Martin L.A. Sternberg
Scholar and Pioneer
Martin L.A Sternberg Was born on Jan 10, 1925 in New York He was Deafened at the age of 7 by meningitis. After recovering he took instantly to speech reading. Though devastated his family was loving, protective and in denial and he was confused. He attended P.S. 47 New York’s only school for the deaf after completing the 8th grade he entered Townsend Harris a prestigious school. In 1943 as a volunteer at the Red Cross he might of been the first deaf person to operate a TTY he had four. He developed a operator ’contacts’ all over the country, in which they exchanged weather info, local news and personal talk. At the age of 24 he started teaching at Gallaudet college as a English instructor and he set up a new office of Public Relations. Martin got off to an awkward start though because he didn’t know any sign language and was ordered to learn it. The Legendary Elizabeth Peet tutored him privately in ASL for several years. Peet was the one who inspired Sternberg to compile his best known work American Sign Language: A Comprehensive Dictionary, which took 19 years to prepare then 4 more to be edited. His only regret was that his tutor Peet who died in 1961 hadn’t lived to see it. There are now several versions of the book the unabridged contains over 7,000 signs and 12,000 illustrations the revised edition and the CD-Rom version. Sternberg was at the forfront of the deaf revolution he was a charter member at the newly formed Registry of interpreters for the Deaf. He was also the first to take and pass the first interpreter evaluation test. At NYU he organized the first interpreter-training program with Dr. Schein and Dr. Carol Tipton.
Works citted: Deaf Life Magazine 2010-11
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