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Garrett, Emma (c. 1846–1893)

Garrett, Emma (c. 1846–1893)

American educator of the deaf. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, c. 1846; died in Chicago, Illinois, July 18, 1893, jumping from a hotel window; one of at least 6 children of Henry (businessman) and Caroline Rush (Cole) Garrett; younger sister of Mary Smith Garrett (1839–1925); graduated from Alexander Graham Bell's course for teachers of the deaf at Boston University School of Oratory, 1878; never married; no children.

Began teaching at Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb (1878), at Mount Airy; as a champion of Bell's innovative approach of teaching deaf students to speak and read lips instead of signing, was put in charge of the new Oral Branch of the institution (1881); also began to teach summer courses that year in the techniques of speech instruction for other teachers; addressed the convention of American Instructors of the Deaf and Dumb (1882), urging them to support the new vocal method; after convincing civic leaders from Scranton that the new school for the deaf which they were planning should teach the oral method, was named principal of the new facility, called the Pennsylvania Oral School for Deaf-Mutes (1884); headed a campaign for a new school building (completed in 1888); with sister Mary, established the Pennsylvania Home for the Training in Speech of Deaf Children Before They Are of School Age, which opened with 15 children in temporary quarters (later known as the Bala Home).

See also Women in World History.

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