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Archive for the 'Old books' Category

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.


*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

Hugh Dominic WStiles29 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

“I gazed upon her beauteous form, As in death’s clasp it lay” – Poems on the Deaf and Dumb

Hugh Dominic WStiles22 April 2016

Poems 2Poems on the Deaf and Dumb was written, or rather compiled by William Robert Roe, and published in 1888.

Jennifer Esmail says that Roe’s book reprints American Deaf poetry without refering to the author’s nationalities, but not all of the poems are American.  Roe must have scoured all the sources he could find, in order to fill his pages.  The sources include poems by Eliza Cook, the Church of England Magazine, and the American Mrs Sigourney.  Usually I stand back from direct comment on works which appear in the blog, and perhaps I am being unfair, but I have no hesitation in calling much (not all) of this collection, mawkish and sentimental!   Judge for yourselves.  The whole book is in the link above, and a few selections are below.


Written at the death of Miss F., a Deaf Mute.

By Miss M.M.F.

I gazed upon her beauteous form,

As in death’s clasp it lay,

The smile still hovered on the lips

With which she passed away.


And n’er before had that sweet face

So lovely seemed to me;

The heavenly calm reflected there

Was beautiful to see.


Her wish at length was realised –

She’d seen the glorious face

Of Him who shed for her His blood,

Who saved her by his grace.


She’s watching for her dear ones now,

With others gone before;

And one who since has crossed the flood

And joined her on that shore.


Her unstopped ear shall catch the strain

That will our advent greet;

Her loosened tongue with ours shall join

In halleljahs sweet.


O, hasten, Lord, that meeting time,

We long to be with Thee;

To leave this world of grief and sin,

And all Thy glory see.(p.22)Mute courtship

pOEMS pARRYOne of our many copies was owned by Edwin Parry, 25 Primrose Terrace, Bower House, Blackburn, dated May 12nd [sic] 1888.  In 1911 there was an Eliza Parry, aged 54, widow, described as deaf from aged 6 (circa 1863), though the 1861 census says she was deaf ‘from birth’.  It seems her maiden name was Eliza Gladstone and that she married Edwin Parry in Blackburn in 1885.  Eliza was born in Hunslet, Yorkshire, daughter to James and Jannet(t) Gladstone, who had moved to England from Roxburgh.  We may question whether she had any formal education at all, other than at home, but it is possible.  The Leeds Deaf Institute only opened in 1876, when she was an adult.

In 1901 Eliza, already widowed, was working as a cotton winder, living with Margaret Walker, aged 67, and Jane Clara, aged 65, both deaf.   I wonder if they used signs at work, or ‘meemawing’, a combination of mouthing and mime employed in noisy Lancashire Mills, which Les Dawson famously used with his characters Cissie and Ada.  I have not been able to find Edwin on a quick look at the census records.  Perhaps he was not deaf, though I suspect he may have been.  It is also possible that, like his wife, he was not born in Lancashire.  Hunslet was a town that had mills which wove flax, and presumably Eliza moved to Lancashire seeking work some time in the 1880s.

I think our Eliza Parry died in 1915.  Do add anything you may discover in the comments below.

new ears

Esmail, Jennifer, Reading Victorian Deafness.  2013

The invalid’s hymn book [compiled by H. Kierman] with preface by H. White

1911 census Class: RG14; Piece: 25107

1901 census Class: RG13; Piece: 3915; Folio: 130; Page: 3

1891 census Class: RG12; Piece: 3416; Folio: 145; Page: 3; GSU roll: 6098526

1861 census Class: RG 9; Piece: 3357; Folio: 79; Page: 10; GSU roll: 543119



The Deaf Mute Howls – Albert Ballin

Hugh Dominic WStiles19 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)



Silent Era : Progressive Silent Film List


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.

