July 2022: Disability History


1) Making Disability an Essential Part of American History, by Paul K. Longmore (Magazine of History, July 2009) 

  • Through the context of labor history, Longmore argues for centering disability history in American history classrooms. 

2) Teaching Disability History, by Daniel J. Wilson (Magazine of History, 2009) 

  • Disability history faces three major tasks. The first is to uncover the hidden history of disability in this country, to give voice to the men and women whose voices were for so long suppressed in favor of the caregivers. The second is to use this newly uncovered evidence to write into historical monographs and textbooks the experiences of men, women, and children with disabilities. The third task is to bring disability history into the classroom. This issue of the OAH Magazine of History addresses this third task with seven essays designed to help teachers incorporate disability history into their classes.

3) Disability History, by Carl Weinberg (Magazine of History, 2009) 

  • An article on teaching disability history with particular focus on helpful and harmful language. 

4) Using Biography to Teach Disability History, by Kim E. Nielsen (Magazine of History, 2009) 

  • Instructions and lesson plans for using Biography to teach disability history. 

5) Disability History Online, by Penny Richards (Magazine of History, 2009) 

  • Resources for teaching disability history using online sources.


1) “Nothing About Us WIthout Us”: Disability Rights in America, by Richard K. Scotch (Magazine of History, 2009) 

  • An analysis of disability activism beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act.

2) Abortion in the American Imagination, by OAH Staff (Process History, Sept. 2015) 

  • An interview with Karen Weingarten about her work overlapping feminist movements for reproductive rights and Disabled activism. 

3) The League of the Physically Handicapped and the Great Depression: A Case Study in the New Disability History, by Paul K. Longmore and David Goldberger (Journal of American History, Dec. 2000)

  • An examination of the creation of the League of the Physically Handicapped and how they “politicized disability as they sought to redefine their identities and the nature of the obstacles they faced.


1) “No Deffectives Need Apply”: Disability and Immigration, by Daniel J. Wilson (Magazine of History, 2009) 

  • Teaching resources for including Disability HIstory in Immigration Lesson Plans.

2) Disability, Antiprofessionalism, and Civil Rights: The National Federation of the Blind and the “Right to Organize” in the 1950s, by Felicia Kornbluh (March 2011, Journal of American History)

  • This article looks at the creation of the National Federation of the Blind and how it introduced a series of bills that sought to include the disabled in the participation of “philanthropic, professional, and bureaucratic deliberations that concerned them.” Moreover, “The history of the National Federation of the Blind and the “right to organize” illuminates the importance of adding disability to the set of variables scholars use regularly to understand the modern United States, and in particular the twentieth-century welfare state.”

Deaf Culture

Sound and Fury; or, Much Ado about Nothing? Cochlear Implants in Historical Perspective, by R. A. R. Edwards (Journal of American History, Dec. 2005)

  • This article examines the history of cochlear implants among the Deaf community and how some reject the use of cochlear impants.


1) Handwriting, by Tamara Plakins Thornton (Talking History, 2002) 

  • We explore the world of handwriting and its instruction in the U.S. with Dr. Tamara Plakins Thornton, associate professor of history at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Thornton is the author of Handwriting in America: A Cultural History. 

2) Trauma and Collective Memory, by Arthur Neal (Talking History, 2002) 

  • Arthur Neal talks about national trauma and its impact on collective memory and the age group most likely to be affected by the terrorist attacks of 911. Neal is the author of National Trauma and Collective Memory: Major Events in the American Century.

3) (Extraordinary) Bodies of Knowledge: Recent Scholarship in American Disability History, by Susan Burch (Magazine of History, 2009) 

  • An overview of newer historiography in disability history, how to include it, and the importance of Disability history to American History.