A A A

Archive for the 'Unusual Books' Category

Alphabet, Manuel-Figure des Sourds-Muets de Naissance, An VIII (1799-1800)

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 17 March 2017

Alphabet 1A year or so ago we came across, in our French language collection, this extremely rare manual alphabet – Alphabet, Manuel-Figure des Sourds-Muets de Naissance.  It was printed in Paris, in an VIII, revolutionary year 8, which dates from the 23rd of September, 1799, to the 22nd of September, 1800.  That was the period when Bonaparte returned from Egypt and used his popularity to instigate the coup of  18 Brumaire, becoming ‘consul’ and virtual dictator.  It was possibly printed by the pupils (boys) of the Institution Nationale des Sourds-Muets à Paris, then under the principal, the Abbé Sicard.  Sicard had an extraordinary life, narrowly avoiding execution during the French Revolution in 1792, when he was arrested by the Revolutionary Commune for failing to take the oath of civil allegiance.  You can read about that in Harlan Lane’s book, When the Mind Hears (1984, see chapter 2 in particular), and in the more recent Abbé Sicard’s deaf education : empowering the mute, 1785-1820 (2015) by Emmet Kennedy.  The coup of 18 Fructidor sent Sicard into hiding, and he only emerged when Bonaparte came to power.  We have a copy of Sicard’s first book published in an VIII (year 8), Cours d’instruction d’un sourd-muet de naissance, pour servir a l’éducation des sourds-muets, but it appears that the sign alphabet that is supposed to be in it, is missing from the first edition we have.  Here it is from the back of the 1803 second edition.  Click for a larger size.Cours 1803

Was Alphabet, Manuel-Figure printed for the use of the pupils, or to sell in order to raise money?  Was it printed by the pupils, as an exercise, or a way of learning a trade?  I think we may well attribute Sicard as the man behind the publication, but perhaps it was just publicity material for the school with another teacher responsible.  It is beyond my expertise to say anything more about the Alphabet, so I present the printed pages.  It is not printed on every page, and I suspect it was printed on one sheet, then folded and cut, but if you have a more informed view about how it may have been laid out, please contribute below.

I think that this item is, as I said above, extremely rare, but it may well be unique.  The small plaque under each picture is probably aesthetic, but seems to me to make the pictures seem more ‘monumental’ and, if I dare use the term, (it may be legitimate here!), ‘iconic.’  Now compare the hand shapes in the 1803 alphabet above, with those in our 1799 one below.  See the interesting differences.  Is one drawn by a ‘reader’ of the signs, and one by the ‘speaker’, or is one drawn by the artist from his (or her) own hand shapes?  Is the 1799 Cours d’instruction alphabet different?  If both were by Sicard, would they not be identical, or could that just be a matter of the artist executing the engravings?

It measures approximately 14cm by 23cm.  We are in the process of getting many of these books, previously on card index only, onto the UCL catalogue, to make them more ‘visible’ to researchers.

The pages between those below, are blank.

Alphabet 2 Alphabet 3 Alphabet 4 Alphabet 5

Cours d’instruction d’un sourd-muet de naissance, pour servir a l’éducation des sourds-muets – on Google Books, unfortunately lacks the sign alphabet at the back.

“They become unconsciously genuine stupifying explainers” – French Oralist Jean-Jacques Valade-Gabel

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 3 March 2017

Valade-GabelJean-Jacques Valade-Gabel (1801-79) was a leading proponent of oral education for the deaf who was active in the middle of the nineteenth century.  I first came across him through the book of moral tales he wrote, translated into English by Charles Baker of the Yorkshire Institution.  I cannot give any details of his personal life, other than to say that his son Andre followed him into teaching the deaf.  He taught at the Paris Institution before moving to Bordeaux (American Annals of the Deaf, 1860).  Harlan Lane says that he was “fired from Bordeaux for mysterious reasons” (Lane, p.436, note 110).  What did he do that was so disgraceful?  It did not affect his later career it seems

Picture LessonsHe was, it seems, a disciple of Pestalozzi (who has been mentioned before on a post), taught in Paris from 1826 to 1838, was director of the National Institution at Bordeaux from 1838 till 1850, and later became Government inspector of the schools for the deaf in the 1860s, which must have put him in a powerful position to get his educational views instituted across France (The Association Review, 1902, p.274).  Our copy of Méthode à la portée des instituteurs primaires pour enseigner aux sourds-muets la langue française : sans l’intermédiare du langage des signes (1857) is signed by Valade-Gabel.  This was the book that set out his views in full, and in 1875 his method was officially recognised by the Ministry of the Interior (The Association Review, 1904, p.274).VG Deaf Boy

We have two copies of the translated Picture Lessons for Boys and Girls, one with the author’s introduction, where he indicates a disdain for signing.  It seems he gave emphasis to reading and writing.  He says,