“… we can easily mop the orifice …” – Macnaughton Jones and Tinnitus

Hugh Dominic WStiles12 February 2016

jones 1The Irish otologist, gynaecologist and ophthalmologist Henry Macnaughton Jones was the son of Thomas Jones, a doctor from Cork (see obituary for what follows).  He spent most of his early career locally, founding the Cork Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, which was later known as the Victoria Hospital.  Moving to London in 1883, he concentrated on obstetrics and gynaecology.  He married when he was only twenty-two, and in the 1911 census we can see that there were three surviving children.  His obituary tells us that “His Handbook on Diseases of the Ear and Naso-pharynx passed through six editions”.

jones 6 titleThe book we are interested in today,Subjective Noises in the Head and Ears: Their Etiology, Diagnosis and Treatment was published in 1891.  He dedicated the book to the pioneer ‘Father of Modern Scientific Otology’, Dr. Adam Politzer , who perused the text and “did not consider it necessary to add any notes to the work.”  (Weir and Mudry, p.104, Macnaughton Jones, p.iv).  Jonathan Hazell surveys this book, one of the few that cover tinnitus at that period.  Macnaughton Jones follows on from Jean Marie Gaspard Itard (1775-1838), famous for  his work with the ‘wild Boy of Aveyron’, as a pioneer of tinnitus research.

One method that Macnaughton Jones tried to treat tinnitus, was with a galvanic battery, though he was not convinced of its use.  “It is uncertain in its effects, frequently causing grave aggravation of the subjective noises […] The dosage of it is difficult to measure.  In the hands of those not accustomed to electrical manipulation it is a mosyt haphazard treatment in that form of nerve disturbance that requires technical skill in manipulation, and fineness of adjustment in appliance. (p.128-9)

Our copy is signed ‘with the author’s compliments’.  The book is illustrated throughout with pictures of instruments that are laible to induce a shudder in those of a nervous disposition, such as Turnbull’s Eustacian Forceps, Eustachian Tube Electrode, Knife for Paracentesis Tympani, Mr Adam’s Septum Punch, a Nasal Saw and ‘The Author’s Nasal Shears’!  In his chapter, Treatment – the Middle Ear, he discusses tympanic catheters –

If the surgeon is determine to try to inject the tympanum through the Eustachian tube, it is as well to use one of Weber-Liel’s tympanic catheters, with a Pravaz syringe.  With this appliance, if the Eustachian tube be papent, we can safely inject the tympanum with the desired solution (vide “Handbook,” Fig. 46).  With such forceps as that of Turnbull (Fig.50), we can easily mop the orifice of the Eustachian tube and the posterior nares with any solution we desire.  I must confess that I do not of late resort to the use of chloride of ammonia vapour as frequently as I used to.  Still, it is a remedy worth trying in those cases of tinnitus in which we have general naso-pharyngeal relaxation and accumulation of mucus in the naso-pharynx and the Eustachian tubes.  It matters little which inhaler we use, provided we get the neutral fumes for imnhalation.  Kerr’s inhaler was one of the first used, and it is a very simple one.  […] If we desire to pump some of this vapour or that of iodiner into the tympanum through the Eustachian tube, we can easily do so by means of my autoinsufflating bag.

Some years since I had cigarettes made containing iodoform and eucaluptus for smikong purposes.  I found that the iodoform was in great measure disguised by the eucalyptus, and more so, by vanillin or coumarin

I have had them made with a little crowsfoot leaf.  These can be smoked through the nose, and some of the vapour may be passed behind the naso-pharynx, or by Valsalva’s method, into the tympanum.*

*Messrs. Corbyn, Stacey and Co.

We also see illustrated below, massage techniques, and he says that while “I do not pretend to explain how it acts, but it has in some cases decidedly beneficial effect”.

Macnaughton Jones died in Hampstead, in 1918.

jones 5 koniontronjones 4 menthol inhalerjones 3 terapeutical

HENRY MACNAUGHTON-JONES, M.D., M.Ch., M.A.O., F.R.C.S.I. and Edin, Br Med J 1918;1:521 B doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.1.2992.521-a (Published 04 May 1918)

Hazell, Jonathan, Tinnitus, (1987)

Weir, Neil, and Mudry, Albert, Otorhinolaryngology : an illustrated history (2nd ed., 2013)

Census 1911 Class: RG14; Piece: 601

“the process of their education is naturally tedious” – An Illustrated Vocabulary for the use of the Deaf and Dumb, 1857

Hugh Dominic WStiles5 February 2016

examplesAn Illustrated Vocabulary for the use of the Deaf and Dumb (1857), was written by Thomas James Watson, head of the Old Kent Road Asylum (and great nephew of Thomas Braidwood), and produced by the SPCK.  That same year, Richard Elliott, who was later to became the headmaster, started to work as Watson’s assistant in the school.  The engravings were “by Mr J.W. Whymper, from drawings by John and Frederick Gilbert, H. Weir, and others”.  Watson says in his introduction that it was intended to cover words most common in usage, in Natural History, and in ‘Holy Scripture’.  “Words which could not be thus illustrated are left for the teacher to explain by signs – the pantomimic language which must be adopted in the earlier stages of mute instruction.” (p.iii) He continues,

