, was the first deaf athletic director when the first ASD football Homecoming game took place in 1936. 


In 1938 ASD had the first five deaf football cheerleaders. 


Violet L. Philip, ‘1960, was the first ASD football Homecoming queen in 1959. 


ASD is the first school for the deaf to form a student golf team. Golf made its appearance at ASD in 1966. George MacKinnon, the athletic director, created the new program after an informal start last year. A class of 20 members participated in the new sport. 


Albert Couthen, ‘1961, was the first African American coach for two different sports – football and Track and Field. He also was the first African American to become the Dean of boys in 1973. 


Morris Corman, the first deaf man in Connecticut, became a citizen of the United States in 1921.  He was committed to be naturalized as he was born in Russia. ASD Principal Wheeler and Mr. Dermody were his witnesses. 


Melville Ballard, Class of 1858, was the first deaf student to graduate from the National Deaf-Mute College (now Gallaudet University) with his first bachelor’s degree in 1866.


In 1904 John Burton Hotchkiss, Class of 1864, and Amos Draper, Class of 1963, were the first deaf male students to earn the Honorary Doctoral degrees from Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University) in ASD history. John was the first deaf professor in 1869 and the first deaf football coach at the college in 1883. 


Algot Anderson, ‘1917, had the distinction of being the first deaf man in Connecticut to hold a driver’s license in 1916.


The first deaf licensed driver to Connecticut was Ruth Fish Clarke, ‘1926. Since she commuted from her home in New Britain to ASD daily, she wanted her own car. Not having very much money, she bought an old one. Proudly she drove it home. Her father took one look at it and told her to take it back and get a new one, one that she could depend on! Her driver’s license specified that she could not drive a Dodge or other heavy car because of her size and weight, which was 90 pounds. 


Jonathan P. Marsh, ‘1833, the son of a Congregational minister, started the first recorded bible class for the deaf in Willimantic, Connecticut, in 1840. It is the earliest known deaf organization in America for religious purposes. 


Beaulah (Whittelsey) Cole, ‘1938, was the first Wardrobe Mistress of the Hartford Ballet Company in 1972. She originally planned a career in teaching but got involved in the arts, including the Music Vale Seminary, the first music school in the country in Salem. Before she worked for Hartford Ballet Company, she did hand sewing for Massa Tailors in Old Saybrook, doing finishing work on skirts and suits destined for Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue in New York. She became a specialty sewer for the Verplex Company creating the lamp shades for exhibits and sales shows before working for Hartford Ballet Company. 


William C. Woodbridge, one of ASD’s earliest teachers, wrote an article on Deafness and Deaf Education for the first edition of the Encyclopedia Americana, published in 1830. The report was an unsigned and lengthy, and highly informative article. Also, Woodbridge edited the first successful professional journal in Education (Annals of Education), which inspired our American Annals of the Deaf. He wrote with Emma Willard the first successful American school geography textbook and was a successful advocate for music instruction in American public schools. 


Edwin John Mann, ‘1824, was the first deaf male author of “The Deaf and Dumb: A Collection of Articles relating to the Condition of Deaf-Mutes; Their Education, and the Principal Asylums devoted to their instruction.” The book was published in 1836. 


In 1847 The American Annals of the Deaf-Mutes was the first published in the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb. Luzerne Rae was the first ASD hearing editor. 


Almon Miner Lippincott, ‘1924, was the first Connecticut deaf person to hold a pilot’s license. Thayer Dow, ‘1956, became the first Connecticut deaf woman to have a pilot’s license. 


Donald John Wetzel, ‘1946, was the first ASD Alumni to participate in tennis, basketball, and track & field (4×100 meters relay in the 1953 World Games (Deaflympics) in Brussels, Belgium.  He won the bronze medal in basketball. 


Bernard Fairwood, ‘1959, was the first student to win a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling in the IX International Games of the Deaf Athletes in Helsinki, Finland, in 1961.  He pinned Ivan Axenov, 6 foot 6 inches, 250-pound grappler from Russia, and he won the only gold medal for Uncle Sam in wrestling. He also won a silver medal. 


Roger Albert, ‘1961, was the first student to win a bronze medal in wrestling’s 136-pound division. 


Judie Stein Cronlund, ‘1962, was the first student who won a silver medal for 4 x 50-meter freestyle relay at the 1961 Deaf Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland. She also won another silver medal in the 4 x 100-meter freestyle relay at the 1965 Deaf Summer Olympics in Washington, D.C. 


Albert Walla, ’70, was the first student to win nine medals in the Deaf Olympic Games in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in 1969 and Malmo, Sweden, in 1973. In Belgrade, he won a gold medal, the first one as an anchorman in a 4×100 medley relay race by a nerve-wracking 1.7 seconds over the Russians.  He also won another gold medal in 4x20m freestyle. He won two silver medals and one bronze.  In Malmo, Albert won a third gold medal for the 4×200 freestyle relay. He won two silver medals for the 400m freestyle and 1500m freestyle and won a bronze medal for coming in third in the 400m individual medley. 


Marsha Wetzel, ‘1979, a National Technical Institute for the Deaf instructor and Sports Assistant Program Coordinator at Rochester Institute for Technology, became the first female deaf referee in the history of NCAA Division 1. She participated in the referee tryout camp for the Patriot and Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball conferences one summer and was added to the staff of both. In addition to the Atlantic 10 and Patriot League conferences, she officiated at NCAA Division III games and high school contests.


The establishment of Captioned Films for the Deaf in 1959 by the U.S. Office of Education started a new era in the Education and entertainment of the Deaf. Malcolm J. Norwood, ‘1950, brought into the program in 1960, was the first deaf professional to join the office of Education.  He spent over a million dollars a year procuring films, filmstrips, slides, and transparencies for a deaf audience. Under his administration, the library of filmed items has grown to more than 200,000.  Also, Malcolm became the first ASD graduate who earned a Ph.D. degree.  


Susan A. Mozzer (m. Mather), ‘1969, was the first deaf female student to earn a Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) from Georgetown University.


Gilbert C. Eastman, ‘1952, became the first deaf person to receive a Master of Fine Arts in drama. He was a professor in the Theatre Arts Department at Gallaudet University, where he taught from 1957 to 1992. In 1967, Gilbert was a founding member of the National Theatre of the Deaf. He has been an actor, stage manager, translator, and director for more than 50 plays and wrote the plays Sign Me Alice (published in 1974), Laurent Clerc: A Profile, Hands, Aladdin and his Magic Lamp, Sign Me Alice II, and Can-Do: A Revue. 


James Sterling Jr, the father of two ASD graduates 1962 and 1963, is the first deaf man to be licensed to fly an airplane in the New England states, and probably, the first in this country. He learned to fly during his spare time, and he had a record of 200 hours of flying within two years. 


Brenda Blake (m. Smith), ‘1963, graduated from Central Florida Community College’s horticulture program with a certificate in nursery operations in 2004. Her efforts were honored by college officials when she was chosen to deliver a ceremony’s commencement address.  Brenda is the first deaf student to be honored at Ocala College. In her speech, she challenged other students to face difficult challenges to pursue their dreams, no matter how difficult it may seem. 


Philip Edward Gutfran, ’60, became the first male Deaf ASD alumnus to be on the ASD Board of Directors in 1988 and the first Deaf Treasurer in 1993-1995.


Steve Borsotti, ‘1977, established the first ASDAA Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989. 


Barbara Cassin was the first Deaf female alumnus to be on the ASD Board of Directors in 1991-1995, 1996-2007, and 2014-present. Also, she was the first Deaf Secretary serving in 2002-2006, the first Deaf Second Vice President in 2018-2020, and the first Deaf First Vice-President in 2020-present.



