Book chronicles history of Kansas School for the Deaf, Olathe

The Kansas City Star



One of the most impressive historical pictorial books about Kansas School for the Deaf and Olathe is being published by the Deaf Cultural Center next month.

“Kansas School for the Deaf: A Pictorial History, 1861-2011” is a…

288-page volume with more than 400 photographs and images that provides surreal snapshots of people and students at KSD and in Olathe through the decades.

Sandra Kelly, the Deaf Cultural Center’s executive director and former community resource facilitator at KSD, is the author of the visual history.

Kelly said the book shows that the young town of Olathe and a small school have literally grown up together since KSD relocated from Baldwin City in 1866. KSD and Olathe have shared successes and challenges through those 145 years.

The book tells the story of KSD and many individuals connected with the school, including students, staff and community supporters. It shows how a small school with a handful of deaf students and determined teachers has evolved into a nationally recognized educational facility and a source of pride for Olathe.

In writing the book, Kelly said the connections the school has with the Olathe community continue to amaze her.

“When people I meet find out where I work, they often share their stories of relatives who attended the school or worked there,” she said. “I realize that a lot of families moved to Olathe because the school was there and just never left. There is probably a larger percentage of Olathe residents connected with the school than what people would ever expect.”

The book is for sale at $50 — $15 off the regular price — through Sept. 5. You can contact DCC at for more information or buy the book, which will make a great present, from the Deaf Cultural Center at 455 East Park in Olathe.

The book is coming out at the right time as KSD will be celebrating 150 years of educating deaf and hard of hearing students in Kansas next month. It is one of the most interesting cultural projects to come out of the Deaf Cultural Center for the community.

Leonard Hall writes columns for the deaf community and the general public. He can be reached at .

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