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The application of Mao Tse-Tung thought to the treatment of Deaf Mutes

Alex P Stagg8 September 2017

We have among our collections a curious assortment of grey literature that we conservatively name the C collection, a collection of miscellaneous material. A few examples taken at random:

C439: Elizabeth Wootton & Cris Lewis, ‘A work preparation course for deaf young people’, in Careers Bulletin (Spring 1981)
C4406: Hugo Zuccarelli, ‘Ears hear by making sounds’, in New Scientist (10 November 1983)
C588: Anon, ‘The mutes regain their speech’, in China Reconstructs (February 1972)

This last is perhaps among the most curious items we possess. It details an episode from the Chinese Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in which a barely educated medical orderly – Chao Pu-yu – applied Mao Tsetung Thought to the treatment of deaf-mutes with, it seems, great success. (Deaf-mute is used throughout the article, and is used here without any desire to offend but to replicate the language used at the time.) On the surface it is a tale of the universal applicability of Mao’s thought, together with acupuncture, but beneath the surface can be discerned currents outside the realm of medicine as we read briefly of Chao’s objection to the counter-revolutionary line for medical and health work promoted by Liu Shao-chi. Liu Shao-chi, better known now as Liu Shaoqi, was until the late 1960s a very prominent member of the Chinese Communist Party.

Inspired by the criticism of Liu he heard, Chao learnt acupuncture, practicing on himself. His early successes included treating an old worker, Wang Kuei, who suffered from arthritis; and before long Chao was ready to treat more serious conditions. In 1967 Chao and comrades formed a Mao Tsetung Thought team, to spread the Great Helmsman’s ideas. But this was not an autonomous team: in March 1968 the ‘medical propaganda team’ was ordered to a school for deaf-mutes in the city of Liaoyuan. As soon as they arrived, a young girl – Wang Ya-chin – drew Chao’s attention to a picture of Mao. She wanted to say ‘Long live Chairman Mao’ but was only able to manage a strained ‘Ah…’. The entire episode is reminiscent of the worst excesses of a Stalinist personality cult, where the project seems less focussed on returning hearing and speech to deaf-mutes and rather more about giving a new voice to the choir of praise for Mao.

Inspired by Mao’s teachings – for example ‘The people with real personal knowledge are those engaged in practice the world over’ – Chao and his comrades determined that there were no incurable cases, simply cases refused treatment. As befits political revolutionaries, Chao and his team went beyond the boundaries of earlier acupuncture, thrusting the needles deeper than 5 fen, a measure in acupuncture treatment, the point acupuncturists felt would endanger the patient’s life. Previous generations, the article notes, had been limited by the level of scientific development of their time. It was with this as their guiding principle that they achieved the dramatic results of restoring speech and hearing to deaf-mutes. Chao declared: “We proletarian revolutionaries want to relieve our class brothers of their suffering. We must go forward. We must not be stopped by the belief that 5 fen is the ultimate limit’.

Chao tried the new, deeper, insertions on himself. He refused to feel fear, reminding himself his experiments were in the service of the people and he was carrying out Chairman Mao’s line for medical and health work. Pushing the needles deeper and deeper Chao gained the results he had been looking for and shared the news with his comrades. China Reconstructs reports that the application of the new treatment to Wang Ya-chin returned speech to her: after fifteen years of silence she could once again speak.

Although the article states that in the three years after Chao’s breakthrough deaf-mutes across China received treatment, it does not go into specifics about numbers or supply further information.

Sadly the trail goes cold. A 1972 pamphlet, Exploring the Secrets of Treating Deaf-Mutes, is available online at: https://archive.org/details/ExploringTheSecretsOfTreatingDeaf-mutes, and there’s a 1977 article, Andrew Sutton’s ‘Acupuncture and deaf-mutism’ (Educational Studies 3:1 (1977)) which examines the claims made. Chao Pu-yu’s fate is a mystery: but if any readers know what happened to him, please let us know.

Ed Lyon

“Far away in heathen lands” -Rosetta Sherwood Hall & Pyong Yang Deaf School (1909)

H Dominic W Stiles7 July 2017

Rosetta Sherwood Hall was born Rosetta Sherwood in New York state in 1865.  She married a Canadian Doctor, Rev. William James Hall, M. D. and travelled with him to Korea in 1894.  He died not long after, of Typoid fever.  Not dissuaded from missionary work, she returned with her children in 1897.  At first she worked with a blind girl, Pongnai, but later in 1909 began teaching deaf children together with blind children.

The quotation below, from her article in Silent Worker, was reprinted from The Christian Herald.  The tone of the article reflects the zeal of the missionary age – as the title of one book has it, “How you gonna get to Heaven if you can’t talk with Jesus.”  The Deaf (and blind) are neglected in the fight to gain souls, and they need language in order to understand the ‘word of god’.

Far away in heathen lands, one of the trials of the Christian missionary is to realize his limitations in meeting and relieving not only the spiritual mental and moral dearth, but the physical defects and distress that press and depress upon every side.
The condition of the blind and of deaf-mutes of Korea is truly pitiable; the latter are considered imbeciles, while the former are never taught anything useful, but become fortune-tellers or vile sorcerers if their parents are well enough to do to have them thus trained; otherwise they are often neglected […]
There are several thousand deaf-mutes in Korea for whom the mysteries of life are fought with the animal instincts only; they have souls but do not know it; they live in a perpetual silence which the voice of no regular evangelist can ever penetrate. (Hall, Silent Worker, 1910)

She left Korea in 1933, and died in 1951.

