Moylan Handwriting

About This Project

A brief caveat on terminology: this site will address the subject of deafness and disability from a cultural perspective rather than a medical model. A medical model emphasizes pathology, identifies deafness as a problem and marks deaf bodies as different. Rather in this text, deaf people are defined as members of a unique cultural and linguistic community. Beginning with James Woodward, scholars in the field of Deaf Studies and Deaf History adopted a naming convention that makes this distinction clear; “deaf” (with a lowercase “d” was used to denote the audiological condition of deafness, while “Deaf” (with a capital “D”) was used to refer to individuals who share a cultural and linguistic affiliation.1 Throughout this work, this convention is not utilized. This decision was made as part of a wider effort to recognize and unpack the” D/d” model as a twentieth century convention that refers to a particular configuration of identity categories and experiences. Given the barriers that black deaf people experienced in accessing mainstream white deaf culture and a lack of materials that indicate their self-identification, “deaf” as an inclusive term is used to refer to members of the American deaf community across a spectrum of hearing and language abilities.

In creating this website I am not claiming this history as my own. It belongs to the myriad deaf congregants and community members that participated in the construction of a broad ministry. Rather the ambition of this project is to demonstrate the way in which digital tools may be utilized to access hidden histories and place these in the hands of community members. Toward this aim, I have worked to create links to the materials I have sourced and encourage others to continue this research.

About The Author

I am a first-year PhD student at George Mason University. This website serves as the final project for Clio Wired II in spring 2014. I graduated from Gallaudet University in 2011 with dual Masters degrees in Deaf History and Deaf Cultural Studies. My research interests lay at the intersection of religion and the deaf community in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.


Header Image, cover page, Daniel E. Moylan, “Early Church Reports of Rev. D.E. Moylan,” Church Register 1905-1906 (Baltimore, Maryland, 1905) Christ United Methodist Church for the Deaf Archives.

1. Carol Padden and Tom Humphries, “Learning to Be Deaf,” in Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988) 2.