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Deaf History: 1921–1980

  • By: Elizabeth Rholetter Purdy
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

World War I ended in 1918 and the brief depression that followed the end of the war continued into 1921. Technology of the period introduced new and improved hearing devices for the hard of hearing and those with some residual hearing. Silent movies, such as Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid, which was introduced that year, provided access to films for the deaf and hearing alike. Women had finally won the right to vote in 1920, and the reforms of the Progressive Era continued into the 1920s. In the United States, the deaf were still living with the aftermath of the eugenics movement, which attempted to ensure that anyone deemed either physically or mentally inferior was not allowed to produce offspring. Significant changes occurred in the decades ...

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