Donaldson’s Hospital was founded in 1851 in Edinburgh from money bequeathed by the printer Sir James Donaldson (1751-1830). The deed of constitution and an excerpt from his will was published in ‘Documents relating to Donaldson’s Hospital, 1851′, Edinburgh, 1851 which is held by this library. This volume also contains job descriptions for the staff, regulations of the school and how children could apply for a place in the Hospital.
Many of the applications came from poor families, especially those with deaf children. By 1938 all pupils at the school were deaf. The library holds some early lists of applications for the admission of children to the Hospital, providing personal information on the listed individuals. The printed lists survive for the years 1863 and 1865. Extracts from the 1830-1927 Minute Books of the school can be found in Robert T. Skinner’s ‘A notable family of Scots printers’, Edinburgh, 1927.
Various histories of the institution can also be found in the library. These include ‘Donaldson’s Hospital’ by Eben H. Macleod, Edinburgh, 1993, ‘Donaldson’s College’ by Kathleen B. Clegg, Edinburgh, 1998 and George Montgomery’s ‘Silent Destiny: a brief history of Donaldson’s College and the origins of education of deaf children in Edinburgh, Scotland and the world’, Edinburgh, 1997.
Finally, the National Library of Scotland holds the manuscript archive of Donaldson’s School for the Deaf as it is now called. The archive comprises four collections, referenced Acc.12753, Acc.11896, Acc.12657 and Acc.12849. The first two have online inventories available. Further enquiries regarding access to this collection should be made to the Manuscripts department at the library.