The photos here are photographs of photographs, very small in the originals, no doubt used by Selwyn Oxley in a lantern slide show on Deafness.  I scanned at the best resolution I could – as usual, click on the image for a larger size.  We see Mrs Hall as the lady with glasses in the top image, and as the only woman on the other image.  Quite who the men are I do not know – Japanese military?  If you know please comment.

Hall, Rosetta Sherwood, The Deaf and Blind in Korea, Silent Worker, 1910  vol 23 no. 10 p.186 and 202

http://www.retina.co.kr/ver2/index.php?board=retina02_01&menu=2&btype=2&menu_sub=2_1&prc=view&num=292

Alfred Binet, French psychologist, versus Giulio Ferrerí, Italian oralist, 1910

H Dominic W Stiles24 February 2017

Giulio Ferreri (1860 or 1862-1942)* was an oralist teacher of the deaf who was Rector of the Royal National Institution, Milan, for many years.  He travelled fairly widely it seems, visiting America, where he studied the educational methods, writing a monograph in 1903 that was translated for the Volta Bureau in 1908 as The American Institutions for the Education of the Deaf.  According to the scribbled note in the front of that book, he met Selwyn Oxley on two occasions, in Milan in 1924**, and at the Teacher Conference in London in 1925.

Not long after the appearance of Ferreri’s American publication, the French psychologist Alfred Binet and his colleague Théodore Simon, who together created the first IQ test, wrote an article in l’Année psychologique reprinted and translated later in The American Annals of the Deaf, ‘An Investigation Concerning the Value of the Oral Method.’  They found that congenitally deaf people who were considered to be oral successes, were unable to communicate effectively orally:

when one is a bit of a psychologist, one feels curious to know how an art so delicate as that of speech can be taught to unfortunate beings who are totally deaf.  Is it possible that speech, with its delicate shades of intonation which we acquire through the ear, can be learned by individuals who have never heard?  Is it possible?  Perhaps it will be thought that no one has the right to declare anything impossible; but this is one of those things which require a very strong proof to be accepted. (p.35)
[…]
we refrain from concluding that the oral method is a total failure. We do not like such positive assertions; the truth has more delicate shades of distinction. If the oral method really presented no sort of advantage whatever, it would not have held its ground in our schools for thirty years. But we believe that its practical value has been overestimated. It seems to us to be a sort of pedagogy de luxe, which produces moral effects rather than useful and tangible results. It does not enable deaf-mutes to get situations; it does not permit them to enter into relations with strangers; it does not allow them even a consecutive conversation with their relatives; and deaf-mutes who have not learned to speak earn their living just as easily as those who have acquired this semblance of speech. That is the observation which we made again and again, and with a persistency which seemed to us very eloquent. (p.44)

Ferreri was not impressed, responding with what Moores (1997) points out as a very personal attack:

Alfred Binet and his fellow helper, Dr. Simon, have made an investigation as to the value of the oral method, and have published a report of it in their well-known review, l’Année psychologique.  In the minds of the authors the results of their investigations must have appeared very important, but to educators of the deaf, as well as to every conscientious scientist, it is a very poor affair.  But in that case, it may be asked, is it worthwhile to take this study into serious consideration?  It is; because one must apply to the crime of Alfred Binet and Co. the theory of Licurgus, who taught that one should judge a misdeed not in itself but in its consequences. And. in view of the wide circulation and the merits of l’Année psychologique, the mistakes made by the Paris psychologists in judging of the oral method may be disastrous in their consequences upon the opinions of learned men. (p.46)
[…]
In regard to the capacity of criticism, which Mr. Binet denies to the educators of the deaf, we can only reply: Inform yourself of what has been written and discussed concerning the methods of teaching and the means of their application during the past thirty years, and you will make a discovery, viz., that the teachers of the deaf understand very well the deficiencies of their work, and that their knowledge and their desires have always found an obstacle in that economic question which, if it is explicable in politicians and public authorities, is shameful in scientists and takes away all value from their investigations. And this is exactly what has happened to the investigations of Binet and Co. (p.48)

From disparate sources, including The American Annals of the Deaf, I have pieced together something of Ferreri’s life.  He became an ‘instructor’ to the deaf in 1879.  Depending on when he was born then – and one Italian page says 1862 rather than 1860 – he would have been between 16 and 19.  In 1886 he was appointed Vice Director of the Royal Pendola Institute in Siena, and in 1892 he became editor of L’Educazione dei Sordomuti.  The American Annals of the Deaf calls him “one of the most voluminous as well as one of the ablest writers on the education of the deaf in Italy” (1901).  They add a note, in the brief notice of of the Catalogo Cronologico degli Scritti del Prof. Giulio Ferreri sull’ Educazione dei Sordomuti, (Siena, 1901), that as his future address is “Corso Castelfidardo 9, Turin, we infer that he is no longer connected with the Siena Institution, but we hope he is not permanently removed from the profession.”  It seems then that visited England and America in 1901/2, presumably on leave from Siena, for in January 1902 he was at 1760 Q Street, Washington, when his article ‘Another word about the battle of methods’ appeared in The American Annals of the Deaf, (Vol. 47, p.30-44) before moving on to spend time in Palermo and Rome.  In 1908 he was appointed to head the newly united teaching college and school in Milan.

