18th Century Key Players

Bingham, Caleb (1757-1817) was a Boston teacher and owner and director of a school for girls. He published several very popular books on oratory, grammar and rhetoric that were used in schools: The Lady's Accidence, a grammar book (1785); The American preceptor (1794); The Columbian orator (1797).

Blair, Hugh (1718-1800) was a Scottish literary critic, academic, and clergyman, who lectured and published on poetry and the classics. In 1783 he published his text on rhetoric and literary criticism: Lectures on rhetoric and belles lettres. He also edited 8 volumes on the Works of Shakespeare.

Boerhaave, Hermann (1668-1738) was an influential Dutch physician, whose major contributions to medicine involved a systemization ancient and new medical knowledge.

Braidwood, Thomas (1715-1806) established a school for the deaf in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1767. Braidwood used the two-handed alphabet, gestures and natural signs, and reading and writing. He taught speech by beginning with sounds and then building to syllables and words.

Burnet, James—known as Lord Monboddo, (1714-1799) was a British scholar of language evolution, a judge, and a philosopher. He is said to have founded modern comparative historical linguistics. In 1774 he wrote a six volume book entitled Of the origin and progress of language (1773-1792). He was best known as Lord Monboddo.

Chiarugi, Vincenzo (1759–1820) was an Italian physician who introduced humanitarian reforms to the hospital care of people with mental disorders. He was a key contributor in movement called moral treatment that also involved Phillip Pinel (1745-1826) in France, William Tuke (1732-1822) in England, and Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) in the US.

de Condillac, Etienne Bonnot (1715-1780) was a French philosopher who theorized about the nature of the mind. He followed in the tradition of philosophical scholars of his time, building especially upon the empirical tradition of John Locke (1632-1704).

Crichton, Alexander (1763-1856) a Scottish physician who wrote on mental and speech disorders, including nonfluencies, word finding difficulties, and aphasia.

Crombie, Alexander (1762-1840) was a Protestant minister and schoolmaster who ran a private school in Highgate in London. In 1802 he published The etymology and syntax of the English language explained, a book on English usage for students in his school.

Cullen, William (1710-1790) was an 18th century Scottish physician and chemist. His chief works were First Lines of the Practice of Physic; Institutions of Medicine (1710) and Synopsis Nosologiae Methodicae (1785). In the 1785 work he classified diseases into four major groups: (1) Pyrexiae, or febrile diseases, as typhus fever (2) Neuroses, or nervous diseases, as epilepsy; (3) Cachexiae, or diseases resulting from bad habit of body such as scurvy and (4) Locales, or local diseases, such as cancer.

Darwin, Erasmus (1731-1802) was a prominent British intellectual, physician and scientist. He worked on developing a ‘speaking machine’ and on a way to classify diseases so that they would lend themselves better to treatment. His books were: The temple of nature and Zoonomia (1800).

Dix, Dorothea (1802-1887) was a social reformer. She campaigned for funds to start asylums for the mentally ill. In 1845, as a result of her campaigning, America’s first mental Hospital was established in New Jersey: New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum.

Enfield, William (1741-1797) was a tutor of natural philosophy and mathematics and a Presbyterian minister in England. He wrote several works on elocution including: The speaker: or, miscellaneous pieces selected from the best English writers…with a view to facilitate the improvement of youth in reading and speaking. London: Johnson (1774).

Franklin, Benjamin (1706-1790) was a revered founding father in the United States, who was also an inventor, scientist, philosopher, and publisher. In his 1751 Proposal in the Idea of the English School, he laid out a course curriculum for college students, that gave due emphasis to rhetoric.

Gesner, Johann (1738-1801) was an 18th century German physician and medical writer whose work covered a number of areas of medicine. In 1770 he wrote a major work devoted to the study of aphasia called 'Die Sprachamnesie'. In it, Gesner describes the symptoms of several patients, focusing on one, KD, who exhibited symptoms of what Gesner called “speech amnesia”.

Henley, John (1692-1759) was a Methodist preacher whose preaching methods were flamboyant and controversial. He preached regularly in Lincoln Inn Fields in London, but his stronghold of support was in the rural areas of London. He wrote several books on oratory, among which were: The appeal of the oratory to the first ages of Christianity. London (1727).

Herries, John (?1781) was a lecturer who taught at Dublin, Edinburgh, Oxford, and London. In 1773 he published Treatise on the elements of speech (1773). His book contained a detailed treatment of articulation with a focus on the mechanisms of speech production. He described the physiology of the organs of speech and covered topics such as the classification of sounds, formation of vowels, the alphabet, the cultivation of the voice in children, speech impediments, and teaching the deaf.

Hunter, John (1728-1793) was a surgeon and anatomist, whose work moved surgery from a low status, nonscientific practice, mostly done by barbers, into a more respected, scientific discipline. Hunter’s theories about the functioning of the body included vitalism, which John Thelwall took him to task for (see Thelwall’s lecture at: http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~duchan/new_history/thelwall/vitalism_lecture_thelwall.html.

Itard, Jean-Marc Gaspard (1775-1838) was a French physician and educator. He was best known for book that outlined how he went about teaching of Victor, a young nonverbal child who was found in the woods. His book: Victor: the Wild Boy of Aveyron (1801, 1806) became a classic that has survived the ages.

Johnson, Samuel (1709-1784) created a popular and oft-cited dictionary of the English language that defined words as well as their common usage for his time. His two-volume Dictionary of the English language (1755) included clever citations from literature to show usage, some of which were political and personal.

Kenrick, William (1725?-1779) was a British dramatist who wrote: A rhetorical grammar of the English language (1784).His bookhas sections on vowels and consonants (1784, pp. 37-65).