The reproach addressed by Jacotot to those who too much distrust the penetration of children, falls directly on such teachers as are in the habit of constantly interposing signs between the deaf and dumb and written language.  They become unconsciously genuine stupifying explainers.  The more graceful and appropriate are the signs, so much more do they turn the pupils from the attention which must be given to writing, in order to obtain in it a sort of power interpretive of thought.  We know in a certain establishment a certain very distinguished master, who, nevertheless, has not succeeded in making a good scholar, for the sole reason that he does not know how properly to teach the deaf-mute to cope with the difficulties of reading. (p.vi)

In The Association Review, they say,

This untiring reformer introduced at the Bordeaux Institution the intuitive method in instruction in language in its written form. He attracted the attention of specialists to his method by annual courses and lectures from 1839 till 1850, and in 1857 published his famous work, “Method for the use of primary teachers for teaching the deaf the French language without the intermediary of the sign language.” This important work was favorably received by the leaders of the French education of the deaf; and in 1875 Valade-Gabel’s method was officially recognized by the Ministry of the Interior. This method which substituted the eye for the ear, employed writing, and abandoned signs as a means for learning language, was adopted either entirely or in conjunction with older methods by the majority of the French schools many years before the Milan Congress. (p.274)

They continue to explain something of his method (p.275): “Valade-Gabel’s method is based on two leading principles: the first, that language shall be taught without either methodical or natural gestures, and the second, that instead of begin- ning with words, developing and explaining them, each one by itself, the beginning should be made with sentences.”

VG Deaf and Dumb Man

Above are two pages from the Picture Lessons.  Note that this last picture below, shows a child – a ‘chatterer,’ – signing to his fellow.  “They are chatters when they make any unmeaning or unnecessary signs.” Chatterer

I think that the poet, Leon Valade, may have been his son, or a relative.  Please add a note in the comments if you can provide any additional information about Valade-Gabel.

Arnaud, Sabine, Fashioning a Role for Medicine: Alexandre-Louis-Paul Blanchet and the Care of the Deaf in Mid-nineteenth-century France.  Soc Hist Med (2015) 28 (2): 288-307

Fourth Report of the Institution for the Deaf at Venersborg, Sweden… The Association Review, 1902, Vol.4 p.272–8

Lane, Harlan, When the Mind Hears, a History of the Deaf.  

Picture Lessons for Boys and Girls [review] American Annals of the Deaf, 1860 Vol 12, p.191-2

Quartararo, Anne T.,  The Perils of Assimilation in Modern France: The Deaf Community, Social Status, and Educational Opportunity, 1815-1870.  Journal of Social History, Vol. 29, No. 1 (Autumn, 1995), pp. 5-23

Valade-Gabel, J-J., Picture Lessons for Boys and Girls, Translated and adapted by Charles Baker. 1860, London, Wertheim and Macintosh

Valade-Gabel, J-J,, The Institutions for the Deaf and Dumb in France

A picture of Valade-Gabel is on this interesting Danish website

“Why do you sing so loud, aunty,” – Annie Webb-Peploe’s story, Deaf and Dumb

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 14 October 2016

Arthur“Why do you sing so loud, aunty,” said Jessie; “I like to hear you sing softly.”

“I want baby to listen to me,” replied her aunt hastily, and she continued her song even louder than before.

“Stupid little Arthur,” said Jessie.

“Poor little Arthur,” said Aunt Amy, with a heavy sigh.

(Deaf and Dumb)

Annie Molyneux, a prolific, if more or less forgotten Victorian author, was born on the 24th of February 1806 (not 1805 as so many bibliographical details say), daughter to John Molyneux (one of a remarkable fifteen children), and a descendant of Thomas Molyneux, who was born in Calais when it was still English.  Thomas settled in Ireland and the family entered politics, with some of his descendants and Annie’s ancestors becoming Irish MPs.  Annie married John Birch Webb, who became the vicar of Weobley in Herefordshire.  In 1866 he took the surname Peploe, so they became the Webb-Peploe’s.  Annie Webb-Peploe, or Webb in the earlier part of her life, is as I say, hardly known now, but if she is read or remembered, it is probably for the book Naomi: or, The last days of Jerusalem (1841), which is a particular genre of ‘conversion’ literature that Annie wrote a number of books on.  The main character is a Jewish woman who becomes a Christian.  It went through a considerable number of editions, including in the U.S.A., and was also translated to Danish in 1892, and German in 1900.  I did not spot any English edition quite that late, but Valman says that it continued to be published to the end of the century.  It might be interesting to draw parallels between her attitude to “the devoted and impenitent Jews” (Naomi, preface, p. v) and the Deaf people in her short story, Deaf and Dumb (uncertain date).  There is an interesting chapter in Valman’s 2009 book (see reference below), that discusses Naomi. Arthur at school

Deaf and Dumb* tells the story of a deaf boy called Arthur, and his sister Jessie who are orphaned as young children.  They live with their aunt who then sends the boy to be educated at the Exeter School.  The boy is at first educated ‘by signs’, then “when he became an intimate of the asylum it was considered time to cultivate his power of speech, which, strange as it may seem to some of our readers, is actually as perfect with those who are called deaf and dumb as with those who have spoken from infancy” (Chapter 2, page 3 – though the pages of the whole book are unnumbered).  She seems to have taken some trouble with the details of education at Exeter, but I am unclear as to what she means about ‘the art of speaking on the fingers – or dactylology’ (Chapter 2 p.6) – is she referring to sign language or fingerspelling?  The stress seems to be on becoming oral, learning to speak –

The author has heard a deaf and dumb lady read a newspaper quite intelligibly, and also converse with a mutual friend who was also deaf and dumb, and with whom she had been brought up at Braidwood’s establishment.  The tone of their voices was guttural and rather monotonous, but by no means difficult to understand.

