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When I Am Dead: The Writings of George M. Teegarden (Gallaudet Classics in Deaf Studies Series, Vol. 6) written by Raymond Luczak


When I Am Dead: The Writings of George M. Teegarden (Gallaudet Classics in Deaf Studies Series, Vol. 6) written by Raymond Luczak


The Sixth Volume in the Gallaudet Classics in Deaf Studies Series

George M. Teegarden (1852-1936) taught at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf for 48 years, established the printing department, and also served as the first editor of the school’s magazine. Despite these significant contributions, his greatest gift to deaf people was his skill as a writer and poet who was deaf, as readers will discover in When I Am Dead: The Writings of George M. Teegarden.

Editor Raymond Luczak selected Teegarden’s prose in When I Am Dead from several books, including Raindrop, and Stories, Old and New. Noting that these stories were never written for hearing readers, Luczak marvels at Teegarden’s ability to write English prose that the ASL-familiar reader would find incredibly easy to transliterate. By employing a rich blend of original stories and revisions of fables and myths, Teegarden taught his students the importance of improving their reading and writing skills to outfit them “for the battle of life.” He produced a body of work that Luczak characterizes as “a breath of fresh air: quick, painless, and usually told with a sense of wonder.”

Luczak’s choice of poems came from Teegarden’s self-published volume Vagrant Verses, a summation of his affection for Gallaudet College, the Deaf community, and all deaf people. The eponymous poem “When I Am Dead” articulates concisely the beliefs that directed Teegarden’s life of service:

“When I am dead, I hope to be Remembered—this is true—
Not for my wit or vanities But what I did for you.”


The sixth of the Gallaudet Classics in Deaf Studies presents the “short shorts,” stories, and poetry by Teegarden, a deaf teacher in late 19th and early 20th century Pennsylvania.

Publishers Weekly

An enlightening and engaging collection of photographs and historical accounts is interspersed with personal anecdotes in this companion to a PBS documentary of the same name scheduled to air March 21. This is an ideal introduction for anyone who has ever puzzled over the difference between deaf and Deaf (the latter refers to deaf culture). How a physical disability leads to a culture is a fascinating process, one the writers reveal by exploring the history of deaf education, the development of a Deaf community, the contentious debate that arose in the 19th century between oralists (who favored the use of lipreading and speech) and those who supported sign language, and the battle to convince the hearing world that an inability to hear was not tantamount to an inability to think and learn. Given these elements, the development of Deaf culture was inevitable. Even today, when technological advances have made it possible for the deaf and hearing communities to communicate more easily, there are still deaf people who prefer to remain within their world. Whether you agree or disagree with that philosophy, there's no question this book provides a context to better understand it. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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Title: When I Am Dead: The Writings of George M. Teegarden (Gallaudet Classics in Deaf Studies Series, Vol. 6)

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