Historical Chronology

Key highlights in IAD’s history is listed below in chronological order:

1877 – Rev. Frank Read, a graduate of the Illinois School for the Deaf in 1862, moves to have the first reunion of graduates and former students of the Illinois School for the Deaf. The reunion takes place at ISD the first week of September in 1877. Rev. Frank Read conducts the reunion according to parliamentary procedure. This reunion formed an organization which would evolve into the Illinois Association of the Deaf.

1882 – During the second week of September in 1882, the second reunion is held at the Illinois School for the Deaf. It is noticed that a more definite form of organization is taking form.

1887 – The third reunion takes place, once again at the Illinois School for the Deaf, in the late summer of 1887. Dr. James H. Cloud is elected to succeed Rev. Frank Read as president. The business of the third reunion included the fund for the Gallaudet statue in Washington, D.C. Illinois was one of few states raising 1,000 dollars or more for a donation towards the Gallaudet statue.

1889 –  – Members of this organization (later known as IAD) attend the unveiling of the Gallaudet statute in Washington, D.C. Treasurer of this organization, Mr. Dudley George, is elected president of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).

Dr. James H. Cloud sends Mr. Oscar H. Regensburg to represent the organization (IAD) at the first World Congress of the Deaf in Paris, France.

1892 – Plans for the fourth reunion do not materialize due to controversy among the Executive Board. The organization almost splits apart, but this is avoided by an agreement to postpone the fourth reunion for two more years.

1894 – The fourth reunion is held in the State Senate Chamber in the Capitol at Springfield, August 23-26, 1894. Governor Altgeld speaks to the organization and he and his wife host a reception in the governor’s mansion.

A proposed amendment to the rules of the organization asks that all former students from ISD, whether they have graduated or not, be eligible for active membership. After discussion, this passes, making the “alumni” reunion more of a state association. Also at this meeting, Dr. James H. Cloud raises the issue, for the first time, about the need for a Home for the Aged and Infirm Deaf.

Dr. James H. Cloud also protests the fact that deaf teachers at ISD are paid less than hearing teachers and the fact that ISD is not organized with other educational institutions of the State.

Mr. James E. Gallaher is elected to succeed Dr. James H. Cloud as president.

1897 – The fifth reunion is held at Handel Hall, Chicago, August 26-28. 1897.

The organization takes on the name, “The Illinois Gallaudet Union”, and allows all deaf in the State of Illinois to become members.

Mr. Frank R. Gray is elected President.

1900 – The sixth convention of the Illinois Gallaudet Union takes place in Handel Hall, Chicago on August 30-September 1, 1900. The committee working on the revision of the by-laws proposes that the name be changed from the “Illinois Gallaudet Union” to “The Illinois State Association of the Deaf”.

Mr. Frank R. Gray is re-elected President.

1904 – The seventh convention of the Illinois Association of the Deaf is held in East St. Louis, August 18-19, 1904. A committee is appointed to consider the possibility of the Home for the Aged and Infirm Deaf project. The Home for the Aged and Infirm Deaf Committee members are: Mr. Oscar H. Regensburg, Chairman; Mrs. A. W. Dougherty; Annie M. Roper; Mr. E. P. Cleary; Mrs. G. E. Hasenstab; and Mr. C. C. Codman. This committee is later authorized to take the necessary steps towards incorporation in order to give the project a legal basis.

1905 – The Illinois Association of the Deaf meets in Jacksonville, Illinois on June 10, 1905. The paperwork necessary for incorporation is completed with the assistance of attorney L. O. Vaught, Esq.

The Illinois School for the Deaf Alumni Association holds its annual reunion in Jacksonville, coinciding with the meeting of the Illinois Association of the Deaf. Former IAD President, Rev. Dr. James H. Cloud, proposes to the Alumni Association to join the IAD in furthering the Home Project, leading off with a voluntary donation to the Home Fund. IAD 2nd Vice President Annie Roper is President of the ISD Alumni Association and agrees they will work for the Home Fund.

