Mae Street Kidd
Mae Jones Street Kidd was an American businesswoman, civic leader, a skilled politician during a time when both her gender and her inter-racial background made such accomplishments more difficult than they would be today. She had a distinguished career in public relations, served in the Red Cross during World War II, was a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1968 to 1984, representing Louisville's 41st state legislative district. During her tenure in elective office, she was known for her sponsorship of landmark legislation. House Bill No. 27 which became law in 1972 created the Kentucky Housing Corporation which promotes and finances low-income housing in the state. In 1974, this particular bill was designated as the "Mae Street Kidd Act." Representative Kidd led the campaign for Kentucky to ratify the United States Constitution's 13th Amendment, 14th Amendment and 15th Amendment. Known collectively as the "Reconstruction Amendments," all three of those constitutional amendments had become law shortly after the conclusion of the Civil War when a sufficient number of lawmakers in other states had ratified them.
Representative Kidd offered and secured adoption of a resolution in 1976 to post-ratify the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. Born on February 8, 1904, in Millersburg, Kentucky to Anna Belle Leer who worked for a well-to-do white family with a large farm in central Kentucky. Kidd's father, Charles Robert Jones, was the son of her mother's employers, her older brother was George William Jones. As a girl she was called Minne Mae Jones, she attended Springfield Institute from 1948 to 1950, University of Louisville, American University, 1966–67. Kidd spent her early years in a town in Bourbon County; when she was two, her mother married a tobacco farmer, James W. Taylor, who became a chicken breeder. Kidd's mother, had a thriving catering business and served as a local midwife. Kidd knew that her real father had married and began a family of his own, "and they and their mother used to come visit my mother, friendly with his white family," she recalled in an oral history interview with Wade Hall. "But I never wanted anything to do with them.
I was hurt that he couldn't--or wouldn't--acknowledge me as his daughter. It was a painful part of my childhood, but I got over it."Millersburg's blacks lived in a section of the town called Shippsville, Kidd went to school there until the eighth grade. As a youngster, she realized that her light skin made it possible for her to skirt the Jim Crow laws that were a feature of life in the American South at the time: under these acts, blacks were restricted to certain schools, seating areas of public transportation, drinking fountains and rest rooms, she recalled that she liked to go into the Millersburg millinery shops and try on hats as a little girl, pointed out that all in the town knew that she was of mixed heritage. Kidd's mother moved the family to Millersburg proper after asking her cousin, white, to purchase the house and have the deed transferred to her. Both Kidd's mother and stepfather worked hard to provide a solid home for the children, which included two more of their own: Kidd's half brother Webster Demetrius Taylor, a half sister, Mary Evelyn Taylor.
As a teenager, Kidd wanted to contribute to the household herself, but her mother refused to let her work for white families, telling her, "Mae, I have to serve other people because I don't have a choice. I want you to have a choice when you grow up." Since her school only went up to the eighth grade, it was decided that she would be sent away to the Lincoln Institute in Simpsonville, created to provide a better educational opportunity in the Jim Crow era. She was 15 years old when she left home in 1919, spent two years there before her family's financial circumstances forced her to return home. Kidd found a part-time job selling insurance as an independent sales agent for the Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company, a thriving, black-owned company based in Louisville. At the time, black-owned insurance companies were an important part of the African-American economy and some of the largest black-owned businesses of their era. Like black-owned banks, they served a community, discriminated against by mainstream American institutions.
