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Valley Journals

Elizabeth DeLong Inspiring Daughter of Ogden

Mar 10, 2016 12:59PM ● By Bryan Scott

By Cassidy Ward

Ogden - While the struggle for gender equality is far from over, large strides have been made since the late 19th century when Elizabeth DeLong was born, which makes her story all the more impressive. DeLong, known as Libbie to those close to her, was the fifth child of Albert DeLong and Elizabeth Houston, and at the age of 5 lost her ability to hear in a battle with scarlet fever and smallpox. 

In her teen years DeLong began attending the Utah School for the deaf at the University of Deseret in Salt Lake City. In 1987, at the age of 20, she graduated and began attending Gallaudet College in Washington, D.C., where she studied drama and was elected associate editor of the newspaper in her senior year. 

DeLong graduated from Gallaudet in 1902, making her not only the first in her family to receive a complete college education but Utah’s first female to receive a bachelor’s degree as well. Upon leaving Washington, DeLong returned to Ogden, where she began a teaching career at the Utah School for the Deaf that lasted 15 years. 

In 1909 DeLong created the Utah Association of the Deaf and was elected as its first president. This is notable, as women were not granted the right to vote in general elections for more than a decade after the fact and could not vote in elections for the National Associate of the Deaf until 1964. DeLong’s election to state association president made her not only the first female president of the organization in the state but also the first female state president in the nation. 

In a time when simply being a member of the fairer sex was enough to shackle a person to a lifetime of mediocrity, DeLong exceeded not only the limitations set by her gender but also those that came as a result of childhood disease. DeLong’s story is one of hope and excellence against all odds. We’re proud to claim her as a daughter of Ogden.