Yes it is ‘preachy’ and in my view not terribly well written, but it is interesting.  I suspect the book dates from circa 1860-65 based on her name as it appears – Mrs Webb, and on the few details on her two fellow writers in the collection.  Our copy must I think be very rare indeed.

It is difficult to find out anything much about Annie Webb-Peploe, even though she wrote and published quite a lot over a long period.  She does not as yet appear in the ‘Orlando – Women’s Writing’ pages, unlike two of her three fellow writers who are published in the same volume, Frances Browne and Frances Mary Peard (the third being L.A. Hall).  Her three sons went into the army (Daniel), the navy (Augustus), and the church (Hanmer).  Hanmer was a member of the evangelical ‘Holiness Movement‘, and has an entry in the DNB (see below).  You can see more of her family details here.  She died in 1880.  It seems that she is ripe for some research by someone interested in Victorian literature.  I am sure there are Webb-Peploes around today who might have some family records that would add to the bare details, and a photograph perhaps.

I have saved the whole story as a pdf for those interested.  When opened, right click the file to put it the right way up.  Deaf and Dumb by Mrs Webb

Arthur and Jessie 1http://id.loc.gov/authorities/names/n84051745.html

The Jewess in Nineteenth-Century British Literary Culture de Waard, Marco. Gender Forum 21 (2008) (Review)

Valman, Nadia, The Jewess in Nineteenth-Century British Literary Culture, CUP 2009

Online Books by Mrs. Webb-Peploe

https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Search/Home?lookfor=%22Webb-Peploe,%20Mrs.%201805-1880.%22&type=author&inst=

My Life on the Prairies

I. T. Foster, ‘Peploe, Hanmer William Webb- (1837–1923)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/47130, accessed 3 Oct 2016] – see also here.

 

 

The Adventures of Stumpy

By Alex P Stagg, on 3 June 2016

Although the vast majority of our books are about audiology, deaf history or deaf culture, we have a few anomalies which seem at first glance to have fallen into our collection by happenstance. The Comenius book we blogged about a couple of weeks ago, for example, has little to do with our core remit. Another book which does not immediately seem to have anything to do with deafness is The AdvenStumpy1tures of Stumpy (1938), purportedly by one Stubby. The connection, perhaps rather tangential, is that Stumpy has a preface by Selwyn Oxley, Organising Secretary and Librarian for the Guild of St John of Beverley for the Deaf, and the source of many of the books and photographs in our collection*.

THE CONVASLESCENT STUMPY

Stubby tells Stumpy’s story from his infancy to middle age, observing his progress with a sardonic eye and wit: which is no surprise from a published Feline Author (Stubby’s previous books include Stubby – Story of a Cat and More About Stubby).

As you’d expect from the author of two volumes of autobiography, Stubby is a very self-centred narrator: when Stumpy is struck down by a particularly nasty illness, Stubby declares ‘it was only then that I realised I was not the only one [his owner] loved’. Stumpy wasn’t the luckiest cat: apart from a clot on the brain, for which there’s an X-ray in the book, he also broke a leg, scorched himself walking into a fire, lost his whiskers, and lost his sense of smell (this last though fortunately regained). The book describes the first ten years of Stumpy’s life, and I hope I don’t spoil anyone’s appetite for the book when I reveal he’s alive at the conclusion of the narrative albeit with rather fewer than nine lives left.

THE FELINStumpy2E AUTHOR, STUBBY

This is a charming book, for cat lovers: and seems to descend from Hoffman’s (fictional) Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr.

You will find The Adventures of Stumpy in our biography section, under ‘S’ for Stubby.

*Selwyn Oxley’s wife Kate, who was herself deaf, was the compiler.

Julius Casserius Placentinus 1552 -1616

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 23 May 2016

Casserius tabula prima primae hominisIt is always hard to choose a favourite book – but this book by Giulio Cesare Casseri or Julius Casserius Placentinus (ca. 1552-1616) has to be one of my favourites in our collection.  Placentinus means he was from Placentia – Piacenza (latin ‘pl’ becomes ‘pi’ in Italian).