Despite his ardent oralism, it seems there were dissenting voices in Italy.  The 1904 World’s Congress of the Deaf in St. Louis, Missouri, had two short letters from Italian teachers read out, by G. Gioda of the Turin Society of Deaf Mutes and  Francesco Guerra of Naples.  The former said “For the exclusive use of the oral method, preferred by some teachers, the deaf have no use, but by the manual method an individual may receive a complete education” (Proceedings of the World’s Congress of the Deaf, 1904, p.131), while the latter said,

If you, dear comrades, have at heart the sorrowful lot in which thousands and thousands of unhappy deaf people live, especially the deaf of this fair Italy, whose lot is most hard, sad and miserable, vote an order of the day in favor of the combined system and in condemnation of the oralist imposters and charlatans who have wronged and exploited us long enough.  […] I pray that the International Congress of the Deaf at St. Louis may signalize , if not our complete victory, at least an important step in our progress, the prelude and beginning of our approaching emancipation.  In the glorious and beneficent name of De l’Epee I greet you fraternally, crying: Down with the imposters; down with the oralist charlatans; down with the exploiters!  Long live De l’Epee; long live the honored Gallaudet, long live the Combined system! (ibid. p.130)

Unfortunately for them, it seems that the state stuck with Ferreri and his pure oralism. In 1907 he was at the International Congress on the Education of the Deaf in Edinburgh, where he presented this paper The Present State of the Education of the Deaf in Italy (Proceedings of the International Congress on the Education of the Deaf in Edinburgh, 1907, p.41-6).   In 1925 he attended the Sixth International Conference on the Education of the Deaf, held in Margate, presenting a paper on ‘National Control of the Education of the Deaf and Dumb’ (International Conference on the Education of the Deaf, 1925, p.65-69).  Later in the conference, he said

I am the oldest teacher, and I do not think that I should have come here.  In my opinion the old teachers must be tired.  They have nothing more to say, nothing more to teach, and it is necessary to have a young teacher.  In the hands of the young teacher lies the future. (ibid, p.210)

I think that Ferreri seems to be forgotten as an international figure, unless someone can add some additional sources of information.  The quotation from Guerra above is very interesting, and his choice of words, ‘deaf emancipation,’ seems to foreshadow the deaf liberation movement of the 1960s to 1980s.  Someone might like to research this area further.
Ferreri

The above signed photograph is inserted into the front of Oxley’s copy of the book.

He was made an honorary doctor by Gallaudet College at the same time as Selwyn Oxley.

The American Annals of the Deaf, 1901, Vol. 46, p.544

Translated by the author from l’Educazione dei Sordormuti for October 1909. Ferreri, G. 1910. Mistaken investigations concerning the value of the oral method. American Annals of the Deaf, 55(1), 34-38 [Reprinted in American Annals of the Deaf, Volume 142, Number 3, July 1997, pp. 46-48]

Alfred Binet, Théodore Simon American Annals of the Deaf, Volume 142, Number 3, July 1997, pp. 35-45

Moores, Donald F., American Annals of the Deaf, Volume 142, Number 3, July 1997, pp. xvi-xx

*https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=5dgzAQAAIAAJ&q=%22giulio+ferreri%22&dq=%22giulio+ferreri%22&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y

**The writing might suggest 1914 but this seems wrong

I have not at present any information on Ferreri’s personal life – if I have we will update this.  He is I think the same as this Professor Giulio Ferreri who married an American lady, Ellen Charlotte Alexander, in London in 1901, but I understand that Ferreri is a common name in Italy, being the name for a ‘farrier’ – smith, so it is possible that is another Ferreri also from Milan.  My Italian colleague has searched for him in vain on the web.

EDITED with additional information on 27th & 28th Feb 2017

Deaf Polish Jewish Artist, Maurycy Minkowski (1881-1930)

H Dominic W Stiles24 June 2016

Maurycy Minkowski (1881-1930), sometime known as Maurice Minkowski or Minkovski, was a Polish Jewish artist, born in Warsaw. He seems to be an early 20th century artist who has been largely forgotten.

When one of his works, “After the Pogrom” appeared in a 2002 exhibition in The Jewish Museum (New York), it was bracketed with several other paintings by the critic as putting “a specifically Jewish spin on the worst excesses of 19th-century sentimentality” (Prose, 2002).  That seems a little harsh, but Richard Cohen says he was one of the Jewish artists who “remained deeply anchored to the cataclysmic events of the day”, namely the terrible pogroms that broke out in Eastern Europe and European Russia at the turn of the century (Jewish Icons, 1998).  If you search for his paintings on line you will get a flavour of the types of image – women, children, old men, the victims of dislocation and hatred.

