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No up-to-date treatise on the important and interesting 
subject of " The History of the Education of the Blind " 
being in existence in this country, and the lack of such a 
text-book specially designed for the teachers in our blind 
schools being grievously felt, I have, in response to repeated 
requests, taken in hand the compilation of such a book from 
all sources at my command, adding at the same time sundry 
notes and comments of my own, which the experience of a 
quarter of a century in blind work has led me to think 
may be of service to those who desire to approach and 
carry on their work as teachers of the blind as well equipped 
with information specially suited to their requirements as 
circumstances will permit. 

It is but due to the juvenile blind in our schools that the 
men and women to whom their education is entrusted 
should not only be acquainted with the mechanical means 
of teaching through the tactile sense, but that they should 
also be so steeped in blind lore that it becomes second 
nature to them to think of and see things from the blind 
person's point of view. Paradoxical as the latter phrase 
may appear, it is none the less an absolute fact. 

It is necessary for a teacher to realise and to thoroughly 
appreciate the difficulties which his pupil has to encounter, 
before he can satisfactorily remove them. I say satis- 
factorily, because, from his earliest days, the blind pupil 
must be led to have perfect trust and confidence in his 
teacher, and any hesitancy or vagueness of explanation 
will make a much deeper impression on the mind of the 



blind pupil than would be the case in a child possessed of 
all its faculties. 

To the end, therefore, of providing a means whereby he 
who runs may read something that will assist him in be- 
coming better acquainted with the history of the education 
of the blind, I now commit myself, in the hope that my 
readers will pardon any imperfections which they may find 
in this little treatise. 






VALENTIN HAUY . ..... 4 


BBALLLE TYPE ......... 16 

BRAILLE LITERATURE . . . . . . . .18 



WRITING ........... 29 



TYPEWRITERS ...... ... 31 

BRAILLE WRITING .... .... 32 


DR. MOON . .... 34 

MOON TYPEWRITER ........ 35 



Music NOTATIONS .... .... 46 

BBAILLB Music ... 47 

Music . . .... 47 


CLAUDE MONTAL ..... .51 

MASSAGE ..... 53 



HANDICRAFTS ....... . 



ARITHMETIC .......... 



EARLIER ACTS ......... 

THE KINGDOM ......... 





















BRAILLE Music .... .48, 49 




REVISED BRAILLE . . . . \ . . . . .165 

or T 


History of the Education of 
the Blind 


AT first sight it may appear somewhat incongruous that 
a work on the " History of the Education of the Blind 51 
should commence with a chapter devoted to a subject 
which is, to use a common phrase, one of the " burning 
questions of the day" a subject which was deemed 
worthy of a place on the programme of the Manchester 
Conference, 1908, and on which a most scholarly and 
edifying paper was read by Mr. J. M. Ritchie, of Henshaw's 
Blind Asylum.* But " history repeats itself " no less in 
the blind world than in other spheres, and the earliest 
treatise on blind lore to which the writer has the good 
fortune to have access, viz. " Essay on Blindness," by M. 
Diderot (Physician to his Most Christian Majesty Louis XV. 
of France), 1773, f bears remarkable testimony to this fact. 
As this essay was written at the very genesis of blind 
education it is interesting to note, in the first place, how 
accurately M. Diderot's deductions coincide with the most 
advanced ideas on the subject to-day, and, in the second 
place, how utterly the teachings of his philosophy were 
disregarded for a whole century and more by those who 
took in hand the education* of the blind. A few verbatim 

* A paper on this subject was read by Mr. S. Neil, of Edinburgh, at 
the York Conference in 1883. 

t Reprinted by Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Ltd., Fetter Lane, 
Fleet Street, London, E.C., 1895. 



extracts from this noteworthy essay will in themselves 
justify their inclusion here. 

Regarding ORDER, Diderot says : " The difficulty 
which blind persons have in finding things mislaid makes 
them love regularity and exactness ; and I have observed 
that those about them imbibe the quality, whether from the 
good example set them by the blind, or from an human 
concern for them. The blind would indeed be very un- 
happy without such regard from those about them, nay 
we ourselves would feel the want of it. Great services are 
like pieces of gold and silver which we seldom have occasion 
to make use of ; but little complaisances are as current 
cash, which we are continually receiving or paying away." 

" JUDGMENT, or symmetry, which perhaps is no more 
than a matter of mere compact among us, is certainly such 
in many respects between a blind man and those who have 
their sight. A blind man studies by his touch that dis- 
position required between the parts of a whole, to entitle 
it to be called ' fine,' and thus at length attains to a 
just application of that term. But, in saying that is fine, he 
does not judge : it is no more than repeating the judgment 
of those who see." 

VISUAL IDEAS. " I asked him [a blind patient] what he 
meant by a looking-glass of which he often spoke. ' A 
machine,' answered he, ' which puts relievo things at a dis- 
tance from themselves, if when properly placed with regard 
to it.' 

" This man knows from the account of others that objects 
are known by means of the sight, as to him by the touch 
at least, it is the only notion he can form of them. He 
further knows that there is no seeing one's own face, though 
it may be touched. He must therefore conclude sight to 
be a kind of touch reaching only to objects different from 
our face, and at a distance from us. The touch gives him 
only an idea, of relief; therefore, adds he, 'a looking-glass 
is a machine representing us in relief out of ourselves.' ' 

EYES. " ' And what do you take eyes to be ? ' said I. 
' They are,' said the blind man, ' an organ in which the 
air has the effect which my stick has on my hand. So true 
is this, that on my putting my hand between your eyes and 


an object, my hand is present to you, but the object is 
absent. It is the same with me, when I am seeking one 
thing with my stick and meet another.' ' 

VOICES. " He has prodigious remembrance of sounds ; 
and the infinite diversity we perceive in faces he perceives 
in voices, with numberless minute gradations which escape 
us as not so much concerned to observe them. . . . The helps 
which our senses reciprocally afford to each other hinder 
their improvement." * 

SIGHT AND TOUCH VALUED. " One of our company asked 
the blind man whether he should not be very glad to have 
eyes. ' Were it not for curiosity,' said he, ' I would full 
as lieve have long arms. My hands, I think, would inform 
me better what is doing in the moon than your eyes or 
your telescopes. Besides, the eyes sooner cease to see than 
the hands to touch, that to improve the organs I have would 
be as good as to give me that which is wanting in me.' ' 

The last sentence sums up the whole aim of blind educa- 
tion. In a conversation with the writer some months ago, 
Dr. Eichholz, H.M. Inspector for Special Schools, said : 
" Education of the blind absolutely fails in its object in 
so far as it fails to develop the remaining faculties to com- 
pensate for the want of sight." 

Comparing this expression of opinion with the following 
paragraph from a letter signed " Demodocus," in the Edin- 
burgh Magazine and Bevieiv, November, 1774 "The most 
important view, therefore, which we can entertain in the 
education of a person deprived of sight is to redress as 
effectually as possible the natural disadvantages with which 
he is encumbered, or, in other words, to enlarge as far as 
possible his sphere of knowledge and activity. This can 
only be done by the improvement of his intellectual imagina- 
tion and mechanical powers, and which of these ought to 
be most assiduously cultivated, the genius of every indi- 
vidual alone can determine " it is seen that the ideal for 
blind education to-day is precisely the same as it was a 
hundred and thirty-five years ago. But, alas ! the history 

* This is, of course, only according to the ordinary laws of evolution. 


of the progress towards that ideal proves how sadly that pro- 
gress has been retarded through the failure of those interested 
in the work to realise that touch and sight must be de- 
veloped by means which, practically in all respects, are dis- 
similar ; for, to again quote Diderot, " we distinguish the 
presence of things out of us from the imagery of them in our 
imagination. So the blind man discerns the sensation from 
the real presence of an object at his fingers' ends, only by 
the force or weakness of that very sensation. Should a 
philosopher who has been blind and deaf from birth ever 
make a man in imitation of Descartes, I dare affirm that he 
will place the soul at the fingers' ends, as from thence 
deriving his principal sensations, and all his lights." 


It is impossible to say who was the first person in the 
world to conceive the idea of the possibility of teaching 
the blind to read by means of raised characters. Many 
people are under the impression that this distinction belongs 
to Valentin Haiiy, but that such is not the case is clearly 
proved by reference to the essay quoted above, where 
M. Diderot relates a visit to a blind man. He says: "It 
was about five in the afternoon when we came to the blind 
man's house, where we found him hearing his son read with 
raised characters." This was prior to 1773, and we know 
Valentin Haiiy did not begin his experiments till 1784. 

It is probable that isolated cases of blind people reading 
from raised type had occurred during many years, perhaps 
centuries before this. Valentin Haiiy himself refers to 
such sporadic attempts to teach relief reading. 

(BORN 1745; DIED 1822) 

The name of this renowned Frenchman should be written 
up in letters of gold in every institution for the blind in 
the world, and all pupils, young and old, should be taught 


to revere his name, seeing he was the first of whom we have 
any record who conceived the idea of systematically teach- 
ing the blind to read by means of raised characters. 

Hauy was a native of Picardy, and tried his earliest 
experiments on a blind youth named Le Sueur. He was so 
far successful that in 1784 he took his pupil to Paris, there 
to exhibit him as an example of what might be achieved 
by his methods. 

The Academy of Sciences, having examined the youth, 
were much delighted at the results obtained, and praised 
the efforts of Hauy ; whilst the Philosophical Society of 
Paris showed their appreciation of his labours in a practical 
manner by providing him with funds to enable him to 
extend his benefits to others. 

During 1785 Haiiy gave public exhibitions of his pupils 
for the purpose of creating public interest and sympathy. 
In this year the National Institution for the Young Blind 
(I'lnstitution Nationale des Jeunes Aveugles) was founded, 
and to it belongs the distinction of being the first educa- 
tional institution for the blind founded in Europe. 

Towards the close of the following year Louis XVI. ex- 
pressed a wish to see Haiiy 's pupils, and Haiiy took about 
thirty of them to Versailles, in the hope that the king would 
be induced to take the school under his protection. In this, 
however, he was disappointed, and he was left without any 
such help. 

Disastrous days were in store for the young and struggling 
school. Paris was shortly writhing in the throes of the 
great Revolution, and, though the revolutionary Govern- 
ment nominally took the school under State protection, 
the benefit was only a nominal one the pupils were driven 
from the school, and poor Haiiy, broken by discourage- 
ments and in despair of better times, fled his country. 

The Emperor Paul of Russia having given him an in- 
vitation to visit his capital, Haiiy directed his steps thither, 
and on his way, calling at Berlin, he was instrumental in 
founding a school for the blind there. 


His next seven or eight years he spent in St. Petersburg, 
and, in spite of much opposition, managed to start a school 
for the blind in that city. The emperor failed to give 
assistance, being afraid to offend his nobles, who were 
opposed to any scheme which had progress for its object. 