The book’s title is, De vocis auditusque organis historia anatomica : singulari fide methodo ac industria concinnata tractatibus duobus explicata ac variis inconibus aere excusis illustrata.  It was published in 1600 in Ferrara.  It had an important contribution to otorhinolaryngology for no one had produced such as detailed anatomy for the laryngeal  structures and of course they were working without the benefit of microscopes though they possibly used lenses for magnification (Martin).  The illustrator is supposed to be the Swiss artist, Joseph Mauer (or Josias Murer to use the latin form of his surname), who lived with Casseri while he was working on the anatomy.  The title page, crested with a skeletal eagle, is reportedly by Jacopo Ligozzi.

julii casserii titleGiulio Casseri was born to a very poor family.  The date of his birth is uncertain, and the date 1552 is based on his will while the date sometimes seen of 1561 is based on a portait that does not appear in our copy*.  Casseri had gone to Padua perhaps initially as a servant to a student, then working as his servant to the great anatomist at Padua, Fabricus ab Aquapendente, under whom he learnt anatomy.  We do not know when he graduated as a student but ca 1580 is the guess of the best authorities (Riva et al).  He was soon held in high regard, becoming an examiner in place of Fabricius in 1584.  They fell out over this perhaps and over teaching methods.  Fabricius taught in public while Casserius ran a private course from his home.  The students seem to have preferred the intimacy (Riva et al.p.169).  In her book, Theaters of Anatomy, Cynthia Klestinec says,

Fabrici’s teaching was frequently described as disordered and incomplete, while the lessons of Paolo Galeotto and Giulio Casseri (Iulius Casserius, 1561-19) were described as comprehensive and clear.  Galeotto and Casseri also offered “beautiful” dissections, a description that points to a technical skill that was rarely noted in Fabrici’s courses. Galeotto and Casseri were able to maintain an emphasis on the details of anatomical structures, gradually extending their comprehensive demonstrations into areas of natural philosophy. Such particularities, analyzed in detail and over time, provide the foundation for the spectacular appeal of anatomy both inside the walls of the university and beyond. (Klestinec, 2011, p.11)

[…] When Casseri substituted for Fabrici in the public anatomy in 1604, one student noted that Casseri’s demonstration was “useful in the most important ways to the students”; “he read to the students and demonstrated ocularly this anatomy … everybody was able to see particularly all the parts … [and] the ways of treatments.” (ibid p.164)

Casserius pikeIt is a pity their feud persisted, and that Casserius did not live to see the other plates he had prepared on anatomy published.  They eventually came out in 1627 where his work was combined with that of Spigelius.  Hast and Holtsmark say, in their introduction to the partial translation,

the detailed description Casserius gives of the laryngeal muscles has no equal in the contemporary antomy of his day. […] It is true that his work does suffer from the inherited scholasticism of the Middle Ages; William Harvey’s famous publication was twenty-seven years in the future and “scientific” thinking was still teleological.  But Casserius, unlike many future students of anatomy, could approach his work without the preconceived notions we all obtain from studying the standard textbooks of anatomy (with their beautiful illustrations), guiding our knife on its proper course.  He learnt his discipline by that invaluable but laborious method of making dissections by himself. Therefore, if the reader does not always find Casserius’ description of the course of a muscle as he would expect or was taught, let him return to the dissecting room with an unprejudiced mind and without notes or textbooks.

Our copy came from the bookseller Tregaskis.  It is virtually in mint condition so probably never sat long on the desk of a student or anatomist, where I might have expected it to be better used, however, there is no frontispiece portrait in our copy so perhaps it was rebound.

The illustrations are fabulous!  There are dissections of animals and people, including a pike, (Esox lucius) and a goose (Anas anser).  I have not space for more images but you will find many on line.

Casserius laryngotomyHere we see the illustration of a ‘laryngotomy’ – a tracheotomy.

Note:

*To my mind the latter date does not seem to give him sufficient time to become experienced enough to be an examiner in 1584.

As usual, click on images for a larger size.

Casserius J. De vocis auditusque organis historia anatomica. Ferrara: Victorius Baldinus, 1601. Partial modem translation: Casserius J. The Larynx, organ of voice, translated from Latin by Malcom H. Hast and Erting B. Holtsmark. Acta Otolaryngol 1969; suppl 261

Housman, Brian ; Bellary, Sharath ; Hansra, Simrat ; Mortazavi, Martin ; Tubbs, R. Shane ; Loukas, Marios.  Giulio cesare casseri (c. 1552–1616): The servant who became an anatomist.  Clinical Anatomy, 2014, Vol.27(5), pp.675-680

Hunt, D.  Julius Casserius.  The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, 1878 p.269-71

Klestinec, Cynthia, Theaters of Anatomy: Students, Teachers, and Traditions of Dissection in Renaissance Venice. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011

John Martin, M.D., The Vesalian School of Anatomy in Renaissance Padua

Riva, A. ; Orrù, B. ; Pirino, A. ; Riva, F.T.
Iulius Casserius (1552-1616): the self made anatomist of Padua’s golden age.  Anatomical Record, 15 August 2001, Vol.265(4), pp.168-175Casserius organi auditus 2

“To know Tongues is comly” – the Janua linguarum reserata of John Amos Comenius

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 29 April 2016

Comenius tableJan Amos Komenský, 1592-1670, also known by the Latin version of his name as Johan Comenius, was another of those great 17th century scholars.  His protestant family were members of the Moravian Church.  He studied at the University of Heidelberg, and before that at the Herborn Academy where he learnt the diadatic method.  His was an age of war and persucution, and eventually he fled to Poland, later spending time in Sweden and visiting England in 1648.  He finally ended up living in Amsterdam, where he died.  There is a fine Rembrandt portrait which it is suggested depicts him.

