French knew Edward Miner Gallaudet, founder of Gallaudet University in Washington, the nation's first institution of higher learning for deaf people. Lincoln signed the bill that chartered the college. Look at the statue. Lincoln's left hand seems to spell out in American Sign Language the letter A, and his right hand, the letter L. Authorities on the sculptor say French intended no such thing. But even if it's just a legend, it's another way Lincoln speaks to us today.