To those who are unacquainted with the peculiarity of the uneducated Deaf and Dumb, it may be right to state, that the Deaf can acquire a knowledge of language through the combined faculties of hearing and sight. This is a much slower process than learning a language through the combined faculties of hearing and sight. It should be borne in mind, that the Deaf can have no conception of the nature or use of words; whereas persons who hear commence to perceive the application of words long before they can use them or know their meaning. The Deaf must have the meaning of the word given to them at the time they learn it, or they will not be able to apply it: so that, in fact, they learn what they acquire of a language more completely than ordinary children. But, in consequence of their natural defect, the process of their education is naturally tedious, and a much longer time is required to enable them to use words as the expressions of their thoughts, and as the means of communication with their fellow-beings. (ibid, p. iii-iv)

The end of the book has a section devoted to trades, many now rare or dead, like a needlemaker, a gun manufacturer, and a coach-body maker.  These were trades a boywho was deaf might hope to get an apprenticeship in.  PsIf not they might end up in the ‘p’s on page 219 – as a pauper.

Interestingly, while we have three copies, none of them look to have been well-thumbed.  I wonder if, when Watson retired, the book quickly dropped out of use.Qs

I love the Quagga here – Equus quagga quagga – now known to be a subspecies of the plains zebra, which was extinct within a generation.  Rs


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

Hugh Dominic WStiles2 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.”


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.

George Hartnoll Hogg, human calculator

Hugh Dominic WStiles21 August 2015

George Hartnoll Hogg was a pupil of the celebrated teacher of the deaf, Henry Brothers Bingham.  Born in Bideford, Devon, on the 13th of February 1819, George was the son of John Hogg, a chemist and druggist (British Deaf Monthly).calculations  His father had been offered a living by the Rector, but his mother, a non-conformist, made him turn it down.  George was sent to Exeter to be educated by Bingham when he was eight, staying there for seven years, then moving to Manchester shortly after Bingham went there. 

He seems to have had a remarkable talent for mental calculations, particularly division and multiplication.  In the book illustrated here, A Selection from a Series of Mental Calculations Made by George Hartnoll Hogg, a Deaf and Dumb Pupil of Mr. H.B. Bingham, Master of the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, Manchester (1841), Bingham, a writer of prodigiously long sentences, introduces the idea of the education of the deaf in dedicatory remarks addressed to the Queen, then in the main body of text launches into his ideas of education;

Every human being, and probably every animal, educates itself, that is to say, they are provided by nature with certain instincts and faculties which being most powerful in early life stimulate and urge them to acquirements, and accordingly in the first four or five years they acquire more than they do in all the after years of their life, however long that may be; they learn to stand, to walk, to use  their hands, they acquire the faculty of speech, the application of thought, a knowledge of distances and resemblances between different objects in nature; they become acquainted with most of the passions and their expressions; in fine, the germs also of all virtues and vices, are implanted in their minds during that period; and all the rest of their lives only suffice to give precision to some of the original ideas which they have attained while the mind was fresh from the Creator’s hands.(p.i)

Bingham, who believed in what we might call whole body education, was clearly fond of a long sentence.  Further on he says,

To lead into the fields, to point out and explain the visible operations of nature, to teach them by conversation, with the natural objects before their eyes, to encourage them to work in gardens, to teach them gymnastics, and to explain the true principles of what they see and do, at the very time of seeing and doing, , reserving the teaching by books until a later age, when their own thirst for further knowledge will inevitably lead them to such study, seems to me the true mode of education.  It is nature’s mode, and it is in strict accord with the Baconian or inductive system of Philosophy, namely, to provide by observation a sufficient number of facts before reasoning to a conclusion; whereas the present system of commencing with books, besides the injury it does to the physical constitution, is the forming system a priori, to be verified by the scholar by observation afterwards.(p.iv-v)