Comenius 2 picsHe was influenced by Francis Bacon, and in turn became hugely influential as Piaget shows (see link below).  The book we have by him, his Janua linguarum reserata… was originally written when he was in in exile in Poland, and was published in 1631.  The English translation was called (in short) The gate of languages unlocked: or, A seed-plot of all arts and tongues; containing a ready way to learn the Latine and English tongue.  There were many editions and it would take someone with a good knowledge of the editions to divine exactly which volume we have, as when it was rebound and the pages badly cropped, in the 19th century, it lost its title page and part of the introduction.  The end of the introduction and part of the tables were bound (then, or earlier) out of sequence, between pages 18 and 19. Comenius 3 The book aimed to have a structured breakdown of learning, divided into 1,000 sentences, with an extensive Latin index at the end.  Our version is a parallel translation, Latin on the left page and English on the right, except the last page where it is reversed, probably due to a dozy printer.  Despite its tatty condition – a few worm-holes on ther back pages and very well read – it remains an entertaining book.  The front pages begin as follows –

1. Whither the study of Tongues tendeth.

God created the world, full of the works of wisdom; and placed man in the midst of the Creatures, that by contemplating them, and Using them, and Discoursing on them, hee might have delight.  There is therefore a threefold end of our life in the World, namely that – wee view the works of God; wee learn to use them well; wee propagate to others such knowledg and use, by the help of Tongues

wherefore we learn to speak (with one Tongue or more) that wee may attain the Knowledg of Things; but wee seek the Knowledg of Things, that wee may not mistake in the Use.  Therefore mark well.  To know Tongues is comly; more comly, to understand the things themselves, whereof it is to bee spoken; but most comly to know how to use the knowledg of both.  Tongues therefore ought to bee learned, not without the knowledg of Things, but together with it.

Comenius hackneyThere are plenty of great lines – sentence 835, “Whores and fornicators are beaten with rods or whips : Hackney-whores are branded with marks…”, 339 “Cattel happily increaseth , when their wombs are of good breed.”   “Hackney whores” is a phrase also used by Ned Ward in The London Spy (1699), and in various  sayings and proverbs of that time, like “If Paris be the hell of hackney-horses, ’tis the Paradise of whoremasters and hackney-whores” and “whores are the Hackneys which men ride to hell.”

An eager student began to gloss the index of our copy but gave up after two pages!

Why do we have it?  Well, Selwyn Oxley collected many books that might talk about language, even in passing, and the word ‘tongues’ must have made this an interesting acquisition for the ‘ephphatha’ collection.

Comenius on Wikipedia page

Piaget on Comenius

Williams, Gordon, A Dictionary of Sexual Language and Imagery in Shakespearean and Stuart Literature. 1994  p.636

The Deaf Mute Howls – Albert Ballin

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 19 February 2016

Ballin 2“It will soon be obvious to all rational minds that the deaf have been woefully miseducated, and their characters warped and stunted at their schools – terribly enough to justify the HOWL they emit.” (Ballin, 1930, p.12)

Albert Victor Ballin was born in New York in 1861, son of a German immigrant who worked as a lithographer.  He lost his hearing through scarlet fever aged three.  “Since then I have never heard voices, music or any sound – not even the firing of big guns.  […] If the vibrations hang in the air, there remains in the atmosphere the silence of King Tut’s tomb for me.” (p.27)  Being unaware of the manual alphabet, they used crude ‘home signs’.  Ballin was convinced that through their ignorance “a blunder worse than a crime”, it atrophied his capability of learning to read and write (p.28).   This anecdote he recalls deserves repeating in full.

When I was five or six, my brother, a hearing lad two years my senior, was accustomed to taking me with him to a baker’s shop, a block away.  After many trips to the shop I was trusted to go alone to buy and bring home a loaf of bread.  My mother wrote some words on a slip of paper, wrapped it over a nickel, andut both in my little fist. She admonished me in signs to be very careful to hold fast and not to lose the coin and to bring home a loaf.  I carried out the errand so satisfactorily that she patted me on the head and commissioned me to repeat a like errand a few days later.  This time she wrapped the written slip over five red pennies. I always had a sweet tooth for taffy, so I stopped on the way at my favorite candy store, filched one penny, and bought a wee handful of the confection.
Then I went into the bake-shop, chewing happily.  I handed the slip and the remaining four pennies to the baker.  He was aware of my deafuess, and he wasted no time to argue with me.  He quietly scribbled something on another slip of paper and wrapped it with the bread.  On my return home my mother asked me what I had done with the missing penny.  I confessed my sin, and I was rewarded with a pretty stiff spanking, plus threats of a more severe punishment.  I was profoundly astonished at her weird clairvoyance.  How did she find me out?  That set me to thinking deeply.  I began dimly to suspect some connection between the baker’s slip and my spanking.  On my next errand I tried an experiment: I filched a penny, bought the taffy and the bread, but this time I tore and threw away the baker’s nasty lime slip.  When I arrived home with the loaf, I watched, with a throbbing heart, to see what mama would do. She only smiled kindly and patted my head.  My ruse was a grand success-my guess was right.  Thereafter I stole a penny on every like errand.  How delicious was that taffy! (p.29-30)

