A Utopia for the Deaf in Martha's Vineyard
December 30, 2016 8:19 AM   Subscribe

Once upon a time, in Martha's Vineyard, everyone spoke sign language. The nearly forgotten story of Martha's Vineyard Sign Language. (Via Atlas Obscura)
posted by DirtyOldTown (5 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Absolutely fascinating.
posted by Songdog at 9:31 AM on December 30, 2016

There's a bit about Martha's Vineyard in Oliver Sacks' very readable book Seeing Voices. He references a 1985 book Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language: Hereditary Deafness on Martha's Vineyard by Nora Ellen Groce, a medical anthropologist. That book is based on her PhD work at Brown. There's a short article by her online.
posted by Nelson at 10:13 AM on December 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Cool! Long ago I took an intro ASL course and the instructor gave us lots of readings on the history of ASL and the Deaf community. It's neat to be reminded of MVSL again.
posted by bluebelle at 5:36 PM on December 30, 2016

This 1850 census from Chilmark cites "deaf and dumb" on the far right increasingly as you scroll down. I'm trying to remember one or two other books written about it.
posted by vrakatar at 6:14 PM on December 30, 2016

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