William J. Marra


Son of Italian immigrants, William Joseph Marra graduated from Kansas School for the Deaf (Olathe) in 1925, and from Gallaudet College in 1930. During the Great Depression, he worked for the WPA (e.g., digging ditches). A stint teaching deaf adults in night school resulted in several job offers, first at Oklahoma School for the Deaf, then at KSD, where he worked as supervisor and teacher until his retirement in 1976. He began collecting and organizing historical artifacts—photographs, paintings, documents. This became the nucleus of the William J. Marra Museum of Deaf History and Deaf Culture, one of the finest collections of its kind. It now has its own home, across the street from the KSD campus, in the new Deaf Cultural Center.

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