When he returned to Paris, in 1817, Haiiy found the in- 
stitution there remodelled, with Dr. Guillie as its head. 

Haiiy was now poor and cast down by sickness, and, 
though he could do but little, continued to display great 
interest in all matters connected with the education of the 
blind. He died in 1822. 

In " An Essay on the Education of the Blind," dedicated 
to the King of France, 1786, Valentin Haiiy states how 
deeply his whole nature was moved by the miserable con- 
dition of isolation from their fellow men under which the 
blind people of his time suffered. He says : " It is to be 
essentially serviceable to this class of suffering mortals that 
I have invented a general plan which, by principles and 
utensils proper for their use, might facilitate to some of 
these what they could not otherwise accomplish without 
almost insuperable difficulty, and render practicable to 
others what it appeared impossible for them to execute." 

In Chapter III. of his essay, on the subject of reading, 
he continues : 

" Before our time various but ineffectual experiments 
had been tried. Sometimes by the assistance of characters 
moving upon a board and raised above its surface,* at 
other times by the use of letters formed upon paper with 
the puncture of a pin,f the principles or elementary char- 
acters of reading had been rendered obvious to the per- 
ception of the blind. Already had the wonders of the art 
of writing, which before had appeared chimerical, been 
realised ; already, under their touch, which was now found 
a substitute for vision, had the conception of the blind 

* It was, doubtless, this method which was used by the blind man 
referred to by Diderot, as teaching his son to read. 

f This idea was utilised many years later by Alston of Glasgow in the 
formation of his pin-type and board for writing. 


assumed a body. But these gross and imperfect utensils 
only presented to the blind the possibility of attaining and 
enjoying the pleasures and advantages of reading without 
affording them the proper means of acquiring them. We 
had no difficulty in exploring them : their principles had 
existed for a long time, and were daily exhibited to our 
eyes. We had observed that a printed leaf issuing from 
the press, presented to the eye, on the contrary side, the 
letters higher than its surface, but reversed both in their 
position and in their order. 

" We ordered typographical characters to be cast of the 
form in which their impression strikes our eyes, and by 
applying to these a paper wet, as the printers do, we pro- 
duced the first exemplar which had till then appeared 
of letters whose elevation renders them obvious to the 
touch without the intervention of sight. Such was the 
origin of a library for the use of the blind. 

" After having successively employed characters of different 
sizes, according as we found the touch of our pupils more 
or less delicate and susceptible, it appeared proper to us, 
at least during the first periods of our progress, to confine 
ourselves to that typs which has been used in printing 
the greatest part of this work. This character appears 
to us as a proper medium amongst those which can be 
felt and distinguished by different individuals who are 
deprived of sight." 

It is interesting here to note what it was that directly 
prompted Haiiy to attempt the education of the blind. 
As already stated, he had for some time been moved by 
the sad condition of his sightless countrymen. Subjoined 
is Haiiy's own account of the incident which stirred his 
sympathy into active measures of a practical nature. 

" Many persons have carried the concern which they 
felt for our Institution even to demand how such an idea 
could possibly enter our mind. . . . Anxious to satisfy a 
curiosity so laudable, we are eager to subjoin here a concise 
narrative of the rise, progress, and actual state of our 

" A novelty of a kind so singular has attracted for several 
years the united attention of a number of persons at the 


entry of one of those places of refreshment situated in the 
public walks whither respectable citizens go to relax them- 
selves about the decline of the day. 

" Eight or ten poor blind persons, with spectacles on their 
noses, placed along a desk which sustained instruments of 
music, where they executed a discordant symphony, seemed 
to give delight to the audience. A very different sentiment 
possessed our soul, and we conceived, at that very instant, 
the possibility of realising, to the advantage of those un- 
fortunate people, the means of which they had only an 
apparent and ridiculous enjoyment. ' The blind,' said we 
to ourselves, ' do they not know objects by the diversity 
of their forms ? Are they mistaken in the value of a 
piece of money ? Why can they not distinguish C from 
G in music, or an A from a B in orthography, if their char- 
acters are rendered plain ? ' 

This is the simple story of the beginnings of systematic 
education of the blind apparently prompted by an 
everyday and commonplace incident, but how far-reaching 
in its beneficent influence who can tell ? 


It is a somewhat remarkable coincidence that in 1774, 
almost contemporaneously with the essay by M. Diderot 
above quoted, and which was written in France, an article 
should appear in the Edinburgh Magazine and Review, 
written, so to speak, on the same " text," with a similar 
end in view, and it is, to say the least of it, strange that 
for fifty years after Haiiy's debut, we hear nothing of any 
advance or progress in the matter of suitable types for 
touch reading. 

The type used by Haiiy was a kind of italic, and in the 
various institutions for the blind, which quickly followed 
the founding of that in Paris, a similar type was used. 

Not till 1831 is any change found : then James Gall of 
Edinburgh introduced his angular roman type. He printed 
several introductory books, and in 1834 published the 
Gospel of St. John. About this time the Royal Scottish 

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Society of Arts offered a prize medal for the best and most 
suitable raised type for printing books for the blind, and Gall 
was an unsuccessful competitor, the prize being awarded to 
Dr. Edmund Fry, whose alphabet consisted of the ordinary 
capital letters, denuded of their small strokes. 

In a work " The Education of the Blind," * published in 
1837 by himself, Gall says (Preface) : " The blind are now 
able to read nearly as fluently as those who see. Books 
are now printed for their use. They are also able to write 
letters to each other by post, and to read what is thus 

On page 9 he continues : " Although Mr. Gall in the 
present century (1837) has revived the printing for the 
blind, he was not the first who thought of it. It was at- 
tempted in Paris during the last century, and failed, not 
from any impossibility in the thing itself, but on account 
of the alphabet which was employed for the purpose. 
Mr. Gall, perceiving that angles were more easily felt than 
rounds, and that the outside of the letter was more easily 
felt than the inside, modified the alphabet into its simplest 
form, throwing the characteristics of each letter to the 
outside, and using angles instead of rounds. After a 
long-continued laborious and expensive series of experi- 
ments, by means of blind persons, he has produced the 
present alphabet, which may now be considered the most 
simple, the most tangible, and therefore the most perfect 
alphabet which can be constructed for the blind." ( 

Mr. Gall is so carried away with his own enthusiasm 
that he is not content to say his is the best alphabet as 
yet constructed for the blind, but the most perfect that 
can be. Further on in the little work just quoted, he 
states : " The blind are able to skim over the letters 
with great rapidity in reading. ... So great is the facility 
with which the blind are able to feel the letters, that already 
they can read books printed with the common English size 
of type. This is the same as is used in pulpit Bibles and 

* Reprinted by Sampson Lo\v, Marston & Co., Ltd., 1894. 
f See page 15. 


in papers printed for the Courts of Law ! * And, although 
this surpasses all that was formerly hoped for, even this 
is not to be considered the smallest size which the blind 
will be able to read. . . . And so very plain do the letters 
appear to them, that they can read with a stout glove 
upon the hand, or a piece of linen laid upon the book." 

Who will deny the existence of a sixth sense after this ? 

Now, turning to the evidence of a contemporary and 
eye-witness of these marvellous feats of the blind in regard 
to Mr. Gall's type, it is seen what he has to say regarding 
them. The quotations are from " Observations on the 
Employment and Education of the Blind," by Thomas 
Anderson (1837), Manager of the Asylum for the Blind, 

" Mr. Gall (a printer), of Edinburgh, was the first in this 
country who directed the attention of the public to the 
subject [viz. Printing for the Blind]. In 1831 he published 
some elementary works in what may perhaps be called 
the angular roman character the roman, with all the 
circles turned into angles. When these books came out, 
he requested that some of the boys belonging to the Asylum 
in Edinburgh might be allowed to take lessons from him. 
This the directors with pleasure immediately granted : 
and, I think, three if not four of our sharpest youngsters 
were under his care twice or three times a week. No 
restriction as to time was laid upon him he had them 
quite at his own disposal and they continued with him 
for some months. But, even with all Mr. Gall's own 
attention and, I am sure when I say so, every security 
is given that all that perseverance, kindness, and ardour 
in a favourite pursuit could do was done in their case 
yet the result was nothing more than their being able to 
make out letter by letter, and a few short words, some of 
them hardly that. As to anything like ' reading ' in the 
common acceptation of the word, it was out of the question, 
Mr. Gall himself being judge. I am sure that gentleman 
will bear me out in saying that a fairer specimen of what 
the working blind can do could not have been found. They 

* The italics and exclamation are ours. Ed. 


were boys of excellent parts, varying from fourteen to 
twenty years of age, and had been shorter and longer in 
the Institution, so that even a variety of finger delicacy 
might have been reasonably expected amongst them. 
They were tried under his own eye without limitation as 
to time and I will leave it to Mr. Gall to say to what the 
result amounted. . . . When the Gospel by St. John ap- 
peared in 1834, many benevolent individuals who had 
subscribed for it offered their copies to the directors for 
use in the schoolroom. This was gratefully accepted, and, 
to leave nothing undone, they directed a second trial to be 
made under the care of Mr. Robert Mylne, the teacher at 
the Asylum, himself blind. Six boys were daily engaged 
on it for as many months, and yet, with all the attention 
possible, the result was not one whit better than the first 
one. Both teacher and taught were tired out of measure. 
They often averred they could get the Gospel by heart 
in half the time, and I don't doubt it. Mylne himself was 
very desirous of benefiting by this mode of instruction, 
and took a copy of the work home with him, but although 
able, like the others, to do a little, yet it was nothing when 
compared with reading. . . . 

" Thus, then, there were only five or six ever engaged 
on this study at the institution alluded to, while the number 
of inmates amounted to one hundred and ten or thereby. 
Yet in a report published by the Society of Arts at Edinburgh 
is it stated : ' Mr. Gall has obtained ample testimonials from 
the Directors of the Edinburgh, Glasgow, and London 
Asylums, as to the efficiency of his alphabet, and his 
success in teaching the blind TO BEAD by means of it in 
these institutions." Confining myself, of course, to the 
first-mentioned, I cannot but express my surprise that 
any such statement could have been made, wheii not 
more than six were at any time engaged in the pursuit, 
and the result being as I have stated it. 

"... Another trial, such as I have just detailed, took 
place at the London School. It was commenced by Mr. 
Gall himself as detailed in his ' Literature for the Blind,' 
and carried on so far, but was soon after relinquished by 
the directors. As the reasons have not appeared before 
the public, I can only state the fact. 

