BRIDGMAN, Laura Dewey, American blind deaf-mute: b. Hanover, N. H., 21 Dec.
1829; d. 24 May 1889. She was a bright, in telligent child, but at two years of age her sight, hearing and smell were entirely de stroyed by fever. Yet she learned to find her way about the house and neighborhood, and even to sew and to knit a little. In 1839 Dr. Samuel G. Howe. of Boston, undertook her care and education at the Perkins Institution. The first attempt was to give her a knowledge of arbitrary signs, by which she could inter change thoughts with others. Then she learned to read embossed letters by touch; next, embossed words were attached to dif ferent articles, and she learned to associate each word with its corresponding object. The next step was to procure her a set of metal types, with the letters cast at the ends, and a board with square holes for their insertion, so that they could be read by the finger. In six
months she could write the names of most common objects, and in two years had made great bodily and mental improvement. Her i touch grew in accuracy as its power increased; she learned to know people almost instantly by touch alone. In a year or two more she was able to receive lessons in geography, algebra and history. She received and answered let ters from allparts of the world, and was al ways employed, and, therefore, always happy. She learned to write a fair, legible to read with great dexterity, to think and reason well, and at last became a teacher to others afflicted like herself. Consult Lampson, 'Life and Education of Laura Dewey Bridgman) (Bos ton 1878) ; Mrs. Elliott and Hall, 'Laura Bridgman) (Boston 1903).