Two weeks later, the articles for incorporation are filed with the Secretary of State. On June 24th, 1905, the Illinois Association of the Deaf becomes officially incorporated

1905 – June 24, 1905, the Illinois Association of the Deaf is incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois with the following officers:

President Oscar H. Regensburg
1st Vice President A. J. Rodenberger,
2nd Vice President Annie M. Roper,
Secretary E. P. Cleary
Treasurer Edward W. Heber

1906/1907 – The Home Fund collects numerous donations reaching over 5,000 dollars.

1908 – The eighth convention of the Illinois Association of the Deaf is held in the Carnegie Library building in Jacksonville, June 13-15, 1908. President Regensburg being absent in California, Vice-president Rodenberger presided. The Alumni Association convenes at the Illinois School on the same dates.

The business programs of the two organizations are adjusted so as not to conflict, allowing the members of each organization to attend the business proceedings of both organizations. The social events are merged with each organization. The report of the treasurer of the Home Fund shows that it has grown from almost nothing to $5,113.40 since the 1904 East St. Louis Convention. Rev. P. J. Hasenstab is elected president.

Rev. P. J. Hasenstab starts the State-Wide Bulletin. A. J. Rodenberger teaches printing at ISD where the students help print The State-Wide Bulletin at almost no cost. Chicago Chapter established.

1911 – The ninth convention of the Illinois Association of the Deaf meets at the Illinois School for the Deaf in Jacksonville, June 16-19, 1911. The Alumni Association again convenes at the Illinois School for the Deaf on the same dates. President Hasenstab suggests merging IAD with the ISD Alumni Association in order to create one strong organization. Each Association appoints a committee to meet and discuss this possibility. The chairman of the conference committee, Mr. Rodenberger, brings a report that is favorable towards merging the two organizations under the name “The State-Alumni Association of the Deaf”, with membership open to all Illinois residents and all former students of the Illinois School for the Deaf regardless of which state they may
currently reside. The majority of the members in the associations did not want to merge. The committee was committee to explore this option continues its work and plans to report at the next convention. Mr. Hasenstab is re-elected president.

1915 – The tenth convention of the Illinois Association of the Deaf is another joint affair with the Alumni Association, once again taking place at the Illinois School for the Deaf in Jacksonville, June 11-14, 1915. The committee once again reports on the possibility of merging the two associations but the idea is dropped because the Alumni Association is not in favor of this step. Another committee is appointed to work on having an IAD exhibit at the State Fair in Springfield. Mr. E. P. Cleary is elected president.

1918 – The eleventh convention breaks the tradition of the last several conventions and meets in Chicago, August 30-September 2, 1918. The first session is held at the Methodist Church for the Deaf and the subsequent meetings are held at All Angel’s Parish House. President E. P. Cleary was unable to attend. The Rev. Mr. George Flick read President E. P. Cleary’s written address to the Illinois Association of the Deaf. In Mr. Cleary’s address he states:

“I wish to call your attention to an unfortunate situation in regard to the State School for the Deaf. In our state there has always seemed to be some confusion in the public mind as to the status of the state schools for the deaf and blind. In all other states as far as we can find, these schools have been classified with the educational forces of the state. In Illinois they are now classified with the penal, reformatory and charitable institutions. Our association should set to work to have this matter corrected and should continue to demand that the instruction of the deaf and the blind shall form a part of the school system of the state. It is the right of every child in the state to be educated, even though it may involve additional expense. He should not be deprived of his right because he is deaf or blind. The deaf and the blind should be taught, not as paupers, but with privileges to which all children are entitled.”

The IAD becomes the second State Association on record to decide to affiliate with the National Association of the Deaf. Mr. Rodenberger is elected president.

1921 – The twelfth convention of the IAD meets in the State Senate Chamber in Springfield, August 11-14, 1921. A wreath is placed on the tomb of Lincoln in honor of his support for the deaf, including his support of Gallaudet College. Mr. Rodenberger is re-elected president.

Charles E. Sharpnack is elected IAD Treasurer for the first time. He will hold this position for a total of 33 years (1921 to 1927 and 1931 to 1958).

1923 – The Home for the Aged and Infirm Deaf, located at 4539 Grand Boulevard, Chicago is dedicated on June 17, 1923.

