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“A small token of affection for kindness” – A Deaf Family from Devon & the gift of a book

Hugh Dominic WStiles27 October 2017

Scanned from a Xerox Multifunction PrinterRosina Fanny Oliver Hinckley was the daughter of a pesioned navy sailor, George Hinckley of Liverpool, and his Cornish wife, Jane.  At some point after the 1871 census when she was three and her brother George was 2, it must have been discovered that they were both deaf.  They were both educated at the Exeter Institution, as we can see from the census for 1881.  after school, George became a tailor and Rosina a milliner.

John Lethbridge was born in Tavistock, Devon in 1871, son of George Lethbridge, a painter and paper hanger in 1881, and his wife Margaret (née Stevens).  He is not described as deaf in the census returns until the 1891 census when he was twenty. He became a boot finisher.

Rosina married John Lethbridge in 1893.  Presumably they were acquainted through the local Deaf community in Plymouth, although there was no formal deaf mission there until 1897.  They had nine children, two of them dying in childhood.  At least four of the surviving children were deaf, Percy and Willie, and Olive and Elsie.  What set me onto this family, was the dedication in a book which we have.  The book, by ‘C. J. L.’ (Caroline J. Ladd) is Deaf, Dumb and Blind – True stories of child life (1902).  As you see here, the inscription reads,

WoodfordTo George Woodford

With Christian love

A small token of

affection for kindness

to Percy and Willie Lethbridge

While school mates at

Margate

Isaiah 23-V-VI*

The book is rather twee for modern taste.  Chapter five, ‘What could Susie do for Jesus?’ tells us about a Deaf girl who,

‘was a first class girl, now “quite an old scholar,” as she often told those who understood her silent language.’ (p.40) […]

Susie was much interested in being told about the poor children of India by a teacher who was leaving B. to take charge of a mission school in that far-off land.  She seemed much troubled on hearing that great mumbers of Hindoo children did not know anything about the true God, but prayed to idols, saying, on her fingers, “Oh do tell about the Lord Jesus Christ, and I will pray to Him for you and for all the girls who attend your school.”  And on being told it was very likely, as the number of deaf mutes in India is very large, asked if she might send her favourite doll to some Indian girl afflicted in the same way as herself, and was quite delightedwhen told it should be packed with some books, toys, and other things friends were sending for the mission school, and given with Susie’s love to a deaf and dumb child. (ibid, p.45-6)

Note the language  the writer uses, deafness and blindness as ‘affliction.’  I think this may be a true story, or based on one, and that Susie was probably at school in Birmingham.  It might be possible to investigate further to see if we could identify that teacher.  I have not been able to narrow down Caroline Ladd, so please comment if you have come across her somewhere.

SusieIt was relatively easy to find the Lethbridge brothers in the 1911 census, then discover that they were from what we might call a culturally Deaf family.  In their recent book, People of the Eye (OUP, 2011), Harlan Lane, Richard Pillard and Ulf Hedberg describe the American ASL Deaf community as a type of ethnicity, where the primary language is signs, as distinguished from the deaf who are not .  We can, perhaps, extend that idea to B.S.L. users in the U.K.  It would be interesting to know if that were the case for the extended Lethbridge family.

In 1901, the Lethbridge family had a lodger, James John Weeble, who was also Deaf, and, as a ‘boot riveter’ was presumably a friend and colleague of John Lethbridge.

Rosina died in Plymouth in 1960, aged 92.  Her husband John ahad died in 1912 – so she was a widow for 48 years, with a large family.  Percy died in 1962, but I am not sure when Willie died.  If you use the www.ancestry.co.uk you will see relatives and descendants have produced a detailed Lethbridge and Hinckley family tree, with photos.

The person I have not mentioned is George Woodford, to whom the book was given.  He was the father of Doreen Woodford (a person whose name will be familiar to anyone in the British Deaf community) and was some years older than the Lethbridge boys, being born in 1893, so would have been fourteen at the time of the gift.

*Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

‘C. J. L.’ (Caroline J. Ladd) Deaf, Dumb and Blind – True stories of child life (1902)

Woodford, Doreen E., Who’s interpreting on Sunday morning? (2010)

1871 Census – Hinckley – Class: RG10; Piece: 2139; Folio: 115; Page: 59; GSU roll: 832034

1871 Census – Lethbridge – Class: RG10; Piece: 2147; Folio: 60; Page: 52; GSU roll: 832037

1881 Census – Lethbridge – Class: RG11; Piece: 2197; Folio: 16; Page: 25; GSU roll: 1341529

1881 Census – Hinckley – Class: RG11; Piece: 2152; Folio: 123; Page: 43; GSU roll: 1341519

1891 Census – Hinckley – Class: RG12; Piece: 1741; Folio: 46; Page: 48; GSU roll: 6096851

1891 Census – Lethbridge – Class: RG12; Piece: 1725; Folio: 24; Page: 42; GSU roll: 6096835

1901 Census – Lethbridge – Class: RG13; Piece: 2110; Folio: 36; Page: 64

1911 Census – Margate School – Class: RG14; Piece: 4501

1911 Census – John and Rosina Lethbridge – Class: RG14; Piece: 13020; Schedule Number: 127

 

“Deafness, like gutta serena, is sometimes produced by inordinate seminal discharges” Antoine Saissy 1756-1822

Hugh Dominic WStiles22 September 2017

Saissy FrenchBorn on the 2nd of February 1756, in Mougins, near Grasse in Provence, Jean Antoine Saissy had originally intended to become a planter, but coming across some medical books, he determined on a medical career, travelling to Paris to study (Montain, p.8ff).  He was then twenty two years old, with only a village education, combined with his own book-learning (ibid.p.9).  From 1777 to 1782 he studied under various famous professors, including Chopart and Pelletan.  He went on to serve as a physician and surgeon major with the Compagnie royale d’Afrique on the Barbary coast.  He attended to a child of the ‘Dey of Constantinople’ (possibly an error for Bey of Constantin?), who wanted him to stay.  Saissy however, returned to France, and in 1789 (the English version says 1798 which seems to be an error) defended his thesis on inoculation for small pox before the ‘Chirugical College of Lyons,’ and became a Doctor of Medicine with the University of Valence.  He married the daughter of M. Thenance, a doctor who had invented some obstetric forceps, and devoted himself to that area of medicine for a time.  In 1810 he wrote an essay on Croup, one of the first to do so.

He seems to have been a polymath, in 1811 presenting at the Institut de France a ‘memoir’ on the extraction of light by the condensation of gas.  Quite what that means I am not sure.  He also worked on a study of hibernation, with dormice and marmots (ibid p.12 -13).

It was not until the last twelve years of his life that he devoted himself to diseases of the ear.  Weir and Mudry tell us that Saissy was “the first person to propose introducing a piece of catgut into an artificial perforation of the tympanic membrane to avoid its closure.”

In his introduction to deafness, he repeats this curious form of treatment;

A Bavarian bath-keeper, mentioned by Sckinkius,* devised a singular method of curing deafness.  He plunged the patient into a warm bath, to produce turgescence in the little veins which run behind the ear.  When these were sufficiently apparent he opened them with the point of a lancet and drew a considerable quantity of blood, to the great relief of the patients on whom he practised the evacuation.  This remedy may have some success in cases of sanguineous plethora of the organ of hearing. (p.24-5)

As his 4th of 15 listed causes of deafness, Saissy says

Deafness, like gutta serena, is sometimes produced by inordinate seminal discharges.  Sylvaticus cites a remarkable instance of deafness supervening upon excessive indulgence in venereal pleasures. (p.21)

In other words, it makes you deaf as well as blind!  I suppose that he is not thinking of veneral disease, which can have those effects.

Saissy died on the 5th of March, 1822.  He seems to have been rather forgotten but is deserving of better treatment than I have space or time to give him here.

head section LaissyAbove, the only illustration in his book, a section of the head showing it is a vertical section.

As an addendum, it is interesting to note the protection of copyright notice given by the U.S.A. in the front of the English translation from Maryland.

US copyright*Schenkius, a Swiss doctor (1530-98)

Saissy, J.A., Essai sur les maladies de l’oreille interne.  Paris, (1827) [first published in a briefer essay in 1819]

Saissy, Antoine, An Essay on the Diseases of the Internal Ear.  Baltimore, (translated, 1829)

Montain, Biographic Notice, in An Essay on the Diseases of the Internal Ear, p.9-15. 

Mudry, Albert.  The tympanostomy tube: An ingenious invention of the mid 19th century.  International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology Volume 77, Issue 2, February 2013, p. 153-157

Weir, Neil, & Mudry, Albert.  Otorhinolaryngology, An Illustrated History, 2013.

