Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Brace, Julia

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BRACE, Julia, a blind deaf-mute, b. in Newington, Conn., 13 June, 1807; d. in Bloomington, Conn., 12 Aug., 1884. At the age of four years and five months she lost sight and hearing, and soon forgot the few words she had learned to speak. No intelligent attempt was made to educate her until she was eighteen, when she was sent to the American asylum for the deaf and dumb. Here she remained for about thirty years, when she went to live with her sister in Bloomington, Conn. She was paralyzed and bedridden the last year of her life. Her case is peculiarly interesting because her natural intellectual endowment was not of a high order, and as she had reached adult years before any attempt at education was made. She was very irascible and sullen, owing probably to over-indulgence when she first came to the asylum, but under judicious treatment became more amiable. She attained considerable skill in sewing, readily threading her own needle, and in the laundry, where she selected and ironed her own clothes. She made her own dresses, being particular to have them “in the fashion,” and did much sewing for others. Her memory of tangible facts was very tenacious, but it had no grasp of abstractions, and it was never apparent that she comprehended the idea of a Deity. She had a decided aversion to men in general, and did not hesitate to show it. Some of the older male teachers, however, succeeded at the last in gaining her confidence. Her moral sense was wonderfully strong. She was tenacious of her own rights, but never intentionally invaded those of others, and she was never known to deceive. So kind and gentle was she that she was intrusted with the care of the sick, and made an excellent nurse. A full account of her case is given in Dunglison's “Physiology” (vol. ii.).