This page is to honor departed Deaf women who created works in visual art, film, theatre, literature (signed and/or written), movement and more. Send us a message if you know of someone who should be added. For more information on Deaf Women’s Herstory – go to
https://deafwomeninhistory.wordpress.com/ – created and curated by Karen Christie.
Camille Tissier Gaillard (1875-1909) French Artist & Poet. Published in La Silencieuse Black and white cropped photo of Camille’s face and long image of Camille illustration of a woman signing “Deaf” with flowing long hair, ribbon and gown while holding a long plant. French text on the ribbon “in memory of Abbe de L’Epee 1897 The Deaf Mutes of France.” Close up image of the face from the same illustration Photo from Yann et Angelique Cantin’s Dictionnaire Biographique Des Grands Sourds EnFranceSurdists United Departed Deaf Women Surdists Geraldine “Jerrie” Lawhorn (1916-2016) Black DeafBlind performer, actor, pianist and teacher. First Black DeafBlind person to earn a Bachelors Degree. Black and white photo of Jerrie with her dog, Blondie. Color photo of older Jerrie in a wheelchair with a Black woman standing behind her. With text “Geraldine Lawhorn receiving a price from the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired. In the top right-hand corner, her longtime interpreter Charita Graham” Photo from Hadley Institute
Sarah Adams (1869-1894) Self portrait (drawing) Artist & teacher who attended Rochester School for the Deaf (RSD). Died at 25 Paintings by Sarah Adams of Thomas H. Gallaudet, educator of Deaf students, and Beethoven, Deaf composer at RSD(drawing and more info from https://deafwomeninhistory.wordpress.com/deaf-woment-and…/ paintings from https://deaf-art.org/profiles/sarah-taylor-adams/ Video explaining more about Sarah Taylor Adams – ASL by Dorothy M. Wilkins research by KC Karen Christie https://youtu.be/4dy3vI_0fak
Frances (1854-1941) & Mary (1858-1941) Allen Sisters Both sisters ever married, took up professional photography after they became Deaf. Although the Allen sisters were 4 years apart in age, they died 4 days apart. (black and white portrait photos of Frances and Mary and examples of their photography “The Foremost Women Photographers in America” Photo of a tall man standing in a doorway with two small children looking up at him, two women talking in a doorway, a woman carrying a child, a woman with a white head wrapping, woman walking down steps in long dress) for more info on the Allen sisters go to https://deaf-art.org/profiles/allen-sisters/
Teresa de Cartagena (1425-?) Spanish Deaf woman writer who became a nun. “ She asserted that being Deaf was God-given and a blessing.” Photo of woman with nun habit, cover of two books
Florita “Flo” Tellez Corey (1921-2014) First Deaf professional Spanish and Mexican dancer. Raised money for war bonds by performing on USO tours during World War II. (Photo with Hearing Dance Partner Images from Silent Worker, 1949) Black and White photo of Florita with Hearing dance partner, she is has large flowers in her hair and a cross necklace, large professional photo of Florita in Spanish dancing dress with flowers and veil headdress.Did you know that? ASL video about Florita https://youtu.be/AhRT81GL7zI
Rita Corey (1953-2020) Mexican American Deaf actor, dancer, signed song performer and teacher. Rita followed in her mother’s, Florita Tellez Corey, dance-steps by becoming a skilled dancer and performer. First Deaf person to get a MFA in stage directing (Catholic University). She was a member of Musign in the 1980s and several video programs for children. (Photos from Deaf Women United – headshot of a young Rita looking at camera with dark eyes and hair, Rita, wearing a long white dress is leaning back in the arms of Joe Sharpey (NTD?)). Daily Moth obit for Rita https://youtu.be/YdiMaJrAOzY?t=557
Phyllis Frelich (1944-2014) Actor & Advocate. Won a TonyAward for her performance in Children of a Lesser God, which was written specifically for her and an Emmy Award for Love is Never Silent. Appeared in many plays and TV shows. Advocated for Deaf actors for Deaf roles. Black and white photo – Phyllis Frelich and John Rubinstein, stars of the Broadway play “Children of a Lesser God,” in 1980. (Richard Drew/AP) Color still image from Deaf Mosaic of Phyllis signing and smiling with captions “ability to emulate the hearing.”