1925 – The Illinois Southern Chapter of the Illinois Association of the Deaf is organized in the parlor of the Y.W.C.A. at 245 Collinsville Avenue, East St. Louis, on January 10th, 1925. The officers were elected as follows: A. J. Rodenberger, President; Miss Bernice Schilling, First Vice-President; Charles Schwartz, Second Vice-President; Walter Maack, Secretary; W. B. Wilson, Treasurer.

1926 – Moline Chapter closes.

1927 – The State-Wide Bulletin is discontinued.

1931 – Lobbying for support of the ‘Paupers Bill’ is underway. This bill mandates every almshouse and poor-farm in Illinois to send its deaf-mute inmates to the IAD Home for the Aged and Infirm Deaf, and provides that the Home will be regularly paid, whatever sum the county, township, or city has been previously paying for their maintenance.

The 15th tri-annual IAD Convention is held in Rockford, Illinois at the Faust Hotel, July 1 to 4.

1934 – The 16th tri-annual IAD Convention is held in Chicago during August with one day given to the Alumni Association for their meeting. During this convention, the status of the Home is given serious consideration. Income on endowment has been reduced alarmingly. Bequests have been fewer and less liberal. Some months ago the situation became so acute that it was necessary for the Home to apply part of the endowment fund toward running expenses. The financial situation of the Home calls for immediate attention. The location of the Home also receives careful consideration.

1935 – Three representatives from the IAD and one representative from the Alumni Association have a meeting with the Director of the Department of Public Welfare, Mr. A. L. Bowen, to urge further appropriations for the school. Representing the IAD were President H. S. Rutherford, Vice-President Peter T. Livhsis and Mrs. Freda Meagher. The Alumni Association spokesman was President Rodenberger.

1938 – Springfield Chapter established.

Virginia Dries Fitzgerald is elected secretary of the Chicago IAD Chapter. She will hold this position for 24 straight years (1938 to 1963).

1949 – Len Warshawsky is elected president. He will hold this position for a record 15 years (1949 to 1964). His ability to inform and organize the deaf of the State of Illinois remains unsurpassed.

1953 – House Bill 85 is introduced in the State legislature to require a hearing test for all drivers in 1961. NAD, NFSD, and the IAD join forces to defeat this bill.

The LaSalle Convention attracts the largest attendance in history—over 600 people—to witness the creation of a Traffic Bureau enabling the IAD to protect the right of the deaf to drive an automobile.

The IAD has over 1,000 members.

1954 – IAD President Leonard Warshawsky starts the State-Wide Bulletin again.

1958 – Charles E. Sharpnack leaves the position of IAD Treasurer for the last time imparting a sense of absence among the IAD officers (1921 to 1927 and 1931 to 1958).

1962 – Rockford Chapter is established.

1966 – The 24th biennial convention of the Illinois Association of the Deaf is held August 11, 20, and 21 at Hotel Faust in Rockford. Approximately 300 delegates and visitors attend.

A meeting of Jacksonville members of the IAD is called by John Otto, John Houser, membership committeeman, and Mrs. Doris Orman. Twenty-two are present in the Mutual Improvement Society room at the Illinois School for the Deaf on October 25th. They vote to organize a chapter and thus the Jacksonville Chapter of the IAD is established.

The IAD protests to Governor Otto Kerner regarding the lack of deaf representatives on the State Committee on the Hearing Impaired under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Commission on Children. Governor Otto Kerner orders the committee to admit deaf representatives. Dr. James Orman, retired supervising teacher of the ISD Manual Department and Dr. Robert Donoghue, school psychologist at Whitney Young High School became the IAD representatives assigned to the committee. The committee later conducts a survey on the needs of deaf persons in education which leads to the establishment of a comprehensive hearing impaired program at Whitney Magnet Young High School in Chicago. The committee will also accomplish the statewide reorganization of local school boards into nine regional programs with the state taking over the financial support for school aged hearing impaired children.

The IAD Sign Language Book Donation Project helps improve communication between children with hearing loss and their teachers, counselors, and parents. Local IAD chapters, clubs, NFSD, and parent groups generously donate money to the IAD book fund enabling the IAD to purchase books at a reduced rate from the NAD.

1967 – Fox Valley Chapter is established.

