Educator Teacher

Caroline Yale

Quick Facts

IntroAmerican educator
Was Teacher
From United States of America
Type Academia
Birth 29 September 1848, Charlotte, USA
Death 2 July 1933, Northampton, USA
(aged 84 years)

Star signLibra


Caroline Ardelia Yale (September 29, 1848 – July 2, 1933) was an American educator who revolutionized the teaching of hearing-impaired students.


Caroline Ardelia Yale was born September 29, 1848, in Charlotte, Vermont, where she lived until the age of ten. She then moved to Williston, Vermont, and was educated at home by tutors with the support of her parents. She also attended schools in Williston, and from 1866 to 1868 she attended Mount Holyoke Seminary (which became Mount Holyoke College). After completing her education she taught in schools in Brandon, Vermont, and Williston, Vermont, until 1870, when she began to work at the Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton, Massachusetts. In 1873 she achieved the rank of associate principal, staying in that position until 1886, when she succeeded Harriet B. Rogers as the principal of the school.

Caroline Yale worked for 63 years at the Clarke School for Hearing and Speech, including 36 years as principal. In 1882 she began to collaborate with another teacher to develop a more comprehensive system of phonetic symbols than Alexander Melville Bell’s “Visible Speech.” Together they developed the “Northampton Vowel and Consonant Charts”, which she described in detail in her pamphlet Formation and Development of Elementary English Sounds, 1892 . She also collaborated with Alexander Graham Bell and his father, Alexander Melville Bell, on the development of her phonetic system and teaching methods. This became the most widely used system in America. In 1889 she established a teacher training department at Clarke that had sent teachers to schools for the deaf in 31 states and 9 foreign countries before her death in Northampton on July 2, 1933.

Her methods became so widespread that by 1933 all but 2 of the 200 schools for the hearing impaired in America employed her oral teaching methods. At the Clarke School, she also developed programs for physical skills and athletics for hearing-impaired children. She hired Grace Goodhue of Burlington, Vermont, as a teacher who then became Grace Coolidge when she married Calvin Coolidge. Grace Coolidge remained a lifelong fund raiser and strong supporter of the Clarke School.

In 1890 she helped organize the American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf, and became the director. She also served for 25 years on the Northampton School Committee before retiring from her position as principal of the Clarke School in 1922. After retiring she continued to direct the teacher training program and remained active with the Clarke School for many years. She received honorary doctorate degrees from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1896 and Mount Holyoke College in 1927.

She published an autobiography, Years of Building-Memories of a Pioneer in a Special Field of Education.

The crater Yale on the planet Venus is named in her honor.