Any compilation of Searings must include poet and author Laura Redden Searing. Below is a very brief biographical statement taken from the introduction to her collected papers at the University of Missouri, found on the internet at: http://whmc.umsystem.edu/invent/2290.html
“Laura Catherine Redden was born on 9 February 1839 in Somerset County, Maryland. Her family moved to St. Louis, Missouri, when she was a child. At about the age of eleven or twelve, Redden lost her hearing as the result of a bout with spinal meningitis.
She spent a brief time with a family in Pekin, Illinois, before enrolling at the Institute for the Deaf and Dumb in Fulton, Missouri, in 1855. In 1858 she returned to St. Louis and took a job as editor of the St. Louis Presbyterian and also wrote a number of poems and articles that appeared in the St. Louis Republican under the penname Howard Glyndon.
Shortly after the beginning of the Civil War Redden was sent to cover Washington, D.C., for the Republican. In 1862 she published her first book, Notable Men, a collection of biographies of members of Congress. Two years later she published a book of poems, Idylls of Battle. She also composed the words to the song “Belle Missouri” which became the war song for the state. During the war she befriended many political and military figures including General Ulysses S. Grant and Senator George F. Edmunds. “
For a sample of her poetry, see “Disarmed”, from Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). An American Anthology, 1787–1900. at http://www.bartleby.com/248/881.html
Another reference to her work is http://disstud.blogspot.com/2007/02/february-9-laura-redden-searing-1839.html
This is the Disability Studies blog at Temple University. They did a feature on Ms. Searing that pointed out that February 9 (1839) is her birthday. There are also several references to a biography and readings. For you Minnesota Searings, Mark Hill added this information to the blog entry:
“A small town, Glyndon, is named after her pen-name and located in Minnesota, 15 mles east of Fargo, North Dakota. The town had a big celebration in honor of this deaf lady several years ago.”
Mark Hill, Former Fargo resident and Deaf leader.
Update on 7/24/2008 I just realized I missed a most obvious choice for info on Ms Redden..Wikipedia. So here is the link to the article about her:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_Redden_Searing I hope to add additional references, and welcome additional comments and pointers to her work! Dan