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History

Since 1867 Clarke has provided children who are deaf or hard of hearing with the education needed to succeed in a hearing world.

Clarke’s long legacy has included the support of many American dignitaries, and most importantly, has brought listening and speaking tools to thousands of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

A Rich History

Boston-based lawyer and financier Gardiner Greene Hubbard grew interested in the field of deaf education when his five-year-old daughter, Mabel, became deaf as a result of scarlet fever. Firmly believing his daughter could speak and learn just like other children, Gardiner hired a teacher to work with Mabel on her speech and language. At age 10, Mabel did as well in the classroom as any of her peers with typical hearing.

Watching his daughter learn and grow, Gardiner became a dedicated advocate of education for children who were deaf or hard of hearing. Together with philanthropist John Clarke—who donated $50,000 to open a school for children with hearing loss—Gardiner founded Clarke School for the Deaf in 1867 in Northampton, Massachusetts, offering residential educational services for children who were deaf or hard of hearing.

Since its founding, Clarke has benefited from the support and innovation of numerous public figures, including the inventor Alexander (Alec) Graham Bell. Alec taught at Clarke for the first time in 1871, and would be associated with us for 51 more years—even serving as Clarke’s board president from 1917 to 1922.

And after becoming a student of Alec’s when she was 16, Mabel Hubbard and her teacher eventually married. The two raised four children; and Alec and Mabel’s father went on to start several world-famous organizations together, including the Bell Telephone Company and the National Geographic Society.

Clarke: Then and Now

When Clarke’s residential program was flourishing, students often did not enter the mainstream, learning or working alongside peers with typical hearing, until they were teenagers. Today, with the advent of technology, early intervention and a high-quality Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) education, many students enter the mainstream by preschool.

For this reason, in the 1990s, Clarke transitioned away from running one residential campus in Northampton, to operating five sites along the East Coast.

Today, Clarke brings its listening and spoken language expertise to families across the country and around the world through teleservices.

Clarke serves more than 1,000 children and their families annually.

Recent Clarke News

Our Stories

Dexter

Dexter has a single-sided profound hearing loss and wears a bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA) to help access sound. He started attending Clarke New York’s...

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Madeline, a Clarke alum

Madeline

Madeline’s diagnosis of moderately severe to profound hearing loss in both ears at the age of 18 months changed her...

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Jaden

Jaden

Jaden is six years old and a fun and outgoing first grade student who’s bound to always leave you with a smile. He has...

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Our professionals are here to help.

Please contact any of our locations to learn more about Clarke’s broad array of programs and services.