Authors' note: Throughout this text the readers will come across terms such as “crippled”, “lame”, “mental defect”, “physical defective”, “imbecile”, “idiot”, and “dumb”, and while these terms are no longer considered acceptable when referring to disabled people, the terms do represent a professional and lay culture of a particular era, so please keep the context and the culture of the era in mind when reading this text. Similarly, the editors are well aware that some categories of people that were once identified as disabled or part of the defective classes are no longer identified as such. We refer here to deafness, wherein Deaf people of contemporary society do not recognize or accept references to being deaf as an impairment or as a disability. Deaf advocates and their allies suggest that Deaf people have a distinct language (sign language) as well as distinct culture, and they maintain that Deaf people are disabled not because of the inability to hear and to speak aurally but they are instead disabled because of the societies in which they live. The authors accept and support the legitimacy of Deaf culture and Deaf language, but the few chapters dealing with deaf education address time periods during which being deaf was considered a disabling condition, hence the inclusion of deaf histories as part of this histories of disabilities text.