"Mr. Gall's publications were also adopted at the Asylum 


at Glasgow, and, by the reports of the examinations, 
promised to realise all the hopes that had been formed of 
them, when, about six or eight months ago, they were 
relinquished for a character which was recommended some 
years ago by the late Dr. Fry of London, to the Society of 
Arts at Edinburgh. This, Mr. Alston, the treasurer of the 
Asylum adopted, and set up a press in the establishment, 
and has i printed several works in the character alluded to, 
viz. roman capitals (now commonly known as Alston's 

' The character, however, does not seem to me to have 
as much to do with the matter as has been represented. 


BEST FOR THE BLIND. This by no means follows : and, so 
far as experiment goes, Mr. Gall's triangular (?) roman 
is as good as Dr. Fry's capitals. . . . 

" Under the idea that so much depends on the character, 
we have no less than five * different characters out already. 
. . . There is Gall's, the Bostonian (roman large and 
small), Philadelphian (similar), Lucas's (stenographic), and 

Thus began the battle of the types, which has ever since 
been waged with greater or less fury, and which, so far as 
Braille is concerned at any rate, is still raging. It is fairly 
proved, however, that the earliest attempts to teach reading 
by touch, both in England and France, were more or less 
failures, owing, doubtless, to the reason asserted so wisely 
and prophetically by Anderson in the sentence quoted 
above in small capitals. As opposed to this opinion, the 
reader may refer to Gall's publication, as showing how 
absolutely he differed from this view. 

" Any attempt to introduce a literature for the blind 
would certainly be ruined by founding it on an arbitrary 
alphabet. In the first place, we must keep in view the 
perpetual sentence of banishment from the understandings 
and sympathies of the public generally, which, practically 

* As a matter of fact there were seven, for Moon's and Frere's types 
were then in existence, though evidently unknown to Anderson. 


speaking, would be pronounced against it from its very 
birth. No man can ever be expected to feel so much 
interest in a thing which he must learn before he can 
understand, as in that which is plain to his eyes and to his 
understanding. . . . 

" No one but professed teachers of the blind would, in all 
probability, ever attempt to learn it. This would be a 
most serious disadvantage to a literature which is intended, 
not merely for blind asylums, but for every parlour and 
cottage where there is a person blind. . . . An arbitrary 
character will be exceedingly repulsive, more especially at 
the commencement. . . . 

' ' There is an awful insecurity attending any books which 
might be printed in an arbitrary character, and as great 
an insecurity attending the learning to read them. . . . The 
adoption of an arbitrary character would ruin all prospects 
of the system of epistolary correspondence between the 
blind and their friends, etc., etc." 

How truly is the wisdom of to-day the foolishness of 

morrow ! Which of these awful calamities has followed 
adoption of the arbitrary character introduced by 
Louis Braille ? 

Frere and Moon both adopted the return line principle 
that is, reading one line from left to right, and the next 
from right to left. Frere reversed his characters in the 
return line, but not so Moon. 

The Boston character is still used in some American 
schools, as is also the Philadelphian, which is almost identical 
with Alston's. This latter, until quite recently, was used 
at the Worcester College for Blind Sons of Gentlemen. 

Lucas's type, introduced in 1838, was adopted by the 
London Society for Teaching the Blind to Read, at their 
establishment at Swiss Cottage, London, and a press set 
up for the production of literature in that type. Only of 
late years has this been discontinued. 

It is unnecessary in this brief work to remark further 
upon any of the above types except Moon's, which, on 
account of its simplicity, easy acquirement, and boldness of 
relief, is so suitable for the blind whose fingers are hardened 




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by toil, or for those elderly people who only require books 
as a means of passing the time, which would otherwise hang 
heavily on their hands. There will probably always be a 
considerable demand for books in this pre-eminently useful 
line type, and all teachers of the blind are earnestly recom- 
mended to make themselves familiar with it. The printing 
-and publishing of " Moon " books is personally super- 
intended by Miss Adelaide Moon, daughter of the late 
Dr. Moon, the honoured inventor of the type ; and any 
inquiries addressed to her at 104, Queen's Road, Brighton, 
will be kindly and promptly replied to. Dr. Moon's type 
has already been adapted to some four hundred foreign 
languages and dialects, and of late years the publishing of 
the Scriptures in these has been taken up by the British 
and Foreign Bible Society. (See also p. 35, " Moon's 


This is the system of embossed type which, in one form 
or another, is used practically universally for purposes of 
education ; it was invented or adapted by Louis Braille, 
first a pupil, then a teacher at the Institution Nationale des 
Jeunes Aveugles, Paris. Adapted, because his invention 
was only an improvement a very great one, all will admit- 
on a previously existing point alphabet introduced by an 
artillery officer, M. Barbier. Barbier's was in principle the 
same as Braille's, but his full number of points was twelve 
instead of six, so that his letters were unwieldy, and the 
space covered by them inconveniently large. Braille, at 
first soldered strips of metal across Barbier's writing-frame, 
so as to cover up one half of the cell for each letter, and by 
this means acquired the power of writing his own more 
compact alphabet. This was in 1829, and although, as 
we have said, " Braille " type is now the veritable lux in 
tenebris of the blind, it was for many years rigorously 
opposed as an arbitrary and impossible type. Both pupils 
-and professors in the Paris school were not slow to see the 

" BRAILLE " F7. 

immense superiority of it over the roman letter, but the 
school authorities would not change their system ; though 
Braille was allowed to teach it out of school hours and un- 
officially. Indeed, it was not till 1854, two years after the 
death of its author, that the " Braille " system was officially 
adopted at the Paris school. In our own country it fared 
no better, for, although introduced into England about 1868, 
it was not until fully twenty years later that it was anything 
like generally accepted in blind institutions, and by the 
reading blind of the country. In Scotland especially it 
was bitterly opposed, more particularly by the home- 
teaching societies, and even at the Edinburgh Institution 
it was only after years of persuasive entreaty that the then 
manager, Mr. William Martin so well known as the intro- 
ducer of kindergarten for the blind succeeded in getting 
the teachers at West Craigmillar to give " Braille " a trial. 

It has been stated on good authority that Louis Braille, 
who was above all, and first of all, a musician, adapted 
Barbier's shortened character to form a musical alphabet, 
and that the well-known first, second, third, and fourth lines of 
Braille signs at least so far as the last seven in each line 
were concerned had their origin in this way. This view 
would appear most reasonable, for it is much more likely 
that the four lines had their origin in the requirements of 
the efficient representation of quaver, crotchet, minim, and 
semibreve, than that a purely arbitrary arrangement of dots 
for an alphabet and some contractions should so excellently 
and accidentally suit the necessities of the musical notes, 

Another argument in favour of this view is the fact 
w r hich has of late been frequently remarked upon that a 
genius such as Braille should have formed an alphabet 
without any relation between the number of dots used in 
the letter and the frequency of that letter's recurrence in 
ordinary literature. No ; Louis Braille considered the 
exigencies of ordinary literature * secondary to those of 
music, and his genius stands justified to-day. There are 
many variations of the Braille alphabet and contractions 



signs, but only one musical alphabet, and that practi- 
cally as he made it, still unchanged in all parts of the world 
where Braille of every kind is used. 

Let any one who doubts the above theory. write out the 
last seven characters of line 1 that is, d to j* and notice 
what a distinct relationship there is between the various 
characters, whether looked at vertically, horizontally, or 
downside up, always the same seven, the perfect number ; and 
we think he will be convinced that the facts are as stated. 


" Those who only know the state of the education of the 
blind as it at present exists can scarcely conceive the utter 
chaos in which this whole subject was involved before the 
formation of the British and Foreign Blind Association in 
1868. The usual plan up to that time was for some one 
who was in comparative ignorance of what had been done 
by others to start a new system, which was taken up by 
philanthropists, who had still less knowledge of the subject. 
Subscriptions were raised, and the Babel of systems was 
increased by a fresh one. In this way it had come to pass 
that the Bible, or the greater part of it, had at that time 
already been printed in English in five different systems, 
while there was scarcely any other standard work pub- 
lished except in the type introduced by Dr. Howe, of Boston, 
and this was so small that probably not one blind adult in 
fifty could learn to read it with any degree of comfort. 
The wasteful extravagance of thus printing the same book 
in so many systems was not the only inconvenience arising 
from this want of harmony. Another evil was that the 
blind had to learn to read by the character which happened 
to be in favour at the institution where they received their 
education, and, on leaving, they found that, if they were 
to obtain the benefit of the few books that had been em- 
bossed, they had to learn two or three fresh systems, and 
perhaps discard altogether the one which it had taken 
them years to acquire. The two main causes of this lament- 

* See p. 165. 

f Dr. Armitage's book on " The Education and Employment of the 
Blind," p. 37 et seq. 


able state of things seemed to be, as above stated, that 
there was an utter want of harmony of action, and that 
inventors of systems and managers of institutions generally 


OF THE BLIND. It is a curious and instructive fact that 
the two systems which are now in most favour with the 
blind themselves, and which have most vitality in them, 
are due to two blind men, M. Braille and Dr. Moon. 

" Previous to 1868 it had from time to time been 
attempted to remedy the state of confusion then existing 
by holding conferences, the various institutions being repre- 
sented by their managers or secretaries. Each member was 
in general strongly prejudiced in favour of the system which 
happened to have come under his own notice ; failure was 
consequently inevitable. Among the more intelligent of the 
blind the opinion had long been gaining ground that, for 
any good result to be obtained, the question must not be 
settled for the blind, bui^_tMJilind themselves.* This idea 
strongly impressed itself on the minds of two or three blind 
gentlemen, and the result was the formation of the British 
and Foreign Blind Association, which, though numbering 
among its members many blessed with sight, has remained 
true to the axiom that the relative merits of the various 
methods of education through the sense of touch should 
be decided by those, and those only, who have to rely upon 
this sense. The members of the Executive Council are 
therefore blind, or so nearly so as to be obliged to rely on 
the sense of touch, and not on that of sight, for the purpose 
of reading. Most members were also able to read at least 
three systems of raised letters by touch, and were not 
pecuniarily interested in any: Some were able to read by 
every known system, except when, from the extreme small- 
ness of the type, there existed a physical impossibility. 
They took care themselves to use extensively the methods 
which seemed to promise well, and, they carefully noted the 
views and wishes of all the intelligent blind within their 

" Several members had very extensive experience in 
teaching among the ignorant and aged, as well as among the 
more intelligent and young. They approached their work 

* See p. 61 (Hora Jucunda Union). 


with various views, according to their greater or less previous 
acquaintance with the subject, but with the determination 
to spare no pains in arriving at the truth. In order to make 
use of much valuable information thus attainable, the 
Council, at an early period of its labours, requested the 
attendance of all the intelligent blind within their reach. 
They took much pains to ascertain exactly their views, 
and the reasons for the opinions they held. This evidence 
was carefully noted down at the time and read over to the 
blind person under examination. At the commencement of 
each examination the witness was asked by what systems 
he could read, and books in these systems were then given 
to him to test his ability. He was only allowed to give 
evidence upon those systems with which he could thus 
prove himself to have a practical acquaintance. The in- 
formation thus obtained was of great value, as it repre- 
sented a sort of public opinion among those of the blind who 
had paid attention to this subject. 

