The Noblest Gift: The National Association of the Deaf Motion Picture Committee Films

Casey Hamilton

Abstract


“The Noblest Gift: The National Association of the Deaf Motion Picture Committee Films” is a study of the collection of films made by the NAD between 1913 and 1920, and their effect on the formation of a Deaf community. Focusing on the films and also on correspondence of NAD members during this time, this research project shows that although the stated purpose of the films was to preserve American sign language, these films went so far as to preserve Deaf culture itself. They represent the first coherent vision put forth by the Deaf community to explain their cultural mores: the urge to protect Deaf Culture through activism, the idea that Deaf are intellectuals, and the focus on American patriotism.

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