New Castle, Pennsylvania, USA
Cause of Death
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Claim to Fame
Mrs. Spencer Tracy, John Tracy Clinic
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Louise Treadwell Tracy (July 31, 1896 – November 13, 1983), widow of actor Spencer Tracy, was born Louise Treadwell in the Pittsburgh suburb of New Castle, Pennsylvania. In 1942, she started the John Tracy Clinic, a private, non-profit education center for the deaf.Louise Ten Broeck Treadwell`s parents were Alliene Wetmore and Bright (Smith) Treadwell. Alliene Treadwell was a prominent attorney and part owner of the New Castle (PA) Daily News in New Castle. Louise`s parents were divorced when she was a teenager.
In 1915, Louise Treadwell enrolled at Lake Erie College and graduated with honors. During the next several years she pursued an acting career as a stage actor, primarily in stock companies. In early March 1923, Louise joined the Leonard Wood Players in White Plains, New York, which engaged her as the leading lady. There she met Spencer Tracy, who had also joined the company. On September 12, 1923, they were married in Cincinnati, Ohio.
On June 26, 1924, John, Louise and Spencer`s first child, was born. Ten months later Louise discovered her son was deaf. Early in 1926 Louise met a deaf woman at a bridge party, who could lip read so well that Louise was encouraged that John might be able to have a normal life, in spite of his deafness. She took her son to a well-known specialist who confirmed a diagnosis of nerve deafness and told her that even though there was nothing medical intervention could do, John could learn how to talk and lip read and do anything a hearing person can do.
With new hope, Mrs. Tracy began working with John, using material from different schools. In 1927, John spoke aloud "Mama" for the first time. In June of 1927, John was enrolled in the Wright Oral School. At three years of age, he was the youngest child they had ever accepted.
In the summer of 1930, Spencer Tracy went to Hollywood to make his first film. John and Louise also traveled to Hollywood while Spencer was filming. On the train back to New York, John was struck with infantile paralysis.
In July 1932, the Tracys` daughter, Susie, was born, and by March 1935 the family moved to a ranch in Encino, California, where they lived for 19 years. During the 1930s, Louise and Spencer both began playing polo and became accomplished polo players.
In July 1942, Louise Tracy spoke for the first time on her experience as the mother of a deaf child at the University of Southern California at a banquet for the National Workshop of Social Workers and teachers and Parents of the Hard of Hearing. Louise spoke frequently and with increasing skill to numerous clubs and groups. It was during this time, that she and a group of mothers of deaf children decided to start a school for young deaf children and their parents. The John Tracy Clinic, named after the Tracys` son, was the result.
During the first years of the John Tracy Clinic, and particularly the first few months, Louise established many of the aspects of the Clinic`s philosophy. She stressed the importance of parents being involved in the education of their children at a very young age and set up a program for them. Louise firmly believed that the Clinic should offer not only information but also support. And she insisted that the services be offered free of charge.
Louise`s husband supported her work with the Clinic and in fact was its sole financial support in the beginning. In April 1951, he turned the world premiere of his new film, Father`s Little Dividend, at the Egyptian Theater into a building fund-raiser for the Clinic`s new site. Spencer`s support was always strong, and over the years he personally donated more than a half a million dollars to the Clinic`s work. His admiration for his wife was another constant. At the dedication of the new Clinic building, which was completed in 1952, he said to the visiting dignitaries, staff and press: You honor me because I am a movie actor, a star in Hollywood terms. Well, there`s nothing I`ve ever done that can match what Louise has done for deaf children and their parents.
Louise Tracy was honored with many awards during the 1950s, including the 1951 Hearing Advancement Award from the Hearing Foundation, the Testimonial of Merit/Woman of the Year award from La Sertoma International in 1953, and the Sixth Annual Award of the Save the Children Foundation for 1955.
Louise was also lauded in academic circles. In quick succession, she was granted honorary degrees from Northwestern University, University of Southern California, Lake Erie College, and MacMurray College. And on the national level, in 1956 she was appointed to a four-year term as a member of the National Advisory Council on Vocational Rehabilitation.
Louise Tracy`s influence in governmental circles continued in the 1960s. She was appointed a member of the Neurological and Sensory Disease Advisory Committee of HEW in 1963; member of the National Advisory Board of the National technical Institute for the Deaf in 1965; and a member of
Lake Erie College
Full Name at Birth
Louise Ten Broeck Treadwell
Louise Tracy, born Louise Ten Broeck Treadwell, (July 31, 1897 â€“ November 13, 1983) was the founder of the John Tracy Clinic, a private, non-profit education center for the deaf that began in 1942. She was married to the Academy Award-winning actor Spencer Tracy.
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