Caroline Ardelia Yale (1848-1933)

Educator of the deaf, born in Charlotte.

After briefly attending Mount Holyoke (the only New England College open to women) shestarted teaching in Brandon, and was soon invited to teach deaf children in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she found her calling.

During her time at the Clarke School, she worked with Alexander Graham Bell, who had come there to research phonetics. She inspired her students and encouraged them to see their handicaps only as obstacles to be overcome. Her goal was to help deaf children become part of society alongside people of normal hearing.

Fundraising always being an issue, Yale was pleased when a teacher she had trained started to endow the school. After attending the University of Vermont, Burlington native Grace Goodhue became a teacher at Clarke. The training she received under Yale turned Miss Goodhue into a lifelong advocate for the deaf, to continue after she married Calvin Coolidge and later became First Lady. During the final months of her husband’s term, Grace raised more than two million dollars to support education for the deaf, which she presented to Caroline Yale.

Yale spent more than 60 years at the Clarke Institute for the Deaf as a teacher and principal (1886-1922). She helped devise the Northampton Vowel and Consonant Charts, a widely used teaching aid, and helped gain national acceptance of the oral method of teaching in deaf schools.