skip to main content

<< Learning Center

Media Accessibility Information, Guidelines and Research

Deaf History Resources

Take our Captioning History Quiz

Deaf History Resources from the Described and Captioned Media Membership-Based Collection

Teachers, parents, and other adults working in some educational capacity with a K–12 student (or students) who is deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, or deaf-blind are invited to register for a free DCMP account. Media is available instantly from our website, and can often be mailed to you on DVD.

Here are some of the deaf history resources available from our free-loan collection:

  • American Deaf Culture

    Provides an understanding of what is involved within cultures, specifically Deaf culture. Provides an overview of characteristics of cultures and their applications to Deaf culture. Covers interpreting for ASL students, parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing, educators and professionals who work with these children, and anyone who is interested in learning about and understanding Deaf Culture.

  • Class of ’52

    As the time of segregation came to an end in the 1950s, children who were African American had to fight for their civil rights alongside adults. Students who were both deaf and African American during this time faced even more significant challenges. Provides an overview of the integration that took place during this decade at the Kendall School, which is now a day school affiliated with Gallaudet University, as well as a background of the students and adults involved.

  • Deaf Mosaic #1001

    Topics of this episode of the Emmy–winning TV series, filmed in 1994, include: closed-captioning availability; TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages); deaf entrepreneur Joel Barrish; deaf veteran Don Warren and veteran's rights; Swedish Sign Language scholar Lars Wallen; and President Clinton’s address to the Gallaudet University Class of 1994 commencement. Hosted by Mary Lou Novitsky and Gil Eastman.

  • Deaf Mosaic #1003

    Topics of this episode of the Emmy–winning TV series, filmed in 1994, include: Sara Pelletier, a deaf businesswoman who operates a resort in North Carolina; deaf bowhunters who hone their skills in archery competitions; a summer day in the life of a deaf child and her family; deaf artists involved in London's theatre and arts scene; and deaf farmer Rudy Moeller. Hosted by Mary Lou Novitsky and Gil Eastman.

  • Deaf Mosaic #209

    Topics of this episode of the Emmy–winning TV series, filmed in 1986, include: an interview with former Gallaudet president Jerry Lee; the ceremony which marked Gallaudet’s transition from college to university; a profile of the Georgia School for the Deaf; and a brief segment on Melvin Ballard. Hosted by Gil Eastman.

  • Deaf Mosaic #310

    Topics of this episode of the Emmy–winning TV series, filmed in 1987, include: the National Theatre of the Deaf; deaf wildlife painter Louis Frisino; a visit to a deafness exhibit at the Capital Children’s Museum in Washington, DC; and a sketch on Alice Cogswell, T. H. Gallaudet’s first pupil. Hosted by Gil Eastman.

  • Deaf Mosaic #402

    This episode of the Emmy–winning TV series, filmed in 1988, is devoted entirely to the DEAF PRESIDENT NOW movement. Interviews with participants and leaders are included in the extensive footage shot during the protest itself, ending with shots of the celebration that capped the successful close of the DPN protest at Gallaudet. Hosted by Gil Eastman and Mary Lou Novitsky.

  • Deaf Mosaic #404

    Topics of this episode of the Emmy–winning TV series, filmed in 1988, include: a portrait of Reverend Andrew Foster; a segment on the Commission On Education of the Deaf (COED) report; and special services for deaf visitors to national tourist attractions. Hosted by Gil Eastman.

  • Deaf Mosaic #411

    Topics of this episode of the Emmy–winning TV series, filmed in 1989, focus on the performing arts, with segments on Love is Never Silent, Cagney and Lacey, and Sesame Street; dance performances by the Gallaudet dance company and Israeli dancer/teacher Amnon Damti; and rare archival footage of performances by Bernard Bragg, Gil Eastman, Howie Seago, Ed Waterstreet and other deaf performers. This episode was nominated for an Emmy. Hosted by Gil Eastman and Mary Lou Novitsky.

  • Deaf Mosaic #503

    Topics of this episode of the Emmy–winning TV series, filmed in 1988, include: Jack Gannon’s book, The Week the World Heard Gallaudet; a segment on deaf people’s memories of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor; deaf karate champion Patty Lord; and the life and career of Sam Edwards. Hosted by Gil Eastman and Mary Lou Novitsky.

