Historical Marker #2135 in Lincoln County marks the home of noted teacher Sophia Alcorn, who worked extensively with hearing and vision impaired students during the early twentieth century.
Born in Stanford in Lincoln County on August 3, 1883, Alcorn was the youngest of seven children. As an adult, she graduated from Ward Seminary which is now Belmont College in Nashville, Tennessee, and earned her master's degree from Wayne University in Detroit. Alcorn received training in teaching the deaf at Clark School in Northampton, Massachusetts, and later served as a principal of the deaf school system at Wayne University.
Devoting her life to teaching blind and deaf students, Alcorn worked at a number of schools. She taught at North Carolina School for the Deaf (1908-1909); Kentucky School for the Deaf in Danville (1909-1920); South Dakota School for the Deaf (1920); Day School in Des Moines, Iowa (1924-1925); Oral School in Cincinnati (1927-1929); New Jersey School for the Deaf (1930); and the Detroit School for the Deaf (1930-1953). After retiring from teaching, Alcorn worked with the American Foundation for the Blind.
The Tadoma Method, named for Tad Chapman and Oma Simpson, was created by Alcorn in the 1920s at the Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusetts. Chapman and Simpson were the first two students taught this method by Alcorn. Tadoma was designed to allow deaf-blind people to learn to speak. This method works by placing the deaf-blind individual's hand on the face of the speaker with the thumb lightly placed on the speaker’s lips and the fingers spread on the cheek and upper neck; this allows the lip movement, air in the cheeks, and the vibration of the vocal chords to be felt on the hand. The Tadoma Method, used most actively between 1930 and 1960, was intended to teach students to both receive and produce speech.
Alcorn died on November 28, 1967, in Stanford and was buried there in the Buffalo Springs Cemetery.