Jacob M. Koehler Got His Education in Philadelphia, Then Dedicated His Life to Educating Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing Children

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Reverend Jacob M. Koehler
Image via Explore PA History
Jacob M. Koehler had a legacy as an advocate for children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing, and also was a reverend.

Rev. Jacob M. Koehler, who got his education at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Philadelphia, dedicated his life to advancing the education of deaf and hard-of-hearing children, writes Alli Davis for Pennsylvania Heritage.

Koehler was born in York in 1860. He lost his hearing from spinal meningitis at the age of 12. He started attending the school in Philadelphia, which was the only facility for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in Pennsylvania at the time.

In 1877, Koehler decided to become a minister. To achieve that, he entered the National Deaf-Mute College, now Gallaudet University, in Washington, D.C.

The time he spent there strongly influenced his concern for deaf children who had no access to education, which prompted him to open the Pennsylvania Oral School for Deaf Mutes in Scranton.

After completing his ordination to the Episcopal priesthood, he evangelized to a large deaf community in the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania. Over the years, he rose to international prominence both as a priest and disabilities advocate.

On June 10, 1999, Koehler received a Pennsylvania Historical Marker in Scranton.

Read more about Jacob M. Koehler and his legacy for advancing education for the deaf and hard-of-hearing in Pennsylvania Heritage.

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