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MSS 213Abbott, Nancy, 1944-The Nancy Abbott Collection of Deaf Telecommunicators of Greater Washington, Inc., Records, 1969-1992Gallaudet University Archives
Descriptive SummaryRepository: Gallaudet University ArchivesCall No.: MSS 213Creator: Abbott, Nancy, 1944- Title: The Nancy Abbott Collection of Deaf Telecommunicators of Greater Washington, Inc., Records, 1969-1992Quantity: 17 boxes (9 linear feet) Abstract: Records mostly relating to the organization known as the Deaf Telecommunicators of Greater Washington, Inc., collected by former executive director Nancy Abbott. Includes minutes, correspondence, position papers, financial records, and more. Note: This document last updated April 2016. Administrative InformationAcquisition Information: Donated to the Archives by Nancy Abbott, August 1995. Processed By: Christopher Shea, April 2016. 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 ArchivesManuscripts • Collection of TTY history, 1966-1975. Gallaudet University Archives, call number MSS 088 • Collection of Washington Metropolitan Deaf Alliance, 1974-1985. Gallaudet University Archives, call number MSS 182SMSS • Papers, Nancy Abbott, 1979-1980. Gallaudet University Archives, call number SMSSOrganization HistoryDeaf Telecommunicators of Greater Washington, Inc. (DTGW) began its existence in 1968 in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. After Robert Weitbrecht invented the teletypewriter (TTY) coupler in 1964, communication over telephone lines was still a novelty to deaf people. Furthermore, the only way to obtain TTYs was through secondhand donations from businesses, government agencies, and telephone companies, a process that was unreliable and difficult for the deaf to navigate. DTGW was founded as a nonprofit clearinghouse to collect, distribute, and repair TTYs for the local deaf community, as well as creating answering and news services for DC-area TTY owners and a "Hotline for the Deaf" to provide emergency advice and referrals. Although limited in scope, these services helped open a new world for the deaf. During these early years, DTGW struggled to retain members, as many simply joined to get TTYs and dropped out once they had them. In 1975, Marilyn Pierce was elected president, succeeding founding president Louis Schwarz. Under President Pierce, DTGW changed its mission, becoming more concerned with telecommunications advocacy and facilitation. It encouraged TTY use for local businesses and government agencies, provided education on telecommunications and the deaf, and took over the publishing of the Greater Washington Area TDD/Community Directory, more commonly known as the GWA*. The GWA* began as a single mimeographed sheet of TDD numbers in the DC area, published by Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf in the 1970s. Under DTGW, the GWA* expanded into a full telephone directory, including personal and business listings that extended as far as Baltimore and Frederick. After being irregularly published every few years, it shifted to annual publication in 1983. The records in this collection were acquired and donated by Nancy Abbott (1944- ). Abbott was elected as the DTGW's secretary in 1973 and also volunteered as editor of the GWA* from 1977 onwards. In 1983, she was promoted to executive director. Scope and ContentThese records document most of the history and practices of the DTGW from its founding, although most of their emphasis is on the Abbott/Pierce years from 1975 through the late 1980s. There is little information on the eventual fate of the DTGW after these years. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence (mostly Abbott's and Pierce's), newsletters, and some bylaws and other organization rules. Also included are numerous copies of the GWA* directory from its early years through its growth in the 1970s and 1980s, helping demonstrate the rapid increase in TDD use over the years. Series DescriptionsSeries 1. Founding documents, 1975-1983Box 1Includes copies of DTGW's articles of incorporation from 1975, several amended versions of the organization's bylaws over the years (the original bylaws were lost, and new ones were created when DTGW filed for incorporation), and articles of amendment filed in 1983 in order to clarify DTGW's tax-exempt nonprofit status. Series 7 has more on tax exemptions. Also includes a brief "synopsis of DTGW" covering the organization's history from the 1970s to the early 1980s. Series 2. Correspondence and minutes for boards, 1969-1989Boxes 1-3Records from DTGW's governing bodies, including the Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and Nominating Committee. (For the Financial Committee, see Series 7.) Also includes minutes and reports from annual meetings, as well as some position papers on TDD-related issues. Bulk of the series is Board of Directors correspondence and minutes, covering most of DTGW's existence from 1969 onwards. Series 3. Correspondence, 1968-1992Boxes 3-12An extensive collection of correspondence on various topics. There is some overlap between the various categories, as multiple copies of letters were retained in different files. The correspondence is broken down into the following categories: • General correspondence, 1968-1989 (boxes 3-5) • Correspondence on TDD-related topics, 1971-1989 (boxes 5-7) • Correspondence with advertisers and sponsors, 1984-1985 (box 8) • Executive director (Nancy Abbott)'s correspondence, 1984-1989 (boxes 8-11)• Incoming correspondence, 1972-1985 (box 11) • President (Marilyn Pierce)'s correspondence, 1975-1983 (box 11-12)• Nancy Abbott's correspondence (after departure from DTGW), 1987-1992 (box 12) Series 4. GWA* books and correspondence, 1969-1990Boxes 12-15Copies of the GWA* directory, as well as other TDD directories produced by other Maryland- and DC-area deaf groups. Also includes some correspondence related to GWA* production and sales. See series 3 for more correspondence on the same subject. Series 5. Out of the Clatterbox, 1970-1987Box 15DTGW's newsletter, taking its name from early TTYs, which were frequently rough-operating and noisy. Includes information on board elections and meetings, DTGW policies, and events in the Washington deaf community. Series 6. Member lists and certificates, 1975-1987Box 15Includes member lists, certificates of appreciation, brochures, blank envelopes and letterhead, and other materials related to the everyday functions of DTGW. Series 7. Finances, 1969-1990Boxes 15-17Material on DTGW's financial status, including correspondence with the treasurer and the financial committee, budgets, cash statements, and ledgers. Series 8. Photographs, undatedBox 16A small collection of photos.
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