Laura C. Redden Searing - Deaf Journalist and Poet

Searing's Birth and Life:

Laura C. Redden Searing was born in 1839 and died in 1923. She graduated from the Missouri School for the Deaf. Throughout her life, she interacted with very important historical figures - Lincoln, Grant, and Bell among them.

Searing Loses Hearing:

Searing lost her hearing in middle childhood, losing it at age 11 from meningitis that was treated with an ototoxic drug (Quinine).

Although she tried to learn to read lips, she reportedly never became very skilled at it. However, she did strongly advocate the teaching of speech to deaf children.

Searing's Journalism Career:

Searing wrote for various papers using the pen name Howard Glyndon. She wrote for:

  • St. Louis Republican
  • NY Times
  • New York Sun
  • New York Evening Mail
  • Tribune

Searing also was published in well-known mags like Harper's, and wrote books such as "Notable Men in the House of Representatives."

Searing's Poetry Career:

Searing also was a poet. One of her poems, "Belle Missouri," was the war song for the Missouri unionists during the civil war. A collection of her apparently very effective war poems was published in the book "Lyrics of Battle." Another book collection was "Sounds from Secret Chambers." In addition, the book "Of El Dorado," collected her poems about California.

Historical Resources on Searing:

The Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Columbia's National Women and Media Collection at the University of Missouri has letters, articles, poems, and photographs documenting Searing's personal life and her career.

Based on the description of the collection, it sounds like this collection may hold some unpublished poems by Searing.

Books About Searing:

Books have been published about Searing. One book is the Gallaudet University Press book "Sweet Bells Jangled: Laura Redden Searing: A Deaf Poet Restored." According to one review of the book, Glyndon, Minnesota was named for her pen name.

This book consists of two essays, and reprints 70 of her poems including "My Story," about her experience becoming deaf.

Searing's Articles and Poems Online:

Some of Searing's work was published in a deaf paper, The Silent Worker under her pen name. A search of The Silent Worker archives online turned up these articles and poems:

  • Howard Glyndon - This long article, rich with details, profiles Searing and even has an engraved image of her. It is must reading for anyone seriously researching her life.
  • Christmas Eve - Chant of the Boston Peasants - a reprinted poem from Putnam's Magazine 1869
  • Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet - Her poem written to commemorate the dedication of the Gallaudet statue in 1889. (It was published twice in The Silent Worker).
  • Fair and Fifteen - poem reprinted from Atlantic Monthly.

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