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electric telegraph was in its beginnings, Mr. Kendall, Mr. B. B. French, and a few others had an active part in making it a commercial success, being directors in the first company ever formed in the world, organized to build the line between Washington and Philadelphia. Mr. Kendall's connection with this enterprise was the basis of his fortune. Physically he was spare and slight of figure, with a kindly face, and courteous, gentle manners; and was in all respects unlike the person his political enemies described him to be. He was a noted politician, and from 1835 to 1810 was a member of Van Buren's cabinet as Postmaster-General. It is related that when he retired from office he was so poor that he was obliged to sell the horses and carriage he had used while in official life, and was even under the necessity of borrowing the means to supply the daily needs of his household.
By the act of February 16, 1857, the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind was incorporated, and on June 13 of that year the institution was opened in two houses on Kendall Green. One of these houses, together with 2 acres of ground, was given by Mr. Kendall, who acted as president from 1857 to 1864. The superintendent was Edward Miner Gallaudet,' and soon after he was assisted by his mother, Mrs. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, as matron, and by James Denison as instructor of the deaf, and Mrs. Maria M. Eddy as teacher of the blind. The 5 deaf-mutes from New York comprised the first scholars, and during the year 7 other deafmutes and 6 blind children were admitted.
It was provided in the charter that the institution should receive $150 a year for each indigent pupil from the District of Columbia, the amount to be paid from the Treasury of the United States whenever the Secretary of the Interior should be satisfied by evidence submitted by the president of the institution that any deaf, dumb, or blind person of teachable age properly belonging to the District of Columbia could not command the means to secure an education. The amount thus paid during the first year was $1,600.75; the second year it was $2,380.40, and the third year $2,671.56. By the act of May 29, 1853,
Dr. Edward Miner Gallaudet was born in Hartford, Conn., Febrnary 5, 1837. His father, Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (born at Philadelphia, December 10, 1787; died at Hartford, Conn., September 10, 1851) founded at Hartford the first deafmute institution in America; he resigued the principalslip of the institution in 1830, and from 1838 until his death was chaplain of the Connecticut Retreat for the Insane, at Hartford, Conn. Rev. Thomas Gallaudet, a brother of E. M. Gallaudet, was an instructor in the New York Institution for thie Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, from 1813 to 1838; he founded St. Ann's Church for Deaf-Mutes in 1852 and became manager of the Church Mission to Deaf. Mutes in 1872. Dr. E. M. Gallaudet is a graduate of Trinity College (class of 1856), Hartford, Conn.
He was instructor at the Hartford institution at the time when, at the age of 20 years, he was called to Washington by Mr. Kendall, in 1857. From his college days he had planned a college on the lines of the Columbia Institution.— The Century Dictionary of Vames.
however, Congress granted $3,000 per annum for five years for the salaries and incidental expenses of the institution, and provided for the free admission of deaf and dumb or blind children of men in the military or naval service of the United States.
In 1859 a substantial brick building, erected by Mr. Kendall at a cost of $8,000, was added to the resources of the institution, and in 1860 the funds were increased by $4,000 by a transfer of the invested moneys of the Washington Manual Labor School and Male Orphan Asylum, an organization that had never undertaken to realize the objects of its foundation, and that now sought an efficient means of carrying out the trust imposed upon it. The income of this fund has been used to promote industrial education, and in 1862 a cabinet shop was established
In 1862 Congress practically assumed the support of the institution. The appropriation for the payment of salaries and incidental expenses was increased to $4,400, and $9,000 was appropriated to build, furnish, and fit up two additions to the buildings. The pupils at this time numbered 41, of whom 35 were deaf-mutes, and 6 were blind. During the succeeding year a gas plant and steam-heating apparatus were supplied at a cost to the Treasury of $3,720.
In 1864 the institution took a long step forward, both in the scope of its instruction and also in its equipment. By the act of April 8 the board of directors were empowered “to grant and confirm such degrees in the liberal arts and sciences to such pupils of the institution, or others, wlio, by their proficiency in learning, or other meritorious distinction, they shall think entitled to them, as are usually granted avd conferred in colleges, and to grant to such graduates diplomas or certificates sealed and sigued in such manner as said board of directors may determine, to authenticate and perpetuate the memory of such graduation." If the distinguish ex-officio patron of the institution, President Abrabam Lincoln, read the act before he signed it, he must have been amazed at the style of the English Congress used to make a college out of a school; but confused phraseology could not impede the manifest destiny of the Columbia Institution as conceived by its indefatigable superintendent.
Three months after having opened the way to higher education Congress appropriated $26,000 “for the purchase of a tract of improved land, containing about 13 acres, bordering on Boundary street, of the city of Washington, and adjoining the lot now belonging to the institution, to enable it to instruct the male pupils in horticulture and agriculture, and to furnish sites for mechanic shops and other necessary buildings." To this was added $3,200 to supply Potomac water; and the allowance for salaries and expenses was increased to $7,500.
In anticipation of these appropriations of July 2, the department for the higher education of the deaf was publicly inaugurated on June 23, and subsequently became known as the National Deaf-Mute College.
Act of June 13, 1860.