The First Deaf Woman and a Valediction


143 years ago today, Agatha Tiegel Hanson was born and ended up as the top student in her class at National Deaf-Mute College that is now Gallaudet University. She was the first woman to earn a four-year Bachelor of Arts degree. She was selected as a valediction and signed a powerful statement called The Intellect of Woman which I am sure that it had rocked the graduation that day. She passed away in my beloved city, Portland, Oregon.



4 responses

  1. Concerned Deaf Citizen | Reply

    “Agatha knew she was fortunate to receive an education and she used the knowledge acquired to propel women forward. In 1892 she helped to establish O.W.L.S., a secret women’s society now known as Phi Kappa Zeta Sorority.”

    Yup, I am a proud member of PKZ 😉

    1. Yeah, good to know that! I know couple of friends who are in PKZ. I loved Agatha’s writing. A true poet.

  2. Concerned Deaf Citizen | Reply

    I forgot that Agatha taught at the Minnesota School for the Deaf (now Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf), my alma mater, for six years before she married Olof Hanson, a famous deaf architect.

    “After graduation, Agatha taught at the Minnesota School for the Deaf in Faribault, Minn., for 6 years until she met her husband, Olof Hanson, a noted deaf architect who graduated from Gallaudet in 1886 and was honored as April’s Visionary Leader. Agatha was a lifelong learner and wrote several well-known poems, “Inner Music” and “Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet.” After they were married, Agatha and Olof relocated to Washington State.”

    1. Yeah, I knew about that part, too. Grins! I know that they lived in Great Pacific Northwest–the place I bred and buttered all my life. When I was living in Portland, I tried to look for places where Agatha would hang out, for example, her favorite coffee shop or even a bookstore or something. She was difficult to find. 🙂

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