Sunday, January 13, 2008

Boston School for the Deaf

In past entries, I've noted a number of institutions that have moved from Boston or Roxbury to Jamaica Plain. The Perkins Kindergarten, the Blind Babies home and the Rachel Allen Home for Colored Women all follow the pattern. In this case, we have an institution that began in Jamaica Plain and left for larger quarters elsewhere. The Boston School for the Deaf was founded by Reverend Monsignior Thomas Magennis at St Thomas Aquinas church in 1898. Rooms were set aside in the Leo XIII school, and members of the Sisters of St Joseph faculty were trained to work with deaf children. It was chartered by the state in May of 1899, and opened with four students the following October. By the end of the school year, they had 31 pupils, 28 of them being provided with room and board. The school was patterned on the Clark school, Northampton, Massachusetts. In 1905, the school was removed to North Main street in Randolph, where the Sisters of St Joseph continued to provide the faculty, and Mgr. Magennis remained the Superintendent until his death on February 24, 1912.

As a child, my parents would bring me to Abington to visit relatives, and we passed the School for the Deaf on our way through Randolph. I doubt my parents would have known the connection to St Thomas church and Jamaica Plain, as the JP connection was long before their time.

Sources: Boston Daily Globe, Jan. 14, 1906, Feb. 24, 1912.

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