Péreire (Pereira), Jacob Rodrigues

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PÉREIRE (Pereira ), JACOB RODRIGUES (1715–1780), French educator of deaf-mutes and communal leader. Péreire was born into a Marrano family in Berlanga, Spain. After his father's death, Péreire was taken by his mother to France, and they returned to Judaism. Péreire's studies in anatomy and physiology helped him in his work as the first French educator of congenital deaf-mutes. He taught deaf-mutes to communicate by articulating sounds and lip-reading rather than by the use of signs. He strove to educate pupils, regardless of their social class, to the maximum level of ability in relation to their probable future. His achievements brought him great distinction and a grant by King Louis xv. Other educators were inspired by Péreire's work to efforts along similar lines, the best known of them being Edouard Séguin, a pioneer in the education of deaf-mutes. Péreire also gained distinction in other fields. A mathematical invention won him an annual pension and in 1753 his proposals for increasing the speed of sailing vessels received honorable mention. Péreire was active in Jewish life. In 1749 he became the voluntary counselor of the Sephardi community in Paris, and in 1761 was appointed officially to the position. Péreire himself wrote little, but his thought, as transmitted by Séguin, has received recognition in the educational writings of the 20th century. His works comprise a study of the articulation and vocabulary of a Tahitian native (1772) and Observations sur les Sourds et Muets, published by the Académie Royale des Sciences in 1778. His grandsons were Emile and Isaac *Péreire.


W. Boyd, From Locke to Montessori (1914), 36–41; J. Fynne, Montessori and her Inspirers (1924), 13–62; E. Séguin, Jacob Rodrigues Péreire… (Fr., 1847); F. Hément, Jacob Rodrigues Péreire… (Fr., 1875); F. Manuel Alves, Os judeus no distrito de Braganca (1925), xcviii–civ; La Rochelle, in: rej, 4 (1882), 150ff.; L. Kahn, Les Juifs à Paris (1889), 52, 54, 58–59.

[William W. Brickman]