Inside Deaf Culture

Ten Days With the Deaf and Dumb, continued

There are generally about five hundred and fifty pupils here, and thirty teachers. Of the latter, some twelve or fifteen are themselves deaf-mutes, educated here, and possessing, of course, certain special qualifications for their work. Most of those who instruct the advanced classes are hearing persons, and several are gentlemen of liberal education, who are called professors. The head of the educational department, Professor Isaac Lewis Peet, is a gentleman of fine culture and eminent skill in, the difficult work to which he has devoted his life. He is said to be the most accomplished master of sign language in the world. His honored father, the late Dr Harvey L. Peet, was one of the pioneers in deaf-mute instruction in the United States, having been appointed principal of this school as early as 1831. His earnest appeals to the Legislature in behalf of indigent mutes secured the liberal appropriations now bestowed upon this unfortunate class. The text-books used in their instruction almost every where in this country were prepared by him. He died last New-Year's Day, and his funeral services were held in the chapel of the institution.

The superintendent, who has the oversight of all business affairs, family arrangements, and sanitary matters, is Dr. Samuel D. Brooks, a gentleman of eminent ability and long experience in the management of large institutions: Previous to his acceptance of this position, in April, 1871, hem bad been for twelve years the superintendent of the New York Juvenile Asylum; and, still earlier, was for five years at the bead of the State Almshouse at Monson, Massachusetts. Under his skillful supervision important improvements in the heating, ventilation, and sewerage of the establishment have been made; and the most careful attention is bestowed upon every thing relating to the health and comfort of the household.

The ordinary course of instruction occupies five years, during which the pupil gains enough knowledge of language to, express himself intelligibly in writing, acquires something of arithmetic and geography, and is taught the great truths of religion in which all Christians agree, together with an outline of Scripture history. At the close of this period as many as two-thirds of the pupils enter upon a further course of three years, during which special attention is paid to the more difficult forms of the English language, to history, higher geography, higher arithmetic, and select portions of the Bible. Still further opportunities are afforded in what is called the high class" for pupils who are unusually bright and industrious. Its course occupies three years more; and pupils who complete it, in addition to a more extended acquaintance with studies previously commenced, obtain some knowledge of algebra, physiology, chemistry, natural philosophy, logic, rhetoric, and moral science.

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This page was last updated on 01 Jul 2006