Julia Brace

Julia Brace, a deaf, dumb, and blind woman, who died in August, 1884, in

her seventy-eighth year, was well known all over America, at least

wherever attention has been paid to the education of deaf mutes. In the

year 1810, when about four years old, she lost her sight and hearing

from malignant sickness. At that time there was no school for deaf

mutes. It was not until after she was turned nineteen years that she

entered school, and she remained there between twenty and twenty-five

years. During her long stay at the school her case always attracted

particularly interesting attention on the part of visitors. In many ways

she could render much service in the daily work of the Institution. She

could even distinguish clothes belonging to different pupils, and was

therefore employed in sorting and putting them away. She had a good many

curious and amusing ways. For instance, when girl-pupils, dressing, took

their turns before the looking glass to comb up their hair, she always

insisted on having her turn, and would stand there to comb hers like any

one else. But one thing was noticeable. She had a very clear notion of

her own rights, and would not allow any interference with them.

Sometimes her idea of a personal right was rather out of a common

course, but she had no question about it, and probably could not see how

any one should have.

Her case is not to be compared with that of Laura Bridgman, who

possessed mental powers of a higher order. She had not got the benefit

of early, assiduous, and special care that was given to the latter, and

probably she had a much less acute mental constitution at the outset of

her education. Her education began late, and at a time when very little

was known of the proper way of education for a case like hers; and she

consequently did not make much progress in language. However, it has

been found quite easy to communicate with her as to all the common

events of her daily life.

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