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Archive for the 'Unusual Books' Category

The Deaf Mute Howls – Albert Ballin

H Dominic W Stiles19 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.

“The pony was buried by the gardener” – Charles Baker and his ‘Graduated Lessons’ book, 1841

H Dominic W Stiles22 January 2016

Charles Baker,  (1803-74) was a teacher of the deaf, headmaster of the Yorkshire Institution for the Deaf and Dumb in Doncaster.  The biographical sketch in A Magazine intended chiefly for the Deaf and Dumb, ran into three sections, which shows how highly he was regarded at the time (pp.8-11, 24-8, 38-9).  The article tells us that Charles, born in Birmingham on the 31st of July, 1803, was the second of thirteen children.

He was but a youth when his attention was first attracted to the deaf and dumb. His father, while walking with him one day, directed his attention to a gentleman, and informed him that he had just come to Birmingham to establish a school for the deaf and dumb. This excited his curiosity, and his father promised to take him to an examination of the deaf and dumb children. He went to the examination, and was much pleased with the intelligence and acquirement’s of the children. They were under the care of Mr. Braidwood, a grandson of the Braidwood who was the first teacher of that name in Great Britain. (ibid, p.8)

BakerHe taught at the Deritend and Bordesley (now suburbs of Birmingham) Sunday School when only fourteen.   In this way he became known to “most of the leading men of the neighbourhood” (p.8).  In 1818 he took charge of the School when Braidwood had to go away, but Baker said,

not a book used in their instruction was to be found.  All had been carefully locked up, as though the craft would have been in danger if a boy of fifteen had been allowed to penetrate into its mysteries.  However, there were copy-books, drawing-books, pictures, and writing and drawing materials.  Some hours were spent each day in improving work, and the rest in play, and long walks about the beautiful neighbourhood.

Graduated lessons 1Graduated lessons 2Some of the “gentlemen connected with the Institution  wished to engage him permanently as an assistant, but Mr. Braidwood’s consent could not be obtained” (ibid).  Aged seventeen Baker went to teach at Wednesbury, in the school established by the Quaker businessman Mr. Samuel Lloyd (of the banking family) remaining there for two years (ibid p.9).  At that time he made the acquaintance of the Rev. William Jackson who had married the widow of a Captain White Benson of York.  It was there that he met Edward White Beson, who became Charles’s friend and married his sister, Harriet Baker.  Their son Edward became Archbishop of Canterbury.  When Charles was twenty, he moved to Wales, running a school at the Vartag Iron Company’s Works in Pontypool, stay there until 1826 (ibid p.9).

Back in Birmingham he was asked back to the Birmingham School.  After Braidwood died, Louis du Puget, a pupil of the Italian teacher Pestalozzi became the headmaster.  Unfortunately he struggled to control the pupils.

Mr. Du Puget was an intelligent man and a good teacher, but not specially qualified for the teaching of the deaf and dumb.  I was called upon, and most urgently requested by Dr. De Leys and Dr. Alexander Blair, to go again and assist in the management of the institution; they represented the place as being in a state of utter disorganization and confusion, the lads running away at the rate of three or four a day, and the girls in rebellion, the matron disaffected like the children towards the master, and the assistant master, who had resided there for several years, had gone away.  At first I positively and firmly declined any such engagement, but the picture they drew of the position of affairs, threatening the very existence of the institution, induced me at last to promise to pay a visit to the institution the next day.

In the course of the first day I was among them, the children all became calm.  They had literally been prisoners for weeks. I obtained their confidence at once and without any imputation on the master.  […]  I saw I was weaving a net round myself, for I was necessary to the continued harmony of the place.  The solicitations of the committee and the children and others at length prevailed so far that I became permanently attached to that institution, and to the deaf and dumb for life.

While with Mr. Du Puget I became well acquainted with Pestalozzi’s views, which were undoubtedly applicable to a great extent to the work in hand.  Here, however, we had a field equally new to both of us.  There were no printed books to guide us.  We read the theories of some of our predecessors of ancient days and foreign countries, but not a scrap of practical information as to modes of procedure had been left behind by those who had previously occupied our position.  Night after night we worked almost in the dark at courses of instruction in language, and day after day we taught during school-hours and discussed at other times different modes of conveying the knowledge of the English language to our pupils.  I had now made up my mind that it was no ignoble office to walk in the steps of Dalgarno, Wallis, Braidwood, De l’Epee, Sicard, and others who had devoted their thoughts and their lives to raising the condition of those who, deprived of hearing, have never attained, or if once attained have lost, the power of speech. (ibid, p.9-10)

Our copy of the book he co-wrote with Duncan Anderson of the Glasgow Institution, published in 1841, was acquired by Charles Rhind in 1842, when he was teaching in Belfast.  Rhind seems then to have made a practice of obtaining books on various educational methods.  Above in the introduction we see that this book came with the offer of notes for teachers.  The examples of sentences in the following picture are intriguing.  Click the images for a larger size.

  • “Ann will not be bled tomorrow.”
  • “The pony was buried by the gardener.”
  • “A tiger wounded Mr. Carter.”
  • “A woman’s head was crushed last week.”