Julie Nixon Eisenhower at ASD 1973

Julie Nixon Eisenhower

Daughter of U.S. President Richard Nixon

ASD Graduation Day 1973


The ASD Archives has just received a rare publicity photograph.  At our 1973 Graduation, Julie Nixon Eisenhower was the Commencement speaker (see story in May-June issue of the Era). Ironically, though no photo of the event was subsequently printed in the Era, a publicity photo was taken, which appeared in local newspapers.  In many cases the photo was so heavily cropped that it showed only Mrs. Eisenhower’s face.  We now have a complete copy of the news photo, which shows Mrs. Eisenhower, and her interpreter Mrs. Ethel Giett – – it’s a great photo, with both ladies looking like they were having a great time.  It is also a bit poignant, as Mrs. Giett retired that June after 30 years as ASD classroom teacher, instructor of public sign language classes, and the preferred interpreter for most school events – – and this was her last official service to the school.


The photograph was given in Mrs. Giett’s memory and in honor of our present interpreters and sign-language instructors.


Occupations of Former ASD Students in 1800's

Occupations of Former ASD Students, 1886

A Brief History of the American Asylum, at Hartford, For the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, 1893

An extensive inquiry made in 1886 (69 years after the founding of ASD) among former pupils of the school showed them engaged at that time in various occupations:


Artist (1)

Bakers (3)

Basket maker (1)

Belt maker (1)

Blacksmith (1)

Boatman (1)

Boat builder (1)

Book agent (1)

Book binders (2)

Brakeman (1)

Brass molder (1)

Brass worker (1)

Bricklayer (1)

Burnishers (5)

Car makers (2)

Cabinet makers (12)

Capitalist (1)

Carpenters (17)

Carriage makers (2)

Carriage painter (1)

Cartridge makers (2)

Casket maker (1)

Casket trimmer (1)

Chair makers (2)

Cigar maker (1)

Clerk in drug store (1)

Clerk in post office (1)

Clergymen, ordained (3)

Clerk in Treasury Dept. (1)

Clockmakers (6)

Clock case makers (1)

Cooper (1)

Copyist (1)

Cutters in shoe shop (2)

Draughtsman (1)

Dyer (1)

Editors (3)

Farmers (70)

Fireman (1)

Fishermen (1)

Foreman in warehouse (1)

Foundryman (1)

Furniture makers (3)

Furniture polisher (1)

Glass cutter (1)

Glue maker (1)

Hatters (2)

Hostler (1)

Ice dealer (1)

Janitor (1)

Jeweler (1)

Joiners (3)

Laborers (7)

Lamp trimmer (1)

Last maker (1)

Lock makers (3)

Masons (2)

Machinists (4)

Mechanics (20)

Merchant (1)

Mill Operatives (21)

Mill wright (1)

Monument Sculptor (1)

Nail makers (3)

Organ case maker (1)

Oysterman (1)

Pail maker (1)

Painters (1)

Paper ruler by machine (1)

Patent lawyer (1)

Pattern maker (1)

Peddlers (2)

Picture frame maker (1)

Piano case makers (3)

Plough maker (1)

Pocket book maker (1)

Printers (5)

Quarryman (1)

Rubber stamp maker (1)

Rule maker (1)

Sash and blind makers (5)

Sawmill tenders (2)

Shoe dealer (1)

Shoemakers (20)

Shoe factory operatives (27)

Shuttle maker (1)

Silver metal scourer (1)

Spool Turner (1)

Stair builder (1)

Stone cutters (2)

Tanners (8)

Teachers (15)

Tin smiths (2)

Tool maker (1)

Upholsterers (2)

Varnisher (1)

Wagon maker (1)

Watch maker (1)

Wire drawers (4)

Wood carvers (6)

Wool sorters (2)


Book stitcher (1)

Cartridge makers (2)

Corset maker (27)

Dressmaker (1)

Hair braiders (2)

Matron in a school for deaf-mutes (1)

Matrons Assistant in a school for deaf-mutes (2)

Shoe factory operatives (3)

Supervisor of girls in school for deaf mutes (1)

Tailoresses (2)

Teachers (6)

Pal, the Dog - ASD's Mascot

Pal, the Dog – ASD’s Mascot

ASD’s Beloved Dog

1938 – 1946

Pal was once an unknown stray dog, but he was buried with the tears of all students who loved him.  A large, light brown dog of an unknown breed, he wandered into the hearts of over two hundred children six years before his death in 1946.


