MSS 140
Higgins, Francis Cole, 1913 -
Papers of Francis C. Higgins, 1818-1997

Gallaudet University Archives

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Gallaudet University Archives
Call No.: MSS 140
Title: Papers of Francis C. Higgins, 1818-1997.
Quantity: 1.5 Linear Feet (3 document boxes)
Note: This document last updated 2005 December 12.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information: The Francis C. Higgins Papers were given to the Gallaudet University Archives by Francis Higgins. The gift was made in 1998.
Processed by: Sara Robinson. 2004 November 18.
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:


  • Recruitment project - [Chemistry class, displaying of TTY] [motion picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Film 338-4
  • Recruitment project - [Chemistry class] [motion picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Film 339-4
  • Dedication of Hughes Memorial Gymnaisum (I) [motion picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Film 402-4
  • Edward Miner Gallaudet Statue Dedication [motion picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Film 139-4
  • [Guests at the Unveiling of the Edward Miner Gallaudet statue] [motion picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Film 139-4
  • Higgins Triplets [motion picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Film 156-4
  • Life on campus [motion picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Film 1-4


  • Francis C. Higgins [picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Portraits


  • Papers, Francis Cole Higgins, 1970-1980. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: SMSS


Biographical Sketch

Francis Cole Higgins was born on September 23, 1913 in Flemington, New Jersey. He became deaf at 3 years old due to an unknown cause. Francis Higgins attended the Flemington, New Jersey Grammar School. He completed his studies there in 1927 and then attended the New Jersey School for the Deaf until 1931. Higgins then earned his Bachelor of Science degree at Gallaudet College in 1936 and then his Master of Science from Rutgers in 1938. He spent the next nine years teaching at the Kentucky School for the Deaf then taught Chemistry and other science courses at Gallaudet College until his retirement in 1983. He taught for 3 more years at the Northwest Campus on a volunteer basis.

Higgins married in 1939 to Catherine Bronson of Alabama. They had five children, including a set of triplets. He was actively involved in the Baptist Church of the Deaf in Washington, DC where he served as lay leader for more than forty years. He has also been actively involved in the Kentucky Chapter of the Gallaudet College Alumni Association as well as the GCAA itself. He has earned numerous recognitions including Man of the Year Award from Alpha Sigma Pi, Man of Merit from Delta Epsilon, awards from the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf, Tower Clock, and religious organizations.

Scope and Content

The Higgins collection includes 48 letters from significant figures in Deaf history. A detailed letter index can be found in the listing for Box 3. The letters include letters from Amos Draper, E.M. Gallaudet, Edward A. Fay, Elizabeth Peet, and John A. Jacobs. In addition to the letters, there are also articles, speeches, biographies of Higgins and various individuals, handwritten notes, histories of Gallaudet, news clippings, and reports by Higgins. The significant portion of this collection, aside from the letters, are Higgins' pages, notes, and photographs from the manuscript of his book, "A pictorial guide to places of historical and artistic interest related to deaf people in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area." The collection dates from 1818 to 1997. The bulk is dated during the 1940s-1980s.

The Percival Hall Papers consist of letters, clippings, certificates, diary, newsletters, telegrams, poems, photographs, by-laws, thesis, sermons and lectures.

The collection, which consists of approximately 4,250 pages, dates from 1887 to 1958. The bulk of the collection consists of his lectures, speeches and sermons. The next bulk of the collection consists of his biographical information. The bulk dates are mostly between 1930s and 1940s.

The largest subject in the collection is focused on the education of the deaf. Percival wrote many articles and speeches on deaf education. There are letters and greeting cards included in honor of President Hall's anniversary of his employment and also his birthday celebration. One interesting item in the collection is an 1890 thesis that Percival wrote while he was a student at Harvard. The thesis is titled, "Harmonoids". It is about mathematics. Also included in the collection are correspondence between Percival and the Como Orchard Land Company in the West where he invested in stocks with the company.