  • Deaf Mosaic #505

    This special episode of the Emmy–winning TV series focuses on the Deaf Way festival held at Gallaudet University in 1989. Segments include an interview with Lars Wallin, a Swedish deaf activist, and various acting, dancing, mime and storytelling performances given by an international group of attendees. Hosted by Gil Eastman and Mary Lou Novitsky.

  • Deaf Mosaic #506

    This special episode of the Emmy–winning TV series focuses on the closing cermonies at the 1989 Deaf Way festival, featuring performances by Linda Bove, Howie Seago, Charlie McKinney, Marlee Matlin, Eric Malzkuhn, Lou Fant, Phylis Frelich and many others from around the world. Hosted by Gil Eastman and Mary Lou Novitsky.

  • Deaf Mosaic #601

    Topics of this episode of the Emmy–winning TV series, filmed in 1990, include: the National Deaf Ski Competition in Vail, Colorado; a feature on deaf stockbrokers at Merrill Lynch; paging services for the deaf in airports; and a look at deaf participants in the 1890s bicycle craze. Hosted by Gil Eastman and Mary Lou Novitsky.

  • Deaf Mosaic #609

    Topics of this episode of the Emmy–winning TV series, filmed in 1991, include: St Ann’s Church for the Deaf in New York, which was founded by the son of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet; Debbie Shaw, a deaf real estate businesswoman; the Cridders, a deaf performing group; and an interview with a man who counsels deaf gang members. Hosted by Gil Eastman.

  • Deaf Mosaic #611

    Topics of this episode of the Emmy–winning TV series, filmed in 1991, include: Call For Action, a national consumer help service; a new play about black and deaf culture; a 10-year-old deaf inventor; deaf gang counselor Pedro Acevedo revisited; and deaf contributions during WWII. Hosted by Gil Eastman and Mary Lou Novitsky.

  • Deaf Mosaic #705

    Topics of this episode of the Emmy–winning TV series, filmed in 1991, include: deaf lawyers; a deaf father who takes his two sons on a cross-country bicycle trip; a deaf lobsterman; a New Mexico father/son team of antique car restorers; and the 1st International Conference on Deaf History. Hosted by Mary Lou Novitsky.

  • Deaf Mosaic #804

    Topics of this episode of the Emmy–winning TV series, filmed in 1992, include: astronaut Bill Readdy signs to young deaf people from outer space; NAD Executive Director Nancy Bloch; snapshots from the 1992 Miss Deaf America pageant; late-deafened adults; Russian deaf artist Alexander Nazarov; and British deaf artists. Hosted by Gil Eastman and Mary Lou Novitsky.

  • Deaf Mosaic #807

    Topics of this episode of the Emmy–winning TV series, filmed in 1992, include: deaf bodybuilder Shelley Beatty; the Deaf West Theatre group; deaf barber Larry Doan; the West Virginia marching band uses sign language during a performance; and a visit with Britain’s Listening Eye program. Hosted by Gil Eastman and Mary Lou Novitsky.

  • Deaf Mosaic #809

    Topics of this episode of the Emmy–winning TV series, filmed in 1993, include: Five Acres, a special project for abused children; shopping at home with Shirley Cavilieri; a stamp collector who collects deafness-related stamps; a conference on the role of ASL in the classroom; and the winner of the first Deaf Mosaic poster contest. Hosted by Gil Eastman and Mary Lou Novitsky.

  • Deaf Mosaic #811

    Topics of this episode of the Emmy–winning TV series, filmed in 1993, include: Tim Tesner, a deaf surgical technician; Sean Virnig, a victim of the mysterious Guillain-Barre syndrome; deaf survivors of breast cancer; and deaf English midwife Jennifer Kelsall. Hosted by Gil Eastman and Mary Lou Novitsky.

  • Deaf Mosaic #903

    Topics of this episode of the Emmy–winning TV series, filmed in 1993, include: deaf handball player Richard Jacobs; a convention in Baltimore for educators of the deaf; a visit to a hands-on museum in Britain; and deaf actress Mary Vreeland. Hosted by Gil Eastman and Mary Lou Novitsky.

  • Deaf Mosaic #911

    Topics of this episode of the Emmy–winning TV series, filmed in 1993, include: artists Charles and Victoria Wildbank; Eric Hansen’s hot-air ballon ride; deaf firefighter Frances Riddle; deaf comedians in Britain; and a gathering of international deaf/hearing dancers performs for deaf teens. Hosted by Dwight Benedict and Mary Lou Novitsky.