The book begins,

Long  loud  and  cantankerous is the howl raised by the deaf mute.  It has to be if he wishes to be heard and listened to. He ought to keep it up incessantly until the wrongs inflicted on him will have been righted and done away with forever. (p. 17)

It is fascinating to read his description of his education.  He faced great difficulties, and he points out that the 20% of pupils who were ‘semi-mute’ were the ‘show-pupils’ (p.41).  He was angered by the failure to acknowledge the significance of sign language, and the prejudices of pure oralists (p.51).  He deserves to be better known, if only for his book which was ahead of its time.

Ballin studioBallin trained as an artist under Mr. H. Humphry Moore and attempted to make a living at that (BDT p.1, 1907).  He went to Paris and Rome, studying under the Spanish painter Jose Villegas and in 1882 won a silver medal in Rome for a Venetian scene (ibid, p.1-2). He became friends with the Phillipino artist Juan Luna, sharing a studio with him (ibid).  Back in America again, he painted portraits of the Rev. Thomas Gallaudet and Dr. Isaac Peet.  He got involved in politics in support of the Democratic campaign in the 180s, which is how he met his wife (ibid p.3).  He began then to specialise in miniatures.Ballin Dreaming

He later attempted to make it in films, having moved to California, appearing as an extra in many films , but “easily recognized in Silk Stockings [Silk Legs (?)] (Fox, 1927),  The Man Who Laughs (Universal Artists, 1928)” etc. (Schuchman, p.27).   He was a lead in His Busy Hour, (Heustis, 1926), a film with an all-deaf cast.

He died in California on November 2nd, 1932, not long after his book was published.

Below we see him with the silent film star, Laura La Plante.  He was acquainted with a number of other ‘stars’, including Chaplin, Lon Chaney and Betty Compson, and he interviewed the oralist Alexander Graham Bell (Schuchman p.28).

Students whose colleges subscribe to Project Muse may be able to access the full text, which has also been reprinted by Gallaudet.  Our copy of the book is signed, “Compliments of Howard L. Terry” (1877-1964), a Gallaudet alumnus who was a writer and became a Deaf activist when he moved to California (Clark, p.90-1).
Ballin 1Ballin 3Ballin, Albert, The Deaf Mute Howls, Grafton Publishing Company, Los Angeles, (1930)

Clark, John Lee (ed), Deaf American Poetry : an anthology, Gallaudet University Press, Washington (2009)

Notable Deaf of Today: Albert Victor Ballin, Artist. British Deaf Times, Vol. 4 no. 37 January 1907, p.1-4

Schuchman, John S., Hollywood Speaks : deafness and the film entertainment industry, University of Illinois Press, Chicago (1988)

http://www.silentera.com/PSFL/data/H/HisBusyHour1926.html

https://usdeafhistory.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/ballinalbert-bio-1.pdf

Silent Era : Progressive Silent Film List

www.silentera.com

His Busy Hour (1926) American B&W : Two reels Directed by [?] Albert Ballin? Cast: Albert Ballin [the hermit] Produced by James Spearing and Bertha Lincoln Heustis.

Post updated 15/12/16 with BDT article & picture.

“Some men drink so much beer that …… …… ……” – Mid 19th c. Lesson Books for Deaf Pupils

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 8 January 2016

Charles Rhind is a name that may be familiar to regular readers of these pages.  He was a teacher of the Deaf who became a deacon and then vicar at St. Saviour’s church for the Deaf  in Oxford Street.  You can read the previous entry on Rhind here.  Rhind moved about quite a lot and as usual the census returns can help us flesh out informaion from obituaries and brief biographical mentions.  In the 1861 census, Rhind was living in 23 Windsor Road, Islington, which is just off Holloway Road.  With him was his wife Sophia, his daughter Sophia (born in Belfast ca. 1844), and his sons William (born in London ca. 1848), Charles (born in Wales ca. 1850), then Henry, Edward and Frederick all born in Scotland from ca. 1855 to 1859.  He moved back to London in 1860.  By the time of the 1871 census he was living in Brixton,

We have two books by Charles Rhind, and one at least owned by him and possibly written by him.  His Vocabulary of Verbs with their Meanings and a List of Irregular Verbs, was published in Edinburgh in 1854.  Our copy was owned by Alexander Pender.  A second book that may be by Rhind is rather peculiar.  It is bound with card covered in blue textured cloth, with no publisher or title page, except having “Lessons for the Deaf and Dumb” inscribed on the outer & inner covers.  Indeed the pages in both copies we have are empty of print up until page 25, which is a part of Section 15.  It has sentences with blank spaces as exercises, e.g.

