"Edmund Booth: Deaf Pioneer"

Dr. Ronald E. Sutcliffe, author of The Legacy of the Iowa School for the Deaf, will kick off Clerc- Gallaudet Week at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library with a program featuring Edmund Booth: Deaf Pioneer by Harry G. Lang.

At the program, the audience will join in the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Edmund Booth, who was born in Springfield, Mass., on August 24, 1810. Sutcliffe will discuss  Edmund Booth: Deaf Pioneer, by Harry G. Lang. This book was selected by the National Literary Society of the Deaf and deaf library friends groups. This remarkable deaf pioneer made America great in the 19th century. 

Booth, a former student and colleague of Clerc and Gallaudet at the American School for the Deaf  (1826-39), presided as temporary chairman during the organization of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) in 1880. That same year, he was granted an honorary Master of Arts degree from Gallaudet University.  

In July 2010, the deaf community celebrated the NAD's 50th biennial conference and 130th founding anniversary. Sutcliffe will also highlight Booth co-founding the Iowa School for the Deaf in 1855 and the Iowa Association of the Deaf in 1881.
Ronald E. Sutcliffe grew up on a farm in Clarksville, Ia., and graduated from Iowa School for the Deaf in 1954. After graduation from Gallaudet College with degree in business administration in 1959, he joined the college’s staff in various capacities in business management and on faculty. He retired as the dean of the school of management in 2001. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Maryland. He served on the board of a number of organizations for the deaf. He also authored several significant works on deafness, including The Legacy of Iowa School for the Deaf (2005) and "George Detmold, the Reformer” in A Fair Chance in the Race of Life: The Role of Gallaudet University in Deaf History (2008)  He resides in Adelphi, Md., with his wife, Agnes. They are blessed with five children and 10 grandchildren. 

The library will have a display of books and other library materials that are related to the early 19th-century pioneers in deaf history such as Henry Clay, Abraham Lincoln, and many others.
There will be other activities within the library system during the week. 

The purpose of the week is to celebrate the birth anniversaries of two American Deaf Education pioneers: Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (December 10, 1787) and Laurent Clerc (December 26, 1785) and to recognize their impact on American society since April 15, 1817 when they and Dr. Mason Fitch Cogswell co-founded the first permanent school for the deaf in the Western Hemisphere.

For more information about the kick-off program and activities during the week, contact the Librarian for the Deaf Community in the office of the Adaptive Services Division of the DC Public Library.  Voice (via Video Relay Service) 866-570-7364; ask for Janice Rosen; Videophone (for ASL users) 202-559-5368; or e-mail janice.rosen@dc.gov.