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Repository: Gallaudet University Archives Call No.: MSS 87Creator: Title: Collection of the National Literary Society of the Deaf, 1907-1983Quantity: 1.0 Linear Feet (2 document boxes) Abstract: Note: This document last updated 2006 January 6.
Acquisition Information: Francis C. Higgins gave the National Literary Society of the Deaf Collection to the Gallaudet University Archives in the 1980s. Processed by: Margaret A. Steedman. 1998 July 7.Processing Note: Revised by Michael Olson. 2001 March 30.
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:
The National Literary Society of the Deaf was founded on February 6, 1907 in the Parish Hall of Trinity Episcopal Church, which was located on the northwest corner of Third and C Streets, N.W. in Washington, DC. Before that, there was some discussion of setting up a literary society by six men as following: John B. Hotchkiss, Rev. Herbert C. Merrill, Albert F. Adams, Rev. Arthur D. Bryant, Roy J. Stewart, and Gilbert O. Erickson. They formed a new name called the National Literary Society of the Deaf with its first 55 members who resided in the Washington, DC area. The number of Charter members was sixteen. Its object of the society was chiefly the general literary advancement and mental improvement of its members; also to promote the cultural and social life among the members.
Early history of the NLSD is rather sketchy; however the early meetings were held once every month during the evening at the Masonic Temple building in Washington, DC from 1928-1953. Members of the faculty of Gallaudet College were invited to address the society. Sometimes college students gave talks on interesting subjects.
Over the years, the NLSD meet at various places in downtown Washington, DC until 1967, they were given a space for use at Gallaudet College. They continue to meet on the campus until the 1990s when they decided to meet off campus. The NLSD had its banquets held off campus and many members attended.
For more information on the history of the NLSD, see Francis Higgins' article on the history of the organization in which he wrote in 1982.
Scope and Content
The National Literary Society of the Deaf Collection consists of letters, biographical information, constitution and by laws, poems, articles, program books, research notes, minutes, Treasurer's reports and list of members. The NLSD was founded in 1907 and its object was to promote the general literary advancement and mental improvement of its members, also to promote the cultural and social life among the members.
The collection, which consists of approximately 350 pages, dates from 1907 to 1983. The bulk of the collection consists of biographical information on the founding members and minutes of the meetings; also on Treasurer's reports. The bulk dates are mostly between 1972 and 1982. The strength of the collection is centered on the historical information of the NLSD of which Francis Higgins collected and wrote for the 75th anniversary banquet program in 1982.
The largest subject in the collection is focused on the historical notes on the NLSD. Included in the collection there are minute books from 1928 to 1978; however, the first two minutes books from 1907 to 1928 are missing or lost. Treasurer's books from 1907 to 1937 and 1952 to 1970 are included except for those years from 1937 to 1952. A poem written by a deaf poet, Hallea H. Stout, is included in the collection.
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