About Me

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Lake Mathews (Perris), CA, United States
Born in Illinois, I grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. I am married, for the 2nd time now, to Butch & got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me grandmother 25 times over & great-grandmother to over 20!. After many years working in industry, I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication, & was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 & returned to school & got my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore & genealogy - & add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/author/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play many folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I write the "Aunty Jeff" column for the Informer, newsletter of the Jefferson County NY Gen. Soc. I work in partnership with Gena Philibert-Ortega & Sara Cochran as Genealogy Journeys® where we focus on educating folks about Social History. More about that: genaandjean.blogspot.com. More on our podcasts: genjourneys.podbean.com. More about my own projects: Circlemending.org.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Letters of Application and Recommendation During the Administration of Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1877, Microfilm Collection, NARA Riverside-Gallaudet

In 1864, Edward Miner Gallaudet (1837-1917) formed the first school for the "deaf and dumb," named "Gallaudet University," in honor of his father, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. Both father and son were instrumental in advancing communication means for those who could not hear or speak and the University continues today to educate those afflicted in these manners. The University, located in the District of Columbia, is still operational and is the product of much research. The elder Gallaudet traveled all over the world to gain knowledge in order to properly serve those who needed his help. Besides educating at the college level, Gallaudet School for the Deaf also has elementary and high school level courses, teaching the hearing impaired life skills as well as the basics in education.

Edward began his teaching experiences in Washington, D.C. and was instrumental in organizing educational opportunities for the deaf in that location. This brings us to the relevance of that information to the next (and last) post re: the Letters of Application and Recommendation During the Administration of Ulysses S. Grant. In 1873, in preparation for the Vienna World Exposition (mentioned briefly in a previous blog), it was hoped that all aspects of American Culture would be properly represented; this would include the advancements in the education of the deaf. After letters were sent on his behalf, Gallaudet the younger did attend the Exposition. But, while the history of the father and the son can be located on many Internet sites, the actual letters that clarified Edward's eligibility to represent the US are not. Those can be located on microfilm at a number of different National Archives facilities, including the one at 23123 Cajalco Rd. in Riverside County. Here's what the researcher can view there:

(From Edward A. Fry, Acting Priest, to the Secretary of State)

(The same, addressed to the President)

If you are a descendant of this distinguished family, a member of the deaf community, interested in the history of specialized schools in America, researching the history of the Vienna Exposition, or interested in the Grant administration, these letters would be of particular value.

There is more in the Pacific Region (Riverside) National Archives than just records of California, Arizona, and parts of Nevada. Check out the catalog (mentioned in earlier blogs) and see if something you are studying just may be lurking in the holdings there.

This concludes my series on the Letters of Application and Recommendation . . . my next topic will deal with Postmasters of the United States. Check back soon to learn about these folks.

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