  • “John is …… passionate …… sullen” (p.107)
  • “The man …… God struck dead for telling a lie was ……” (p.47)
  • “Some men drink so much beer that …… …… ……” (p.62)

Pages 1 to 14 of one copy, owned by Charles Rhind himself when he lived in Brixton, are ciovered in beautifully hand written writing with exercises for sections 1 to 12.  It could be written by Rhind himself, or perhaps his daughter Sophia.  To show how sophisticated the pupils were supposed to be in learning vocabulary compared with modern pupils, we note that in section 6, the aresentences that are supposed to be filled in with “Quadruped, Biped, Domestic, Wild” –

  • “The cow is ……”
  • “The hen is a ……”
  • “The fox is not …… ……”
  • “Man is a ……” etc.

On page 113, “Of Future Time”, there is a sentence “1860 will be ……” which suggests that it must have been published in the late 1850s.

Lessons for the deaf rhindThe third book is exceedingly rare, possibly unique.  It is Illustrated Lessons for the Deaf and Dumb.  The book is full of small charming pictures.  It must date from shortly after 1852 as it shows the launch of HMS Wellington, a new screw-propelled battleship that served in the Crimean War. Wellington Click onto the image to the left.

There are so many great pictures in this book that it is hard to know what to include.  WonderingNote the man who is ‘wondering’, Maimed veterans‘shooting a frog’, the ‘maimed veterans’, the ‘oyster-woman’, ‘oppressed by the heat of the sun’, and the ‘Book read by a Dog’!

Passive ParticiplesCensus 1861 Class: RG 9; Piece: 151; Folio: 77; Page: 36; GSU roll: 542582h

Census 1871 Class: RG10; Piece: 687; Folio: 45; Page: 12; GSU roll: 823334

Census 1881 Class: RG11; Piece: 617; Folio: 109; Page: 15; GSU roll: 1341142

Andreas Elias Büchner – “the deaf person may hear very well, on holding, by the lower rim, a beer-glass, to the upper teeth”

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 27 November 2015

Buchner 2Andreas Elias Büchner was a German doctor, born in Erfurt in 1701 and who died in Halle in 1769.  He was educated at the protestant school, then went on to study at the universities of Erfurt, Halle and Leipzig.  He became a member of the Prussian Academy of Science in 1738, and a professor at Halle University in 1744.  He was a follower of the Halle doctor and chemist, Friedrich Hoffmann.

Büchner’s book is on “An easy and very practicable method to enable deaf persons to hear: together with a brief account of, and some reflections and observations upon, the several attempts formerly made for the benefit of such persons.”

He says,

I shall relate the several means devised, in order to amend this sense, when impaired, or retrieve it, when intirely lost ; or by help of the other senses, and a tolerable degree of understanding in the patient, to render its loss, in some measure, more tolerable : and lastly, I shall select, among the several methods proposed, that, which to me appears, to be the easiest and most simple.  But, previous to this, I shall briefly explain the reasons of the principal defects of the sense of hrearing, both from their causes, and from the structure of the outer and inner ear ; and then more accurately determine the greater or less utility of the methods hitherto employed, in order to amend these defects. (p.iii-iv of English translation)

File:Andreas Elias Buchner.jpg

He discusses Amman’s oral method –

indeed, the accurate attention to, and careful imitation of, all the particular motions requisite to the articulation of sounds, constitute the whole of Amman’s method.  As in this, or in any other method of the same kind, the organs of hearing contribute nothing to the effect, it may indeed, be employed in all the defects and imperfections of the auditory organs, by which either deafness or a difficulty of hearing is produced.  This method, is however, subject to several considerable imperfections, which render it greatly inferior to the following methods, by which the auditory nerve itself is made at the same time to be affected. (p.20)

He discusses Sebastian Truchel’s ‘acoustic drum’ that he had demonstrated to the Royal Academy of Science in Paris in 1718 -“A person hard of hearing in both ears, may, by means of a semicircle of brass or silver, which goes round the hinder part of the head, under the hair or peruke, fasten two such drums to his ears” (p. 24-5).  He talks of other methods of ‘hearing’ vibration – “Conrad Victor Scheider, so celebrated for his description of the mucose glands of the nose, in his book, De ossibus temporum, published at Wittemburg in 1653, in 8vo, p. 43, relates the same thing of some peasants, who sticking their staves in the earth, held one end in their teeth” (p. 28).  Further on he says, “the deaf person may hear very well, on holding, by the lower rim, a beer-glass, to the upper teeth” (p.42).

His method of getting someone to ‘hear’ seems to have involved feeling vibrarions via some material – essentially using bone conduction.  The German original is much longer than the English version, so there may well be much more to it.

Andreas Büchner had a correspondence with Linnaeus.  In 1760, just after the book here was published, he wrote saying that he had not answered Linnaeus earlier as at the beginning of August, Austrian troops had invaded Halle and the surrounding country.  The summary of the letter tells us that they

“extorted a heavy tax, more than 300,000 imperial thalers, from the inhabitants, even the professors, before they left at the end of October.  About then, the painter and engraver Gottfried August Gründler had been taken ill and lain in bed for several weeks so that Büchner could not get the delineation of a Cancer [presumably a crab] that he wanted to send to Linnaeus.”