  • Famous Deaf Americans–Part I

    Narrated by Professor Robert Panara, in sign language, this second part of a two-part, captioned videotape focuses on the achievements of selected deaf Americans from a variety of careers.

  • Famous Deaf Americans–Part II

    Narrated by Professor Robert Panara, in sign language, this second part of a two-part, captioned videotape focuses on the achievements of selected deaf Americans from a variety of careers.

  • Flying Words Project: The Can’t Touch Tours 1990–2002

    Deaf poet and performing artist Peter Cook and interpreter/collaborator Kenny Lerner express poetry through American Sign Language and body movement. Contains selected poems and stories recorded from live performances during 1990-2002. Includes: “4 Arms” (1990), “Wise Old Corn #3” (1998), “World War I” (2001), “Chinese Translations” (1997), “E=MC” (1997), “Ode to Words” (2001), and more. Voice-over narration and interpretation by Kenny Lerner.

  • Flying Words Project: The Year of the Walking Dogs, Early Poems

    Deaf poet and performing artist Peter Cook and interpreter/collaborator Kenny Lerner express poetry through American Sign Language and body movement. Contains selected poems and stories recorded from live performances during 1984-1990. Includes: “Charlie” (1988), “Einstein Under the Apple Tree” (1989), “Hypnotist” (1986), “Replay” (1989), and more. Voice-over narration and interpretation by Kenny Lerner.

  • Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Newsreel Footage

    Contains two clips of Helen Keller: (1) Keller and Anne Sullivan appear in newsreel footage from 1928, and (2) rare newsreel footage of Keller First Lady Grace Coolidge. In the former, Sullivan explains and then demonstrates the methodology used to teach Keller language, most elements of which are still used worldwide with students who are deaf-blind. For the latter, silent newsreel footage shows Keller meeting First Lady Coolidge, with Keller placing her hands on the First Lady’s mouth in order to communicate with her.

  • I. King Jordan

    Portrays the first deaf president of the nation’s premier institute for higher education for the deaf, Gallaudet University.

  • Interview with Bernard Bragg

    Focuses on Bragg’s life and dreams from his growing up in New York City during the Depression, studying with Marcel Marceau in Paris, performances in night clubs and on TV, to his role in the founding of the National Theatre of the Deaf. Interview conducted by Robert Panara and told in sign language.

  • An Interview with Dr. Malcolm J. Norwood

    In December of 1979, as a project at the University of Maryland, Karen Brickett interviewed Dr. Malcolm (Mac) J. Norwood, the “Father of Closed Captioning.” Dr. Norwood relates how 10% of the general population would not accept captions on their TV screens, which necessitated the development of a closed-captioning system. He discusses the postponement of decoder sales until March of 1980, estimates of the number of potential viewers of closed-captioned TV, predicts 22 to 22½ hours of captioned programs will be available by the end of 1980, discusses the development of two captioning centers on the East Coast and West Coast, and addresses other exciting developments. This 25-minute production is the only known video of Dr. Norwood. Thanks to Karen Brickett Russell for sharing this record of captioning history.

  • The LACD Story

    Presents the story of the closing of the Los Angeles Club of the Deaf (LACD). Highlights the past history of the LACD and what it has meant to its members. Offers a look at Deaf culture from the insiders’ point of view.

  • Laurent Clerc (1785–1869)

    Reviews the life of Laurent Clerc, a deaf man, who became the first instructor of the deaf in America. Tells how he and Thomas Gallaudet brought sign language to America from France and established the first permanent school for the deaf in Hartford, Connecticut. Includes interviews with historians and deaf educators. Signed, voiced, subtitled.

  • The Miracle Worker (1979)

    Helen Keller’s loss of vision and hearing in infancy made comprehension of the outside world next to impossible—or so it seemed. When teacher Anne Sullivan agreed to work with Keller, that world opened up, and they both learned essential life-altering lessons. Teaching the values of patience, tolerance, and compassion, together they made the name Helen Keller synonymous with the education of the deaf and blind. An icon while living and a legend decades after she passed away, Helen Keller accomplished the impossible and inspired the world. Stars Melissa Gilbert as Helen Keller and Patty Duke in the Emmy–winning performance as Anne Sullivan. Based on the play of the same name by William Gibson. Made for TV.