That last sentence could have described the scientific method of his contemporary, Charles Darwin.  He continues,

if the principles of education laid down above be, as I believe, sound and true, the Deaf and Dumb are especially susceptible to being taught to good purpose.  For first, the deprivation of hearing renders their other senses peculiarly sensitive and vigorous; and imitation, nature’s great educational lever, is more powerfully exerted through the eyes than through the ears.(p.vi)

Pupils 1

In the 1851 census, George was a master’s assistant at the Old Trafford School under the then headmaster Andrew Patterson.  Sometime between the 1871 census and the 1881 census, he lost his job.  The BDM article says he taught there for 43 years, which would mean 1875.  Could he have been one of the victims of the move towards oral teaching that was coming into vogue at that time, or did he just retire?  At any rate by 1881 he was described as a ‘retired school teacher’, ‘deaf and dumb from birth’, and was living at Sale in Cheshire with William and Sarah Cordingly, a Deaf farm labourer and his Deaf wife .  William and his brother James were former pupils at the Old Trafford School as we see from the 1859 student list, so were William was taking in his old teacher as a lodger.Pupils 2  (Click twice on the pupil lists for a readable size.)

In 1891 George was living in Withington, Stretford, with another deaf couple, Ann and William Morton.  A year later on 16th of May 1892, aged 73, he married Louise Williams, a 45 year old Deaf dressmaker, born in Shropshire.  Her brother James Taylor, a printer-compositor, was also a former Old Trafford pupil.  The couple were living with him and his family (who were hearing) in Macclesfield in 1901.  I wonder if she too was a former pupil of his.  George Hogg died in Leicestershire in 1906 (see the Free BMD).Hogg

We are grateful to Norma McGilp for pointing out the article in BDM, from whence the portrait comes.

Blog updated 24/8/2015.

An Old Deaf Teacher, British Deaf Monthly, 1901, Vol. 10, p. 204

A Selection from a Series of Mental Calculations Made by George Hartnoll Hogg, a Deaf and Dumb Pupil of Mr. H.B. Bingham, Master of the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, Manchester (1841)

Manchester School annual reports

1851 Census Class: HO107; Piece: 2218; Folio: 537; Page: 20; GSU roll: 87228

1871 Census Class: RG10; Piece: 3971; Folio: 125; Page: 6; GSU roll: 841958

1881 Census Class: RG11; Piece: 3507; Folio: 49; Page: 17; GSU roll: 1341840

1891 Census Class: RG12; Piece: 3162; Folio: 85; Page: 26; GSU roll: 6098272

1901 Census Class: RG13; Piece: 3313; Folio: 78; Page: 4

“Such is the calamity of Mortals in this state of misery” – Sibiscota’s Deaf and Dumb Man’s Discourse

Hugh Dominic WStiles7 August 2015

Such is the calamity of Mortals in this state of misery, that they are invaded on all sides not only when they are born, by a vast army of Diseases, but are also troubled with many distempers whilst the Womb is their Lodging; there we meet with the precursory messengers of Death even in the very beginning of Life; and whilst the formative faculty is framing this machin of our immortal souls, some deformity, some irregularity in the structure, or other preternatural disposition obstructing the exercise of the parts immediately intermixeth it self with our birth.  Which enormity of the the parts, or constitution repugnant to the Lawes of Nature, prejudicing the operations, and contracted at our Birth, some have been so scrupulous as to think that it ought not to be calculated by the name of a Disease, but of a Defect, reserving the name of Disease for the defects of that which was once perfect.

1670This is the opening page of The Deaf and Dumb Man’s Discourse or A Treatise concerning those that are born deaf and Dumb, containing a Discovery of their Knowledge or Understanding; as also the Method they use, to manifest the sentiments of their Mind (1670).   It was supposedly written by George Sibscota, but was a loosely translated version of Anthony Deusingen’s “Dissertatio de surdis,” an essay in Fasciculus dissertationum selectarum (Gröningen, 1660) (see here).  Sibscota is probably a pseudonym.

The writer is of course depicting deafness as a defect.  The usual problem to many in the pre-modern age, and was how these who were deaf could achieve religious salvation:

And as Faith comes by Hearing, [*] according to the Apostle, where this is wanting, it may possibly seem very agreeable to truth, that there can be no Faith, and therefor no saving knowledge; and the consequence is undeniable, since no man can be saved without faith.

