Deaf notables, leaders, movers and shakers, and their hearing allies of the 19th century and earlier make a difference of the people's lives or make great contributions to the Deaf community and society. This is not an exhaustive list. Only a few of so many.
Laurent Clerc (1785-1869) was a Deaf teacher in Prais, France. He moved to America where he and Thomas Gallaudet helped found America's first school for the deaf. He also was America's first deaf teacher.
Alice Cogswell (1805-1930) was the first pupil in the first American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut. She is an important symbol of Deaf education and history in America.
William Hoy, commonly known as Dummy Hoy (1862-1961) is the first deaf Major League baseball player in the U.S.
Jean Massieu (1772-1846) was a pioneering Deaf educator at the famous school for the Deaf in Paris, France, where Laurent Clerc was one of his pupils.
Granville Redmond (1871-1935): an American landscape painter, was an occasional actor with his friend/actor Charlie Chaplin.
Erastus Smith (1787-1837) commonly known as "Deaf Smith" is a famous American deaf person for his significant role as a scout, soldier, spy and hero in the Texas Revolution.
Douglas Tilden (1860-1935) was a world-famous American sculptor, known as the "Michelangelo of the West." Tilden became deaf at the age of four and attended the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley, California.
Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (1787-1851): a pioneer in American deaf education; the co-founder of the first permanent school for the deaf in America (with Laurent Clerc).