- Teacher, co-founder of the first permanent school for
the deaf in North America.
La Balme, France
18, 1869 (aged 83)
Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Laurent Clerc (born Louis Laurent Marie Clerc) (26
December 1785 – 18 July 1869) was called "The Apostle of the deaf in
America" and "The Father of the Deaf" by generations of American
deaf people. With Thomas
Hopkins Gallaudet, he co-founded the first school for the deaf in North
America, the Hartford Asylum for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and
Dumb on April 15, 1817 in the old Bennet's City Hotel, Hartford, Connecticut.
The school was subsequently re-named The
American School for the Deaf and in 1821 moved to its present site. The
school remains the oldest existing school for the deaf in North America.
- Born December 26, 1785 in La Balme-les-Grottes, département
of Isère, France, a village on the northeastern edge of Lyon to Joseph-François
Clerc and Marie-Élisabeth Candy in the small village of La Balme where his
father was the mayor, Laurent Clerc's home was a typical bourgeois
household. When he was a year old, Clerc, while momentarily unattended, fell
from a chair into the hearth, suffering a blow to the head and sustaining a
permanent scar on the right side of his face below his ear. Clerc's family
believed his deafness and inability to smell were caused by this accident,
but Clerc later wrote that he was not certain and that he may have been born
deaf and without the ability to smell or taste. The facial scar was later
the basis for his name sign, the "U"
hand shape stroked twice downward along the right cheek. Clerc's
name sign would become the best known and most recognizable name sign in
American deaf history and Clerc became the most renowned deaf person in