In 1939 when I was four years old, I had my first meeting with Pal. This was also my first step to the education I am getting here.


One of our boys had found the dog on campus. He reported this to the Hartford Courant and the Hartford Times. He received no answers from an owner, so kept the dog and cared for him himself for several years.


When he graduated, he left Pal to the school. He really became Mr. Boatner’s dog, because he followed him everywhere, but he loved everybody, and everybody loved him. He played with the children whenever possible. They fed him cookies and gave him cookies and bones for presents.


One day Pal could not be found in the usual places. Mr. Boatner and the children became worried. Newspapers were read for notices. Finally, as a last try, the dog warden’s office in West Hartford was called.


At last Pal was found, but the news was not very cheerful, because our favorite was no longer to be in our company. It seems that Pal had gotten into a fight with some other dogs and the warden had taken him into his care. After two days, the warden and his assistant, since they received no notice from the owners, had Pal gassed. This happened on a Friday morning. An hour later, Mr. Boatner called. It was too late and there were many sad faces when the news was told.


Mr. Boatner brought Pal’s body to school, and had a nice coffin made for him. At the back of our cabin, where Paul loved to go, a grave was dug and beside it lay the coffin, opened for all to see. Paul looked as if he had fallen asleep. He was wearing his blanket marked “A.S.D.” Almost all of the teachers, pupils, and staff were there that warm spring day in 1946.


In memory, a dogwood tree stands over the grave of Pal, our school mascot. 


This article was written by Rosemarie Fadoir, “54 for The American Era, the school magazine.


When an alumnus read this story recently, she told us that classes were cancelled for Pal’s funeral.


Statues and Monuments

Statues and Monuments


The Laurent Clerc Memorial Statue: The Deaf teacher, Laurent Clerc, who did more than any other one man to assure success of the school after the initial efforts of Mason Cogswell and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, also led in efforts to put up the original marble memorial honoring Gallaudet.  When Clerc died in 1869, the Deaf had this bronze bust erected; it was considered an excellent likeness.  After many years at Old Hartford, the statue was relocated to the West Hartford campus in 1922 and now sits in front of ASD’s new school.  The bronze oak- leaf-and acorn spray on this monument is one of two brought from France by representatives of the French Deaf and presented in tribute at the ASD Centennial celebration in 1917.  (The other spray was placed on the Gallaudet Monument.)

The Gallaudet Statue: This impressive monument in bronze is by one of America’ greatest sculptors –Daniel Chester French – who is also known for his massive, seated figure of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.  Many critics consider his “Gallaudet and Alice” statue the most poetic and inspiring of all of his works, depicting Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet teaching Alice Cogswell the letter “A.”  This memorial was cast in 1925 and was a gift from the National Association of the Deaf.  It is a replica of the original which was presented to Gallaudet College in 1889, and Mr. French took personal charge of finishing the features.  Gallaudet’s visage is from an old portrait, and Alice’s is from a paper silhouette-the only likeness of her known to exist.

The Gallaudet Monument: Dedicated in 1854, three years after Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet’s death, this marble and granite shaft designed by Albert Newsam stood in front of Old Hartford until 1919.  It was too weathered by the time it was to be moved to West Hartford in 1921, and the monument broke apart when attempt was made to move it.  The pieces were stored on the school grounds and recovered in 1954.  The long–lost bronze oak-leaf and acorn spray from the French Deaf was rescued and placed on the base of the Gallaudet Statue.  The sculptured panel, by Deaf artist John Carlin, was repaired and set into the brickwork of the entryway of Gallaudet Building.  It depicts the school’s first three students:  Alice Gallaudet, George Loring, and Wilton Whiton.  This panel is now set into the wall of the front entrance of ASD’s new school.

