About This Collection
Benjamin Marshall Schowe, Sr. was born on September 29, 1893 in Columbus, Indiana. He became Deaf at the age of 13 and attended public schools until his admission to Gallaudet College (now known as Gallaudet University) in 1913 and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1918. After graduation, he went to work for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio where he eventually became personnel manager. In 1934, he became a Labor Economics Research Specialist and continued in this position until his retirement in 1958. Due to his unique position at Firestone, he recruited many Deaf people for employment, especially during World War II. Due to increased employment of Deaf people in Akron, Deaf societies blossomed during this era. Schowe died on September 26, 1979 in Akron, Ohio.
The Papers of Benjamin Marshall Schowe, Sr. consists of 28 boxes (14.5 linear feet) which includes correspondence and personal papers. The collection is dated from 1912 to 1977 and includes approximately 30,000 pages of correspondence and some 10,000 pages of manuscripts and notebooks. A large amount of this collection focuses on the problems in Deaf people’s lives such as employment and education and many papers discuss Schowe’s personal philosophies. The bulk of materials are dated from his years with Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. Only two boxes of this collection have been digitized. The digital collection focuses on recruiting, promotion, insurance, and discrimination related to Deaf people and employment from 1920 through 1975.
While Schowe was a labor economist for Firestone, he corresponded with federal authorities about hiring Deaf employees during the New Deal and World War II. He was also responsible for hiring Deaf people to work at Firestone and he also helped conduct surveys of Deaf workers that were published and distributed to federal agencies during this era.
The collection was donated to the Gallaudet University Archives by his son Benjamin Marshall Schowe, Jr., in 1980.