Commitment to Community: the Lives of Laurent Clerc and Francis Clerc Ogden


Laurent Clerc and his great-grandson Francis Clerc Ogden share more than just a name. Though Francis was born 23 years after Laurent’s death in 1865, their respective lifes’ work demonstrates a family tradition of service passed down between generations.

Laurent was a French immigrant and deaf man born in the late 18th century, a time when opportunities for education for the deaf were limited. He overcame those obstacles and ultimately co-founded the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut in 1817, which opened new possibilities for the deaf community. This remains the oldest active school for deaf students in the United States. Francis Clerc Ogden carried on this tradition of selflessness a century later, becoming one of the town’s most well-known residents thanks to his service efforts and involvement in countless community organizations. In 1938, he became one of the first members of the Wilton Historical Society, created in order to preserve the town’s past and share its history with the public.

Commitment to Community: the Lives of Laurent Clerc and Francis Clerc Ogden highlights and celebrates the lives and legacies of these two men – who dedicated themselves to service for others – as well as the Wilton connection that brought together the two organizations they were instrumental in creating.

Open Tuesdays – Saturdays from 10am – 4pm.

$10 for Adults, FREE for Members and Children under 18. Admission to this exhibit also includes entry to The Town Book: E. Boyd Smith’s 20th Century Wilton.

This exhibition is developed in partnership with the American School for the Deaf.