From 1921 to 1925 Kidd collected premiums. "I never had any bad experiences anywhere because everybody knew my parents in Millersburg, in Carlisle I soon became known and the older people began watching over me," she recalled in an oral history interview, noting that she sometimes collected a hundred dollars in a day. After four years as a salesperson, Kidd was offered a job at the Mammoth headquarters in Louisville as a file clerk, she shared an apartment in the Mammoth building with a friend, a young woman whose father was a board member of the insurance company. Kidd was thrilled to be supporting herself and living in a large city, still a relative rarity for a single woman of any color in 1925. Louisville was still part of the South, it did have unspoken boundaries. "I couldn't use the main public library," Kidd recalled. "I couldn't go to the first-run movie shows on Fourth Street."After a time, Kidd was promoted to assistant bookkeeper, moved to the policy-issue office. In 1935 she became supervisor of
Martha Layne Collins
Martha Layne Collins is an American former businesswoman and politician from the U. S. state of Kentucky. Prior to that, she served as the 48th Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky, under John Y. Brown, Jr, her election made her the highest-ranking Democratic woman in the U. S, she was considered as a possible running mate for Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale in the 1984 presidential election, but Mondale chose Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro instead. After graduating from the University of Kentucky, Collins worked as a school teacher while her husband finished a degree in dentistry, she became interested in politics, worked on both Wendell Ford's gubernatorial campaign in 1971 and Walter "Dee" Huddleston's U. S. Senate campaign in 1972. In 1975, she was chosen secretary of the state's Democratic Party and was elected clerk of the Kentucky Court of Appeals. During her tenure as clerk, a constitutional amendment restructured the state's judicial system, the Court of Appeals became the Kentucky Supreme Court.
Collins continued as clerk of the renamed court and worked to educate citizens about the court's new role. Collins was elected lieutenant governor in 1979, under Governor John Y. Brown, Jr. Brown was out of the state, leaving Collins as acting governor for more than 500 days of her four-year term. In 1983, she defeated Republican Jim Bunning to become Kentucky's first woman governor, her administration had two primary focuses: economic development. After failing to secure increased funding for education in the 1984 legislative session, she conducted a statewide public awareness campaign in advance of a special legislative session the following year, she used economic incentives to bring a Toyota manufacturing plant to Georgetown, Kentucky in 1986. Legal challenges to the incentives – which would have cost the state the plant and its related economic benefits – were dismissed by the Kentucky Supreme Court; the state experienced record economic growth under Collins' leadership. At the time, Kentucky governors were not eligible for reelection.
Collins taught at several universities after her four-year term as governor. From 1990 to 1996, she was the president of Saint Catharine College near Kentucky; the 1993 conviction of Collins' husband, Dr. Bill Collins, in an influence-peddling scandal, damaged her hopes for a return to political life. Prior to her husband's conviction it had been rumored that she would be a candidate for the U. S. Senate, or would take a position in the administration of President Bill Clinton. From 1998 to 2012, Collins served as an executive scholar-in-residence at Georgetown College. Martha Layne Hall was born December 7, 1936, in Bagdad, the only child of Everett and Mary Hall; when Martha was in the sixth grade, her family moved to Shelbyville and opened the Hall-Taylor Funeral Home. Martha was involved in numerous extracurricular activities both in school and at the local Baptist church, her parents were active in local politics, working for the campaigns of several Democratic candidates, Hall joined them, stuffing envelopes and delivering pamphlets door-to-door.
Martha attended Shelbyville High School where she was a cheerleader. She competed in beauty pageants and won the title of Shelby County Tobacco Festival Queen in 1954. After high school, Hall enrolled at Lindenwood College an all-woman college in Saint Charles, Missouri. After one year at Lindenwood, she transferred to the University of Kentucky in Kentucky, she was active in many clubs, including the Chi Omega social sorority, the Baptist Student Union, the home economics club, was the president of her dormitory and vice president of the house presidents council. In 1957, Hall met Billy Louis Collins while attending a Baptist camp in Shelby County, he was a student at Georgetown College in Georgetown, about 13 miles from Lexington. Hall earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics in 1959. Having won the title of Kentucky Derby Festival Queen earlier that year, she considered a career in modeling. Instead and Collins married shortly after her graduation. While Billy Collins pursued a degree in dentistry at the University of Louisville, Martha taught at Seneca and Fairdale high schools, both located in Louisville.