  • The Miracle Worker (2000)

    Disney’s new adaptation of the classic biographical story of a deafblind girl, Helen Keller, and her lifelong teacher, Annie Sullivan. Describes how Annie teaches Helen to understand words. Based on the play by William Gibson. Made for TV.

  • The Ragin’ Cajun

    Neurologist/author Oliver Sacks tells the story of Danny Delcambre, a Cajun chef, who suffers from Usher Syndrome, a congenital condition where people are born deaf and then gradually lose their sight. Explores the nature of deaf culture and the richness of American Sign Language, which includes a touch-based variation called “tactile signing.” Reveals a portrait of a community of deaf-blind people who find strength in facing the future together. A BBC production.

  • Robert Panara: A Profile

    Robert F. Panara is a legendary professor of English, literature, and theater. He is also known as a poet, historian, drama-club coach, and authority on deaf figures in literature. Shot at Johnson County Community College (Kansas) in 1984 during a workshop Dr. Panara was conducting, the production is divided into two parts. In the first, Panara provides an overview of the establishment of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), for which he was hired as the first deaf professor, and how he taught both deaf and hearing students in the same class. He also started the theater department at NTID and helped found the National Theatre of the Deaf. In the second part, he performs creative interpretation of literature in sign language, including his own “On His Deafness.” Dr. Panara demonstrates how he has inspired countless others to tackle the supposedly “inaccessible” and “challenging” literary genre of poetry and make it fun and enriching. Video provided courtesy of Robert F. Panara.

  • United States of ASL Poetry… And Other Tales

    Peter Cook, a Deaf performing artist, tells original stories in ASL, pantomime, and movement. Includes “Batman,” “It’s Not Easy to Be Deaf,” and “My First Word,” as well as many others.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5

Flyers

We encourage you to download and print/share our promotional flyers with others who are (or should be) interested in deaf history and captioning!

  • Flyer 1 Title

    Flyer 1 Title

  • Flyer 2 Title

    Flyer 2 Title

  • Flyer 3 Title

    Flyer 3 Title

Trivia Quiz: History of Captioning

Captioning on television, movies, and educational media has become an important element in deaf history. Though its widespread availability is a relatively recent development, there is a great volume of history with regard to captioning, both in the United States and around the world. Explore the free DCMP resources linked in conjunction with each quiz question below to learn more about the history of this vital accessibility feature.

Your Score:questions answered correctly out of/10

  1. What deaf silent films actor developed the first method of captioning of a film in 1947 (by putting captions between picture frames)? To find out, take a look at page 1 of DCMP’s Captioning Timeline Highlights [PDF].
  2. What two residential school superintendents started captioning in America through a private business called Captioned Films for the Deaf (CFD)? To find out, take a look at page 4 of Captioned Films for the Deaf [PDF].
  3. What famous movie actress served on the CFD board? To find out, take a look at page 3 of How Bird Hunting In North Carolina Saved Captioning [PDF].
  4. What U.S. Senator from Maine sponsored legislation in 1962 to authorize federal support for the captioning of educational films? To find out, take a look at page 2 of The Logic of the Motion Picture in the Classroom: Films in Schools for the Deaf (1915–1965) [PDF].
  5. What was the title of the first captioned educational film? To find out, take a look at its lesson guide [PDF] or watch it on our YouTube channel.
  6. How many deaf people had to be in a group to watch a captioned movie from Captioned Films for the Deaf in 1962? To find out, take a look at Organizations: National Efforts Related to Deafness [PDF].
  7. Who sold the first television closed captioning decoder, and what was it called? To find out, take a look at page 1 of Closed-Caption Television: Today and Tomorrow [PDF].
  8. In what year were the first closed-captioned TV programs broadcast on NBC, ABC, and PBS? To find out, take a look at page 5 of Captioning for Deaf People: A Historical Overview [PDF].
  9. Who is the “father of closed captioning”? To find out, take a look at this article by Shane Feldman [PDF] or watch this video on the DCMP YouTube channel.
  10. In 1982, two programs were among the first to be closed captioned in real-time. What were they? To find out, take a look at page 2 of Real-Time Closed-Captioned Television as an Educational Tool [PDF].
dcmp, history