It is hard to find solid details about his life, at least in English. His family were it seems middle class, and according to Cohen were “acculturated” (1998, p.245).  He had an accident when he was 3, falling off a table (see comment by Ruth below) which entailed hospitalisation and left him deaf. Aged 12 he was talented enough to be asked to paint a portrait of the Governor of Warsaw (Jewish Chronicle obituary).  From 1900 to 1904 he trained at the Cracow Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied under Jozef Mehoffer, Jan Stanisławski, and Leon Wyczółkowski (ibid and his Polish Wikipedia entry). Cohen tells us that they awarded him with a gold medal at his graduation (ibid p.245). He is called ‘deaf and dumb’ which suggests that he had no spoken language, but as I have found no proper interviews and only one contemporary account of him, it is impossible to say whether he signed in Polish sign language or had to use lip-reading or other forms of communication. His Polish Wikipedia entry says that he attended the Institute for the Deaf, as well as having private tuition in drawing, but it cites no sources for that. He had a brother, Feliks, and at some point married Rachel Marshak (Baker, p.108). His obituary in the Jewish Chronicle, despite calling him ‘well-known’, runs to a mere 16 lines.

The pivotal period of his life that influenced his art seems to have been the events of the Polish Revolution in 1905.  There were attacks on Jews, and a pogrom at Bialystock where Cohen says (p.245) the “plight of the children left the artist shaken”.

He travelled around western Europe in the following years, and the Polish Wikipedia article says he settled in Paris in 1908, though he continued to travel. Another source says that it was in 1924 that he moved permanently to Paris, where he exhibited (Stevens, 1925).  Interviewed by Kelly Stevens, it seems that, as he knew no French they communicated with gesture and “signs”.  He left Paris for Argentina in August 1930, taking 200 of his works with him. One work, that seems to me to be very fine, a portrait of Mosheh Oved, is in the Ben Uri collection in London. When crossing a street near his house in Buenos Aires on Saturday the 22nd of November 1930, Minkowski was struck by a taxi that he failed to hear because of his deafness, and died almost instantly (Baker p.109). His funeral was attended by thousands of people. About ten years after his death, some of his art was sold to cover the debts of his heirs. Much was bought by a Jewish cultural association in Buenos Aires, the IWO (Baker, p.117). The collection narrowly escaped total destruction when there was a terrorist attack on the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) building in 1994, that killed 84 people. You can read more about that in Zachary Baker’s article.

The short obituary cited above, quotes the Jewish Chronicle’s art critic from an earlier exhibition review:

In the work of Maurice Minkowski…. We see a splendid example of the East European Type of Jewish genius…. We find the penetrating grasp of character and the absorbed interest in human emotion which is to be expected in a Polish Jew: it is the high intensity with which these are developed which is remarkable.

Cohen says,

The reception of Minkowski’s work in the pre-World War I period remains enigmatic. Hardly any Jewish newspaper that popularized Jewish artists singled him out, and he is referred to only fleetingly until the appearance of the Hungarian Jewish journal Múlt és Jövő in 1911. This journal gave his work extensive coverage, publishing many of his paintings. After World War I, Minkowski staged several large exhibitions in the west, which were introduced by the French cultural figure, Anatole de Monzie (Cohen p.250-1).

The photograph of the artist, from our collection made by Selwyn Oxley, is the only image of him that I have seen, and is what set me off trying to find out a little about him.  It comes from The Silent Worker article.  His seems a fascinating story, and probably requires the research skills of an art lover who can read Polish, Hebrew, French, and Spanish.  Please add any interesting information you can contribute in the comment space below.

UPDATE 1/7/2016: I put the wrong birth date in the heading and first paragraph from an early version – it was 1881 NOT 1888 as one or two sources suggested. I have also expanded a few bits and added a couple of links and a quote from Cohen.

UPDATE 15/5/2019: I added the age at which he lost his hearing – thanks to Ruth for her comment, & this reference http://www.jpress.nli.org.il/Olive/APA/NLI_heb/SharedView.Article.aspx?href=DHY%2F1931%2F01%2F23&id=Ar00202&sk=6DF6C216

Baker, Zachary M.  Art Patronage and Philistinism in Argentina: Maurycy Minkowski in Buenos Aires, 1930. Shofar Vol. 19, No. 3, Special Issue: The Jewish Diaspora of Latin America (SPRING 2001), pp. 107-119

Cohen, Richard I., Jewish Icons: Art and Society in Modern Europe. University of California Press, 1998. p.245-51

Prose, Francine, The Gallery: Nostalgia and Daring in Jewish Art Wall Street Journal, Eastern edition, 2002

The Jewish Chronicle, November 28th 1930 p. 14

The Jewish Chronicle, December 5th 1930 p. 5

Stevens, Kelly, Minkowski, Polish Painter. The Silent Worker, Vol.38 (1), p.6-8

MUSEO MAURICE MINKOWSKI Calle Pasteur 633 , Buenos Aires , 1028 , Argentina

De’Via and Deaf Jewish Art

https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19622/lot/27/

A Deaf Cuban Revolutionary in London – Captain Juan Fernandez

H Dominic W Stiles17 June 2016

Unlike most of the South American countries, Cuba was one of the last to break away from Spain, and not without a bitter struggle.  One of the heroes of the struggle was Captain Juan Fernandez.  Juan Fernandez (born circa 1868) was U.S. born  to Cuban parents, and had been educated at both the University of California and at a college in Barcelona (Ephphatha).   For three years he served under General Antonio Maceo Grajales, second-in-command in the Cuban Army of Independence, as aide-de-campe.  It was in the course of this stuggle that he was deafened by an explosion near Bahia Hondo, when a mine that was being laid to disrupt the movement of Spanish troops on the railway there, exploded early, killing several insurgents.  It forced him to leave the army.

In 1896 he travelled to Europe to represent the army of liberation.  While in London, Fernandez spoke to meetings of deaf people on several occasions (Ephphatha).