While living in Louisville, the couple had two children and Marla. In 1966, the Collinses moved to Versailles, where Martha taught at Woodford County Junior High School; the couple became active in several civic organizations, including the Jaycees and Jayceettes and the Young Democratic Couples Club. Through the club, they worked on behalf of Henry Ward's unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign in 1967. By 1971, Collins was the president of the Jayceettes. Huddleston asked Collins to co-chair Wendell Ford's gubernatorial campaign in the 6th District. J. R. Miller, then-chairman of the state Democratic Party, commented that "She organized that district like you wouldn't believe." After Ford's victory, he named Collins as a Democratic National Committeewoman from Kentucky. She quit her teaching job and went to work full-time at the state Democratic Party headquarters, as secretary of the state Democratic party and as a delegate to the 1972 Democratic National Convention; the following year, she worked for Huddleston's campaign for the U.
S. Senate. In 1975, Collins won the Democratic nominati
Virtual International Authority File
The Virtual International Authority File is an international authority file. It is a joint project of several national libraries and operated by the Online Computer Library Center. Discussion about having a common international authority started in the late 1990s. After a series of failed attempts to come up with a unique common authority file, the new idea was to link existing national authorities; this would present all the benefits of a common file without requiring a large investment of time and expense in the process. The project was initiated by the US Library of Congress, the German National Library and the OCLC on August 6, 2003; the Bibliothèque nationale de France joined the project on October 5, 2007. The project transitioned to being a service of the OCLC on April 4, 2012; the aim is to link the national authority files to a single virtual authority file. In this file, identical records from the different data sets are linked together. A VIAF record receives a standard data number, contains the primary "see" and "see also" records from the original records, refers to the original authority records.
The data are available for research and data exchange and sharing. Reciprocal updating uses the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting protocol; the file numbers are being added to Wikipedia biographical articles and are incorporated into Wikidata. VIAF's clustering algorithm is run every month; as more data are added from participating libraries, clusters of authority records may coalesce or split, leading to some fluctuation in the VIAF identifier of certain authority records. Authority control Faceted Application of Subject Terminology Integrated Authority File International Standard Authority Data Number International Standard Name Identifier Wikipedia's authority control template for articles Official website VIAF at OCLC
Madeline McDowell Breckinridge
Madeline McDowell Breckinridge was a leader of the women's suffrage movement and one of Kentucky's leading progressive reformers. She lobbied for women's right to vote in board elections and for state and federal election voting rights. Kentucky ratified the constitution amendment for women's right to vote on January 6, 1920 and the federal Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed that year, which allowed women to vote in the presidential election in November 1920, she was instrumental in the adoption of legislation to establish the juvenile justice system, enacted in 1906. She lobbied for child labor laws and compulsory school attendance legislation. Breckenridge was the founder of many civic organizations, including the Lexington Civic League, Associated Charities and Kentucky Association for the Prevention and Treatment of Tuberculosis, she led efforts to create these organizations, implement model schools for children and adults and recreations, manual training programs, health care facilities for tuberculosis treatment.
McDowell had suffered from tuberculosis since she was a young woman, the amputation of part of one of her legs necessitated the use of a wooden leg. In their book, A New History of Kentucky, Lowell H. Harrison and James C. Klotter, state that Breckinridge was the most influential woman in the state, she was named one of the Kentucky Women Remembered in 1996 and her portrait is permanently displayed at the state capitol. She was a descendant of 19th-century statesman Henry Clay and married editor and publisher Desha Breckinridge, she was born in Woodlake and grew up at Ashland, the farm established by her great-grandfather, nineteenth-century statesman Henry Clay. Her mother was Henry Clay, Jr.'s daughter, Anne Clay McDowell, her father was Major Henry Clay McDowell, who served during the American Civil War on the Union side. They purchased the Ashland estate in 1882, she was one of seven children. There were Henry Clay, William Adair, Thomas Clay and Ballard, her two sisters were Julia. Henry was a federal judge and Thomas was a renowned thoroughbred racehorse owner and trainer who won the 1902 Kentucky Derby.
Breckinridge was grandniece of Dr. Ephraim McDowell, her distant cousin, Laura Clay, founded the Kentucky Equal Rights Association in 1888, of which Breckinridge became president. She was educated in Lexington, Kentucky, at Miss Porter's School in Farmington, at State College between 1890 and 1894, she suffered from illness during her college years and, due to tuberculosis of the bone, part of one leg was amputated and she received a wooden leg. The once athletic young woman became more studious, she wrote book reviews for the Lexington Herald and studied German philosophy and literature with other Fortnightly Club members. On November 17, 1898, Madeline McDowell married Desha Breckinridge, the editor of the Lexington Herald, he was the brother of the lawyer and pioneering social worker Sophonisba Breckinridge, who wrote a biography of her sister-in-law entitled Madeline McDowell Breckinridge: A Leader in the New South. The Breckinridges together used the newspaper's editorial pages to promote political and social causes of the Progressive Era programs for the poor, child welfare and for women's rights.
Desha was not a faithful man during their marriage, as a result Breckinridge escaped her embarrassment by being busy with her civic activities. She was a patient in a Denver, Colorado sanitarium in 1903 and 1904. About 1904, when she was 32 years of age, she suffered a stroke, she organized a social settlement at Proctor, Kentucky's Episcopal mission with the Gleaners of Christ Church Episcopal from 1899 to 1900. In 1900, she helped found the Lexington Civic League, which created public kindergartens and recreational opportunities for children, she helped found the relief organization, Associated Charities, that year. Breckenridge worked to have laws enacted regarding child labor, compulsory school attendance, a development of a juvenile justice system in the state, she worked to introduce manual training of domestic science and carpentry in schools, funded by the board of education beginning in 1907. Through the efforts of the Lexington Civic League, she founded a social settlement, similar to Chicago's Hull House, named the Lincoln School for Robert Todd Lincoln who donated $30,000 towards the building cost.
The school, which opened in 1912, had classrooms for children's day and adult's night classes, swimming pools, gymnasium, a laundry, carpenter shop, a community assembly hall. It served poor Lexington residents, including an influx of Irish immigrants, many of whom were illiterate. Breckinridge began working on finding ways to provide services for individuals with tuberculosis in Lexington in 1905, first with the development of a free clinic, she led the efforts within the Associated Charities and Civic League. She founded the Kentucky Association for the Prevention and Treatment of Tuberculosis in 1912, helped establish the Blue Grass Sanitarium in Lexington, by working with the Fayette County Tuberculosis Association, served on the state commission until 1916. Breckinridge chaired the legislative committee of the Kentucky Federation of Women's Clubs in 1908, 1910, 1912, she worked hard, among other things, in this role to restore the rights of Kentucky women to vote in school board elections before the 19th Amendment granted full suffrage.
Frustrated by the lack of influence that she and other women had with state politicians regarding social reform, Breckenridge began lobbying the right for women to vote so they would have a greater voice in the politi
Katherine G. Langley
Katherine Emeline Gudger Langley was an American politician. Langley was member of United States House of Representatives from Kentucky during the Seventieth and Seventy-first sessions of Congress, she was the wife of Kentucky politician John W. Langley and daughter of James M. Gudger, Jr. a four-term Congressman from North Carolina. She was the first woman elected to Congress from Kentucky. Langley was born near Marshall in Madison County, North Carolina on 14 February 1888, to James Madison Gudger and Katherine Hawkins, she graduated in 1901 from the Woman's College, Richmond and attended Emerson College of Oratory. Langley taught at the Virginia Institute at Bristol, TN and worked as a secretary for her father before marrying John Langley and moving to Pikeville, Kentucky in 1905, she had three children: John Jr. and Susanna. Katherine Langley served as chairman of the Pike County Red Cross Society during the First World War. Moving to Washington D. C. in 1907, she served as secretary for her husband for the eighteen years he served as the Republican representative for the 10th District.
She held numerous appointed and elected public positions including vice chairman of the Republican State Central Committee of Kentucky 1920-1922—she was the first woman member of that committee and founded the Kentucky Woman's Republican State Committee which she chaired in 1920. She served as an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1920 and delegate in 1924, she clerked for the Committee on Public Grounds which her husband chaired. John Langley was convicted of violating the Volstead Act by selling alcohol illegally and trying to bribe a federal officer. After his appeal was denied by the U. S. Supreme Court, in 1926 he resigned from his office in Congress as Kentucky's representative for the 10th District. Katherine Langley ran on the Republican ticket using her husband's arrest as part of a government conspiracy, she soundly defeated her husband's successor, Andrew J. Kirk, in the primary. Langley was elected by a healthy majority of votes twice to the United States House of Representatives as a representative from Kentucky during the Seventieth and Seventy-first sessions of Congress, serving from 4 March 1927 through 3 March 1931.
Because of her husband's conviction and disgraceful resignation, she was marginalized in social circles that once had accommodated her flamboyant style: a reporter wrote of "her unstinted display of gypsy colors on the floor." Her physical presence became the target of derision by the Washington elite, her Kentucky-style oratory was attacked. During her tenure as a Representative, she missed a third of the roll-call votes, her committee appointments were Claims, Invalid Pensions, Immigration and Naturalization as well as the Committee on Education. While in Congress she supported women's issues and advocated for the creation of a cabinet-level department of education. In 1930 Katherine Langley was the first woman to serve on the Republican Committee on Committees in the U. S. House of Representatives. Once her husband announced he would try to run for office again, her support among her constituents withered. There are no records that show they ran against each other in the primaries, but the connection that had once propelled her into office was gone.
With the rise of the Democrats in Kentucky due to President Hoover's inability to turn around the agricultural depression or impact the depressed coal industry, Katherine Langley narrowly lost her bid for re-election in 1931 to the Democratic contender, Andrew Jackson May. She served as a postmistress and was elected as a district railroad commissioner two times, serving the Third Kentucky District from 1939 to 1942, she was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Langley died in Pikeville, Kentucky, on 15 August 1948, is buried in the Johnson Memorial Cemetery, Kentucky. Women in the United States House of Representatives John W. Langley Foerstel, Karen. "Katherine Langley". Biographical Dictionary of Congressional Women. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group. Pp. 155–156. Retrieved 25 May 2016. "Women in Congress, 1917–2006". Office of History and Preservation, Office of the Clerk, U. S. House of Representatives. Washington, D. C.: Prepared Under the Direction of The Committee on House Administration of the U.
S. House of Representatives. 2006. Pp. 76–79. Retrieved 25 May 2016. "Langley, Katherine Gudger, 1888–1948". CONTENTdm Collection. University of Louisville Libraries. Retrieved 27 May 2016
Anne McCarty Braden was an American civil rights activist and educator dedicated to the cause of racial equality. Born in Louisville and raised in rigidly segregated Anniston, Braden grew up in a white, middle-class family that accepted southern racial mores wholeheartedly. A devout Episcopalian, Braden was bothered by racial segregation, but never questioned it until her college years at Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Virginia; as she grew older she experienced what has been framed as a "racial conversion narrative", "a conversion of religious intensity" "turning myself inside out and upside down". After working on newspapers in Anniston and Birmingham, Anne Braden returned to Kentucky as a young adult to write for The Louisville Times, she became a supporter of the Civil Rights Movement at a time when it was unpopular among southern whites. Either you find a way to oppose the evil, or the evil becomes part of you and you are a part of it, it winds itself around your soul like the arms of an octopus...
If I did not oppose it, I was... responsible for its sins.—Anne Braden While working at The Louisville Times, Anne met fellow newspaperman Carl Braden, a left-wing trade unionist. The couple married in 1948. Both were involved in the civil rights cause and the subsequent social movements it prompted from the 1960s to the 1970s. In 1948, Anne and Carl Braden immersed themselves in Henry Wallace's run on the Progressive Party for the presidency. Soon after Wallace's defeat, they left mainstream journalism to apply their writing talents to the interracial left wing of the labor movement through the FE Union, representing Louisville's International Harvester employees; as the postwar labor movement splintered and grew less militant, civil rights causes heated up. In 1950, Anne Braden spearheaded a hospital desegregation drive in Kentucky, she endured her first arrest in 1951 when she led a delegation of southern white women organized by the Civil Rights Congress to Mississippi to protest the execution of Willie McGee, an African American man convicted of the rape of a white woman, Willette Hawkins.
In 1954, Andrew and Charlotte Wade, an African-American couple who knew the Bradens through association, approached them with a proposal that would drastically alter all lives involved. Like many other Americans after World War II, the Wades wanted to buy a house in a suburban neighborhood; because of Jim Crow housing practices, the Wades had been unsuccessful for months in their quest to purchase a home on their own. The Bradens, who never wavered in their support for African American civil rights, agreed to purchase the home for the Wades. On May 15, 1954, Wade and his wife spent their first night in their new home in the Louisville suburb of Shively, Kentucky. Upon discovering that black people had moved in, white neighbors burned a cross in front of the house, shot out windows, condemned the Bradens for buying it on the Wades' behalf; the Wades moved in two days before the U. S. Supreme Court's landmark condemnation of public schools' racial segregation policy in Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka, KS.
Six weeks amid constant community tensions, the Wades' new house was dynamited one evening while they were out. While Vernon Bown was indicted for the bombing, the actual bombers were never sought nor brought to trial. McCarthyism affected the ordeal. Instead of addressing the segregationists' violence, the investigators alleged that the Bradens and others helping the Wades were affiliated with the Communist Party, made that the main subject of concern. White supremacists who were pro-segregation at the time charged that these alleged Communists had engineered the bombing to provide a cause célèbre and fund-raising opportunity, but this was never proven. Nonetheless, on October 1954, Anne and Carl Braden and five other whites were charged with sedition. After a sensationalized trial, Carl Braden—the perceived ringleader—was convicted of sedition and sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment; as Anne and the other defendants awaited a similar fate, Carl served eight months, but got out on $40,000 bond after a U.
S. Supreme Court decision invalidated state sedition laws. All charges were dropped against Braden. Blacklisted from local employment, the Bradens took jobs as field organizers for the Southern Conference Educational Fund, a small, New Orleans-based civil rights organization whose mission was to solicit white southern support for the beleaguered southern civil rights movement. In the years before southern civil rights violations made national news, the Bradens developed their own media, both through SCEF's monthly newspaper, The Southern Patriot, through numerous pamphlets and press releases publicizing major civil rights campaigns. In 1958 Anne wrote a memoir of their sedition case. One of the few books of its time to unpack the psychology of white southern racism from within, it was praised by human rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Eleanor Roosevelt, became a runner-up for the National Book Award. Although their radical politics marginalized them among many of their own generation, the Bradens were reclaimed by young student activists of the 1960s.
They were among the civil rights movement's most dedicated white allies. Anne Braden and her husband Carl were two of the most hated people of the 1950s and 1960s by the powers-that-were in the American south; as whites of impeccable southern credentials, they gave lie to the myth that all southern whites opposed the civil rights movemen
Sophia Kindrick Alcorn was an educator best known for inventing the Tadoma method of communication with people who are deaf and blind. She was a strong advocate for the rights of people with disabilities and upon retiring from her long career in teaching, she worked with the American Foundation for the Blind. Sophia Kindrick Alcorn was born the youngest of seven children of James Walker and Sophie Ann Alcorn in Stanford, Kentucky, on August 3, 1883. Annie Alcorn was the eldest of her siblings, marrying in November 1899 James N. Saunders who practiced law in her father's office, her only brother, Kindrick Sommers Alcorn graduated from Stanford Male Academy and nearby Centre College, getting his law degree from the University of Virginia. He became a popular circuit judge from the 1930s-50s. Alcorn attended Ward Seminary in Nashville and went on to receive training in teaching the deaf at Clark School in Northampton, Massachusetts, she earned her M. A. degree from Wayne University in Detroit, Michigan.