Angeline Fuller-Fischer (1841-1925) Poet, writer and advocate for women’s rights, including the right to attend Gallaudet University. (photo of older Angie from Deafwomenhistory.wordpress.com) Photo of old book Women in Sacred Song and Angie’s A Charge poem) link to pdf of “A Charge” Poem
Louis Wasler Gaillard (1879-1920) French Poet, Writer and Activist. Named the Joan of Arc of the Deaf due to her defense of sign language. Library named in her honor. [https://youtu.be/]( https://youtu.be/5L0J8F1qTzw)%5B5L0J8F1qTzw%5D(https://youtu.be/5L0J8F1qTzw) English https://deafwomeninhistory.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/waller-gaillard-louise-video-translation.pdf Scroll down to Wasler for more links and info at Deaf Women Herstory website by Karen Christie https://deafwomeninhistory.wordpress.com/deaf-women-advocates
Ethel Zoe Taylor Hall (1878-1966) Artist First Deaf First Lady of Gallaudet Married to the 2nd President of Gallaudet, Percival Hall (Hearing) Black and white graduation photo of Ethel and family picture (her two sons became teachers at Gallaudet and her daughter became a writer) From A House, A Heritage – House One https://media.gallaudet.edu/media/ Charcoal artworks – one of a child playing with a bowl of water and one of a bust of a Greek Soldier from Gallaudet University
Rosa Halpen (1861-1939) Writer and Teacher. One of the first students & graduates of Rochester School for the Deaf. Rosa taught at RSD and also wrote its history. Attended Gallaudet College for 2 years. Spent 38 years at RSD. Photos from RSD archives (portrait photo of an older Halpen in profile and younger Halpen with her class at RSD sitting outside in a semi-circle) More info at https://usdeafhistory.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/halpen-rosa-3finaltextbio. pdf
Helen Heckman (1898-1975) Dancer, in elaborate costumes, who toured US and Europe in the 1920s. Wrote a memoir My Life Transformed. Black and white photos of Helen in dance poises one is from the cover of Art and Life magazine.
Regina Olson Hughes (1895-1993) Botany Illustrator, Teacher, Clerk, and Translator. Worked for US State and Agriculture Depts and Smithsonian Cropped black and white photo of Regina Hughes looking over her sketch, Journal of the Bromeliad Society, Volume XXXIII, Jnauary-February 1983, Number 1. Colored and black and white illustration of plants
Geraldine “Jerrie” Lawhorn (1916-2016) Black DeafBlind performer, actor, pianist and teacher. First Black DeafBlind person to earn a Bachelors Degree. Black and white photo of Jerrie with her dog, Blondie. Color photo of older Jerrie in a wheelchair with a Black woman standing behind her. With text “Geraldine Lawhorn receiving a price from the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired. In the top right-hand corner, her longtime interpreter Charita Graham” Photo from Hadley Institute
Ella Black Long Teacher, writerand photographer. Wrote column “Stray Straws” for The Silent Worker for more than 10 years. Photographed and Illustrated The Sign Language: A Manual of Signs, which was written by her husband, J.Schuyler Long Black and white photos of a woman in a white dress signing the Lords Prayer with some illustrations showing the direction of the hand movement and a young girl signing a sentence.
Nathie Marbury (1944-2013) Master ASL storyteller and performer, educator, and leader. Doctoral degree in Deaf Studies / Deaf Education. (Color headshot of Nathie wearing classes and still images from the two videos below) Common Sense? Story https://youtu.be/BTAGAd91VH0 Tactile Mind Press Ajax story https://youtu.be/X3NlhoaUljU Tactile Mind Press
Mary Herring Wright (1924-2018) Teacher at NC School for Black Deaf and Blind Students Clerk at the US Department of the Navy during WW II Author of two autobiographies – Sounds Like Home:Growing UP Black and Deaf in the South and Far from Home: Memories of World war II and Afterward (Photos of a smiling Mary from Gallaudet’s Black ASL Project – NC and covers of her two books). Interview with Carolyn McCaskill for the Black ASL Project https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zH_zudU034