 

“Their fingers’ ends with nimble skill, The want of vocal converse fill” William Henry Simpson, Deaf Poet (1817-65)

Hugh Dominic WStiles25 August 2017

SimpWilliam Henry Simpson was born on Liquor Pond Street, Holborn, on the 11th of November, 1817.  His father Isaac was a hosier, his mother’s name was Cordelia Walker.*  Liquor Pond Street is now a part of Clerkenwell Road, only about ten minutes walk from our library.  We do not know lots of details about William’s life, but we can put together something from various records, such as the Old Kent Road school register* and census returns.  Simpson is significant in British Deaf history as the author of a beautifully produced book of poetry.  He was well educated and eloquent, getting very good academic marks at school, but in the words of Edward M. Gallaudet (1884), “Some of Simpson’s verses are little more than “machine poetry,” while others show skill in rhythmical writing as well as feeling.”

From Simpson’s introduction to the blue gold-leaf embossed volume, Day-Dreams of the Deaf; with an Introductory Preface on the Condition of the Deaf and Dumb (1858), dedicated by the way to Lord Ebury, we can fill out a few more details of his life.  He lost his hearing as a boy – “more than thirty years a stranger to the human voice” which suggests he was about ten when he became deaf (1858, p.vi).  Before that he was an avid reader of poetry.  He had a brother, who lost a son at a young age, and William wrote a poem about him, On the Death of an Infant Nephew – 

“whose infant frolics oft the hours beguil’d

with merry laughter, and with antics wild”… (p.126)

He had two sisters, Eliza and Louisa –

“Five fleeting years have pass’d away,

Since first I sang thy natal day” – To my Sister Louisa, on her Twelfth Birthday, p.131;

“Wishing all happiness, and length of days,

As up the rugged hill of life you climb”… Sonnets to my Sister Eliza, on a similar occasion, p.134.

It is probably unfair to quote short lines out of context, but Gallaudet’s criticism seems reasonable.   Gallaudet says this song, Old Time is a Good Old Man, is one of of “his most pleasing efforts” – see images below.

Old time 2Old time 2Another poem by Simpson, Recollections of Hearing, (p.55-6), has a line worth quoting –

And though I miss their cheerful voice

Striving their thoughts to tell;

Yet I can still with them rejoice

And speak to them as well;

Their fingers’ ends with nimble skill,

The want of vocal converse fill.

We also found a letter by Simpson to the Church of England Magazine (1843, Vol. 43 p. 32), and as you see he was then living at the Asylum, where he had a position as a teacher.  The school records tell us that he died aged 48 in 1865, and “had for some years been in delicate health.”*

*Many thanks, as ever, to Norma McGilp @DeafHeritageUK for extra information about Simpson.

Simpson, William Henry, Day-Dreams of the Deaf; with an Introductory Preface on the Condition of the Deaf and Dumb (1858), London & Manchester

Gallaudet, E.M., The poetry of the deaf, American Annals of the Deaf, 1884, Vol.29, (3) p.200-223

A Manual Alphabet for the Deaf and Dumb, circa 1870s

Hugh Dominic WStiles14 July 2017

alph coverYou may wonder what happened to the archive material from Margate School when it closed.  I cannot give a full answer as I do not know exactly what Margate had in the way of records, but broadly as far as I am aware the school and pupil records went to the Kent County Archives in Maidstone, while I believe that a full set of annual reports, and perhaps some other material, went to the British Deaf History Archive in Warrington.  I suppose that they are both in the process of organising and cataloguing that material.  What we took was only a few boxes of books that we are sorting through to fill any gaps in our collection.  Most of these we already had, and unless you are an expert in the area of the history of education these are mainly rather dull and dry books!

a to fThere are a couple of gems however.  This beautifully produced booklet, A Manual Alphabet for the Deaf and Dumb, […] sold at the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, Old Kent Road… came to us from the Margate School.  I am a little surprised that we have not got it, though it is possible we have a copy – it is all a question of how it is described in the catalogue, so it could already be lurking in the collection. In the past the librarians used brown card and stapled many smaller loose items, of what we call ‘grey literature,’ into these covers.  Grey literature can cover a multitude of things – but it would usually mean something that was not a book or a journal, or a report.  It could be a reprint of an article, a booklet, a single page, and so on. I suppose they were doing what they thought was right, protecting the items and making them available for general use. We would not do this now – rather, we would put these leaflets or booklets in a box.

