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Charles-Michel de l'Épée

His Story

1712.11.24 Charles-Michel de l'Épée was born at Versailles. His father was an architect in the service of the King.


1760 the Abbe de l'Épée was at the head of a school in France, consisting of a little company of deaf-mutes, which was commenced by him five or six years earlier, with two pupils. His school was in the Montmarte District of what is now Paris.

1776 He wrote "Institution des sourds et muets par la voie des signes méthodiques".

1780 The Ambassador of the Empress of Russia paid him a visit to congratulate him on his success and offered presents but l'Épée suggested that Russia send students for him to teach and spread his methods.

1784 He wrote "La véritable maniere d'instruire les sourds et muets: confirmée par une longue expérience, Volume 1".

1788 The legend was born that l'Épée refused fuel for his fire in order to save money to promote his school but was convinced by his students to heat his home so as they not lose him.

1789.12.03 l'Épée passed away in Paris at the age of seventy-seven (77) years old.

1789 Monument of him erected at the Institut National de Jeunes Sourds de Paris French English

1791.07.29  The French legislature approved government funding for the school and it was renamed: "Institution Nationale des Sourds-Muets à Paris".

1840 Monument of him erected in the Eglise Saint-Roch at his burial site in the 1st Arrondissement of Paris, France.

1912.08  Bicenterary celebration in at the Paris Congress in Paris, France. Educated Deaf representatives from England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany , Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, America and Turkey attended.

1913 Edwin Isaac Holycross wrote the book " The Abbé de l'Épée (Charles-Michel de l'Épée) Founder of the Manual Instruction of the Deaf, and Other Early Teachers of the Deaf"

1842.09.03 Monument to him was erected at Versailles.

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