Indicative moodBaker resigned from his Birmingham post in 1829, moving to Doncaster to open the new school there.  When the school was established, he turned his mind to producing educational material, and in 1831 published his first educational book, with many more to follow.  He was a pioneer in producing this type.  A list of his works can be seen here.

The private library of Charles Baker, is now in the archives of the Edward Miner Gallaudet Memorial Library, Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C.

Baker, Charles and Anderson, Duncan, A series of graduated lessons in language and grammar, for the instruction of the deaf and dumb. Doncaster, 1841.

Biography. Magazine intended chiefly for the Deaf and Dumb, 1876, 4, 8-11, 24-28, 38-39.

BOYCE, A.J. The Baker Collection. Deaf History Journal, 2000, 4 (2), 22-34.

Picture lessons for boys and girls translated from the French of Valade-Gabel by Charles Baker. No date. Historical Collection.

C. W. Sutton, ‘Baker, Charles (1803–1874)’, rev. M. C. Curthoys, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2009 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/1109, accessed 22 Jan 2016]

We have more of Baker’s books.

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

H Dominic W Stiles8 January 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

H Dominic W Stiles27 November 2015

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

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

He says,

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

File:Andreas Elias Buchner.jpg

He discusses Amman’s oral method –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Picture of Büchner from Wikimedia Commons]

Wikipedia entry

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

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

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

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

H Dominic W Stiles2 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.

“Mr. Greaterick stroked him again, rubbed his Body all over with Spittle” – An account of Mr. Greaterick and his Miraculous Cures.

H Dominic W Stiles25 September 2015

Lincolnshire born Henry Stubbe or Stubbes (1632-76) grew up in Ireland after his ‘anabaptistically inclined’ father was expelled from his living as Rector of Partney.  His mother took him to London in 1641 after the rising, and he attended Westminster School where he excelled at languages.  The OED entry says “Stubbe’s sharp tongue and conceit often caused him to be ‘kick’d and beaten’ by his fellow students and, on one occasion at least, publicly whipped in the college’s refectory ” (ODNB).  After his BA and then serving in the Parliamentary army for two years, Stubbes returned to Oxford and was was appointed deputy keeper of the Bodleian Library (ibid).  Around this time he became friends with various luminaries of the time including Thomas Hobbes and Thomas Willis, a founder member of the Royal Society.  After studying medicine and writing The Indian Nectar, or, A Discourse Concerning Chocolata (1662), he eventually settled in Warwickshire.  It was there that he came across Valentine Greaterick or  Greatrakes and wrote a book about him.  The Miraculous Conformist, or An account or severall Marvailous Cures performed by the stroaking of the Hands of Mr. Valentine Greaterick, with a Physicall Discourse thereupon, in a Letter to the Honourable Robert Boyle Esq. (1666).  Greaterick 0 001

This book, which begins with an address to Willis, has really very little to do with deafness, apart from this short gem, which probably explains why Selwyn Oxley added it to the collection –

I saw him put his Finger into the Eares of a man who was very think of Hearing; and immediately he heard me when I asked him very softly severall questions. I saw another whom he had touched three Weeks agoe for a Deadnesse in one Eare, who I had known to be so many years: I stopped the other Eare very close, and I found him to hear very well, as we spoke in a tone no way raysed beyond our ordinary conversation.(p.6)

Greaterick was a ‘stroker’, using his hands to rub the body of the patient and effect a ‘cure’ by rubbing the sickness out, perhaps through the toes.  Stubbes was at pains to say that any cures were through God and not the devil, and that Greaterick prayed – “I observed that he used no manner of Charmes, or unlawful words; sometimes he Ejaculated a short prayer before he cured any, and always after he had done he bad them give God the Praise.” (p.8).  People noticed that he smelt fragrant, and “Dean Rust observed his Urine to smell like Violets, though he had eat nothing that might give it that scent.” (p.11).

the notion I have concerning Mr. Greatericks is the most facile, for I imagine no more to be in him, than a particular Temperament, or implanted Ferment, which upon his touching and stroking shall so farre invigorate the blood, spirits, and innate temperament of the part (Nature being only oppressed) that they performe their usuall duties: This being done, it is Nature Cures the Diseases and distempers and infirmities, it is Nature makes them fly up and down the Body so as they do: they avoyd not his Hand, but his Touch and stroke so invigorateth the parts that they reject the Heterogenous Ferment, ’till it be outed the Body at some of those parts he is thought to stroke it out at.

Considering that our life is but a Fermentation of the Blood, nervous Liquor, and innate constitution of the parts of our Body, I conceive I have represented those hints and proofs which may render it imaginable that Mr. Greatericks by his stroking may introduce an oppressed Fermentation into the Blood and Nerves, and resuscitate the oppressed Nature of the parts. (p.14)

It is easy to laugh now but these were days before modern medicine when any attention for a desperate person from someone who might effect a treatment would be welcome.  However I cannot resist a few more examples.  Greaterick is supposed to have cured, in the presence of Lord Conway, a boy of fourteen of leprosy.