As you will know if you have ever found an old magazine that has been in slightly damp conditions, old staples can often rust and break leaving a nasty stain on the paper.  This particular booklet is stitched rather than stapled.  The staple was an ancient device but it was not until the late 19th century that staples for paper were invented, so if you are trying to date something and it is stapled, it probably dates from after 1880.

Cataloguers would not I hope be offended if I were to say they have a particular ‘attention to detail’ – to put it bluntly, they are pernickety.  Therefore, while cataloguers will often differ in detail when they categorize a book, overall I trust them.   That is why we often use the combined catalogue COPAC which covers major British and Irish universities and academic institution collections.  It is a useful tool to see where a rare item is held, and how it has been classified.  This is how Cambridge (top) and Dublin Trinity College (below) have described it:

A manual alphabet for the deaf and dumb.  London ; Paris ; Madrid : Baillière, Tindall, & Cox [1872?]

A manual alphabet for the deaf and dumb.  London, Paris and Madrid : Baillière, Tindall & Cox [ca. 1880]

As you see, they disagree about the date, and though it might be possible to narrow that with some diligent research. Some Baillière archives are at Reading University.  g to rNote the way ‘Q’ is signed.

s to z

“Done out of French.” An Essay upon the Action of an Orator; as to his Pronunciation & Gesture, Michel le Faucheur.

Hugh Dominic WStiles19 May 2017

Le FaucheurIn his epic collecting frenzy, our great benefactor, Selwyn Oxley, collected an eclectic mixture of books old and (then) new.  They could be on any aspect of deafness or hearing loss, but included what we might consider related topics such as voice and gesture.  That is why we have a copy of An Essay upon the Action of an Orator; as to his Pronunciation and Gesture.  Useful both for Divines and Lawyers, and necessary for all young Gentlemen, that study how to speak well in Publick. Done out of French.  There is neither a date, nor is the author named, but it seems he was a Swiss Frenchman, Michel Le Faucheur, and that the English edition was produced in approximately 1680-1702, depending on who you believe.  It seems to have been very influential in Britain according to Gaillet (1994), and in addition to the Essay which was written towards the end of his life, he produced what Farnum (1964) called a ‘mighty tome on the Eucharist’ and what were then, famous sermons. LF

Born in Geneva around 1585, Le Faucheur was of French extraction, his Huguenot family having it seems fled from La Rochelle.  One of his teachers was Theodore Beza.  Aged eighteen he became a pastor in Dijon, later in Montpellier.  From 1626 until his death, he was pastor at Charenton.  In 1632* Cardinal Richelieu wanted to get him on his side and tried a bribe, but when Le Faucheur refused he was denied permission to preach.  In her Phd thesis, Emily Farnum says Richelieu “is Le Faucheur’s fatal antagonist” (p. 262).

Le Faucheur died in 1657, having never married.  He seems to be a very interesting person, worthy of reconsideration, especially for those interested in the French Wars of Religion.

Below is a page from the book that deals with gesture. Le Faucheur 2

Gaillet, Lynée Lewis, Michel Le Faucheur (1585- 1657), p.70-74 in, Eighteenth-century British and American Rhetorics and Rhetoricians: Critical Studies and Sources. ed. Michael G. Moran, 1994. 

MICHEL LE FAUCHEUR AND HIS INFLUENCE (IN THREE VOLUMES) FARNUM, EMILY. The University of Wisconsin – Madison, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 1964. 6413872

Second Edition of ‘An Essay…’

Onsberg, Merete, [Review of] Paul Goring’s The Rhetoric of Sensibility in Eighteenth-Century Culture, Rhetorical Review 4:2 (June 2006)

http://dvarim.fr/LeFaucheur/Le%20Faucheur_bio.html

*See a discussion in Farnum of this episode.

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

Hugh Dominic WStiles17 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 stupefying explainers” – French Oralist Jean-Jacques Valade-Gabel

Hugh Dominic WStiles3 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.  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?  Since I initially wrote this post I have come across some biographical information on father and son Valade-Gabel.*  “Jusqu’en 1850, le nouveau directeur s’appliqua par des leçons constantes à former un personnel capable, dévoué, lorsque brusquement, le 25 juillet 1850, Valade-Gabel fut relevé des ses fonctions et replacé professeur à Paris.” – “Up until 1850, the new director applied himself by constant lectures to forming a capable staff, when suddenly, on July 25th, 1850, Valade-Gabel was relieved of his functions and returned to the position of professor in Paris.” (see Bélanger, 1900).  It did not affect his later career it seems.

