1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Assarotti, Ottavio Giovanni Battista

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ASSAROTTI, OTTAVIO GIOVANNI BATTISTA (1753-1829), the founder of schools for the education of deaf-mutes in Italy, was born at Genoa in 1753. After qualifying himself for the church, he entered the society of the Pietists, “Scuole Pie,” who devoted themselves to the training of the young. His superior learning caused him to be appointed to lecture on theology to the students of the order. In 1801 he heard of the Abbé Sicard’s training of deaf-mutes in Paris, and resolved to try something similar in Italy. He began with one pupil, and had by degrees collected a small number round him, when, in 1805, Napoleon, hearing of his endeavours, ordered a convent to be given him for a school-house, and funds for supporting twelve scholars to be taken from the convent revenues. This order was scarcely attended to till 1811, when it was renewed, and in the following year Assarotti, with a considerable number of pupils, took possession of the new school. Here he continued, with the exception of a short interval in 1814, till his death in 1829. A pension, which had been awarded him by the king of Sardinia, he bequeathed to his scholars.