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Women, Deaf: History of

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

The deaf women identified below as historical women of significance were born prior to 1850, and most were connected to the Deaf community. Research concerning these women and other women of that time is still being unearthed. A number of accomplished deaf women born in the 1800s, such as Annie Jump Cannon (astronomer) and Ruth Benedict (anthropologist), worked in isolation from the Deaf community, although their being deaf clearly influenced their work. At present, knowledge is extremely limited concerning deaf women of color, from diverse backgrounds, and whose lives took place outside of North America.

Many early deaf women we have knowledge of were recorded because they were writers or from well-known families, focusing primarily on educational opportunities. As education became more common, the Deaf community, ...

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