Büchner asked him for a specimen of particular butterfly that featured in the 10th edition of Systemma Naturae.  Buchner 1

On this page he discusses the history of deaf education, covering Peter Pontius, Paul Bonnet, John Wallis,  and so on.

I found very little on Andreas Elias Büchner on a brief search.  Perhaps he is a forgotten figure in the history of science, or perhaps he is only marginal.    If you have had an opportunity to read the original book in full, please make a comment.

Curiously there is a modern Andreas Büchner who works on hearing – an onomastic nominative determinism? http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/lary.23214/abstract

[Picture of Büchner from Wikimedia Commons]

Wikipedia entry

An easy and very practicable method to enable deaf persons to hear: together with a brief account of, and some reflections and observations upon, the several attempts formerly made for the benefit of such persons.  London, MDCCLXX. [1770]. Available from Eighteenth Century Texts, online.

Abhandlung von einer besonderen und leichten Art, Taube hörend zu machen : Nebst noch einigen andern vormals besonders bekannt gemachten Medicinischen Abhandlungen.  Published in Halle in two parts, 1759 & 1760

Zelle, Carsten, Experiment, Observation, Self-observation.  Empiricism and the ‘Reasonable Physicians’ of the Early Enlightenment. Zelle / Early Science and Medicine 18 (2013) 453-470.

“Deaf and Dumb Land cannot hear its own voice, but it can speak”

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 2 October 2015

Deaf and Dumb Land 1Deaf and Dumb Land is the catchy title of a short booklet by the author and journalist Joseph Hatton (1841-1907)*, formerly editor of The Sunday Times.   It describes Hatton’s visit to the Margate School, then under Richard Elliott and using the ‘oral’ method of education.  Published in 1896, the book is rather typically Victorian in its mawkish journalese –

A World of Silence. No sound, not a whisper.  Cut off from music, from the murmurings of the brook, the sighing of the sea, the song of birds, the swelling anthem, the loving tones of a mother’s voice, the pomp of martial strains, the “rustling of proud bannerfolds,” the “peal of stirring drums.”

Born into a world of stillness, and yet to learn that you are surrounded by the “harmonius discord” of busy multitudes, by the chiming of “sad church bells,” the clash of festal peals, the patter of summer rain, the roaring of the wind; the voice of God Himself, as even the savage hears it in the tempest and in the thunder.

To be born speechless too! (Hatton, 1896 p.1)

I will spare you more but I think you will get the idea of his ‘florid’ prose.
Deaf and dumb land speakingThere seems to be a definite ‘oralist’ agenda in the book.  Was his visit at the urging of an oralist, or out of his own interest?  I think it possible that a researcher might be able to uncover Hatton’s motives.  He says that “Into this universal stillness of Deaf-and-Dumb-Land has shone the light of a great hope […] Deaf-and-Dumb-Land cannot hear its own voice, but it can speak, and with no uncertain voice.” (p.6 and p.7)  All thanks to the teaching methods we see illustrated here, from the booklet.  Young girls who are probably about seven, the age of admission (p.15), are seen here with Richard Elliott, long time teacher and then head teacher at the school, and a convert to oralism.Deaf and dumb land dictation  “Five years of careful work has demonstrated the fact that a considerable percentage of the dumb can be made to speak. […] Hitherto he could only talk by signs.” (p.12)

This picture shows children ‘lip-reading for dictation’, and in true Victorian style, the teacher has a luxuriant moustache, which cannot have helped.  “There must be no slovenliness in his articulation.” (p.25)  The dictation was a poem, part of which goes as follows –

“Little drops of rain;

Where do you come from,

You little drops of rain?

Pitter, patter, pitter, patter,

On the window pane.”

(p.26)

The next picture by the author’s wife shows a ‘lesson in articulation’.  He says “The first efforts are directed to the teaching of articulation, the utterance of sounds, some of which have no meaning, and are only useful later on in the pronunciation words which have.” (p.18) “In the second class the words represented actions.” (p.19)  Hatton tells us that for teaching they used an illustrated volume produced by the Asylum “thirty years ago” (p.19-20).Deeaf and dumb land articulation 001

At the time of his visit, the school had still got a branch in Ramsgate, “shortly to be vacated” (p.17), in addition to the main part in Margate.  Of additional interest, Hatton mentions that the “offices of the Asylum for the support and education of Indigent Deaf and Dumb Children are at 93, Cannon Street, opposite the station of the South Eastern Railway Company.”(p.42)   Astute readers will recall that this has featured before in the blogg.

Deaf and dumb land bedHatton, Joseph, DeafandDumb Land, etc. [An account of the Ramsgate and Margate branches of the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in the Old Kent Road.]
Joseph Hatton, 1841-1907, London : Asylum for the Deaf & Dumb, 1896

Andrew Sanders, ‘Hatton, Joseph Paul Christopher (1841–1907)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/33758 accessed 2 Oct 2015]

*I follow the DNB dates rather than Wikipedia’s date of his birth as 1837.