" Although since 1868 great changes have occurred, and 
the views put forward are now pretty generally accepted 
by the blind and their friends, it may be historically 
interesting to reprint the conclusions then arrived at, as 
it was only by the persistent advocacy of its views that the 
Association has at length secured their general adoption. 

" ROMAN LETTER. To take the various systems in the 
order in which they have been enumerated, the Council 
naturally first turned their attention to the roman letter, 
as being that by which all the members had been educated ; 
here the wide difference between the points of view of the 
blind and seeing was at once manifest. In spite of the 
strongest a priori reasons to the contrary, the unanimous 
decision was come to, that the roman character in all its 
existing forms is so complicated that it requires long educa- 
tion and great acuteness of touch to read it with ease, and 
that its universal adoption would be tantamount to the 
total exclusion of the great majority of the blind from the 
privilege of reading. The Council have never yet met with 
any intelligent blind person, moderately conversant with 
the subject, who was not of the same opinion. The con- 
stancy with which the roman letter has been advocated 
by the seeing patrons and managers of institutions show T s 


how opposite is the conclusion arrived at by them, and the 
incessant modifications of it which have been tried prove 
how difficult is the problem of rendering the roman char- 
acter legible by touch. The experience of the New World 
is the same as that of the Old. The small angularised 
roman letter of Dr. Howe, of Boston, which is used in most 
of the United States' institutions is probably as good a 
form as any, and, if printed in a larger size, would not be 
difficult to feel ; in its present size, however, it is far too 
small, and has signally failed in America. 

" Mr. Wait, the Director of the New York Institution, 
examined 664 pupils, of seven different institutions, as to 
their reading. All these pupils used the Boston type. He 
found that out of this number one-third were good readers, 
one-third read slowly by spelling out the words, and one- 
third failed entirely. 

" In the Missouri Institution, where the Braille system 
was used, two-thirds learned to read fluently, one-third by 
spelling, while none failed ; and it must be borne in mind 
that those who learn to read by this system also acquire 
an admirable method of writing. 

" In the Paris School the blind have had their own way, 
and the roman type is now only regarded as a literary 
curiosity, not suited to the e very-day wants of the blind. 
This is, no doubt, mainly due to the fact that all the pro- 
fessors in this school are blind. It has often been urged 
that the blind ought to employ the same character as the 
seeing, in order to receive assistance when reading.* This 
argument might be of some weight if no simpler character 
existed ; but where the choice lies between a character to 
read which the blind man requires assistance, and one which 
is so simple that he can read it by himself, there ought to 
be no doubt as to the choice. Another common, but equally 
fallacious, argument is that by adopting a different character 
from that used by the seeing there is danger of the isolation 
of the blind being increased ; this is not feared by those 
whom it is intended to benefit. A man is isolated by every- 
thing which renders the acquisition of knowledge difficult 
and tedious, and his isolation is diminished by everything 
which facilitates his power of self -education. The best type 
for him to use is evidently that which he can read most 

* See p. 13, par. 5 ("Gall"). 


fluently and most correctly ; therefore, in the great majority 
of cases, it will not be the roman character. 

" Another reason which operates strongly against the 
adoption of any so-called arbitrary character in our blind 
institutions is the trouble that it is likely to give to the 
seeing managers and teachers ; for the adoption of such a 
character involves the necessity of the teacher taking the 
trouble to learn it, and in the case of the Braille character 
there is this further difficulty, that reading it is fatiguing 
to the eye. This objection to arbitrary characters is for 
obvious reasons scarcely ever stated, and is probably not 
fully recognised by the managers and teachers themselves. 
It, nevertheless, consciously or unconsciously to themselves, 
influences their views very materially. Of course every 
one will assent to the abstract proposition that IN INSTI- 

that such institutions are bound to adopt that method of 
education which is proved to be the best for the blind, 
whether most convenient to the seeing teachers or not. But, 
though the truth of such a proposition is beyond all dispute, 
we are all apt to dislike whatever gives us trouble, though we 
may at the same time be quite unconscious that the main 
cause of our dislike is the fear of personal inconvenience. 

" MOON. Moon's system has qualities which make it 
very generally useful. It is fully spelt, and consequently 
can be used for primary education ; and at the same time, 
in their present size, the letters can be felt by the dull, the 
aged, and by those whose touch has been impaired by rough 
work, while the approach of many of his characters to the 
shape of the corresponding roman letters makes the first 
step more easy. It is much to be regretted, however, that 
along with these obvious merits there are also some serious 
defects. Many letters are perfectly arbitrary, and though 
in some cases this could not have been avoided, yet in others 
a closer adherence to the roman letter would have been 
possible. The non-reversal of the letters in the return line 
is a serious defect, and the absence of a sign to indicate a 
divided word at the end of a line is inconvenient. 

" SHORTHAND SYSTEMS. The advantages of shorthand 
to the blind are very great. For rapid and pleasant reading 


the finger ought, as nearly as possible, to imitate the eye, 
by taking in a whole word at a glance ; but this cannot be 
done when every letter is printed ; as, from the compara- 
tive coarseness of the sense of touch, the letters must be on 
a large scale, and of these the finger can only perceive one 
at a time. Some sort of shorthand seems to be the only 
solution of this difficulty ; but the two forms in use in 1869, 
when this examination took place, are unsuitable for edu- 
cational purposes, as Lucas's is apt to produce bad spelling, 
and Frere's, being phonetic, disregards orthography alto- 
gether. However desirable it may seem to many to adopt 
phonetic spelling universally, the blind, for many reasons, 
must not lead the way. All blind children should therefore 
learn spelling in the ordinary way ; if afterwards it should 
seem desirable, they may in addition be taught shorthand. 
For the use of adults neither of the existing systems is quite 
satisfactory. Lucas's characters are not sufficiently distinct, 
the dotted lines and dotted half-circles being too similar to 
the same signs without dots. His use of the double letters 
for numbers is objectionable, and he has made a great mis- 
take in not adopting the return line, which adds much to 
the ease and comfort of reading. Frere's characters, on 
the other hand, are the neatest and most tangible of all 
that have ever been invented for the use of the blind. His 
return line is perfect, but his total want of punctuation is 
a serious objection, and the rules are too complicated to 
be understood without oral teaching, and, as a matter of 
experience, they are seldom properly learned. The con- 
sequence is that most readers by this system do too much 
by guess-work though to an educated person, well ac- 
quainted with the book he is reading, and only wanting a 
slight guide (as in the case of the Bible), there is probably no 
system by which, when it has been acquired, reading can be 
accomplished with equal comfort and rapidity. 

" It would be much to the interest of the blind that their 
shorthand system should spring out of, and be closely con- 
nected with, the full spelling method ; so that it would be 
easy to pass from one to the other without having to learn 
a new character.* 

" POINT SYSTEM. The great advantage of a point system I 

* See p. 27 (" Braille Shorthand "). 


is the extreme facility with which it is written, while it is at 
the same time easily read ; and a special recommendation 
of the Braille method is, that out of the ordinary Braille 
alphabet there naturally springs the best form of musical 
notation in use among the blind. 

" By this means a saving of 25 per cent, in space is effected. 
There is a corresponding gain in the rapidity of reading, 
while correct spelling is not interfered with. Another great 
improvement has been the utilising both sides of the sheet, 
both in printing and writing, the lines on one side corre- 
sponding with the intervals on the other. This effects a 
further saving of 20 per cent, in space, and greatly adds to 
legibility. This method has been followed for many years 
by the Association in all their publications, whether printed 
or written. When first introduced it was asserted by many 
that interlined printing would not be durable ; the ex- 
perience of many years has, however, shown that when 
proper paper is used interlined printing lasts well, even in 
books used as class-books in schools, which is the severest 
of all tests.* 

"It is pleasant to note that the state of utter confusion 
which existed in 1869 has now to a great extent passed 
away. The roman letter is all but abandoned in the 
United Kingdom for the purpose of reading, and is little 
taught, except to give the blind an idea of the appearance 
of the letters used by the seeing. Frere's and Lucas's 
systems are almost things of the past, while most of the 
blind and their instructors are fast becoming unanimous 
in the opinion that, for purposes of education, and for the 
intelligent blind of all ages, the Braille system is to be pre- 
ferred, while Moon's system is the best for those whose sense 
of touch is much injured by hard manual work, or for those 
adults who, from want of previous education, or from any 
other cause, are satisfied if they can read, and do not feel 
the want of writing. In 1868, when the Association was 
founded, there was not a single institution for the blind in 
the United Kingdom in which the Braille system was used, 
and the number of individuals who knew it probably did 
not exceed twenty. It is certainly extraordinary that such 
complete ignorance should have existed of a system which 
might have been seen in full operation by going over to Paris. 

* See p. 40, par. 3 ("Interpoint "). 


" At present there is not an institution in the United 
Kingdom where the Braille system is not more or less used. 
In the best schools it is employed almost exclusively, and 
the extent to which it is used forms a pretty good rough 
test of the quality of teaching in a school. Some idea may 
be formed of the spread of the Braille system since the 
formation of the Association by the fact that since that 
time it has sold about 20,000 styles for writing. The 
greater part of these have been used in the United Kingdom,, 
though about 1,000 have been sent to France and Germany. 
Germany has at last realised the importance of Braille as 
an educational system. In 1873 the first Congress of the 
Instructors of the Blind was held at Vienna. I there ex- 
hibited specimens of Braille writing, printing, and maps r 
and strongly urged the claims of Braille as a universal 
educational system for the blind. The subject was re- 
ferred to a Committee, and at the next Congress, held in 
1876 in Dresden, it was decided to adopt a modified Braille, 
in which, though the Braille frame was retained, the letters 
were altered in such a way that those letters which occurred 
most frequently in the German language were represented 
by the fewest points. The most experienced of the German 
teachers strongly objected to this decision, and it was 
reversed at the Congress held in Berlin in 1879, which 
recommended the old Braille system for universal adoption. 
This was confirmed at the Congress held in Frankfort in 
1882. At the International Congress held in Paris in 1878 
the same conclusion was almost unanimously come to.. 
There is no\v probably no institution in the civilised world 
where Braille is not used, except in some of those in North 
America ; in all of these, however, the great value of writing 
is recognised by using some form of point system. Though 
the blind have much reason to be satisfied with this progress,, 
much still remains to be done. In China and Japan and in 
other parts of the world there is an immense amount of work ta 
be done. I believe that not only would it be of the greatest 
possible advantage to the blind of these countries to receive a 
good elementary education, but that the blind, when taught 
to read, and w r hen instructed in the Christian religion, would 
make most valuable native missionaries and colporteurs." 

