MSS 101
Elstad, Leonard Marvin, 1899-1990
Papers of Leonard M. Elstad, 1924-1943

Gallaudet University Archives

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Gallaudet University Archives
Call No.: MSS 101
Title: Papers of Leonard M. Elstad, 1924-1943.
Quantity: 0.5 Linear Feet (1 document box)
Abstract: This collection focuses on the Wright Oral School.
Note: This document last updated 2005 December 2.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information:
Processed by: Thomas Strunk. 2000 October 2.
Processing Note:
Conditions on Use and Access: This collection is open to the public with no restrictions. Photocopies may be made for scholarly research.

Related Material in the Archives:

Biographical Sketch

Leonard M. Elstad, third president of the Gallaudet College, was born on February 8th of 1899 in Osseo, Wisconsin. His association with education started in 1917 as he taught in a one-room rural school in North Dakota before he went to college. After a year, he went to St. Olaf College. Upon his graduation, he attended the Normal Program of Gallaudet College. He became teacher after a year in the program. He coached women's basketball and men's baseball.

In 1925, Elstad was hired to become assistant principal of Wright Oral School in New York City. He became principal when Dr. Edwin L. LaCrosse resigned to pursue legal career. In 1932, Elstad moved on to become superintendent of Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf in Fairbault. Gallaudet College hired him to become their third president in 1945. Elstad retired in 1969 as president. He died 91 years old in Wisconsin on June 27, 1990.

Wright Oral School started off as John Dutton Wright and Thomas A. Humason founded Wright-Humason School, located on 42 West Seventy-sixth Street in 1894. This school was set up to be a private oral school with limited enrollment of 25-30 pupils. The name changed to Wright Oral School in 1902. Helen Keller attended this school as a young girl to learn how to read with her fingers instead of lip-reading and to improve her speech.

This school relocated twice, first to One Mount Morris Park, West (known as One Nathan Davis Place later on) and then, in 1934, to 124 East End Avenue in East River. During Elstad's term as principal, the school suffered financial hardships that continued until its demise in 1958 under Matie E. Winston who took over after Elstad left in 1932. John D. Wright died in 1952 and Matie E. Winston died in 1968.

Scope and Content 

This collection is composed primarily of correspondence between Leonard M. Elstad with John Dutton Wright and few others. All contracts and correspondence contained in this box are relevant to the Wright Oral School. For further correspondence between Elstad and the Wright Oral School, please check Elstad's Presidential Box, box #75, folder #15 in the Vault.

Series Descriptions and Folder Lists
No Series

Elstad Table

Box Folder Title of Folder Date
01 01 Contract between Wright & Elstad 1928, 1931
01 02 Correspondence 1924
01 03 Correspondence 1925
01 04 Correspondence  1926
01 05 Correspondence  1927
01 06 Correspondence 1928
01 07 Correspondence 1929
01 08 Correspondence  1930
01 09 Correspondence  1931
01 10 Correspondence  1932
01 11 Correspondence  1933
01 12 Correspondence  1934
01 13 Correspondence  1936
01 14 Correspondence  1942
01 15 Correspondence  1943
01 16 Correspondence  n.d.
01 17 Receipts (Misc.) for Purchases  1925-1938
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