In 1874, Kentucky School for the Deaf began publishing a weekly in-house newspaper, The Kentucky Deaf-Mute, to give the male students an opportunity to learn the printing trade. KSD published the newspaper continuously from 1874 to 2004 with only a name change in 1895 to the Kentucky Standard for the Deaf.
From 1883 until 1937 George M. McClure was the editor of the paper. His relationships with students and wide connections with schools for the deaf throughout the country give a glimpse of the life of students and staff in a residential school for the deaf and show how the community touched the lives of students and staff at the school.
Jacobs Hall Museum volunteers take excerpts from the campus news found in the Deaf-Mute and Standard from 125 years ago (1887), 100 years ago (1912) and 75 years ago (1937) available to the community each month in “Looking Back at KSD’s Past.”
From The Kentucky Deaf-Mute, January 1887
Professor Leviticus Eddy personated Santa Clause, and wriggled down the chimney with skill and grace. Everyone present was delighted!
The social events of the season in Danville were the elegant entertainments given by Mrs. Argo to close out the old year. Friday afternoon, Dec. 31st, she entertained the married ladies at a tea, and in the evening, a party was given for the young folks at which the elite of the city, besides quite a number of visitors from other points were present. Mrs. Argo is a charming hostess, and all of her guests had an evening of rare enjoyment.
Dr. Nelson, professor in Centre College, visited the Institution and colored department a few days ago. He was shown by Supt. Argo through the buildings and workshops and expressed himself as much pleased with what he saw.
Another pupil was received at the Colored Department last Saturday. This makes a present attendance of twenty-one, besides which two or three others have been under instruction since school opened last September. It is evident that the number of colored deaf mutes in the State is greater than was supposed when the Institution was founded, for most of those present come from this immediate vicinity, and if other sections of the State have the same number in proportion to population, and if they attend school here, this department will speedily grow to quite a respectable size.
From The Kentucky Standard, January 1912
The holidays began at noon Friday Dec. 23rd and continued until Wednesday morning. The colored boys and girls had the time of their lives. Friday morning we were taken over to the white school by Mr. Blount and Mrs. Sophia Reed. There was a great big tree in one of the many school rooms. We saw a beautiful tree, it was filled with beautiful things and our little girls and boys enjoyed the pretty sight. Supt. Rogers and Miss Ethel Hilliard were very kind to let us come over and see the tree. The teachers were very kind and good to us. They gave each of us some candy. When we returned to our school-rooms we found Santa Claus had been there but had left. He left a letter telling us he was sorry he could not wait for us, but left some candy and fruits for the children. The little girls and boys believed Santa had really been there.
We have a long period of steady uninterrupted work before us. Only one more holiday – February 22nd, before the close of school.
We are under obligations of our neighbor, the Danville Messenger, for courtesies extended in getting out the Annual Report. Our job office lacks many things yet of being complete, and the Messenger kindly permitted us to draw on that office for what we needed.
Kentucky weather is like the little girl of which the nursery rhyme tells us, -- when she was good she was very good, but when she was bad she was horrid. It has been very cold here, but as it is mid-winter and the storm-king has had all other sections in his icy-clutch we are not making a kick at the cold so much as at the suddenness with which it came about. Monday morning the thermometer marked four degrees below zero; Monday at noon the temperature had risen to fifty above, and about the time the half-frozen citizens were beginning to get their marrows thawed out, and to unbutton their overcoats, the mercury started for the bottom and before the day was over it was once more below zero, making a journey of over a hundred degrees in eighteen hours.
Hon. Francis B. Douglas, Representative from Boyle County has introduced a bill in the Kentucky Legislature to increase the per capita for support of this school from $140 to $150. The high cost of living makes the increase imperative if the school is to keep abreast of similar schools elsewhere.
Saturday afternoon a crowd of boys paid a visit to the Opera House and saw the moving pictures “20 years at Sing Sing Prison” and “The War of ’61.”
Mr. Winston W. Wiseman, of our Board of Commissioners is receiving congratulations on his appointment as Collector of Internal Revenue of this district. The amount of revenue taken in at the Danville office runs into the millions every year, and Uncle Sam is exceedingly careful in his choice of a man for such an important post.
From The Kentucky Standard, January 1937
The Deaf Mississippian gives us an informal view of the employment situation for the Deaf. The survey reveals a large variety of lines of employment followed by the deaf. The editor notes, “The list lacks those pursuing agriculture because we have not been able to ascertain whether they are taken up as full-time or as part-time workers. However we know that the number pursuing agriculture and the branches is a large one and practically all have lost touch with us. The women are mostly engaged as garment factory workers and that list is likely to grow when Gov. White’s program (Mississippi) “to balance agriculture with industry” is realized. We found printing 21; shoe repair 27; garment workers 9; lumber industry 5; carpenters 4; drink industry 3; poultry raising 3; bricklayer 1; embalmer 1; painter 1; florist shop 1; broom industry 1; auto mechanic 1.
“New bleachers have been installed in our gymnasium which will seat 250 for our home games,” Bourbon Johnston reported.
“After a period of thirteen years this was my first time to go home for Christmas. I had a nice time at home with my folks and friends. The places everywhere I passed looked so changed from that which I had seen last fall because the trees were bare. The grass had turned light brown. Later in January she reported that “The warm moist weather has fooled the trees and grass into believing spring is here now.The grass never looked so green in winter as it does now.”
All the rivers of Kentucky are out of their banks and thousands of families have been driven from their houses by the high water. The situation at Louisville is especially tragic. Flood refugees have been sent to all the inland cities and towns to be fed and sheltered until the flood subsides. Mr. Ewing our baker has been doing his bit to help feed the flood refugees. He has made thousands of buns, which the school contributed to feed the destitute people brought in from the flooded sections. Ray and Ruben Chestnut, Thelbert Pearson and Carlie Woosley have been helping him in this good work.
Staff and students on campus “listened” to President Roosevelt’s inaugural address as he began his second term. They were able to tune into the radio station and interpreters were on hand to broadcast.