Mr. Murray, one of the Scottish Bible Society's mission- 


aries at Peking, has tried the experiment on a small scale ; 
it has proved so far most satisfactory. The idea of a 
blind man being able to read and write is so new in these 
countries that the people crowd around him, and he can 
obtain a hearing and sell the Scriptures, where no seeing 
man would have been listened to. Mr. Murray has com- 
menced to print the New Testament in Chinese by means 
of frames and plates supplied to him by the Association. 
The Chinese writing for the seeing being a sort of shorthand, 
there is no objection to using it for the blind ; and by 
this means a great amount of space is saved, amounting 
probably to over 100 per cent. 

Many of the dialects of India, China, and other Eastern 
countries have now been reduced to " Braille," and the 
British and Foreign Bible Society have a large staff engaged 
solely on the work of producing the Scriptures in " Braille " 
in these languages. 


In 1895 the Editor of Horn Jucunda offered a prize 
of 5 for the best method of Braille shorthand writing for 
the blind. Some excellent competitive schemes were sent 
in, and, after these had been submitted to Dr. Campbell, 
of Norwood, the late Mr. Buckle, of York, and other Braille 
experts, the prize was awarded to a collaborated effort 
which emanated from the Birmingham Institution for the 
Blind. This system of shorthand is now taught in all the 
principal schools, and by means of a neat and ingenious 
little machine invented by Mr. Henry Stainsby (late 
secretary and general superintendent of the above institu- 
tion, and now general secretary of the British and Foreign 
Blind Association) and known as the Stainsby- Wayne f 
shorthand machine, a blind typist can, with ease, take 

* The " Key to Braille Shorthand " may be obtained from the Royal 
Blind Asylum and School, West Craigmillar. Edinburgh. 

f Mr. Alfred Wayne, of Birmingham, was the maker of the machine,, 
under Mr. Stainsby's direction. The cost of the machine is about 6. 


down notes at the rate of 110 to 120 words per minute, and 
is thus provided with a most valuable adjunct to the ordinary 
typewriting machine, so useful in fact that many blind 
girls have, so equipped, been enabled to secure and retain 
excellent appointments as correspondence clerks in business 

Previous to the invention of Braille shorthand 


had been utilised for the purpose of dictating letters to 
blind typists, who had been trained to do correspondence 
for the office of the institutions where they were located. 

The honour of being the first to utilise the phonograph 
in this way for the blind belongs to West Craigmillar 
Institution, Edinburgh, and practically all the corre- 
spondence of the establishment was so dictated for many 
years. But the advent of Braille shorthand, and the 
very significant fact that business men in search of corre- 
spondence clerks would not be likely to supply them with 
phonographs at 30 apiece, as they then were, caused the 
discontinuance of this machine, except in one or two isolated 

Braille shorthand may be written on the ordinary Braille 
frame, but the speed attainable does not, of course, nearly 
approach that of the Stains by- Wayne machine. The 
paper for the latter is in the form of a long narrow strip, 
about one inch wide, and rolled into the form of a bobbin. 
This is fixed on a spool carried by the machine, and passes 
automatically over six little punches .actuated by six 
separate keys as these are pressed in the required com- 
binations. The dots are made upwards, and are thus 
readily felt by the operator without turning the paper over. 
The embossed portion passes into a receiving basket and, 
when finished, is either rewound on to the reel and read as 
required, or used straight from the basket in the best way 
the ingenuity of the operator may devise. 



Valentin Haiiy and his contemporaries, as well as Gall 
and his contemporaries, all claimed to teach the blind to- 
write, but their methods were slow, laborious, and very 
unsatisfactory, the system, if such it can be called, being 
to form their respective characters by means of a stylo in 
their reversed form on a sheet of paper placed upon felt,, 
rubber, or some such yielding substance, thereby raising 
them on the other side, the writing, of course, being done 
from right to left. 

I The first idea of a mechanical apparatus for writing by 
the blind appears to have been that of Alston, who intro- 
duced a device which consisted of square pegs about 1J 
inch long and f inch square, on one end surface of 
which he arranged short sharp pins in the form of the 
roman letter, one letter on each peg, the peg being notched 
on one side to denote the proper position of the letter in 
using. By means of an ingenious frame and ruler the 
frame bedded with flannel or baize upon which the paper 
was laid these points were then pressed iirmly upon the 
paper, and piercing it, threw up in clear relief the desired 
letter on the obverse side, so that it could be read with 
ease. This system had the advantage that letters written 
by means of it could be read either by blind or sighted,, 
and it was often used for addressing wrappers or envelopes. 
It remained in vogue for many years, and is used even yet. 
During the last fifty years a great variety of inventions 
has been brought out for enabling the blind to write ordinary 
characters generally a form of italics in pencil, for 
communication with their sighted friends. The most 
satisfactory, as well as the neatest and least cumbersome 
of these, was the Guldberg frame, which emanated from 
Copenhagen, and was of a size convenient for carrying in 
the pocket. Really beautiful work could be produced by 
means of this little apparatus by a careful writer, and quite 
a respectable amount of speed could be achieved with 


This method is a vast improvement upon Gall's little 
strip of brass with square openings in which the roman 
characters were formed by the writer. Other mechanical 
writing-frames of a more or less similar nature are Moon's, 
Wedgwood's Noctograph, Thursfield's, Pooley's, and Le- 

Valentin Haiiy used glutinous ink, with which he wrote 
a very bold hand upon paper ; over this writing, sand was 
dusted, which adhered to the letters and formed a rough 
sort of relief writing. He admits himself, however, that 
this was more or less a failure. 

Dr. Moon brought out paper crossed with raised lines, 
between which it is easy, for those who have learnt previous 
to losing their sight, to write ; whilst the British and Foreign 
Blind Association supply a corrugated piece of cardboard 
on which the paper is laid ; the grooves are felt through the 
paper, and are quite a sufficient guide. 

The latest idea on these lines, however, is that adopted 
by the writer. It is by far the simplest, and at least as 
good as any. Thin twine is stretched tightly across the 
face of an ordinary Braille frame, in lines about half an 
inch apart, by means of small holes drilled through the 
board about one inch from each side. A coating of thin 
glue is then brushed over them, and, when dry, the apparatus 
is ready for use, the writing-paper being fixed by the 
-clip at the top provided for holding the Braille paper. 

The twine is distinctly felt through the paper as raised 
lines, quite a sufficient guide for any one to write who has 
learnt to do so before becoming blind. This treatment 
does not in any way detract from the use of the board for 
Braille work, as the twine in no way interferes with the 
movements of the brass guide. 


Louis Braille and M. Foucaud together invented a machine 
for writing, which was until recently used for that purpose. 
It consisted of a number of converging wires, so arranged 


that, when pressed down in varying order, the points struck 
on a sheet of paper under which was a carbonised sheet. 
Letters consisting of dotted lines were thus produced. The 
writing was very slow and difficult to learn. 

This was invented many years ago by Mr. Hughes, of 
enshaw's Blind Asylum, Manchester. It produced very 
good printing, and was easy to learn, but it was very ex- 
anj. cannot now be procured. 


The modern typewriter has, however, settled the question 
as to what is the best means for a blind person correspond- 
ing with his seeing friends, or producing sighted writing for 
other purposes. Typewriting is now systematically taught 
as part of the ordinary curriculum in all the best schools | 
for the blind in the world. 

Edinburgh was probably the first to introduce it, and 
was certainly the first institution which produced a blind 
typist who was successful in obtaining an appointment as 
correspondence clerk in a business office. 

Birmingham followed quickly, and soon took the lead; 
forming a special class for training clerks for commercial 
work, and developing every possible resource in this direc- 
tion, including instruction in telephoning, shorthand, and' 
bookkeeping ; so that the school at Edgbaston now stands 
at the very head in all matters connected with typewriting 
for and by the blind. The favourite machine there is the 

At the Royal Normal College, Upper Norwood, type- 
writers are numbered by the score, Dr. Campbell having 
very advanced, but sound, views on the value of typewriting 
as an educational medium, apart altogether from its com- 
mercial aspect. The machine most in vogue at Norwood 
is the Hammond, its automatic stroke rendering it par- 
ticularly suitable for use by the blind. 


At Henshaw's Blind Asylum there are in use the Ham- 
mond, Yost, Smith Premier, Underwood, and Remington, 
In the opinion of experts any really good standard machine 
may be readily understood and worked by the blind, but 
it is advisable to choose those which have a simply adjust- 
able ribbon attachment, if they be ribbon machines. 

At first embossed letters affixed to the keys were used,, 
but these were soon discarded in favour of the absolute 
touch principle, now almost universally adopted. Dr. 
Campbell still, however, adheres to the method of fitting 
the keys at certain intervals with felt pads, as a guide to- 

It may be interesting to add that at Birmingham for 
several years a typewriting office has been carried on in 
the city, in connection with the Institution, and here a, 
number of blind typists earn a good living by doing w r ork 
for the public. There are now quite a number of low- 
priced typewriters on the market, quite suitable for private 
use by the blind ; of these the Moya, made by the 
Moya Typewriter Co., Leicester, is probably the best ; price 
about 4. 


It is quite unnecessary to describe here the ordinary 
Braille frame, with its brass guide containing two lines 
'of cells ; but it must be remembered that this frame is the 
product of evolution. The original method of writing 
Braille as other embossed script was to impress it by 
means of a stylo on paper placed upon baize, rubber, soft 
leather, or other yielding substance, the guide consisting of 
a strip of brass containing one or two lines of oblong holes 
of the required size, similar to the upper half of the ordinary 
Braille brass guide. 

Later, a frame was brought out in Paris consisting of a 
slab of zinc, corrugated on one side, with grooves run from 
side to side and equally distant, from top to bottom. In 
this also the guide was similar to that used on the felt or 


OF Jf 


rubber bedded frames. These, however, will only allow of 
writing on one side of the paper, but are still used in 
France, and in some English schools. 

A great variety of pocket frames has also been 
produced, and they have proved very useful to those blind 
persons who require to take notes, etc. 

Mr. Menzel, of the Hamburg Blind Institute, has lately 
invented an excellent Braille frame made entirely in zinc, 
by means of which Braille may be written with perfect 
ease and accuracy in a book. It is made in several sizes, 
the smaller of which are quite convenient for the pocket. 

The same gentleman has invented quite a number of 
useful helps to blind education, including mathematical 
instruments, geometrical designs, etc. He will be glad to 
send his catalogue of such on receipt of request for same. 
His address is Mr. Menzel. Blinden Asyl, Hamburg, 
Alexanderstrasse 32. 

