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One of my academic fascinations has been about Sofia Fowler. This is the woman behind Gallaudet. Information from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophia_Fowler_Gallaudet
Sophia Fowler Gallaudet (March 20, 1798– May 13, 1877), was the wife of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. As the founding matron of the school that became Gallaudet University, she is an important part of Deaf history, playing a key role in lobbying Congressmen to establish Gallaudet (then the "National Deaf-Mute College"). She was appointed the first matron of the Columbia Institution. In a time when women had no power, let alone a disabled woman, she was the embodiment of courage and foresight. One person does make a world of difference!