Edmund Booth (1810 - 1905) and William E. Ijams (1830 - 1893) are the
of Iowa School for the Deaf. Booth, an Iowa resident, became deafened
age of 8 and received his formal schooling at the Hartford School for
in Connecticut. After moving back to Iowa, he held several political
and lobbied the Iowa legislature to start a state school for the deaf.
Ijams opened a private school for the deaf in Iowa City. He also
lobbied the state
to begin a school for the deaf and presented his pupils at an Iowa Hall
Representatives assembly in 1854. On Jan. 24, 1855, Senate File No. 51
and the Iowa Institute for the Deaf and Dumb was born.
The school was opened in "Goose Town," a Bohemian section of Iowa
City. The first 21 pupils ranged in age from 11 to 27 and were from the
part of the state. As word spread about the first school for the deaf,
enrollment grew and the school soon needed larger quarters.
In 1870, the school moved to Council Bluffs. The location was selected
it was readily accessible by railroads and the 80-acre tract of land
purchased for a bargain price of $1,200. The school was a
entity with its own farm, power plant and hospital. Students learned
traditional subjects but also were provided a variety of trades
including baking, shoe repair, furniture making and domestic work. (Drawing of ISD from 1875 Andreas Atlas Co.)
Full high school diplomas, recognized by the state of Iowa, were first
to pupils in 1932. Previously, students simply progressed through the
coursework and left school upon completing the classes.
The Board of Control first governed the school. By 1953, the Board of
State of Iowa, held governance.
Public Law 94-142 (Education of All Handicapped Children) passed in
eventually radically changed the enrollment of ISD, as it did with all
for the deaf in the United States. The law mandated local school
provide special education services to those residing in the districts.
ISD's largest graduating class was in 1984, with 63 pupils. This was
due to an
outbreak of rubella in mothers some 18 years earlier which caused
many babies throughout the country. Enrollment grew to keep up with the
for special education for these children, and ISD had nearly 400 pupils
Nebraska School for the Deaf, which was located in Omaha, closed in
agreement between Nebraska and Iowa enables Nebraska's children who are
hard-of-hearing to attend ISD.