Caroline Ardelia Yale

Caroline Yale
Caroline Yale

Time Period


Notable Facts

Pioneered a new method of teaching deaf children in collaboration with Alexander Graham Bell. Devoted 63 years to teaching and managing the Clarke School for the Deaf.

Personal Information

Date of Birth


Date of Death


Primary Residence




Historical Significance

Caroline Yale began her teaching career at age 19, teaching classes of 90 in Brandon and Williston.

In 1870, she moved to Northampton, Massachusetts to become a teacher of deaf children at the Clarke School. She spent the next 63 years there, working closely with Alexander Graham Bell and his father, Alexander Melville Bell. Yale developed the innovate Alexander Melville Bell's system of teaching. The result was a revolutionary system of phonetic symbols to teach the deaf. "The Northampton Vowels and Consonants Charts" became the most widely used system in the United States. This system is discussed in Yale's 1892 work, "Formation and Development of Elementary English Sounds".

During Yale's 63 years at the Clarke School, she was a teacher, became Associate Principal in 1873, and in 1886 took the position of Principal. She was Principal of the Clarke School for the next 36 years.

After her retirement in 1922, she continued to direct the teacher training program. She remained active with the Clarke School as a Board member for many years.

She received honorary doctorate degrees from Illinois Welseyan University in 1896 and from Mount Holyoke College in 1927.

An interesting side note: Caroline Yale hired a teacher, Grace Goodhue of Burlington, soon to become Mrs. Calvin Coolidge. Grace Coolidge was a life-long supporter and fund raiser for the school.

In 1931, Caroline Yale published her autobiography, "Years of Building: Memories of a Pioneer in a Special Field of Education".

Organizations or Movements

  • American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf


  • Teacher
  • Administrator
  • Writer


  • Mount Holyoke Female Seminary 1866-68
  • Honorary Doctorate, Illinois Wesleyan University 1896
  • Mount Holyoke College 1927

Additional Information (Bibliography)

  • Collections of materials, papers, photos

  • Brochure "First Ladies and Education" Link

  • Online Encyclopedia Britannica article Link

  • Letter in Alexander Graham Bell collection Link

  • 1931 autobiography, "Years of Building: Memories of a Pioneer in a Special Field of Education"

  • "The Northhampton Vowels and Consonants Charts" Link

  • "Caroline Ardelia Yale." In The Encyclopedia of Vermont. pp. 242-243.

Additional Images

Caroline Yale
Caroline Yale