Mr. Alfred Wayne, of Birmingham, has also produced a 
variety of pocket and other Braille frames, mostly in 
brass and nickel, and quite excellent for their purpose. 


Braille typewriters, as they are often termed, followed as 
a natural course in the wake of typewriting machines for 
the sighted. The variety of these is not quite so great in 
the former as in the latter, but it is large enough to preclude 
the possibility of mentioning them all here. One of the 
earliest, and still one of the best, is the Hall machine * 
invented by Mr. Hall, formerly a teacher in the Philadel- 
phia School, and manufactured and supplied by Messrs. 
Harrison & Seifried, Chicago. It is a very strongly built 
machine, measuring only twelve inches by eight, and about 
four high. The dots are made by depressing the proper 
combinations of six keys, which are arranged in two groups 
of three, somewhat resembling the black keys of a pianoforte. 

* May be obtained from the British and Foreign Blind Association, 
price about 3 3s. 



The dots are made upwards, and may be read by the finger 
immediately the impression is made. Either close line or 
interlined Braille may be written on this machine, the 
cost of which is $13. 

Of German machines, probably the Kleidograph is the 
best known. 

Mr. Wayne has brought out several Braille writing- 
machines, apart from the shorthand machine : one of which 
resembles an ordinary Braille frame, the writing being done 
by a set of punches worked by six keys affixed to a travelling 
bogie, which moves across the paper one notch or letter 
space at a time, as the keys are depressed. The cost of 
this excellent and efficient instrument is about a guinea. 


William Moon, son of James and Mary Funnel Moon, 
was born at Horsemonden, in Kent, on December 18, 1818. 
His father died \vhilst William was still in his infancy ; but 
his mother, from whom he inherited an indomitable spirit 
and perseverance, lived to the advanced age of ninety^ 

His whole career is a proof that " impossible " is a word 
which should be used with much discretion. 

WTien only four years old he lost the sight of one eye through 
scarlet fever. The sight of the remaining eye was also se- 
riously affected, so that at school he could only get his lessons 
by the aid of his fellow pupils. At the age of twenty-one, in 
spite of many surgical operations, he became totally blind. 

Losing no time in vain regrets, he gave his attention to 
mastering the various systems of reading for the blind, 
including Frere's ; this done, he began to seek for and teach 
other blind persons at their homes, and later he formed a 
class, which developed into the Asylum for the Blind, 
Eastern Road, Brighton. 

Whilst engaged in this work, he found that many of his 
pupils were quite unequal to the task of committing to 
memory the countless contractions necessary, or of decipher- 
ing the embossed roman letters. Reflecting upon this, 

DR. MOON 35 

the desire arose in his mind to devise some easier method, 
and after earnest consideration and ingenious contriving 
he constructed a new system, which has now stood the test 
of sixty years and is known throughout the world as " Moon's 
system for teaching the Blind to read." * 

He spent his whole life in home-mission work, in fact 
he may be called the father of home-teaching societies in 
England, his "dear blind," as he called them, being his 
first and chief care. He died " in harness " on October 10, 
1894, having delivered his usual Sunday address to the 
blind, in the Town Hall of Brighton, three days before. 

In recognition of his life work for the blind, the honorary 
degree of LL.D. was conferred upon him by Philadelphia 
University, in May, 1871. He was a Fellow of the Royal 
Geographical Society, and of the Society of Arts. He 
was also a member of the Societe Internationale pour 
1' Amelioration de sort les Aveugles, Paris. 


At the recent Manchester Conference an ingenious 
machine, for which a great future is predicted, was exhibited 
by Miss Moon. By its aid embossed writing in Moon 
characters is rendered easy and rapid. It is claimed that 
this machine will be particularly useful for the production 
of certain books of which only a very limited supply is 


This system may, perhaps, be best described as a poini\ 
system resembling the Braille character turned on its side. 
The letters of the New York alphabet are only two points 
in height, and do not exceed three in length, but the con- / 
traction system allows of characters several points long, 

* In his labour of love for the blind, he travelled all over the United 
Kingdom, founding home-teaching societies, and in 1882 visited the 
United States of America on a similar errand : and there his work is 
continued by his son, Dr. R. C. Moon, of the Pennsylvania Home Teaching 


the spaces between the dots being equal to that between 
the letters. 

Dr. Russ, of New York, who originated the method in 1869, 
and introduced it into the blind institution there, objected 
to two points in the Braille system : (1) the arbitrary 
arrangement of the letters into four rows of ten ; (2) that 
Braille's plan makes each letter occupy the same space, 


A B C D E F 

G H I J K L 
M N O P Q R 
S T U V W X 

ab cdef ghij 

kl mnop q rst 

u v w x y z 

whether consisting of one or six points, and to remedy 
this defect he suggested that the letters recurring most 
frequently in the language should be represented by the 
smallest number of points. For writing he used a modifi- 
cation of the Braille frame, to suit the altered position of 
his letters. 

That Dr. Russ's system has a great deal to commend it 
is evidenced by the fact that it took the British and Foreign 


Blind Association two years to decide as to the respective 
merits of that and Braille for adoption in England. 

It is interesting here to note that the first interlined 
stereotyped plates made on the principle which is still in 
use for Braille printing were made by the British and Foreign 
Blind Association for the New York system. 

The following quotations from Dr. Armitage's book as 
to the results of the two years' investigation above referred 
to regarding Braille and New York types are interesting : 

" 1. The gain in space of New York over Braille is said, 
theoretically, to be 30 per cent. Practically this was found 
to be somewhat over-estimated. This gain in spae_is-the 
prind^aJ L _adyantage, though there seems also to be a slight 

writing. There are, however, some serious 
disdvantages to compensate for this gain in space. 

''The New York system does not lend itself so well to 
inter-lining as the Braille, in consequence of the difficulty in 
distinguishing the characters, which are composed entirely 
of upper or entirely of lower points. 

" In distinguishing such characters from each other the 
reading finger is guided, to a considerable extent, by the 
interval which occurs between the upper or lower points, 
as the case may be, and the next line, and, as this is not 
possible with wide lines, it follows that interlining is not 
well suited to the New York character ; and if we compare 
the interlined Braille with the close-lined New York, it will 
be found that the gain in space of the New York has dis- 
appeared, while the Braille is far more legible. 

"2. The New York system is poorer in signs than the 
Braille, unless characters four points in length are used, and 
these are too long to be covered at once by the finger, which 
is inconvenient ; hence, probably, the omission of many 
punctuation signs in the New York books, which produces 
inaccuracy and ambiguity. 

"3. The correction of written or printed matter is very 
much more difficult in the New York than in the Braille 
system a point of very great practical importance. 

"4. As the letters in Braille are formed from each other 
) by a simple rule, this system is more easily learnt than the 
New York, where there is no such aid to memory. 


"5. As the different letters occur with varying frequency 
in different languages, it follows that, if the New York system 
were generally adopted, each language would have a different 
alphabet, and the difficulty of reading foreign languages 
would thereby be greatly increased. 

" 6. The Braille system is too firmly rooted in Europe 
ever to be changed ; and it would be a great calamity to the 
blind to have two point systems, unless the new were greatly 
superior to the old. This objection applies with still greater 
force to the musical notation, which ought to be as universal 
among the blind as it is among the seeing. Great numbers 
of valuable musical works have already been published in 
Paris, London, Copenhagen, and elsewhere. These would 
be illegible by, and useless to, the pupils of an institution 
using the New York system for musical notation, the 
adoption of which could only be excused by great superiority, 
and it is by no means proved that the New York musical 
notation is even as good as the Braille. 

" About seventeen or eighteen years ago Dr. Russ gave his 
system to Mr. Wait to be practically tested by the pupils 
of the New York Institution. Mr. Wait was then, as he 
still is, the director of that institution. He was at once 
struck by the vast superiority of a point over a line system, 
and became an enthusiastic advocate of the only point 
system with which he had much practical acquaintance. 
Mr. Wait has ever since been the principal promoter of the 
adoption of the New York system, and has in no small 
degree contributed to the popularity which that system 
has obtained in America. Mr. Wait, believing enthusiasti- 
cally in the truth of his cause, has pushed it with great 
energy, and has adapted the system to musical notation. 
The centralisation of printing in America, which has ensued 
from the establishment of the American printing-house for 
the blind at Louisville, while it has conferred great benefits 
on the United States' institutions, by enabling them to 
obtain books without payment, has acted unfavourably 
on a calm and impartial investigation of the subject. The 
influence there has been strongly in favour of the New York 
system, and although, theoretically, institutions can order 
books in whatever type they please, the choice is practically 
restricted to the New York and Boston types. An institu- 
tion, therefore, wishing to use the Braille system has no 


choice but to print for itself or to import from Europe. In 
either case it has to pay for its books instead of obtaining 
them gratuitously, and, in the case of books imported from 
Europe, it has to pay a heavy customs duty besides. 

' ' Two other point systems were introduced many years 
ago one by Mr. Hughes, which has long since become 
obsolete, and one by the late Abbe Carton, of Bruges, who 
endeavoured to arrange the points of the Braille letters so 
as to bear some resemblance to the corresponding roman 
letters. This similarity, after all, was not striking ; but 
this modification is still used at Bruges, and effectually 
cuts off the pupils from all the books in their own language 
printed in Paris. 

" INTERLINING. The plan of printing with lines widely 
separated greatly increases legibility, and enables old people 
to read who would have had difficulty in reading with close 
lines ; it also much diminishes the fatigue of continuous 
reading. The system now generally adopted by the Associa- 
tion, both for written and printed Braille, is to use both 
sides of the sheet, allowing the embossed lines of one page 
to occupy the intervals of those of the other. By this 
means the interval between the lines is utilised, and a saving 
of space is effected of 20 per cent. 

" PRINTING. When Valentin Haiiy first conceived the idea 
of relief printing on paper, he naturally resorted to movable 
types on which the ordinary letters were cast in high relief. 
These types were set exactly like similar type used in print- 
ing for the seeing, and the paper impressions were obtained 
directly from them. This method, which is still used in 
some countries, both for Braille and the roman letter, has 
one great disadvantage that, when the printing of the book 
is completed, the type is distributed, and, if a fresh edition 
is required, it can only be printed by the expensive process 
of setting up the type again. For this reason large editions 
have to be printed, and, as embossed books are necessarily 
bulky, much warehouse room is required to store them. 
To avoid this inconvenience several methods for stereo- 
typing have been introduced. Any embossed printing can 
be stereotyped by the plan that is often adopted in stereo- 
typing from ordinary printer's type. Damped paper is 
laid over the type when set, and beaten in with a brush. 
When dry, this paper mould is used for casting in stereo 


metal. Another method employed for printing Moon's 
books is that which was originally introduced by the late 
Mr. H. Frere ; in printing his system, plates of tinned iron 
are used, which are washed over with a solution of chloride 
of zinc ; then letters formed out of copper wire are laid on, 
and the plate heated. This causes a partial melting of the 
surface, and, when the plate is cool, the letters are found to 
be firmly soldered to it. Nothing can well be imagined 
better than this method for producing plates to print on the 
systems of Frere or Moon. In Paris most of the printing 
is still done directly from movable type, but some books 
have been printed on one side from brass plates, on which 
the characters have been raised by placing them in a frame 
similar to the ordinary writing-frame, the letters being 
raised by a punch and hammer. The pits on the back of 
these plates are then filled in with solder, and by this means 
good and durable stereo-plates are obtained. One or two 
books have also been produced by a method similar to that 
used by the British and Foreign Blind Association. This 
Association printed their first books from brass plates 
prepared in the way already described, which was suggested 
by the experience of Paris ; but, to avoid trouble and 
expense of soldering, the pits were filled in with cement, 
and a sheet of paper was glued on to the back. These 
plates gave good printing, and have been found durable. 

