SASL Newsletter - Fall 2017 Issue Issue 7 - Fall 2017

The Power of ASL A Society Supporting Language, Literacy, and Performing Arts in the Signed Modality Fall 2017 A Newsletter of the Society for American Sign Language Issue 7 By Clifton F. Carbin For nearly a century the eyes of residential students at the provincial school for the Deaf in Belleville, Ontario, Canada, were drawn to a huge, impressive 1890 portrait of a man, which was previously hung high on a wall in the auditorium. The subject of the painting was identified as Samuel Thomas Greene, the first Deaf teacher at the Ontario Institution for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb (now the Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf) when it opened on October 20, 1870, in Belleville. Further discoveries about Sam’s life, his accomplishments, and his importance to the history of the Deaf community led to the publication of a biography in 2005. Sam’s childhood began in the secluded wilderness of Maine. On June 11, 1843, he was born Deaf to a family of seven children in North Waterford. The youngest of the children, he had an older sister, Sarah, who was also Deaf. Because the family lived far away from any village, church, or schoolhouse, Sam received some education at home on the farm until the age of twelve. His parents then sent him to the American Asylum for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb (now the American School for the Deaf) in Hartford, Connecticut, which his sister had previously attended from 1846 to 1851. On September 18, 1855, Sam was officially enrolled to begin his formal education. During his stay at the American Asylum, Sam progressed well in both his studies and extracurricular student activities. One of his instructors was the famous Laurent Clerc (1785– 1869), a Deaf Frenchman who came to the United States and played a pivotal role with the American-born Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (1787–1851) in the founding of the Hartford institution (Continue on page 5) Portrait painted by Ambrose W. Mason The Power of ASL 1 Fall 2017 – Issue 7