Laurent Clerc Hero In The Deaf Community
Birthplace of Laurent Clerc • born into a well-to-do family in La Balme-Les-Grottes,France • born December 26, 1785 • born hearing to hearing parents
Laurent’s hearing Family Father- Joseph Francois Clerc from a very prestigious family a Lawyer Mayor of village Mother- Marie Very protective never wanted Laurent to leave home, not even to go to school! Uncle (Laurent’s namesake)- Persuaded mother to let Laurent attend Abbé de l’Epée’s Institut National des Sourdes-Muets. This was first permanent school for deaf children. It was located in Paris
Laurent Clerc's deafness? How? When? Clerc became deaf in 1786, at the age of about 1 year, when he fell out of his chair, into the kitchen fireplace. After the fall he lost his hearing and sense of smell. As a result of the accident, Laurent had a visible scar on his right cheek.
Laurent Clerc's Name sign! The scar from the accident became the basis for his name sign- the index and middle fingers brushing over the right cheek.
Schooling and Occupation *Attended Abbé de l’Epée’s school, Institut National des Sourds-Muets the worlds first permanent school for Deaf children in Paris *Went to school at the age 12 teachers thought him bright graduated at age 20 *Was inspired by his favorite teacher, Jean Massieu, to become a teacher himself The Abbe Charles-Michel De L’Epee 1772
Back in Hartford, Connecticut... A young, hearing, Congressionalist minister, from Hartford, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, begins teaching a deaf 8 year old girl, Alice Cogswell. Alice’s father, MasonCogswell, an affluent and socially connected physician, is a neighbor of Gallaudet’s family. Dr. Cogswell is impressed by Gallaudet’s work with Alice. Dr. Cogswell offers to solicit contributions to help pay for Gallaudet to study abroad and learn methods of deaf education, then open and run an area school for deaf children. At this time, 1813, there are no real schools for Deaf children in America.
Studying Abroad Gallaudet tried to work with the Braidwood family, who controlled deaf education in England and Scotland. The Braidwoods did not wish to share the secrets of their lucrative practice. Braidwood’s Academy for the Deaf and Dumb opened 1760 in Scotland
The Poster That Changed the Course of History 1815-Gallaudet meets Clerc in London at a lecture. Clerc and Massieu demonstrate their teaching methods-with Abbe Siccard, the director of the Paris Institute.
Study Abroad Continues Abbe Sicard offers Thomas Gallaudet a chance to visit and learn from Laurent Clerc at The Royal Institute in Paris. Institut National des Sourds-Muets 1st Permanent school for the Deaf in the world- also know as the “Royal Institute”
America, ASD and Clerc's success! On June 18,1816 Gallaudet and Clerc started their journey to America on the “Mary Augusta”. On the 52 day trip they exchanged their skills, Laurent learned English and Gallaudet learned to sign. On August 9, they arrived in America, and started to raise money to open the first American school for deaf children. The school opened April 25, 1817 on Main Street in Hartford, Connecticut. 1821- ASD gets a permanent location in Hartford
Clerc’s Life & Influence in America May 3, 1819 he married a former student, Eliza Crocker Boardman. They had six hearing children together. Laurent Clerc taught at ASD for 41 years-retiring in 1858 at the age of 73. His teaching influenced many schools for the Deaf.
1850- Clerc (age 65) is Honored by the Deaf Community • Left: The silver pitcher presented to Clerc. The engraving reads: - as a token of grateful respect by the Deaf mutes of New England. Lover of his kind who left France in the year 1816 to promote the education & welfare of strangers who like himself were denied the gift of speech.
Death of a Hero Laurent Clerc is buried in Hartford Connecticut. He died July 18, 1869 at the age of 84. His legacy to Deaf people lives on.