Personal tools

Interested in disability history? Check out what happened Today in AT History!

Thomas Lewis Brown

From ATWiki

Jump to: navigation, search

Thomas Lewis Brown (February 25, 1804 - ), also known as Thomas Brown, Jr. was one, if not the first, of the great American deaf leaders.



Thomas Brown, Jr. was born to Nahum Brown and Abiah Eastman Brown. Thomas was born deaf, as was his father and his sister, Persis. His father worked extremely hard, but never learned to read or write. He communicated through "natural sign", instead. Thomas' mother, Abiah was hearing and served as a translator for his father.[1]


Thomas Brown attended the first school for the Deaf in 1822. The town of Henniker paid for his schooling until the New Hampshire legislature began to pay for deaf pupils. While in school, Thomas studied under Laurent Clerc, a deaf Frenchman, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, a hearing American, and Harvey Peet.

First Enduring Deaf Organization

Thomas gathered a group of his friends in his father's living room. There they formed the first enduring Deaf organization in the United States, the New England Gallaudet Association of Deaf Mutes, now known as the National Association of the Deaf.


  1. Emmorey,Karen and Harlan L. Lane.The Signs of Language Revisited : An Anthology in Honor of Ursula Bellugi and Edward Klima. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 2000.