Rogers, Harriet Burbank

Rogers, Harriet Burbank

(1834–1919) educator; born in North Billerica, Mass. A Massachusetts teacher, she adopted the European oral method in teaching a deaf pupil, Fanny Cushing, in 1863. Her success gained her the support of Gardiner Hubbard (the Massachusetts businessman whose own deaf daughter would later marry Alexander Graham Bell) and he helped her set up a school for the deaf (1866) in Chelmsford, Mass. When John Clarke of Northampton, Mass., helped endow a new school in that city, Rogers moved there to become the first director at the Clarke School for the Deaf (1867–86). She made this the first U.S. institution to teach the deaf by articulation and lip reading rather than by signing. Her approach was opposed by many but she and her teachers gradually won many over. Poor health forced her to leave Northampton in 1884 and she spent the years after residing in her hometown where she ran a kindergarten for a while.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.