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Convention programs of deaf associations

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RITDSA-0069

Scope and Contents

20 Convention Programs from NAD, CAID and Alexander Graham Bell Association. Also includes materials related to various TELA Biennial Conferences.


  • Creation: 1978-2010

Historical Information on The A.G. Bell Association

The A.G. Bell Association is focused on deaf issues and promoting equal accessibility. Currently located in Washington D.C, the association gives out college scholarships every year to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, who want to become full time students.

Biographical Information on Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell (1847–1922) was a scientist and engineer who invented the first functioning telephone. In 1885 he co-founded the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) and subsequently founded the organization Volta Bureau in 1887. He merged Volta Bureau with another organization, the American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf (AAPTSD), in 1908 under a suggestion by Mrs. Frances Toms. The organization was called Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf in 1956 and eventually renamed to Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in 1999.

Through his experiences with his deaf mother and deaf wife, Alexander Graham Bell’s organization promoted speech as the primary method of deaf communication, discouraging the use of sign language. He encouraged the use of speech and lip-reading. As a result of Bell’s efforts, deaf and HOH children were able to attend schools and learn how to interact and adapt in a hearing environment. Although Bell is not a well-liked figure by many in the deaf community today, many people continue to use the hearing devices that his company A.G. Bell funds.

Historical Information on The Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf (CAID)

The Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf (CAID) was an organization formed for teachers, administrators, interpreters, and any other professionals involved in education for the deaf. In August, 1850 CAID held its first convention in New York City at Washington Heights and, for the next 14 years, they had a convention every couple years until they became formally incorporated in 1895. In 1897 CAID was incorporated by the 54th congress.

The CAID placed emphasis on Edward Galladuet's “command system” concept, which allowed freedom and versatility for individuals to develop their own way of communicating and combined the new sign language with the existing signing systems of the past. Alexander Graham Bell’s Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, also known as the American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf (AAPTSD) at the time, was a rival to the CAID. Bell had a strong perseverance in encouraging the deaf and hard of hearing to learn speech, and disregarded all actions and requests to cooperate with CAID. Eventually, the CAID adopted its new constitution and became a formal organization by establishing the formalized disagreements over methods of instruction as a defining characteristic of this profession. Some issues are still being debated to this day.

In the past teachers would work side by side at state schools or large metropolitan programs, but nowadays they have become more widespread in the U.S. The program also continues to reach out to thousands of teachers who tend to be isolated from others who have the same experiences of concern and frustration. The CAID uses social media and the web to communicate and connect with other members and programs.


Historical Information on The National Association for the Deaf (NAD)

The National Association for the Deaf (NAD) is an organization created by deaf leaders to preserve, protect, and promote the civil and linguistic rights of people who are deaf and hard of hearing (HOH) in the United States. Founded in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1880, it now resides in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The NAD is a non-profit organization that is supported by the U.S. government with individual and organizational donors that include many corporations and foundations related to the deaf community. The NAD’s vision is to acknowledge and respect the language, culture, and history of the deaf community in the pursuit of life, liberty, and equality. American Sign Language (ASL) is one of the association's core values. They carry out federal advocacy work with various deaf and HOH organizations, and hold coalitions with national cross-disability organizations to congregate on issues important to them and have their interests represented on a national level. NTID and Gallaudet staff/faculty and students are often shown as motivators who are in college to prepare for success as an independent deaf individual.

Historical Information on the Teachers of English and Language Arts (TELA)

The Teachers of English and Language Arts (TELA) has the distinction of being the first formally organized section or special interest group (SIG) affiliated with the Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf (CAID). The idea for TELA was first broached at the 1973 CAID conference in Indianapolis, when a group of English teachers discussed the need for a national organization "which would function for the purpose of exchanging information among language arts teachers at all levels" (Kensicki, 1977). In 1974 those interested in an English Teachers' SIG formed the committee, chaird by Nancy Kensicki, to draft the by-laws for the group. These were submitted for CAID Board approval and were duly approved on October 16, 1974.

Source: A Twentieth Birthday: TELA (Teachers of English and Language Arts), CAID's Oldest Special Interest Group


20 Item(s) (1 box with 20 convention catalogs)

35 Folder(s) (1 box with 35 folders related to TELA conferences)




20 Convention Programs from NAD, CAID and Alexander Graham Bell Association.


Programs are arranged by organization, TELA materials are arranged by subject.

Physical Location

C.S. Mid-Range, Shelf 339

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was given to the RIT Archive Collections by an unknown donor in February 2012. Accession number(s): 2012:010

Additions to this collection were given to the RIT Archive Collections by Peter Haggarty in November 2022.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Jody Sidlauskas in April 2012.

TELA materials finding aid created by Jen Roeszies in November 2022.

Convention programs of deaf associations/ Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf papers
RIT/NTID Deaf Studies Archive
Jody Sidlauskas/ Jen Roeszies
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA