Home Books Encyclopedia of American Disability History, 3-Volume Set
Encyclopedia of American Disability History, 3-Volume Set
  • Authored by: Susan Burch, Ph.D.; Foreword by Paul K. Longmore, Ph.D.
  • Trim Size: 8 1/2 X 11
  • ISBN-10: 081607030X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-8160-7030-5
  • Status: In Stock
  • List Price: $295.00
  • Imprint: Facts On File
  • Published: 08/01/2009
  • Dewey Number: 362
  • Reading Level: Grades 9 and up
  • Pages: 1264


Like race and gender, disability has recently become a critical field of study in examining our nation’s heritage. Sparked by the disability rights movement of the late 20th century, disability history both expands and challenges the traditional American narrative of self-reliance, individualism, and opportunity and yields new understandings of such bedrock values as community, family, and citizenship. From the asylum movement of the 19th century and the cover-up of Franklin Roosevelt's paralysis during his presidency to the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (and amendment of 2008) and the impact of every war on veterans’ physical and mental health, the experience of disability—and society’s reaction to it—has changed markedly throughout American history. The definitions of disability have also changed from era to era, revealing competing views, approaches, and attitudes.

Encyclopedia of American Disability History is the first encyclopedia to focus on this important topic in U.S. history. By examining the issues, events, people, activism, laws, personal experiences, and social ramifications of disability throughout American history, this comprehensive three-volume reference provides a new and broader, more inclusive approach to our nation’s past. More than 350 historians, scholars, and experts contributed to the 750-plus articles in this impressive work. Arranged alphabetically, each signed article includes cross-references to related entries and suggestions for further reading. Ideal for the high school and college curriculum, this accessible encyclopedia also includes a comprehensive chronology and dozens of original documents, as well as an extensive bibliography.

Entries include:

  • Access and accessibility
  • Amputees and amputation
  • Architectural Barriers Act
  • Blind Boys of Alabama
  • Buck v. Bell
  • Deaf President Now!
  • Disability art and artistic expression
  • Disability rights movement
  • Down syndrome
  • Eugenics
  • Thomas Gallaudet
  • Impairment/impaired
  • League of the Physically Handicapped
  • Little People of America
  • Long-term care
  • Mainstreaming
  • Million Dollar Baby
  • Self-advocates and self-advocacy
  • South Park
  • Special Olympics
  • Ugly Laws
  • Veterans.


Black-and-white illustrations. Original documents. Index. Bibliography. Cross-references. Chronology. In three volumes.

About the Author(s)

Susan Burch, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of American Studies at Middlebury College and the director of the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity. She is also cofounder and board member of the Disability History Association and has served on the Society for Disability Studies’ board of directors. Her work has been acknowledged with several awards, including a Mellon Seminar Fellowship and a Fulbright lecturing award. She is the author of Signs of Resistance: American Deaf Cultural History, 1900 to World War II; the coeditor of Double Visions: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Women and Deafness; and the coauthor of Unspeakable: The Story of Junius Wilson.

Foreword author Paul K. Longmore, Ph.D., is a professor of history at San Francisco State University and director of the Institute on Disability. He has received numerous grants to develop disability training and studies programs from the U.S. Department of Education, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Council on Disability, and California Foundation of Independent Living Centers. He has written many books and articles, including The Invention of George Washington and Why I Burned My Book and Other Essays on Disability. He is coeditor of both The New Disability History: American Perspectives and the “History of Disability” book series. Among his many honors and awards are the California State University Wang Family Award, Henry B. Betts Award, and Frank Lanternman Award.

Reviews and Awards

"Written at a reading level appropriate to the high school researcher, this work is equally valuable to the college student seeking to learn more about disabilities, American history, or persons who have been involved with disabilities in America."

Library Journal

"...an excellent resource on the history of disability in the US...Highly recommended."


"Offering a unique perspective, Encyclopedia of American Disability History is highly recommended for academic and large public libraries."


"...a fascinating encyclopedia set...valuable...an important addition to any public or academic library collection and is highly recommended."

American Reference Books Annual

"Editors' Choice Reference Source"

- Booklist/RBB

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