Oh this is indeed a very hard saying, which shipwracks the Soul!  Truly since those that are born Deaf are no more guilty of neglecting the means of their Salvation , than Infants (concerning whom however the Sacred Pages advise us to be more charitable) what reason I wonder can there be, why we should think God less merciful to them, who are also born of faithful Parents, than to Infants!  We will leave the disquisition of their Faith, or the manner thereof to Divines.  Hath God therefor, who according to his Will hath elected some out of Mankind corrupted by the fall, to be Vessels of mercy, and others Vessels of wrath?  Yet God’s Promise and Covenant belongs to these, as much as to the children of the faithful.

[…] Yet God is not wholly tied up to this one way of operation.  He hath extraordinary ways which we are ignorant of […]

They therefore that are born Deaf may by writing inform their minds with knowledge of those things, which must be obtained by hearing in others […] (ibid p.36-7 and 39)

The author does however note that “experience teacheth us, […] that those that are originally Dumb, and Deaf do by certain gestures, and various motions of the body as readily and clearly declare their mind, to those with whom they have been often conversant, as if they could speak, and likewise by such gestures of other Persons, they do absolutely understand the intentions of their mind also.”turk

* Romans 10:17

Branson, Jan, and Miller, Don,  Damned for Their Difference: The Cultural Construction of Deaf People as Disabled, 2002

Cocayne, Emily, EXPERIENCES OF THE DEAF IN EARLY MODERN ENGLAND, The Historical Journal, 46, 3 (2003), pp. 493–510

Woodward, James, How You Gonna Get to Heaven If You Can’t Talk With Jesus: On Depathologizing Deafness, 1989

Winzer, Margret A.,  The History of Special Education: From Isolation to Integration, 1993

Ernest Seton Thompson, William Tomkins, & sign language of the American Indians

Hugh Dominic WStiles1 May 2015

Before Europeans went to North America, it seems there were already extensive sign languages there, which were used for inter-tribal communication.  In the introduction to his book Universal Indian Sign Language of the Plains Indians of North America (1st ed. 1926), William Tomkins says,

There is a sentiment connected with the Indian Sign Language that attaches to no other. It is probably the first American language. It is the first and only American universal language. It may be the first universal language produced by any people. It is a genuine Indian language of great antiquity. It has a beauty and imagery possessed by few, if any, other languages. It is the foremost gesture language that the world has ever produced.

The author lectured on Indian problems to many audiences, and at all times the keenest interest was shown in sign language demonstrations, and he was asked, hundreds of times, to make the record permanent, and to thereby preserve and perpetuate the original American language which otherwise is fast passing away.

This is shown by the fact that in 1885 Lewis F. Hadley, at that time a foremost authority on sign, claimed that as a result of extensive investigation he had determined that there were over 110,000 sign-talking Indians in the United States. (ibid p. 3)

Tomkins grew up, he tells us, in Dakota Territory, at Fort Sully. I have been unable to uncover any further biographical information about Tomkins (please contribute below if there is anything you can add), but his book was adopted by the Boy Scouts of America and used at the World Scout Jamboree of 1929.  I suspect that is when this copy was signed by him.  Tomkins is pictured with one of the last great Sioux chiefs who helped preserve his nation’s culture, but whose life reflects his nation’s eclipse, Chief Flying Hawk.

TTomkinsSouth Shields born Ernest Thompson Seton (1860-1946), was a skilled artist and writer who started modern scouting in America, inspiring Baden Powell, and was one of the pioneers of the conservation movement.  He was also father of the historical novelist Anya Seton.  There is plenty to be found about this fascinating man so I will not repeat it.

We have a copy of Seton’s book, Sign Talk, A Universal Signal Code, without Apparatus, for Use in the Army, the Navy, camping, Hunting, and Daily Life (1918), that was owned by Sir Richard Paget, and perhaps influenced his sign system.  Here we see some of his marginal notes – click on the image for a larger size.

Scanned from a Xerox Multifunction Device (6)
Sign Language – Indian Sign Language [accessed 1/5/2015]

Davis, Jeffrey E. Hand talk : sign language among American Indian nations, CUP 2010

Tomkins, W., Universal Indian Sign Language of the Plains Indians of North America, 1st ed. 1926 and 4th ed. 1929

Seton, Ernest Thompson, Sign Talk, 1918

NOTE: I use the term ‘American Indians’ because that is the term Seton and Tomkins used.