19th Century Deaf Rochester History: Introduction



This guide shows some resources related to the Deaf community in the 19th century. Some Deaf students were enrolled at RIT or the Mechanics Institute, as well as other colleges.

Deaf Students Before NTID

Harry Lang, et al. have created a website about 19th century Deaf Rochester History. There are interesting research questions he posed and he discusses students enrolled at the Mechanics Institute before NTID was established. It appears that former Presidents of the Mechanics Institute or Rochester Athenaeum were also involved with the Rochester School for the Deaf as board members. Courtesy of Harry Lang.

George G. Clarkson

b. 1811 in Edinburgh, Scotland. died 28 Aug 1905 in Rochester, NY' buried Mt. Hope Cemetery, Rochester. Married Mary M Parcells, who died 8 Oct 1863 at age 50; briefly moved to the U.S. with father ca 1810, returned to Scotland for several years, and then permanently relocated to US in 1813.

President of the Rochester Athenaeum (today as Rochester Institute of Technology); Mayor of Rochester, 1874-1875 in 1876 with Rev Thomas Gallaudet, the eldest son of deaf-mute advocacy pioneer Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, helped establish the Western New York Institution for Deaf Mutes, which Alexander Graham Bell described as the best disciplined and most admirably conducted institute in the country; served as Vice President and President of the Institution for many years, associated with area financial institutions, including the Monroe County Savings Bank where he served on the Board of Trustees during the 1890s.


Herald article about a class studying engines at the Mechanics Institute (1911). Courtesy of Harry Lang

Related Content

Ezra R. Andrews papers, 1883-1919

Ezra was elected to the Board of Trustees for numerous organizations including the First Baptist Church, the New York Baptist Union for Ministerial Education, the Western House of Refuge, the Rochester Orphan Asylum, the Mechanics Savings Bank, and the Western New York Institution for Deaf Mutes (Rochester School for the Deaf).

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