Shortly after Samuel Bean’s graduation from the California School for the Deaf and Blind, he embarked upon another life-changing adventure: he pledged “I do” to the love of his life.
Sam had met Maud Woodworth at the school in Berkeley sometime during his high school years there. Maud was the daughter of a southern California farmer, William C. Woodworth, and his wife, the former Effie Aurilla Williams. Maud had left her family home near Los Angeles to attend the school due to her own challenges with blindness.
While the story of Sam and Maud is probably a scenario which has been repeated by many high school students over the years—whether seeing or blind—what is interesting about their version is not so much that a blind student met and fell in love with another blind student, but that their tale was told not only in their hometowns, not only in the newspaper near their alma mater, but across the country.
I accidentally discovered—thanks to the website known as Old Fulton NY Postcards—that the marriage of the newlyweds was also reported in the January 28, 1921, edition of the Syracuse Herald. (Warning: this link loads very slowly.) Syracuse, by the way, is in New York—a long way from the Bay Area region Sam and Maud called home. For whatever reason, the editors of this upstate New York newspaper thought their local subscribers would find the occasion an interesting read.
Oakland, Cal., Jan 28.—A love affair which began when both were totally blind and when Samuel W. Bean was unable to communicate with other human beings culminated in his marriage here to Miss Maude Woodworth. They met as students at the California State Home for the Deaf and Blind. Both are twenty-four years of age.Bean now lives in Alameda at 1807 Santa Clara avenue, although for the past seven years he was a student at the blind school. Miss Woodworth, with the aid of strong glasses, now has her full sight.Bean came to the school when he was sixteen years of age after an accident which destroyed both his sight and his hearing. It was months before Miss Mary Eastman, the young man’s teacher, could establish any communication with him. Now he is trained in the use of the deaf sign language and is able to converse with anyone.After the wedding ceremony, performed with the aid of the sign language, the young couple had luncheon with Mrs. Bean, the bridegroom’s mother and Miss Eastman.They will live in Alameda. Bean has written poetry which he sells to help earn a livelihood.