Deaf artists

This is an incomplete list of notable deaf people.

Important historical figures in deaf history and culture

Teresa de Cartagena, 15th Century Spanish nun who had become deaf, was exceptional in her time in confronting her deafness and gaining fame as a religious writer (and is nowadays reckoned as one of the earliest feminist writers).

The idea that a person who was deaf could achieve a notable or distinguished status was not common until the latter half of the 18th century, when Abbé Charles-Michel de l'Épée founded the world's first public school for deaf students in Paris. The Abbe de l'Épée was one of the first advocates for using sign language in deaf education, as a means to raise deaf people to literacy and to provide an avenue to an independent lifestyle. Prior to de l'Épée, only the deaf children of royal, aristocratic or wealthy families were afforded any type of education.

Épée originally favored using a fabricated sign system, similar to Signed Exact English, based on French grammar and sound. The local Deaf communities insisted on maintaining their own Paris sign language, and on his deathbed de l'Épée wrote his final work decrying all constructed systems and finally endorsing the use of the natural signed languages made by Deaf people.

The success of the Paris school spawned similar schools throughout Europe and the New World. Significant in American history, deaf Frenchman Laurent Clerc, both a student and teacher at the Paris school (1798–1816), and Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, a hearing American, founded the first school for the deaf in Hartford, Connecticut in 1816. Clerc, along with Paris school faculty members Jean Massieu and Ferdinand Berthier formed the core of a group of pioneering deaf intellectuals. They are joined by many people on this list who, like them, were born deaf, used a sign language as their mother language, and were notable for their leadership and accomplishments.

  • Chuck Baird, (1947-2012) American painter and performer, one of the founding members of the De'Via Deaf art movement
  • Ferdinand Berthier, French intellectual, published several articles, first deaf person to receive the French Legion of Honour, founder of world's first deaf organization
  • Julia Brace (1807–1884), early American deaf-blind student at the Hartford School for the Deaf
  • John Brewster Jr. (1766–1854), American, itinerant artist of the Federalist Period in America
  • Laura Bridgman, (1829–1889), American, first deaf-blind student of Dr. Samuel Howe at the Perkins School for the Blind
  • Laurent Clerc (1785–1869), French-American, co-founder of first school for the deaf in America, first deaf teacher of the deaf in America
  • Pierre Desloges (1742-??), French deaf writer and bookbinder, first known deaf person to publish a book
  • Eugene "Silent" Hairston (1929-??), African-American Deaf Lightweight Boxer
  • William Elsworth "Dummy" Hoy (1862–1961), American baseball player
  • Helen Keller, American deaf-blind writer, lecturer, and actor
  • Granville Redmond, American painter
  • Douglas Tilden, American sculptor
  • Will J. Quinlan, American Artist, etcher, painter
  • Gideon Moore, the first Deaf person to obtain a doctorate degree (1869)[1]

Notable Children of Deaf Adults (CODAs)

Notable Deaf People

Notable People who are Hard of Hearing

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Musicians


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