Important acquisitions

The book of signs

Author [William Agnew]
Title The book of signs
Imprint Glasgow : William Agnew
Date of Publication 1880?
Language English
Notes This is unrecorded pamphlet depicts signs to be used for communication with deaf people. The author/artist and publisher, William Agnew (1846-1914) was himself deaf and left school to become a bookbinder, and after nine years went to work for the 'semi-mute' printer Mr A.F. Strathern. He is best known for painting a series of pictures showing Queen Victoria using finger spelling to communicate with a deaf woman on the Isle of Wight. In the pamphlet text Agnew refers to the incident with Queen Victoria that the painting related to, he also mentions the use of sign language by native Americans. Agnew was a keen supporter of using sign-language for educating the deaf, as opposed to using systems based on using articulation and speech, the latter approach being favoured by leading educators of the time. In the pamphlet he argues that oral education of the deaf is ineffective and expensive compared with finger and sign methods. He subsequently became involved in the fundraising for the building of a new Institute for Deaf and Dumb Adults in Glasgow and West Scotland, that would rely on instruction through sign language. Queen Victoria contributed money, and funds from an 1891 grand bazaar raised enough to purchase a site for the new building, with Agnew being made a Director of the Institution.
Shelfmark AP.1.216.08
Reference Sources H Dominic, W Stiles, "Deaf artist William Agnew" https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/library-rnid/2011/12/20/deaf-artist-william-agnew/
Acquired on 20/11/15
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