Linnaeus, Carl (1707-1778) a Swedish naturalist, botanist, zoologist, and physician, was the founder of modern scientific nomenclature used to label and classify plants and animals. Linnaeus’s designed a system of binomial nomenclature with each element in the system classified and named in terms of its general category or genus and its specific category or species.

Lowth, Bishop Robert (1710-1787) was a Bishop of the Church of England and a professor of poetry at Oxford University. He authored influential textbooks on English grammar.

Mann, Horace (1796-1859) Horace Mann is best known as an educator and political reformer. When serving as the first US Secretary of Education, he promoted the common school movement. Mann also founded a school for the deaf in 1869 in Alston, Massachusetts. His school for the deaf promoted oralism, as opposed to manual signing.

Mason, John (1706-1763) authored three works on prosody and elocution. The most influential of his books was his Essay on elocution; or, pronunciation. Intended chiefly for the assistance of those who instruct others in the art of reading. And of those who are often called to speak in publick (London, 1748).

Mendelssohn, Moses (1729-1786) was a philosopher and Jewish theologian who wrote on metaphysics, aesthetics, political theory and theology. He was key to the advancements in thinking associated 18th century German Enlightenment. He campaigned for Jewish civil rights and translated parts of the Old Testament into German.

Morgagni, Giovanni (1682-1771) was a professor of anatomy in Padua, Italy at the University of Venice. At the age of 80 he summarized his life work in a five volume De Sedibus et Causis Morborum per Anatomen Indagatis (1762). His unique focus was to locate diseases in specific organs rather than in the humors or ventricles of the brain.

Murray, Lindley (1745-1826) was a popular American author and Quaker who wrote eleven school textbooks on English Grammar. His best known book was English Reader (1799) that served as a prescriptive text for English usage. He drew heavily, without attribution, from the British grammarians Bishop Robert Lowth (1762) and J. B. Priestley (1761). The English Reader dominated the American market for readers for over a generation from 1815 into the 1840s. It began to be replaced in 1836 the McGuffey Readers, a series of reading texts.

Paine, Thomas (1737-1809) played a key role in the founding of the United States and in promoting a political atmosphere that led to the French Revolution. He wrote a popular and influential pamphlet called Common sense in which he advocated colonial America’s independence from England and another called Rights of man in which he argued for the cause of the French Revolution.

Pinel, Philippe (1734-1826). Philippe Pinel was a French physician who worked to develop humane approaches toward the mentally ill. His treatments have been called moral treatments, in that they involved a minimal amount of restraint, and close, personalized contact with patients.

Pussin, Jean Baptiste (1746-1811) was a superintendent at Bicetre Hospital in France. He, along with his wife, promoted and instituted humane treatment of patients with mental disorders.

Rousseau, Jean Jacques (1712-1778) was a philosopher and educator who had tremendous influence not only on the thinking, politics, and educational practices of his times but for centuries following his death. His ideas laid the foundation to late 18th and early 19th century romanticism.

Rush, Benjamin (1745-1813) was a physician, politician, and chemist, who assumed a prominent role in building the new republic, after the revolutionary war. Rush was best known as a signer of the Declaration of Independence. His medical theories allowed for blood letting, harking back to the ancient theory of the humors, first forwarded by Hippocrates and then Galen. He pioneered kind methods in psychiatry and a careful observation of the mentally ill. For these reasons, and because he wrote a book about his observations and methods used with the mentally ill, he has been called the father of psychiatry.

de Sauvages de la Croix Francois Boissier (1706-1767) was a 18th century botanist and professor of medicine at the University of Montpellier, in France. He organized dementias into four types, those of extracerebral origin, those involving disturbances of instinctual and emotional life, those involving intellectual life, and those caused by irregular eccentricities and follies.

Sheridan, Thomas (1719-1788) was an actor and teacher of elocution. He published various books, among which were A general dictionary of the English language (1780) which aimed to establish a standard of English pronunciation and A course of lectures on elocution: together with two dissertations on language and some other tracts relative to those subjects (1762) reproduced by Scolar Press in 1968).

Steele, Joshua (1700-1791) published an influential work entitled An essay towards establishing the melody and measure of speech. In it he offers a way of representing the melody of speech, using a musical notation system.

Thelwall, John (1764-1834) was a radical politician, orator, and elocution teacher in Britain. His specialty was speech therapy and is now credited as being the first speech therapist in the UK. He had a private practice and was said to be the first British speech therapist.

Tuke, William (1732-1822) was a British businessman and philanthropist, whose Quaker beliefs led him to develop humane methods for working with those who have mental disorders. He, along with Philippe Pinel (1745-1826) in France and Vincenzo Chiarugi (1759–1820) in Italy, developed what was subsequently called moral treatment for the mentally ill.

von Kemplen, Wolfgang (1734-1804) was an Hungarian phonetician who built a mechanical speech synthesizer that produced connected speech.

Walker, John (1732-1807) was an actor, philologist and lexicographer who wrote several books on elocution, one entitled: Melody of speaking delineated (1787) another, Elements of elocution, 2 vols. London, (1781).

Webster, Noah (1758-1843) was an American lexicographer, grammarian, lawyer, public school teacher and journalist. In 1806 Webster wrote the first American English dictionary: A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language. In 1828 he published what was to become a classic dictionary with 70,000 entries, the American Dictionary of the English Language and in 1790 he wrote what was to become a popular book on elocution: An American Selection of Lessons in Reading and Speaking:

Wesley, John, John (1703-1791), founder of Methodism, was a rhetorician, both in practice and theory. He created a system of reading, writing, and speaking that violated prevailing 18th century practices in that it promoted more emotional and less formal ways of speaking. He empowered women and non-educated men to preach and encouraged literacy among the lower and middle classes. He wrote on elocutionary practices, in his Directions concerning pronunciation and gesture (1749). Bristol.