The senior class at the Illinois School for the Deaf holds a meeting on September 23, 1967. After some discussion by Mr. and Mrs. Orman with a session of questions and answers, class president Tommy Mow takes the floor and a vote ensues leading to the organization of the Junior Chapter of the Illinois School for the Deaf.

1969 – The Illinois Home for the Aged Deaf officially closes on January 24, 1969.

1973 – IAD receives a $35,000 grant to administer the Illinois Continuing Education Study headed by Dr. Samuel Block and Dr. George Propp. The study provides the IAD with a needs assessment and recommendations so that the IAD can appropriately determine the continuing education needs of the deaf.

President Forestal assigns Carolyn Herbold to direct the Junior IAD program beginning the growth of this program to later incorporate a weekend camp activity, annual state convention, volleyball tourney, literary/art contests, and various get-together events involving at least ten local schools and two community college chapters in Illinois.

1975 – The IAD Board of Directors reach an historic milestone by creating the Executive Secretary position on January 1, 1975. The creation of this position enhanced IAD’s image and allowed for increased action and involvement in matters of interest.

A change to the IAD Board of Directors occurs requiring a geographical balance in the Board’s composition. This enables each chapter to have a representative on the Board of Directors.

The IAD makes an appearance at the Illinois State Fair with an exhibit on deafness.

IAD hosts the biennial NAD Regional II Conference in Schiller Park, Illinois.

1976 – In October, the IAD actively participated in the Illinois White House Conference on the Handicapped at McCormick Inn, Chicago.

1977 – J.B. Davis and Carolyn Brick are selected as Illinois delegates to the 1977 National White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals in Washington, D.C. Larry Forestal is selected as an alternate.

President Forestal and Executive Secretary John B. Davis establish three new local chapters: the Blackhawk Chapter in Moline, the South-Metro Chicago Chapter and the West-Metro Chicago Chapter.

Sandra Goldstein initiates the first Miss Deaf Illinois Pageant with seven contestants at the Convention.

1979 – The Cahokia convention is a joint affair with the Illinois Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (IRID) for the first time.

The State Commission Study is established with the following members: Pete Wahl, John Tubergen, Bea Davis, Al Van Nevel, and Gloria Kelso. This committee will review, rewrite, and resubmit the Commission Bill.

Al Van Nevel testifies at the Illinois Commerce Commission hearing regarding the proposed TTY rates by Illinois Bell.

1980 – IAD prepares its first annual TTY directory.

1981 – Over 500 attend the joint conventions of the 31st Biennial IAD Rosemont Convention and the 2nd Biennial IRID Convention. Eleven contestants compete for the Miss Deaf Illinois crown.

1982 – The Silent Cooperative Apartments (SCA) project begins.

1983 – IAD is the FIRST statewide deaf organization to fund closed-captioned television when it contributes $500.00 to the National Caption Institute (NCI).

1984 – On October 9, 1984, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Silent Cooperative Apartments takes place at 2500 West Belmont Avenue, Chicago.

The fifth annual TTY directory for IAD members became the last TTY directory.

1987 – The Illini Chapter is established in the Champaign area.

1988 – Brandi Sculthrope becomes the first Miss Deaf Illinois to win Miss Deaf America (1988-1990).

1993 – Cathryn (Knoblock) Vincent becomes the first deaf woman elected president of the IAD.

1995 – Rockford Chapter closes.

1996 – Several IAD members play instrumental roles in the creation of the State of Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission. Other members do not support the establishment of this agency. The IAD does not take an official position as an association in support of or opposed to the bill creating State of Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission (IDHHC).

1997 – The Governor announces 11 individuals out of approximately 200 applications received to serve as commissioners on the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission. At least three of the newly appointed commissioners are also active IAD members.

1998 – The Heartland Chapter is established.

2000 – Lauren Teruel becomes the second Miss Deaf Illinois to win the crown for Miss Deaf America (2000-2002).

2001 – L.E.A.D. Chapter is closed.

2003 – At the IAD Convention in Peoria, a change is made in the IAD Board of Directors by replacing the Board of Directors with Chapter Representatives. Each chapter can send a representative to the IAD meetings to vote.

2004 – The IAD donates $25,000 to the Jacksonville Community Center of the Deaf (JCCD) to assist their efforts in building housing for senior citizens and other eligible individuals.