Deafie of the Week: Laurent Clerc!

Laurent Clerc


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Laurent Clerc, via Gallaudet University Archives

Do you know how American Sign Language came to be? We owe a lot to a man named Laurent Clerc! Clerc was born and raised in France, and became deaf at one years old after falling into a fire. (Ouch!) He attended and graduated school at the Royal Institution for the Deaf in Paris where he excelled and became an accomplished teacher. 

Clerc always claimed he would go back to his home country of France, but his plans changed after marrying one of his pupils Eliza Crocker Boardman, with whom he had six children. Clerc also appeared before the U.S. Congress and met President James Monroe! 

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of men like Laurent Clerc deaf Americans would eventually become ‘Deaf’ Americans, achieving a rich and expressive culture that we all know and love. 

Gallaudet University – Laurent Clerc