Jean-Jacques was born at Sarlat in the Dordogne on the 23rd of September, 1801.  He entered the Institution Nationale de Paris on the 8th of September, 1825, as an aspiring professor, which position he attained in 1829.  At that time Bébian was deputy Principal.  He was a disciple of Pestalozzi (who has been mentioned before on a post).

Picture LessonsJJ Valade GabelHe 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’intermédiaire 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 stupefying 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

*Bélanger, Ad., Nos Gravures – J.J. Valade-Gabel, André Valade-Gabel, Revue Générale de L’Enseignement de Sourds-Muets, Vol.2, (5), Novembre 1900 & two plates facing p. 122 & p. 128

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

“The Constitution of the Deaf and Dumb” – William B. Smith, & James Hawkins – a Reader & an Author

Hugh Dominic WStiles3 February 2017

Three headmasters 1907William Barnes Smith (1840-1927) was a younger brother of the Rev. Samuel Smith, first vicar of St. Saviour’s, and missioner to the Deaf of London.  He was born in Leicestershire, and spent 54 years teaching up to his retirement in 1908.  His older brother was the Rev. Samuel Smith, of St. Saviour’s London.  William trained under Charles Baker of Doncaster, then worked under Andrew Patterson at Manchester before spending 12 years with Dr. Buxton at Liverpool.  In 1873 he was appointed headmaster of the Bristol Institution (see obituary).  He also acted as Secretary to the Bristol Mission for the Deaf after retirement.  His son Alfred G. Smith trained at the Fitzroy Square Training College, then became headmaster of the Osborne Street  School for the Deaf, Hull (Teacher of the Deaf, 1915, vol. 13, p. 27).

On the 20th of June, 1864, William B. Smith bought a copy of The physical, Moral, and Intellectual Constitution of the Deaf and Dumb: with some practical and general remarks concerning their education.  I know this as he wrote that in ink on the title page, pencilling ‘Liverpool’ underneath.  Later, he wrote his name and address inside the front cover – 5 Rokeby Avenue, Bristol .  He later gave the book to Selwyn Oxley.  This book, which had been published in London in 1863, was written by James Hawkins (1830- after 1891).  Hawkins was born in Wolvercut, Wolvercott, or Wolvercote, Oxfordshire, in about 1830.  I do not know how he came to become a teacher of the deaf (perhaps a thorough search of various surviving records might illuminate that), but by the 1851 census he was an assistant teacher at the Old Kent Road Asylum, along with George Banton, (b.ca. 1812), Edward J Chidley (b. 1819), Edward Buxton (b.ca. 1826), William Stainer (b. 1828), Charles Toy (b.ca. 1832), Alfred Large (b.ca.1835), and Emma Rayment (b.ca.  1829).

The present crude state of all physiological, as well as pathological science, necessarily renders very conjectural any remarks upon the origo mali, or the phenomena of disease.  The fall of Adam is one of the most favourite of the theories which are nursed by Divines and others, in an excess of Hutchinsonian zeal; and to this ‘excellent foppery of the world,’ as Shakespeare has it, they like to attribute every bodily affliction and mental evil that can happen to mankind.  Argumentative reasoning, however (of this kind especially), shows ‘an indiscreet zeal about things wherein religion is not concerned,’ as weak as it is undoubtedly fallacious, and affords them but a poor ‘coigne of vantage;’ for the majority of our inborn  and acquired calamities are ofttimes none other than the ‘surfeit of our own behaviour,’ the spontaneous results of injury done to the functions of the body, by throwing its natural and complex organization out of gear, and not, as many would make us believe, always direct constitutional imprints of the Creator’s anger on his creatures. (Hawkins, 1863, Preface, p.iii-iv).