" The frame for producing stereo-plates is very similar to 
the ordinary interlined writing-frame, only stronger in all 
its parts. A sheet of brass folded upon itself is placed in 
the frame and embossed by means of a punch and hammer, 
in a similar way to that in which a style would be used in 
writing a single sheet of paper in an ordinary interlining 
frame. When the first side has been thus written, the 
double plate is reversed, being brought one line lower by a 
special arrangement of the clipped pins, and is embossed 
on the second side. The page number, in ordinary arabic 
figures, for the guidance of the binder, is now stamped upon 
the plate, and it is ready for the press without requiring any 
backing. These plates are prepared entirely by the blind. 
They are light, inexpensive, and durable, and this process 
is probably destined to supersede all others for the production 
of Braille books. 

" INTEKPOINT. M. Ballu, one of the prof essors of the Paris 


Institution, has suggested a plan of still further economis- 
ing space. He embosses on both sides of the paper, but, in- 
stead of the lines on the second page occupying the intervals 
of those on the first, the points occupy partly the interval 
between the lines, partly the interval between the letters, 
and partly that between the component points of the 
letters. Theoretically, the saving is one of 100 per cent, 
over the non-interlined, and of 75 per cent, over the inter- 
lined Braille ; but practically it does not amount to this, 
as the intervals between the letters and those between their 
component points have to be increased in order to allow of 
the intercalation of the points of the second page. This 
increase of interval, however, makes the letters more distinct, 
and therefore allow r s of the employment of a smaller char- 
acter. The idea is very ingenious, but the nicety of shift 
in the frame is so great as practically to offer serious obstacles 
to its general adoption.* 

" Louis BRAILLE. As the introduction of the Braille 
system was the greatest advance that has ever been made 
in the education of the blind, it may be interesting to give 
a short account of its author. Louis Braille was born on 
the 4th January, 1809, at Coupvray, in the Department 
Seine-et-Marne, about 23 miles from Paris. His father wa& 
a harness-maker, and both his parents were well advanced 
in years at the time of his birth ; hence the little boy, like 
Benjamin, became a great pet. One day, when about three 
years old, little Louis took it into his head to imitate his 
father, whom he saw at work, and, as generally happens 
with children, no sooner had this idea flashed upon his 
mind than it was put into execution. The work, however, 
did not progress as favourably as the little lad had expected ; 
the sharp instrument with which he was working slipped, 
and, flying up, put out one of his eyes. Sympathetic 
inflammation followed in the other, and soon both eyes were 
gone. In 1819 he was sent up to the School for the Blind 
in Paris. He here progressed well in all his studies 
literary, musical, and mathematical. He learnt to read 
by the embossed roman letter, which was exclusively used 
at that time. Towards the end of his course as a pupil in 

* Dr. Armitage's criticism has again been found unwarranted, as the 
Interpoint system is now very commonly used and much liked by the 


the institution he began to study the organ, and he soon 
became proficient enough to obtain the post of organist 
in more than one of the churches in Paris. His touch was 
decided, brilliant, and free, indicating faithfully the whole 
character of the man. In 1826 Braille was elected professor 
at the institution at which he had succeeded so well as a 
pupil. He began by teaching grammar, geography, and 
arithmetic ; later on he taught history, geometry, and 
algebra, and not only was he an admirable teacher in these 
subjects, but also formed many excellent pianists. Every 
day he became more respected and beloved by those who 
were fortunate enough to be under his instruction. Braille 
did not confine himself to oral teaching, but also wrote 
several treatises, and proved himself to be no less able as 
an author than as a teacher. Among other works he com- 
posed an embossed treatise on arithmetic, which is a master- 
piece of clearness and precision. " Our method of writing 
and printing," he said, " takes up so much space on paper 
that the fewest possible words must be used to express our 

"First as a pupil, then as professor in the institution, 
and even when at home during the vacations, he gave up 
all his spare time to the finding out of a system by which 
the blind could write in relief. For this purpose he studied 
various methods in which 'arbitrary characters were used. 
Of these, the one which seemed to lend itself best to relief - 
writing was one which had been introduced by M. Barbier. 

" Ever since the age of 26 years Braille's strength was on 
the decline. His malady was pulmonary consumption, of 
which he died in 1852. He was much beloved ; there 
never was a truer or a wiser friend. He was frequently 
consulted by pupils and teachers, and was always ready 
to give valuable advice. 

"All that was mortal of Louis Braille has long since 
crumbled into dust, but the influence of his spirit is more 
widely felt now than at any former period. There is 
scarcely a school for the blind in the whole world in which 
his system does not form the basis of education. It is true 
that in many of the States of North America another point 
system is used. This, however, is derived from the Braille, 
-and answers much the same objects." 



Modified Braille is the better name for this exceedingly 
clever and scientific arrangement of Braille's characters, 
which now numbers among its votaries nineteen of the best 
schools for the blind in the United States, including no less 
an institution than that at Boston, where it was invented by 
a blind teacher named J. W. Smith in 1878. 

To write on a Braille tablet begin at the right ; to read, reverse the sheet 
and begin at the left. In either case the six points / \ of which 
the characters are formed are numbered from the (/ to P' ^ 2 
3, for the first vertical row, and 4, 5, 6, for the second. 


a b c d e f g h i j k 1 


n o p q i 

stu v wx y z 

To capitalise a letter prefix to it points 3 and 6 ( . ) 

> I 

The apostrophe is point 4. The other marks, except the exclamation, 
are formed of points 2, 3, 5, and 6. 

When two or more initial letters requiring the capital sign occur to- 
gether, the space which separates words may be omitted ; the period 
which follows the first letter then becomes also the prefix, or capital sign 

for the next ; thus, I * . F.R.S. 



When alone or in combination the following letters, if prefixed by the 
numeral sign ( V become numbers. 




but could down from great have just know like my 
not quite right should the under very will you 

When the above words are parts of other words the initial letter must 
not be used as a representative ; e.g. w hen standing alone represents 
" know," but " knowledge " should* be written 



an and ar ch ed en er for in ing 

is of on or ou ow st l t h ha t r tion ZK 

The following characters, with one exception, are formed of points 
2, 3, 5, and 6. When separated from words by the omission of a cell, they 
are word-signs, as follows : 

had their to was with would 


The letter x \ t I / when standing alone is used as an asterisk. 
The letter d followed by a period * I is used as the dollar sign 
and should be immediately followed by the numeral sign ; thus 

...:* .. " $ 2 3-75 

An italicised word is indicated by the prefix of point 6 f J 

Lines of poetry are separated by the omission of three cells. 

The capital sign preceding a contraction capitalises only the first letter 
of the contraction. 

The ordinary rules of grammar should be closely followed ; hence 
correct syllabication must be observed, and a monosyllable should never 
be divided. 

Strict conformity to general grammatical laws, and the special rules 
preceding, are essential to a correct use of the American Braille, and the 
use of signs in any other way than that hereby authorised is as inelegant 
and incorrect as similar changes in ordinary writing. 

It will be at once noticed that the most frequently re- 
curring letters are represented by the smallest number of 
points. This arrangement gives to a page of embossed read- 
ing a more open appearance both to eye and finger, and, to 
the latter especially, greatly simplifies the task of reading ; 
not only so, but it makes a greatly diminished call on the 
nerves of the reader. 

There is also a great saving of time in writing, as com- 
pared with English Braille, owing to the smaller number 
of points requiring to be made. Whilst on the other hand 
it is argued that by far the greater amount of Braille litera- 
ture being produced by printing or typewriters, on which 
the whole character is struck at once, the saving in time 
is nil on the score of few points per character still we 
are assured by those who have had considerable experience 
in the use of typewriters and stereo machines, that the 
st expenditure of physical and nerve power is not nearly so 
great when working on modified as on the original Braille, 
owing doubtless to the fact that fewer dots have to be 
thought and fewer keys depressed. 


It is a matter for great regret that, at the time when the 
revision of Braille in this country was in progress, advan- 
tage was not taken of the willingness of our American 
cousins to unite in a compromise, in order to establish a 
universal system of Braille, so that the books of the two 
continents might be interchangeable. It is not too much 
to hope, however, as the superiority of the modified Braille 
is slowly but surely making itself felt on the other side of 
the Atlantic, and that to such an extent that its universal 
adoption in America is only the matter of a few years, we 
may in this country, by and by, throw off our insular 
conservatism, and, in the interests of common sense and 
the general good of the reading blind, agree upon a system 
which shall be both scientific and dignified, and thus 
bring about in the world of Braille literature a condition 
of cosmos out of chaos and of " Peace with Honour." 


It was but natural that the first attempts to provide 
the blind with a musical notation should have been adap- 
tations of the system lines and spaces of staff notation 
in use for the sighted, by means of printing in relief. , It 
is absolutely essential, however, for rapid reading by the 
finger, that all the characters shall be in line, and shall be 
readily covered by the finger without the necessity of moving 
it up and down. If blind musicians, however, are to be 
competent to teach the seeing, they must have a sufficient 
knowledge of the staff notation to enable them to explain 
it to their pupils, and for this purpose specimens of this 
notation in relief are useful. 

Nearly all those who have introduced special characters 
for ordinary reading by touch have also adapted their 
system to musical notation : Lucas, Frere, and Moon, for 
example ; but none of these are of any practical value, 
having been entirely superseded by the Braille system. 



Louis Braille worked out the system which bears his 
name. It was gradually adopted at the Paris Institution, 
where its introduction was greatly facilitated by the fact 
that most of the music professors there were blind, and 
were willing to test carefully a plan recommended by one 
of themselves. It is probable that much of the success of 
the pupils of that institution was due to the adoption of a 
system by which they were able to read and write music 
with rapidity and ease. 