There she served as a principal in the deaf school system. Alcorn moved to Morganton, North Carolina to teach for one year at the North Carolina School for the Deaf returned to Kentucky, teaching at the Kentucky School for the Deaf in Danville, Kentucky; the Kentucky School for the Deaf is the oldest state-supported school of its type in the U. S. and was the first school for the deaf west of the Alleghenies. Alcorn taught there from 1909 to 1920, it was here that she first developed the Tadoma method. In November 1910 the eight-year-old Oma Simpson came to the school. Oma had been deaf since birth and meningitis at age two had left her blind, she was the school's first deafblind student and was assigned to the charge of "Miss Sophie." Alcorn realized that the manual alphabet would not work and she started to teach her oral speech instead. Adopting the methods of the famous Anne Sullivan and lifelong companion to Helen Keller, Alcorn invented a system of touch on the cheek and neck to allow the child to imitate how to speak words.
She taught Oma for ten years, working on U. S. history and mathematics—as well as knitting and touch-typing. Oma was the first deafblind person in the world to be educated orally; when the Simpson family left Kentucky, Alcorn moved with them to answer the plea of the father of a deafblind boy, Winthrop Chapman. She began teaching at the South Dakota School for the Deaf and worked with Tad for four years, perfecting her system of what she called the Tadoma Tactile-Sense Method, she pioneered a system of visual symbols, first using pipe cleaners to create the shapes. She named her method Tadoma after these two children: Oma. Alcorn had trained a colleague at the South Dakota school, Inis B. Hall, on the Tadoma method. Hall took over the education of Tad Chapman when Alcorn left for Detroit to research the use of vibration techniques in teaching language and speech to sighted deaf children; when Chapman was accepted in 1931 to attend the Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusetts, Hall accompanied him and introduced Alcorn's Tadoma system to the teachers there.
Until the mid-1950s Tadoma was the preferred method of teaching oral speech to children who were deafblind. After Alcorn left the South Dakota School for the Deaf, she taught at the Day School in Des Moines, Iowa, she taught at the Oral School in Cincinnati from 1927 to 1929. In 1930, she taught at the New Jersey School for the Deaf, moved to Detroit to work at the School for the Deaf where she stayed until she retired in 1953. In Detroit she served as supervising principal; when she retired, Alcorn returned to Stanford where she became a member of the Stanford Woman's Club and served as the first woman elder in the Stanford Presbyterian Church. The critical need for trained teachers drew Alcorn to begin work with the American Foundation for the Blind. Founded in 1921, this foundation was supported and publicized throughout the 1920s by Keller and Sullivan; the Tadoma method required extensive training and skilled educators. In order to accommodate a greater diversity of teachers, the schools began supplementing the Tadoma method with the manual alphabet and sign language.
That year, in 1953, the American Foundation for the Blind and the Perkins School co-sponsored the first conference on education of the deafblind. Alcorn worked with the AFB until her death on November 28, 1967, she was buried at the Buffalo Spring Cemetery in Stanford. Alcorn died only one year before Helen Keller. Tadoma Helen Keller Anne Sullivan Kentucky School for the Deaf Kleber, John E.. "Alcorn, Sophia Kindrick". In John E. Kleber; the Kentucky Encyclopedia. Associate editors: Thomas D. Clark, Lowell H. Harrison, James C. Klotter. Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-1772-0. Retrieved 2011-11-02. Alcorn, S. "The Tadoma Method". The Volta Review. 34: 195–198. "YouTube - Sophia Alcorn.mov". Retrieved December 27, 2010. Tabak, John. Significant Gestures: A History of American Sign Language. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0-275-98974-7. "Deaf Blind Tadoma Method". Retrieved December 27, 2010. "Lincoln woman honored for pioneering work in touch communications - Central Kentucky News".
Retrieved December 27, 2010. "Lincoln County Heritage Highway "Raveling Thru our Heritage, One Marker at a Time"". Archived from the original on July 25, 2011. Retrieved December 27, 2010. "Kentucky Women in the Civil Rights Era | Blog | Continuing the Work". Retrieved December 27, 2010