In 1899, when Fernandez was in Paris,

while he was smoking in front of the Hotel Terminus, he was approached by three Germans, who knew his name and all about him, and began to rave about the selfishness of the United States Government in its relation to Cuba.  In the course of their talk one of them showed Fernandez a photograph of a German officer, whom Fernandez recognized as the man speaking to him.  The German went on to say that through Fernandez he could get the Cubans 250,000 francs at once and plenty more when required, with all the arms and ammunition necessary for a prolonged rebellion against the United States Government, if Fernandez would work in Germany’s interest.  At this Fernandez replied: “Gentlemen, I am a Cuban by blood, but I am a citizen of the United States, and will see you and Germany in — before I would raise a finger against the land of my birth.  I shall make this public, if it costs me my head.  Good day.”

Exit three Germans in great haste and confusion.

In addition to talking about the revolution, Fernandez also pronounced on other subjects regarding Cuba, for example the beauty of the Cuban ladies.  He was careful to distance the revolutionaries, who he described as being a mixture of all Cubans as well as being supported by Europeans, from anarchists, who were widely active at that time.  He condemned the assassination of the Spanish Prime Minister Cánovas del Castillo whose repressive policies helped foster political instability in Spain.

I was about to say that have not been able to find out much more about Juan Fernandez, then discovered an article in The Illustrated Police News, that says he married in St. Mary’s Islington one Maud Ashton, a deaf lady. That would have been in July 1898.  In actual fact, the records show he married Julia Ayshford (June Quarter 1898) –

AYSHFORD  Julia Georgiana    Islington  1b 535
Fernandez  Juan    Islington  1b 535

The article also says that the ceremony was conducted by the Rev. Dr. Kibley, Chaplain of the Deaf and Dumb Asylum.  The marriage certificate, were you to obtain a copy, would show that the newspaper made another mistake and that the ceremony was conducted by our old friend, the Rev. Gilby, chaplain to the Royal Association in aid of the Deaf and Dumb.   The extraordinary thing is, when I started writing this I had no idea that there was a deeper connection.  I just discovered this, in Ephphatha, for July 1898. p.115 –

London notesJulia Ayshford, previously Julia Franklin, was deaf from an accident aged 15 (see 1911 census).  She married the St. Saviour’s church stalwart and friend of Gilby’s, H.G.G. Ayshford, who died in 1893.  They had a daughter, also called Julia, who Juan adopted.  In 1901 they were living in Eastbourne.  Julia Fernandez died in Edmonton in 1933, aged 73.

In 1898 he held a commission in the U.S. Army – but perhaps that was related to the Spanish-U.S.A. War.  If that is the case, I would expect that there are U.S. Army records that would be worth checking.  From the record of his marriage online, I see that his father was a Presbytarian minister, also called Juan Fernandez, and that he was a widower.  If his father trained formally as a minister there may well be a record of that at some college.

Any Spanish speaking readers out there who would care to find out more about him and fill in some more details, please leave a comment below.  It would make an interesting addition to the history of Deaf people.  If you can tell us when or where he died that would also be of interest – he was certainly dead by the 1911 census when Julia was a widow working as a servant.
Juan FernandezTHE STRUGGLE IN CUBA . Glasgow Herald (Glasgow, Scotland), Friday, December 11, 1896; Issue 297. British Library Newspapers, Part I: 1800-1900

Daily News (London, England), Friday, December 11, 1896; Issue 15821. British Library Newspapers, Part I: 1800-1900

The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent (Sheffield, England), Friday, December 18, 1896; pg. 4; Issue 13178. British Library Newspapers, Part II: 1800-1900

The Morning Post (London, England), Saturday, August 14, 1897; pg. 5; Issue 39060. British Library Newspapers, Part II: 1800-1900

The Illustrated Police News etc (London, England), Saturday, July 2, 1898; Issue 1794. British Library Newspapers, Part I: 1800-1900

Ephphatha Vol 3 1898 p.37, p.62, and p.115

1911 Census Class: RG14; Piece: 2294

1901 Census Class: RG13; Piece: 880; Folio: 107; Page: 8

NB One of the witnesses at their wedding was Frank Hodgkins.

 

Project Riandu in Kenya – Secondary Education for Deaf Children

H Dominic W Stiles7 March 2016

Riandu 1In Kenya, the Mbeere Mother’s Union saw a need for secondary education among deaf teenagers.  They raised funds and then through the Peter Cowley Africa Trust they got volunteer from the U.K. to help with the project via Peter Macnaughton.  The aim is to get 200 students access to secondary education over three years.  2016 is the third year of the Project Riandu.

Riandu 2

Last summer we had regular visits from one of the volunteers who was researching the background and needs of Deaf children, Peter’s sister Ali.  She sent me some pictures of the project – many thanks to her for sharing.

Good luck to all involved!

It is great that this project is locally led and motivated.

