Like other Americans of the 19th and early 20th centuries, most deaf people worked in trades. Schools for deaf students were among the first in the nation to offer vocational training in addition to academic courses. Sewing, cooking, and hairstyling were some of the classes offered for deaf girls.

A female teacher demonstrating cooking while female students are standing up in half circle surrounding the table with two large bowls, cook book, and a mixture.

Nutrition, menu planning, and shopping for food were among the skills taught in schools. These girls are learning how to follow a recipe in a cooking class at the Kendall School in Washington, D.C., in 1925.

Gallaudet University Archives

Students in sewing class at the North Dakota School for the Deaf.

Students from the North Dakota School for the Deaf pose for a picture to demonstrate the variety of skills they are learning in sewing class. In addition to sewing their own clothes, girls were often responsible for darning and mending clothes for boys and younger children at the school.

State Historical Society of North Dakota - 0258-14