Skip to main content

Laura Dewey Bridgman

Laura Dewey Bridgman
Artist
Auguste Edouart, 1788 - 1861
Sitter
Laura Dewey Bridgman, 21 Dec 1829 - 24 May 1889
Date
1843
Type
Silhouette
Medium
Ink, chalk and cut paper on paper
Dimensions
Image/Sheet: 28 × 21.1 cm (11 × 8 5/16")
Mat: 45.7 × 35.6 cm (18 × 14")
Frame: 47.9 × 37.8 × 3.2 cm (18 7/8 × 14 7/8 × 1 1/4")
Topic
Interior
Costume\Dress Accessory\Eyeglasses
Silhouette\Cut-out
Laura Dewey Bridgman: Female
Laura Dewey Bridgman: Literature\Writer
Laura Dewey Bridgman: Education and Scholarship\Educator\Teacher
Laura Dewey Bridgman: Society and Social Change\Person with disability\Blind
Laura Dewey Bridgman: Society and Social Change\Person with disability\Deaf
Portrait
Place
United States\Massachusetts\Suffolk\Boston
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Robert L. McNeil, Jr.
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
Object number
NPG.91.126.54.B
Exhibition Label
When Laura Dewey Bridgman was two, scarlet fever left her without the ability to see or hear, and her senses of taste and smell were impaired. Just before her eighth birthday, she entered into Boston’s Perkins Institution and Massachusetts School for the Blind, where the director, Dr. Samuel Howe, took a special interest in teaching her. Howe attached labels with raised letters to common objects such as kitchen utensils, and Bridgman learned to identify letters and combine them into words. After Charles Dickens publicized her achievements, which he had witnessed firsthand, visitors flocked to the Perkins Institution to see Bridgman demonstrate her prowess. She went on to assist in the teaching of others, including Oliver Caswell, whose portrait is also included in this exhibition. At her death, her brain and sensory-related organs were dissected in an effort to understand the relationships between her disabilities and her accomplishments.
A la edad de dos años, Laura Dewey Bridgman contrajo escarlatina, enfermedad que la dejó ciega y sorda y le afectó el gusto y el olfato. Justo antes de cumplir dieciocho años ingresó al Instituto Perkins de Boston y la Escuela para Ciegos de Massachusetts, cuyo director, el Dr. Samuel Howe, se interesó parti- cularmente en su enseñanza. Howe pegaba etiquetas con letras en relieve a objetos comunes como los utensilios de cocina, y fue así que Bridgman apren- dió a identificar las letras y combinarlas en palabras. Luego de que Charles Dickens publicara los logros de Bridgman, de los cuales había sido testigo, multitud de personas acudieron al Instituto Perkins para verla demostrar sus habilidades. Bridgman también ayudó en la enseñanza de otros estudiantes, entre ellos Oliver Caswell, cuyo retrato se incluye en esta exposición. Al morir, su cerebro y órganos senso- riales fueron diseccionados para tratar de dilucidar la relación ente sus discapacidades y sus logros.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery