Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet)

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet

American Deaf Education Pioneer. He is remembered as one of the co-founders for the first the first school for the deaf in North America. The son of a Revolutionary War soldier and personal secretary to US President George Washington when the Capitol was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he aspired to become a minister. He attended Yale University at New Haven, Connecticut and received his Bachelor’s Degree at the age of 17 in 1805 and earned his Master’s Degree there three years later. In 1812 he attended Andover Theological Seminary at Newton, Massachusetts and became a preacher after graduating two years later. Shortly afterward, his ministerial career took a turn when he met Alice Cogswell, the deaf daughter of his neighbor who was a physician. He began working with her, teaching her words by writing and drawing pictures of them. Her father asked him if he would go to Europe to learn how sign language was being taught there, especially with the Braidwood family in England. While there, he met Abbé Sicard, the head of the Institut National de Jeunes Sourds de Paris, and two of its deaf faculty members, Laurent Marie Clerc and Jean Massieu. Sicard invited him to Paris, France to learn their method of manual communication to teach the deaf. In 1816 he invited Clerc to accompany him to the US to establish a deaf school and in April 1817 they founded the Connecticut Asylum (at Hartford) for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons in Hartford, Connecticut, that later became known as the American School of the Deaf. He served as the principal of the school until 1830 and from 1832 until 1833 he became the first professor of philosophy of education at New York University. Afterward, he devoted his life to social and philanthropic work, working for the general advancement of education for women and African-Americans. He died at the age of 63. There are two college residence halls in Connecticut named in his honor, one at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain and the other at the University of Hartford in Hartford. His youngest son, Edward Miner Gallaudet, founded the first deaf college at Washington DC in 1864, now known as Gallaudet University. In 1889 a statue was dedicated in his and Alice Cogsworth’s honor and it resides on the grounds of Gallaudet University. In June 1983 he was honored with the issuance of a 20-cent stamp by the US Postal Service. (bio by: William Bjornstad)  Family links:  Parents:  Peter Wallace Gallaudet (1756 – 1843)  Spouse:  Sophia Fowler Gallaudet (1798 – 1877)  Children:  Thomas Gallaudet (1822 – 1902)*  Jane Hall Gallaudet (1827 – 1853)*  Edward Miner Gallaudet (1837 – 1917)*  Sibling:  Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (1787 – 1851)  Jane E. Gallaudet (1801 – 1835)* *Calculated relationship


  • December, 10, 1787
  • USA


  • September, 09, 1851
  • USA


  • Cedar Hill Cemetery
  • Connecticut
  • USA

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