The Founder’s Memorial Statue: The fundraiser for this memorial began in 1950.  It was completed by Frances L. Wadsworth (a sculptress from Granby) in 1953 and dedicated in April of the same year.  The statue is made of bronze and is 7-1/2 feet tall.  It proudly stands at the corner of Asylum and Farmington Avenues in Hartford (also known as Gallaudet Square) and faces east toward the sunrise and toward France.  The statue depicts a young girl being lifted by two huge hands, the ten fingers of which represent the ten founders of the American School for the Deaf.  The hands unfolding to form the beginning of the manual sign for the word “light.” At the girl’s feet is a partially covered book and quill pen, meaning that learning was once closed to the Deaf.  In her left hand is an open book, representing the opening of the door to education.

Two-Dollar Bill $2.00

Two-Dollar Bill $2.00

Declaration of Independence


The United States Declaration of Independence is the pronouncement adopted by the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776. 


The following representatives who signed the declaration had connections with the American School for the Deaf


Thomas Jefferson: Thomas Jefferson Trist, the great-grandson of Thomas Jefferson’s, was a deaf-mute pupil at the New York Institution for the Deaf and Dumb. He taught at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf


William Williams was a delegate for Connecticut to the Continental Congress, and his uncle Hon. Thomas Scott Williams was the fifth ASD Board President. William married Mary Trumbull, whose brother was John Trumbull, who did the oil painting of the Declaration of Independence. 


Oliver Wolcott, Sr. was the 19th governor of Connecticut. His son, Oliver Wolcott, Jr., the 24th Governor of Connecticut, signed the Proclamation on September 3, 1818, to support the American School for the Deaf.


Benjamin Franklin assisted with sketches of the 1776 U.S. Continental Dollar coin when it was engraved by Reverand Thomas H. Gallaudet’s great uncle Elisha Gallaudet


Samuel Huntington was Dr. Mason Fitch Cogswell’s adopted son.


Richard Henry Lee of Virginia – His grandson George Richard Lee Turberville II, a deaf-mute pupil at Manchester School in Virginia, attended American School for the Deaf.



Oil Painting of the Declaration of Independence 

The painting was done by John Trumbull, the famous historical painter.  It was displayed at the Rotunda in the U.S. Capitol in 1826.  John was the nephew of Daniel Wadsworth’s wife Faith (Trumbull).  Daniel Wadsworth was the third ASD Board President.

Front of the two-dollar bill

Back of the two-dollar bill


Umbrella, Wooden Table Top

Antique Primitive Wooden Table Top Umbrella

Swift Yarn Winder Worcester Mass

This is a super cool old piece with a lot of history! In great condition, it dates to the mid 1800’s. It is marked “Silk and Cotton Reels Manufactured by Edward W. Denny Deaf and Dumb Worcester Mass.”

Edward Whipple Denny – Left Asylum in 1830  Student #149

From the internet:

Edward Whipple Denny (1810-1865) was born in Hardwick, Vermont, the son of Isaac and Grace (Tidd) Denny.

He was a deaf mute and was educated at the American Asylum in Hartford, CT. He was one of the first pupils, as was his wife, of Rev. Thomas Gallaudet, a pioneer in the education of the deaf and mute. Edwards Denny learned the carpenter’s trade and became a skilled wood worker. He came to Worcester when it was a small village. He bought a large estate there which became quite valuable over time. Denny married Elizabeth D. Stone, also, a deaf mute, on May 4, 1837,and they had two children, Ann Elizabeth and Daniel Edward Denny. The piece measures about 21 inches tall, and spreads to about 25 inches at its maximum height.


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