Mr. Greaterick stroked him again, rubbed his Body all over with Spittle.  My Lord ordered the Boy to return, if he were not Cured: but he came no more (p.28).

We are not told whose saliva, but anyway the dice are loaded – he should have had the boy return if cured.

A woman of Worcester having a paine driven into those parts which modesty would not permit her to let Mr. Greaterick stroke: she went away as if she had been cured, but is since sick of an intolerable pain there.  Such consequences are usuall, when the Disease is not stroked out (p.29).

Stubbe later fell out with the nascent Royal Society – “Not only did Stubbe believe that the protagonists’ claims regarding the utility of science were vastly exaggerated, but he was convinced that their inflammatory rhetoric seriously threatened the humanist culture of the universities, the erudite foundations upon which protestantism rested, as well as the medical profession.” (ODNB)  Stubbes, who clearly had a talent for controversy, drowned in a shallow River near Bath, as his friend Anthony Wood wrote, “‘his head being then intoxicated with bibbing, but more with talking, and snuffing of powder’” (quoted in ODNB).

Below, Greaterick stokes Lord Arlington – click for a larger image.

Greaterick 1 001Mordechai Feingold, ‘Stubbe , Henry (1632–1676)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/26734, accessed 25 Sept 2015]

Carl B. Estabrook, ‘Stubbes , Henry (1605/6–1678)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/26735, accessed 25 Sept 2015]

George Hartnoll Hogg, human calculator

H Dominic W Stiles21 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

The Evil of Frankenstein… Portrayal of a Deaf person on film (1964)

H Dominic W Stiles19 June 2015

One of our more unusual items in the collection that I recently came across is a Hammer Horror film script, The Evil of Frankenstein (1963).  film script The copy we have belonged to Katy Wild (b.1941) who played a ‘deaf and dumb beggar’ girl, which is presumably why it came to us, perhaps donated by her many years ago.  The film starred Hammer favourite, Peter Cushing.  Here is a page from the script where the beggar girl comes into the story.  I suppose one of the themes of the story would be how the girl and the ‘monster’ are both outcasts from society, and are linked together.  It was written by ‘John Elder’  which was the pen-name of Anthony Hinds, son of the Hammer Films founder William Hinds.  The back cover of the script has seven photos from the production enclosed.

There are interesting questions raised by this script, for example, the portrayal of Deaf People in the media, whether there were hearing actors in the roles of Deaf people, and to what extent things may have changed in the past century since we have had cinema and television.  The script will be of interest to anyone studying film.  We should all as consumers of media and entertainment, think critically about how media such as film and TV depict deafness.

Evil of Dr FrankensteinJohn Elder, The Evil of Frankenstein, 1963

John S. Schuchman, Hollywood Speaks: Deafness and the entertainment industry (1988) RNID UTB TJY

Katherine A. Foss, Constructing Hearing Loss or “Deaf Gain?” Voice, Agency, and Identity in Television’s Representations of d/Deafness
Critical Studies in Media Communication Volume 31, Issue 5, 2014

Hamilton, Allyson P, A pedagogical content analysis of deaf culture in feature films Ed.d. dissertation, 2013

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

H Dominic W Stiles1 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.

Francis Lieber: “Every blind-surd shows a decided consciousness of Mine and Thine”

H Dominic W Stiles1 April 2015

In 1845 Francis Lieber  published A Lecture on the Origin and Development of the First Constituents of Civilisation (1845).  Lieber (1798 or 1800-1872) was a German born jurist who formulated ‘rules of war’ that became the basis of the Geneva Conventions.Lieber 3

His date of birth is uncertain as he lied in order to sign up for the Prussian army, fighting at Waterloo where he was  wounded, and later he fought in the Greek War of Independence.  Moving to America,  he became Professor of History at South Carolina College, now the University of South Carolina.  Three sons fought in the Civil War, two for the Union and another was killed fighting for the Confederacy.  He was the first person in the U.S.A. to call himself a political scientist.

This essay links several remarkable people, with Lieber introducing the deaf-blind, or as he terms them, ‘blind-surds’, into his discussion, Laura Bridgeman, Oliver Caswell, and James Mitchell among others (p.9).

Every blind-surd shows a decided consciousness of Mine and Thine, and a consequent perception of the value of exchange.  They deeply blush if detected filching.  All show a decided sense of decorum; a consciousness of right and wrong, and resentment at injustice; all willingly acknowledge superiors, even among themselves, which latter is at least the case in the only instance in which, to my knowledge, two blind-surds have been brought in contact, namely Laura Bridgeman and Oliver Casswell.  All have shown the internal necessity of language, which promptly manifested itself so soon as ingenuity and wisdom had contrived the means of breaking through the thick walls which kept their souls immured and of establishing a bridge of communion with the outer world. (p.8-9)

Lieber 1Our copy was sent ‘with the authjors resp[ects]’ to a famous Norfolk-born British judge, Baron Alderson (1787-1857).  He was a cousin of the novelist Amelia Opie, Quaker friend of the Gurney family (Elizabeth Fry etc) and Mary WollstonecraftLievber 3