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Lydia Huntley Sigourney

Lydia SigourneyLydia Huntley Sigourney had a private school for girls in Hartford in 1815. She taught Alice Cogswell and her sisters along with other girls from Hartford.

The Cogswell sisters were in her school and that was how Lydia met Alice. She wrote, "I could not forget the varied expressions that Alice displayed in her hazel eyes to show her intelligence, naïveté, irony or love."

She wrote about how Alice was silent but loved in her class and she asked Lydia to..."'please teach Alice something.' Great was her delight when called forth to take her part." Lydia's heart was touched by Alice.

You can see a reenactment of Lydia meeting with Gallaudet and Dr. Cogswell by Clicking Here

She was a key player in founding the American School for the Deaf. Most of the meetings for starting A.S.D. were held in Lydia's classroom.

She also was a friend of Laurent Clerc and helped persuade him to stay at A.S.D and not return to France.

Lydia learned to finger-spell so she and Alice could communicate. She used the British two-handed method of fingerspelling with Alice. She paved the way for Alice's education.

Known as a pioneer for women's education and active in supporting Native American education, she also wrote many popular school textbooks.

She was one of America's most popular 19th century poets. Here's an example of a poem about a deaf student.