Mabel farrington Gifford


Mabel Farrington Gifford was a speech therapist employed at the University of California Medical School in San Francisco, 1915-1940. She stuttered and was said to overcome her speech difficulties during her attendance at the Natural Instruction Institute (sometimes called Corrective Speech Institute) in Buffalo, New York (Wingate, 1997, p. 132, Malone, 1966). She attended that institute from 1901 to 1903. She had additional training in 1913 at Minnesota where she worked for the Minnesota School for the Feeble Minded, the Minnesota State Normal School, and the Minnesota State School for the Deaf. She also attended the Scripture Clinic at Columbia University, where she was trained in methods of speech therapy.

In 1916, Gifford organized a speech therapy program for San Francisco’s School system. A 1926 report of the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction described Gifford’s San Francisco program as follows:

Five schools were chosen as centers. The defective speech classes from the schools in each district assembled at their respective center one-half day each week. The other days of the week these classes received twenty minutes drill from the teacher assigned to accompany the pupils to the center. A complete record of each pupil was kept, consisting of conditions before and during correction. The classes were divided into two divisions, class 1 consisting of stammerers, stutterers and cluttering cases, class 2 consisting of lispers and cases of infantile speech, faulty articulation and enunciation. Model lessons were given for class1 in the physiological and psychological training for stammerers and stutterers with exercises for the development and control of the outer speech mechanism, establishment of confidence, emotional control and poise. Written instructions were given each teacher for the purpose of accurately following up the instruc­tion given by the supervisor.

For class 2, tongue, mouth, vocal gymnastics and special drills in phonetics and voice development were given. Articulation and enunciation exercises were clearly outlined and the schedule arranged for home practice. During the first year only primary and grammar grade cases were handled. In 1917 high school classes were added, which included not only nervous speech disorders, but also the correction of foreign pronunciation. The work grew steadily during this interval and two full time speech teachers were appointed to assist in teaching and visiting the twelve centers in the elementary schools (Superintendent Report, 1926)

In 1927, Gifford became California’s Chief of the Bureau of Correction of Speech Defects and Disorders. She served in this capacity from 1927 until her retirement in 1940.

Along the way, Gifford served as an instructor in different places. She was an Instructor of speech correction at San Francisco State College from 1926 to 1952; Instructor of speech at Oakland Kindergarten Training School from 1926 to 1927; Lecturer at the University Extension of the University of California from 1925 to1952; Lecturer and Director, Summer Session program for speech defects and disorders at the University of California from 1925 to 1952; Instructor in speech correction, San Diego State College from 1938 to 1952; Instructor in speech correc­tion at San Quentin State Prison, from 1928 to 1935; and Lecturer of Adult Education Program for Parent Education and Child Study at Contra Costa County from 1950 to 1952 (Malone, 1966).

Gifford was a Charter member of ASHA in 1926 and served as its Vice President in 1931.

References about and by Mabel Farrington Gifford, arranged chronologically

Gifford, M. F. (1919). Speech defects. Volta Review, 21, 168-171.

Gifford, M. F. (1924). Classification and treatment at the University of California hospital clinic. Journal of American Medical Association, 82, 1673-1675.

Gifford, M. F. (1925). The necessity of speech and voice re-education with special reference to nasality. Laryngoscope, 35, 317-323.

Gifford, M. F. (1925). Speech correction work in the San Francisco Public Schools. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 11, 377-381.

Gifford, M. F. (1926). Speech defects and disorders and their correction. San Francisco, CA: Harr Wagner.

Superintendent Report (1926) Thirty-Second Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, for the school years ending June 30, 1925 and June 30, 1926, pp. 40-41.

Gifford, M. F. (1927). Nervous speech disorders in the light of suggestion and auto-suggestion. Journal of Expression, 1, 98-101.

Gifford, M. F. (1930). Relation that emotional maladjustment bears to nervous disorders and to delinquency. In W. Cable (Ed.), Cultural and scientific speech education today (pp. 187-193). Boston, MA: Expression Co.

Gifford, M. F. (1931). State supervision of the correction of speech defects. Proceedings of the National Education Association. 1931, 69, 640-641.

Gifford, M. F. (1931). A consideration of some of the psychological causes and treatment of stammering. In Proceedings of the American Speech Correction Association, 1, 74-82.

Gifford, M. F. (1933). The new speech education program for the state of California. In Proceedings of the American Society for the Study of Disorders of Speech and The National League for the Rehabi8litation of Speech. 3, 1-8.

Gifford, M. F. (1935). Speech defects and disorders and their correction. Los Angeles, CA: Board of Education.

Gifford, M. F. (1937). Free speech--the stammer's right; A remedial procedure for the correction of nervous speech disorders. San Francisco, CA: Printed by Thomson Printing & Publishing Service.

Gifford, M. F.(1937). The social significance of speech development. California Journal of Elementary Education, 6, 123-128.

Gifford, M. F. (1939). Correcting nervous speech disorders. NY: Prentice Hall.

Gifford, M. F. (1940). How to overcome stammering. NY: Prentice Hall.

Gifford, M. F. (1948). Speech correction in the elementary school. Sacramento: California State Dept. of Education.

Hahn, Eugene and Hahn, Elise (1956). Mabel Gifford. In, Stuttering: Significant theories and therapies (pp. 49-54). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Malone, D. (1966) A biography of Mabel Farrington Gifford. Masters’ Thesis, Chapman University.

Paden, E. (1970). History of the American Speech and Hearing Association 1925-1958. Washington, D. C.: American Speech and Hearing Assn.

Wingate, M. (1997). Stuttering: A short history of a curious disorder. Westport CT: Bergin & Garvey.