A Project Riandu documentary is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHMP6rokREk

If you would like to help them out, you can contribute on their web page – the also need volunteers!

www.project riandu.com/donate

riandu 3

“Truly, he was a good man” – The Rev. Charles Orpen, Founder of the Claremont Institution

H Dominic W Stiles30 October 2015

Orpen 001Born in Cork in 1791, Charles Edward Herbert Orpen founded the first Institution for the Deaf in Ireland.  According to his biographer, Emma Lucretia le Fanu, mother of Sheridan Le Fanu, he was supposed to become a doctor, proceeded to do an apprenticeship and then discovered his teacher was not a licentiate of the Dublin College of Surgeons, so he had to embark on a new apprenticeship.  When Charles finally qualified, he toured in England, visiting ‘hospitals, prisons, manufactories &c.’ (Orpen 1836, p.ix).  According to his book ‘Anecdotes’, one of the people he visited was Dr. De Lys in Birmingham, who gave him a report on the newly established Birmingham institution.Orpen Anecdotes

While resident in Edinburgh and London, I had never even heard of the existence of such Asylums in these capitals; and in such ignorance then was I as to the wretched state of the Deaf-mute when uneducated, and the importance and interesting nature of their instruction, that I took so little interest about them, as not even to visit the school in Birmingham at that time.  On looking into the Report, however, I found that it originated from a few lectures on the subject, and the exhibition of a little girl, whom Dr. De Lys and his friend Alexander Blair, Esq. had partially educated for that purpose.  I knew that no such school had ever existed in Ireland; and it occurred to me, that perhaps I might at some future time be able to apply the same means to the same end, for the good of my own country. (ibid, p.ix-x)

Dedication OrpenWe have a copy of Orpen’s concisely titled book, The Contrast between Atheism, Paganism and Christianity, Illustrated; or, the Uneducated Deaf and Dumb, as Heathens, Compared with those who have been Instructed in Language and Revelation, and Taught by the Holy Spirit, as Christians (1828).  It is dedicated by Orpen to Edmond Nugent, Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1827-8.  It appeared in a second edition, as Anecdotes and Annals of the Deaf and Dumb (1836). In it, Orpen tells us how he took a neglected orphaned child called Thomas Collins from a Dublin institution where Orpen had served his apprenticeship under Surgeon Todd, the House of Industry.  Fumbling his way along, being ignorant of teaching, he eventually got the child to acquire some vocabulary and ability to pronounce words and letters (Quarterly Review of Deaf Mute Education, p.365, Anecdotes p.x).  Collins became an appentice printer and printed Orpen’s Anecdotes (p.xi).  The idea of taking an ‘exibition pupil’ like this to demonstrate to the public what might be achieved in the education of a deaf child, was not unique of course.

Inevitably for the period, Orpen was religiously motivated, and the passages he writes in the Anecdotes  demonstrate this.  He is at pains to say that Thomas Collins “knows himself as a sinner, and the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Saviour” (p.xi).

There never was but one missionary to the Deaf and Dumb; that missionary was a Jew ; that Jew was Jesus. Shall we be innocent, if we do not teach them to read his history? (p.384)

Orpen was also supportive of the use of sign lanuage, and in the Anecdotes, where each chapter is supported by extended quotes from various sources, for example p.474-6 qoutes Mr. Lewis Weld of the Pennsylvanian Institute, “it is is capable of expressing the nicest shades of thought, and of application to all the concerns of life.”

As well as supporting the education of Deaf people in sign language, he supported the use of Irish Gaelic, and the Anti-Slavery Society.  In 1823 he married Alicia Sirr, and had a large family (Le Fanu, Chapter 11).  In 1826 when Thomas Collins had a pocket watch, the gift of the Doctor’s brother, stolen, at the trial orpen interpreted for the court (p.106-7).  This shows us that he must have been an able signer.  In 1833 Orpen left Dublin, hoping to open a school in Birkenhead, but it fell through (Le Fanu p.124, p.128-9).  “Schemes at variance with long-established systems and confirmed habits seldom meet with success till after a great length of time has elapsed” (ibid).

When two of his sons went to sea, and were so taken with the beauties of the Cape that they decided to stay there, Orpen determined to follow them, arriving in 1848 (ibid p.137).  Orpen, who was ordained in South Africa, opposed slavery and the exclusion of black people from the Dutch churches (p.210-2).  Le Fanu says of slavery, “Those who have had opportunities of seeing it best know how it brutalizes those who are bent on perpetuating it for their own sordid objects” (ibid p.217).  Orpen died on the 20th of April, 1856 (ibid p.237).  Le Fanu ends her biography, “Truly, he was a good man” (ibid p.243).

Wikipedia entry on Orpen

Charles Edward Herbert Orpen, Anecdotes and Annals of the Deaf and Dumb, 1836 [library historical books]

Claremont 1A Magazine Intended chiefly for the Deaf and Dumb, Vol.3, No. 30, p.86-7

Quarterly Review of Deaf-Mute Education, 1888, 1, 364-374.

British Deaf-Mute and Deaf Chronicle, 1895, 4, 145-146. (illus)

Educating the deaf of Ireland. III. The work at Claremont. British Deaf Times, 1904, 1(10), 217-19. (photos)

POLLARD, R. The Avenue: the history of the Claremont Institution (1816-1978). The author, 2001. (illus)

UPDATE: 3/11/2015

Rachel Pollard produced another more extensive book on the Claremont Institution, under the same title in 2006 –
The Avenue: A History of the Claremont Institution, Denzille Press ISBN-10: 0955323908

Abdulla Iddleby/Ydlibi and the Cairo Deaf School

H Dominic W Stiles10 July 2015

Born in Manchester in 1871, Abdullah J. Iddleby was the son of an Irish mother and a Syrian father.  Because his surname was sometimes transliterated in different ways, it is not easy to track him in online records, and I have not with certainty worked out his parents’ names, but it is possible that they were an Ali Ydlibi and Rebecca Hinchey his wife, as they married in Salford registration district in 1870, the year before Abdulla[h] was born.  It is possible that Abdullah’s is the death recorded as Ali A. J. B. Ydlibi in Stockport in 1952, aged 81.  If his father was Ali Ydlibi (Ydilbi) senior, he was a British subject, born in Syria which was then a part of the Turkish Empire, and I imagine may have been involved in the Lancashire cloth trade in some way.