Hawkins must have had a good education.  In his preface alone he mentions Paley and Malthus, as well as quoting Ovid and, perhaps ingenuously, “no cormorant for fame,” Peter Pindar.  The names of more classical authors are dropped in when opportunity allows.  He cites Niebuhr, who

called the office of the schoolmaster one of the most honourable occupations of life.  He could well have added, and one in which a thorough manliness of character is also most essential; for there is not one where all the manly virtues are more called into exercise.  Moral courage, unsullied reputation and integrity, sound religious principles, firmness of purpose and gentleness of demeanour ought ever to be his most distinguishing traits, if he aspire to any degree of eminence in his profession. (ibid, p.98)

It is all the more poignant then, that for some reason, by 1871, when he was living in Greenwich with Charles Henry James, Harbour Master at the Port of London, he was ‘unemployed’, and ‘formerly Assistant Teacher to the Deaf & D. Institute’.  I wonder what caused him to be dismissed.  Did his book upset people?  It would seem unlikely that a book published eight years earlier might cause his dismissal.  Is it possible he was tutoring Ellen James, who was deaf, though by then aged 25?  In the 1881 census he was a ‘wholesale stationer’ visiting the James family.  It looks as if something or someone destroyed his life as a teacher.  If you discover more about James Hawkins, who does not seem to have married, and who I cannot find after the 1891 census when he was a visitor in St. Pancras, please comment.

Here is a page from the text.  Click to enlarge.Hawkins 2

Smith

Obituary, Mr. W.B. Smith, The Teacher of the Deaf, 1927, vol. 25 p.35

Hawkins 

Hawkins, James, The physical, Moral, and Intellectual Constitution of the Deaf and Dumb: with some practical and general remarks concerning their education. 1863, Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, & Green, London

1871 Census – Class: RG10; Piece: 758; Folio: 34; Page: 31; GSU roll: 824727

1881 Census – Class: RG11; Piece: 1509; Folio: 41; Page: 5; GSU roll: 1341364

1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 139; Folio: 71; Page: 1; GSU roll: 6095249

*”This is the excellent foppery of the world that when we are sick in fortune—often the surfeit of our own behavior—we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars, as if we were villains by necessity, fools by heavenly compulsion, knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical predominance, drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforced obedience of planetary influence, and all that we are evil in by a divine thrusting-on.” Edmund in King Lear.

John Wallis – the Sermons, and his Letter to Robert Boyle “Teaching a person Dumb and Deaf to speak”

Hugh Dominic WStiles1 August 2016

The Sermons (1791 edition) are not what I would call my literature of choice, but John Wallis was notable for us in his attempts to educate a deaf boy, Alexander Popham.  It was the cause of a huge row in the early Royal Society, as William Holder said that he had taught Popham, and this was not acknowledged by Wallis.Scanned from a Xerox Multifunction Device

A memoir of Wallis, with additional notes by the Rev. C.E. de Coetlogon, says:

About the year 1653 he published his Tractatus de Loquela Grammatici-Physicus, since reprinted many times; wherein he gives a particular account of the physical or mechanical formation of sounds used in speech, or expressed by the letters of several languages: a design which is not known to have been (before him) undertaken by any person; in pursuance of which, he hath undertaken, with success, to teach some dumb persons to speak.  To which is added, a letter of the Doctor’s to Mr. Thomas Beverly, concerning his method of instruction, which he says he had taught Mr. Alexander Popham, born deaf, to speak distinctly, and to express his mind tolerably well by writing, and to understand what was written to him by others, as he had also done to Mr. Daniel Whaley. (p.lvii)

SheridaneOur copy came from the library of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the celebrated playwright. Quite why he was interested in Wallis I cannot say – perhaps he bought his books in bulk, perhaps Sheridan was just interested in the ideas and use of language. Selwyn Oxley also bought a collection of Wallis’s essays on ‘The Doctrine of the Blessed Trinity, ex libris one John Bedford, and Number 61 of the Philosophical Transactions from 1670, which contains the letter of Wallis to Robert Boyle “concerning the said doctors Essay of Teaching a person Dumb and Deaf to speak, and to understand a Language” etc.’  Wallis does tell us that Popham may have been able to speak previously, having lost his hearing ‘by accident’ aged about five, ‘but doth scarce remember it’ (p.1093).   I attach the complete short essay here – A Letter of Doctor John Wallis to Robert Boyle Esq.

This is the first page below, sadly covered with Oxley’s spidery hand!

Wallis 2An audio file of a Royal Society talk by David Cram on Wallis and his dispute with Holder is to be found here.  Unfortunately there is still no video for some reason – see comments below – https://royalsociety.org/science-events-and-lectures/2012/wallis-holder-dispute/

Also, if you read the comments you will note that David Cram and Jaap Maat are writing a book on the notebook of Popham.

 

 

 

Julius Casserius Placentinus 1552 -1616

Hugh Dominic WStiles23 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