Arthur Dunham Bryant
1856 - 1939
Arthur D. Bryant was born in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. Soon after becoming deaf at age 2, Bryant and his family moved to Washington D.C., where he attended the Columbia Institution [now Kendall Demonstration Elementary School]. Throughout schooling, his interests were baseball, art, and the Civil War. Bryant was involved in the war effort as a young child, acting as a whistle blower for supply trains and bringing water to soldiers. In 1880, he graduated from Gallaudet College after delivering his dissertation on Benjamin West, an American painter. Bryant was so proficient in artwork that Edward Miner Gallaudet appointed him professorship upon graduation. From 1880 to 1916, he taught drawing and painting at the Kendall School and Gallaudet College. In his free time, Bryant demonstrated continued interest in the Civil War by visiting battle sites and amassed extensive knowledge in the topic. In 1911, Bryant was ordained as the second ever deaf Baptist minister. He was instrumental in establishing Calvary Baptist Church for the Deaf in Washington D.C., one of the first churches which allowed African Americans in the congregation, and ministered there for many years. Bryant received an honorary Master of Arts from Gallaudet in 1932 and an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Gallaudet in 1939. Bryant appears in the introduction of the 1913 film of the signed Gettysburg Address, providing background information about the battlefield and Lincoln’s speech.
(Sources: Representative Deaf Persons [first edition] (1898) p.31-32; The Deaf-Mutes Journal (1936) "Rev. A. D. Bryant Honored on his 80th Birthday"; Gallaudet Almanac (1974) p.229; Gallaudet University Library Guide to Deaf Biographies and Index to Deaf Periodicals (n.d.) Bryant, Arthur D.)