When he was two his parents went to Egypt, and later on he was educated at a or the British Syrian School in Beirut, where he learnt Arabic (Bayrout as the article in British Deaf-Mute (1895 has it).  It was while he was there that he lost his hearing, although he did retain some.  Later on the article, which is by one ‘Agnes’, it says that he was taught by Alexander Melville, “for the past two years” as a private pupil.  He must have been a student/teacher as he is described as having taught at Llandaff.  Our records of Llandaff are not complete and a quick look did not show his name, perhaps as it was for a period when we have no annual reports.  The peculiar thing is that Melville died in 1891, so someone is confused here.

IddlebyAbdullah, who would seem to have been from a Christian family, kept up a correspondence with missionaries in Egypt, who had said there were many Deaf people who were not being educated.  Arthur Upson from a previous blog entry, is not mentioned, but must have known Abdullah later on.School Cairo

The Nile Mission Press for 1906, Blessed be Egypt, says this –

The Class for Deaf and Dumb Boys, which we opened about two years ago, under Mr. Abdullah Iddleby, has been remarkably successful in the matter of general instruction, and the progress of the boys has been extraordinary. But the number of pupils has always been small ; the parents will not send their boys, as they do not believe until they see for themselves that such instruction is possible, and so we recently came to an arrangement with a leading Copt at Zagazig, Paris Effendi Yusef, who will provide a house, etc., and give the opportunity of trying it as a Boys School. Any friends who know of deaf and dumb boys will do well to communicate with Mr. Iddleby, c/o Paris Effendi Yusef, Zagazig.

I suspect that he taught with the combined method, which was used at Llandaff.

He worked with the Church Missionary Society, who proveded a room in in Sharia Muhamed Ali for a year and a half, with Iddleby having five pupils.  The work was supported by Lord Cromer, but when he left Egypt it ended.  He started up again with support of the Pasha (Idris Ragheb) and Egyptian authorities, in the same street, later having 13 pupils.  “His Excellency Idris Pasha is indeed a shelter in a weary land, as far as the deaf and dumb are concerned” says “Pharos” in The British Deaf Times (1909).  Clearly there was an underlying proselytizing element to these early schools, but perhaps the children were from coptic families.

There were other earlier attempts to start education for Deaf children in Egypt.  Miles (2005, see link below) says,

Volta Bureau records (1896; 1900, 1901) noted that “Schools are also reported to exist in Algiers and Syonfieh, Egypt”, and listed three teachers and 37 pupils at Algiers in 1900, 2 teachers and 6 pupils in Egypt in 1901. A Cairo source had a school for “Blind and Dumb” [= Deaf] opening in 1874 and reporting annual data for some years (Heyworth-Dunne, 1968, p. 390).

A footnote adds the following  –

Knowledge of this 19th century work now seems absent from the deaf education world in Egypt, where it is believed that the first school for the deaf was started in 1936. However, a news item “In Cairo” (1909) noted “the establishment of a school for the deaf in Cairo, where it has for three years had a prosperous existence.” A Volta Review article tells of Mme. Sémély Tsotsou founding “L’Ecole L’Espoir” (The Hope School) for 30 deaf children at Alexandria in 1934 (“A School for the Deaf in Egypt”, 1941), with photograph and details of one deaf pupil, nine-year-old Andrée, who had made good progress in speaking French. Another item in 1947 noted that Egypt had then a school for about twenty children at Cairo, a government school “being launched at Alexandria”, and a private school run by “a Greek lady, Madame Semely Tsotsou”, who was also responsible for training 15 Egyptian teachers (“The Deaf in Egypt”, 1947). One small deaf girl, Athanassia Boubouly, is pictured there with her teacher. Lababidi & El-Arabi (2002, pp. 9, 38-43, 101-103, 146-48, 176) collate useful evidence for current activities by and for deaf Egyptians, including interviews with two deaf mothers (the artist and actress Hanan Marzouk, and the Sign specialist Hanan Mohsen), some Deaf organisations, and a Deaf Theatre director. Early information on the school at Algiers has also not been readily available. A brief note in 1927 reported the installation of M. Ayrole in place of the retiring principal M. Rolland (Lamarque, 1927).

Cairo deaf schoolHow long Iddleby stayed in Egypt, I have no idea.  If anyone comes comes across him in any records, please update us below.

Abdulla[h] married Edith E Keay in Stockport in 1915, and she died in 1943.

http://dspace.wrlc.org/view/ImgViewer?url=http://dspace.wrlc.org/doc/manifest/2041/32130

http://dspace.wrlc.org/view/ImgViewer?url=http://dspace.wrlc.org/doc/manifest/2041/35372

Both those articles are based on British Deaf Mute and British Deaf Times articles.

