Nineteenth-Century Disability:  Cultures & Contexts

1798 to 1837

Items in the 1798 to 1837 Collection

The Prelude

…lost Amid the moving pageant, ‘twas my chance Abruptly to be smitten with the view Of a blind Beggar, who, with upright face, Stood propp’d against a Wall, upon his Chest Wearing a written paper, to explain The story of the Man, and who he…

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

Clopin Trouillefou, who had been a candidate [for Pope of Fools] — and God knows what intensity of ugliness his features could attain — confessed himself conquered. We shall do the same: we shall not attempt to give the reader any idea of that…

Webster’s Otaphone, a Patented Hearing Aid

[Webster's Otaphone] supports the depressed parts of the auricle, and thereby conveying more vibrations to the inner ear, derives its name from [ota] the ear, and [phone] sound. It is formed of pure silver, doubly gilt, which, taking the exact shape…

The York Retreat

The female patients in the Retreat, are employed, as much as possible, in sewing, knitting, or domestic affairs; and several of the convalescents assist the attendants. Of all the modes by which the patients may be induced to restrain themselves,…

A Red Conversation Tube
A conversation tube is a non-electric, acoustic device designed to amplify sounds for deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals and is constructed of a flexible tube with a mouthpiece at one end and an ear piece at the other. The device dates to the…

Self-Portrait William Dunlap
In these self-portrait miniatures the American painter William Dunlap (1766-1839) depicts the visible sign of his disability: permanent blindness of the right eye resulting from a childhood accident. Dunlap turned his damaged eye away from the viewer…

History of the Rise and Progress of the Art of Design in the United States

While Trumbull and Stuart were together as pupils of Mr. West, Stuart being the senior student, and more advanced in the art, Trumbull frequently submitted his works to him for the benefit of his remarks. Stuart told Mr. Sully, from whom we derive…

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