Series Descriptions and Folder Lists
No Series

Box Folder Title of Folder Date
1 1 Articles by Other Authors 1943-1980
1 2 Articles and Essays by Francis Higgins n.d.
1 3 Biographies of Francis Higgins 1963-1990
1 4 Biographies of Various Individuals 1927-1984
1 5 Brochures and Pamphlets 1981-1985
1 6 David Suppala 1994-1995
1 7 The Deaf Man in Science by Higgins n.d.
1 8 Elisabeth A. Zinser 1987
1 9 Francis Higgins Handwritten Notes n.d.
1 10 Histories of Gallaudet by Higgins 1936-1978
1 11 Kitty O'Neil 1979
1 12 Letters to Francis Higgins 1943-1990
1 13 Letters to George McClure 1938-1951
1 14 Letters to University Faculty 1973-1976
1 15 List of Schools for the Deaf and Blind in China 1947
1 16 Merv Garrettson 1996-1997
1 17 Miscellaneous 1927-1988
1 18 News Clippings 1915-1997
1 19 Percival Hall 1950
1 20 Publications 1946-1997
1 21 Photocopies by Higgins 1818-1917
1 22 The Pioneer Spirit of the Deaf by Higgins n.d.
1 23 National Deaf Mute College Presentat.. Day Program 1885
1 24 Reports by Higgins 1948-1949
1 25 What the Outlook is in the Sciences by Higgins 1951
2 1 Manuscript: Table of Contents/Miscellany 1982
2 2 Manuscript: Cemeteries 1931-1932
2 3 Manuscript: Churches for the Deaf n.d.
2 4 Manuscript: Gallaudet College n.d.
2 5 Manuscript: Houses n.d.
2 6 Manuscript: Memorials n.d.
2 7 Manuscript: Monument n.d.
2 8 Manuscript: Museums n.d.
2 9 Manuscript: Organizations n.d.
2 10 Manuscript: Portraits/Stained Glass n.d.
2 11 Manuscript: Schools n.d.
2 12 Manuscript: Statues n.d.
3 1 McClure from General Williams O. Johnson n.d.
3 2 McClure from Edward A. Fay 1899
3 3 J.A. Jacobs from J.S. Brown 1857
3 4 J.A. Jacobs from John R. Burnet 1848
3 5 J.A. Jacobs from J. Scott Hutton 1868
3 6 J.A. Jacobs to J. Scott Hutton 1868
3 7 J.A. Jacobs from J. Scott Hutton 1868
3 8 J.A. Jacobs from J. Scott Hutton 1866
3 9 J.A. Jacobs from I.T. Trow 1863
3 10 J.A. Jacobs from J.S. Brown 1854
3 11 J.A. Jacobs from Collins Stone 1854
3 12 Luzrene Ray to J.A. Jacobs 1847
3 13 Harvey P. Peet to J.A. Jacobs 1847
3 14 Harvey P. Peet to J.A. Jacobs 1847
3 15 Harvey P. Peet to J.A. Jacobs 1844
3 16 Thomas H. Gallaudet to Mason F. Cogswell 1818
3 17 Higgins from Wesley Lauritsen 1985
3 18 Higgins from Henry L. Buzzard 1994
3 19 Higgins from Homer Thornberry 1954
3 20 Higgins from Jeanne G. Kunkler 1949
3 21 Higgins from A.L. Roberts 1954
3 22 Higgins from Harry Best 1951
3 23 Higgins from Maxine Tull Boatner 1950
3 24 Higgins from Leonard M. Elstad 1950
3 25 Higgins from Percival Hall 1950
3 26 McClure from Helen Keller 1951
3 27 Higgins from Elizabeth Peet 1950
3 28 Higgins from Howard L. Terry 1950
3 29 Higgins from Agatha Tiegel Hanson 1950
3 30 Higgins from Percival Hall 1950
3 31 Higgins from Harris Taylor ca 1949-1950
3 32 Higgins from J.H. McFarlane 1949
3 33 Higgins from J.H. McFarlane 1949
3 34 Higgins from Edwin W. Nies 1941
3 35 Higgins from Tom L. Anderson 1943
3 36 McClure from Thomas F. Fox 1938
3 37 Higgins from Cadwallader Washburn 1934
3 38 McClure from F.W. Booth 1930
3 39 Edward A. Fay from I. Goldberg 1920
3 40 McClure from Edward A. Fay 1917
3 41 McClure from John B. Hotchkiss 1913
3 42 McClure from Olof Hanson 1913
3 43 McClure from J. Schuyler Long 1910
3 44 McClure from Edward M. Gallaudet 1907
3 45 McClure from Edward A. Fay 1901
3 46 McClure from Alexander G. Bell 1905
3 47 McClure from Alexander G. Bell 1901
3 48 McClure from Amos G. Draper 1891


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