Marriages Dec 1915  Keay Edith E and Iddleby Abdulla J S, Stockport 8a 82

Deaths Jun 1943, IDDLEBY Edith E 71 Hyde 8a 118 (for both see the Free BMD)

Deaf People Living and Communicating in African Histories, c. 960s – 1960s

http://www.deaf-atlas.org/index.php/en/egypt

The Deaf of Egypt, British Deaf Mute, 1895, p.39, vol 5 no.50

Pharos, The Deaf and Dumb of Egypt, The British Deaf Times, 1909, Vol. 6 no.65, p.97-99

Roe, WR., The deaf and dumb in Egypt, in Peeps into the Deaf World, 1917, p.204-6

 

 

Harancour Palace; or the Orphan Protected

H Dominic W Stiles7 November 2014

Harancour Palace; or the Orphan Protected is based on a play by the French writer Jean-Nicolas Bouilly (1763-1842), Deaf and dumb : or, The orphan protected. : an historical drama, in five acts.  The story involves the Abbé de l’Epée who rescues the orphaned son of a French aristocrat, the Count de Sola, who has been rejected by his guardian, D’Arlemont.  Everything ends happily as in all good melodramas,  with the hero restored to his inheritance.

harancourThis book was published in 1802 as a prose version of the play, presumably cashing in on the success of the English version of the play, put on at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 1801. Our copy has some of the pages misnumbered, for which no doubt some poor apprentice got a good beating, and that may explain why the binding is not hard but is parchment. Even more intriguingly, the inside of this parchment has an old legal document written on it, see below.  This was not uncommon, as the bookbinders were careful not to waste valuable material.  It seems to be a will, and you will note that no spaces are left between words so nothing can be added afterwards.  I defer to those of you who are familiar with old hand writing to try to date it or read it – perhaps 18th century?

Will 1will 2
In 2011 Gallaudet produced a satirical play based on the Bouilly piece.  Bouilly has another link with deafness – he was the author of the libretto that formed the basis of Beethoven’s opera Fidelio.

Note: I had missed an obvious typo in the title and put Harancour Place instead of Palace!  Apologies for my sloppiness…

I have now added the complete document –  note that the printer confused the pagination quite a bit. PDFsam_Harancour

A 1933 Letter from the League of Nations: Ludwik Rajchman, Medical Director

H Dominic W Stiles17 October 2014

In a half-filled folio sized scrap book of Selwyn Oxley’s, various letters and odd documents were gathered by him or his wife Kate, from when he first became involved as a ‘missioner to the deaf’ in 1914, through to the 1930s.  Together with a small number of short letters from Dr. Eicholz (who we hope to cover in a future item), there is this letter which appears below.  The League of Nations was conducting an enquiry into Deafness, and Selwyn Oxley obviously wrote to say that he was willing to be of assistance, presumably with information and contacts.  The content of the letter is not particularly interesting, but the author is.

Ludwik Rajchman letter
Ludwik Rajchman (1881-1965) was from another of those remarkable families who produced a number of brilliant people, doctors, engineers and mathematicians.  He was born in Poland, son of the musician Aleksander Rajchman, and became a bacteriologist.  When aged only fourteen he was in trouble for distributing ‘subversive’ literature – educational brochures in Polish, which was suppressed by the Russian rulers (Duchene, 1999).  When he was caught at a banned socialist meeting in 1906, Rajchman was exiled.  After working in Paris at the Institut Pasteur, he became head of the Royal Institute of Public Health in London in 1911, though at the time he spoke no English.  The 1911 census shows him as Ludwig Witold Rajchman*, and he signs his name as such, born in Russian Poland, having been married to Mary Clotilde for six years, with two daughters, Irene Mary born in France in 1909, and Marte Alexandra, eleven months old, born in Austrian Poland.  His computer scientist son Jan Rajchman was born in London later in 1911, so the children came in quick succession.  In 1918 he returned to newly liberated Poland and helped set up the National Institute for Public Health, being so successful that he was asked to become head of the new League of Nations Medical Directorate in 1921 (Duchene, 1999).

The health section persuaded national administrators to co-ordinate statistics, standards, training, research, nutrition and infant care, all of them new fields, especially for international involvement. It made a much bigger impact than any other operational arm of the League and so was dogged by opposition of all kinds, from hostile nations, jealous institutes and conservative officials. (ibid)

After the Second  World War he was for political reasons rejected as a potential head for the WHO, but he went on to help found UNICEF.

Rajchman deserves to be better remembered as one of the great public health workers of the 20th century.

Duchene, Francois, Plotter for progress. Ludwik Rajchman, Medical Statesman by Balitiska, Marta A. (author)
The Times Literary Supplement (London, England), Friday, February 19, 1999; pg. 28; Issue 5002.  Category: Book Review [accessed 17/10/14]

*Living at 16 Hargreave Villas, Hartswood Road, Stamford Brook Road, London W., with an Austrian Polish servant Tekla Lacheta, Class: RG14; Piece: 200

There is a biography by a grand daughter of his –

Balinska, Marta Aleksandra, For the Good of Humanity: Ludwik Rajchman, Medical Statesman, New York : Central European University Press, 1998
[Held in UCL this in the SSEES Library P.XVIII.3 RAJ BAL]

This book looks potentially interesting –

Borowy, Iris, Coming to Terms with World Health: The League of Nations Health Organisation, Peter Lang GmbH,  2009