The basis * of the musical notation is the ordinary 
Braille alphabet, arranged in four rows containing ten 
letters each. The seven last letters in each row represent 
the seven musical notes those of the first row being 
quavers ; those of the second, minims ; those of the third, 
crotchets ; and those of the fourth, semibreves or semi- 
quavers. The latter duplication of values leads to no com- 
plication, as any one acquainted with even the rudiments 
of music knows that a bar consisting of one semiquaver 
or sixteen semibreves is an impossibility. The notes take 
up twenty-eight signs, leaving thirty-three for other signs 
necessary, each sign occupying only the space of one 

As will be seen from the following pages, music in Braille 
does not occupy more space than the same music in ordinary 
print for the seeing ; and it can be produced at a price 
not exceeding that charged for ordinary music to the 
profession in fact much of it costs much less. 


The piano and organ are the principal instruments by 
means of which a blind person may expect to earn a living. 

Paris was the first institution to realise this, and it is 
before all else a school of music, training 60 per cent, of 
its pupils for this calling. Judged by after results, how- 

* See^p. 17, par. 2. 



The notes on 
this line are 
semibreves or 



The notes on 
this line are 



is line are 
inims or L i 
emisemi- 1 
uavers. j TZ3 











notes on \ i 

line are > 

tchets. ! 

The notes on 






The notes on this ) 
line are quavers. * 


(front dots). 



3 4 


In accord 

o e 


and Accidentals. 


3 ft 

2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 







Note. Shake. Repeat. Staccato. 

Double Dotted 

Bar. Double Bar. 

Dot. Dot. 

















ever, it is doubtful if the policy is a wise one, as probably 
not 20 per cent, of these are ever able to support them- 
selves as respectable musicians. 

The Royal Normal College at Upper Norwood has an 
excellent record with regard to the financial success of its 
late students. In 1884, twelve years after its foundation, 
it was able to boast that former pupils were earning in the 
aggregate well over 6,000 per annum. 

The Royal Blind Asylum and School, West Craigmillar, 
also holds the proud position of having been able since 
1890 to satisfactorily place every music student who com- 
pleted his course, either as an organist or piano-tuner, and 
every one of them who is living is doing well and is entirely 
self-supporting, many having raised themselves to excellent 
positions, professionally and socially. 

Several of the English institutions have excellent music- 
schools, for training organists and piano-tuners, notably 
Henshaw's Blind Asylum, Manchester, Birmingham, 
Nottingham, Sheffield, York, Leatherhead, Exeter, Swiss 
Cottage, and Liverpool. 

To ensure a large measure of success among pupils after 
they leave a blind music-school the following considerations 
are necessary : 

1. The aim must be to form musical artists who shall 
not be inferior to seeing artists trained at the best con- 

2. The school must contain a large number of pupils, so 
that properly graded classes may be formed. 

3. The school must have a very large income, in order 
to command the services of the best teachers, and to possess 
pianos and organs in sufficient numbers to give each pupil 
the opportunity of some hours' daily practice. 

4. The kindergarten and literary work should also be 
thoroughly good. 

5. Careful attention to personal appearance and the cul- 
tivation of good manners and a polite bearing are essentials 
to success, and this should be insisted on by the teachers. 



Whilst it may with some justice be urged that piano- 
tuners are not musicians and should not be classed as 
belonging to the musical profession, still they appear to 
fall most naturally under that head ; and it is, to say the 
least of it, a wise measure for every young man in training 
as an organist or pianist to learn pianoforte-tuning also as 
a stand-by. There are many cases on record where the 
stand-by has proved the more lucrative of the two, for a 
young man so equipped. The first blind piano-tuner of 
whom any record remains was 


who, about the year 1830, along with a fellow pupil at the 
Paris School, attempted to tune a piano on which they 
practised. It, as well as the other pianos in the institution, 
was kept in very indifferent tune by a seeing tuner. This 
man complained to the director, who administered a sharp 
reprimand to the two blind pupils, forbidding them ever 
again to interfere with the " action " of the piano. 

Nothing daunted, however, the two friends procured an 
old piano for themselves, and obtained permission to keep 
it in the institution. Again and again they dissected and 
rebuilt the instrument, until they thoroughly understood 
the relations of all the component parts. They then pro- 
ceeded to repair what was broken and to supply what was 
missing, nor were they content till they had put the in- 
strument in perfect working order, and brought it into 
good tune. 

As the director had daily observed the lads at their work, 
he knew it was by their own unaided efforts such a remark- 
able result had been achieved. Struck with their talent, he 
entrusted to them some considerable repairs in the chapel 
organ. The experiment proved perfectly successful, it 
being acknowledged that no professional organ-builder 
could have done his work in a more masterly manner. 


By degrees they obtained permission to keep all the 
pianos of the house in tune, and to make whatever little 
repairs were necessary. The next step was to begin regular 
instruction in tuning, and thus commenced the tuning 
classes which made the Paris School famous all over the 
world. Montal soon left the institution, and endeavoured 
to obtain a private tuning connection. He was met, how- 
ever, by the unreasoning popular prejudice against blind 
tuners which still exists to-day. A mere accident as it 
appeared brought him into prominence and established 
his success. One of the professors of the Conservatoire of 
Music had two pianos of totally different construction which 
he required to be in exact tune, the one with the other. 
All the seeing tuners he tried absolutely failed in this, and 
so he sent for Montal, who, after a careful examination of 
the differences in their construction, tuned the instruments 
in exact accord, to the great delight of the professor. Other 
professors now employed him, and, at the great Exhibition 
in 1834, most of the makers had their pianos tuned by him. 

In our own country one of the most remarkable cases 
of success achieved by a blind pianoforte-tuner is that of 
Captain Gosley. 

Whilst a young officer on board a merchant ship, Captain 
Gosley (for he held his master's certificate, though acting 
as mate) lost his sight. He was rejected as an impossible 
case by a prominent music-school in England, and turned, 
almost in despair, to West Craigmillar, where, after only a 
few months' training, he boldly went out into the world 
to seek his fortune as a tuner. He met with immediate 
success. He worked early and late, and in a few years 
obtained all the pianos in the Edinburgh board schools 
to tune by contract, and established an excellent family 
connection, travelling alone, as far into the country as 
Berwick-on-Tweed. He is popular wherever he goes, and 
probably, so far as financial success is concerned, stands at 
the very top of blind piano-tuners. 



For many years the blind of Japan held a monopoly of 
this employment in that country. Only in comparatively 
recent years has it been introduced into this country as a 
means of livelihood for the blind. 

It has been extensively taught at Henshaw's Blind 
Asylum, Manchester, and the young women trained there 
have been very successful, both as private practitioners and 
as masseuses in hydropathics, baths, etc. 

An Institute for Massage by the Blind has been formed 
in London for training the blind of both sexes in this branch 
of work, under the care of Mrs. MacNicol, 71, Bolsover 
Street, London, W. The training is superintended by 
Dr. Fletcher Little. For young blind persons of good 
physique and intelligence, and with a sufficient amount of 
tact, patience, and, above all, a polite, genial manner, there 
is no better or more lucrative form of employment. Great 
care should be taken, however, that a certificate of efficiency 
in this art is never granted without a most searching ex- 
amination as to qualifications and character. 


There is little doubt that for the teaching of those subjects 
which require the use of special apparatus, such as reading, 
writing, and arithmetic, the well-trained blind teacher is 
the equal or superior of his seeing colleague.* And many 
experts are agreed that the authorities or committees of 
schools and institutions for the blind who decline the services 
of blind teachers are literally and theoretically standing 
in their own light. One blind teacher to two seeing, is a 
most desirable combination. 


After the first attempts at literary education of the 
blind by Valentin Haiiy and others, the attention of those 

* See Paris paper, p. 157. 


in charge of institutions for those deprived of sight appears 
to have been mainly concentrated on instruction in handi- 
crafts or trades which might provide a means of livelihood 
to those with sufficient ability and perseverance to learn 

Some of the earliest occupations adopted for this purpose 
were spinning, weaving, list-rug-making, and shoe-making. 
Then followed basket-making, mat- and matting-making, 
and, later still, pianoforte -tuning. The manufacture of 
bedding also appears to have been early in the field, especi- 
ally in Edinburgh and Glasgow, where it still flourishes as 
the best and most lucrative form of blind industry. 

Speaking at a conference held in York in 1883, Mr. William 
Martin, for over thirty years manager of the Edinburgh 
Blind Asylum, said, "Speaking generally, and having in 
view the greatest possible good to the largest number, it 
is safe to place the manufacture of bedding decidedly to 
the front as one of the most suitable handicrafts for the 
blind easy of acquirement, in constant demand, re- 
turning fair remuneration to the workers, yielding a good 
profit to the institution, and affording work for both males 
and females." 

So great has been the progress in this branch of work in 
the Glasgow Asylum, that at the present time over thirty 
women are kept constantly at work, at sewing-machines 
driven by electricity, making tickings for beds, pillows, etc. 

Brush-making is much taught and followed as a trade, 
\oih in English, Scotch, and Irish institutions and work- 
shops. In some, as at Birmingham, Cornwallis Street, 
Liverpool, and Belfast Workshops, for instance, it is looked 
upon as the best employment from a financial point of 
view, both in regard to employer and employed ; but in 
the majority of cases it is adopted as an occupation only. 

Basket-making, again, is the staple employment in many 
blind workshops, as for instance Manchester, Leicester, 
Nottingham, Leeds, and Bradford ; whilst mat- and matting- 
making follow as a good second in fact, at the Cornwallis 



Street \vorshops in Liverpool this industry is considered one 
of the best, as at Henshaw's Blind Asylum, Manchester. 
The fancy mat- and rug-making of the School for the Indigent 
Blind, Leatherhead, are a marvel of achievement in this 

Chair-seating in cane and rush, along with hand knitting, 
sewing, and brush-making were, until comparatively recent 
times, almost the only employments open to blind women, 
apart from the manufacture of bedding ; but now the 
sewing and knitting-machines, copying of Braille books, 
typewriting, massage, Swedish weaving, and light basket- 
making occupy many. 

Weaving and shoe-making, whilst being, as already stated, 
and as a reference to Dr. Guille's books written in 1819 
sufficiently testifies, very old occupations for the blind, are 
generally looked upon nowadays as quite a modern idea 
for blind employment. It seems strange that such excellent 
and useful handicrafts should have been given up so soon, 
especially when, as it would appear, the inmates of the 
Edinburgh Institution were able, in the closing years of 
the eighteenth century, to make all the towelling and much 
of the bed-linen and clothing materials used in the estab- 

The following is a list of employments in which the 
blind of Great Britain and Ireland are engaged : 


Bedding -making . 
Braille-printing . 
Braille -writing. 
Cabinet-making . 
Firelighter-making . 

Mat -making. 





Shoe-making and repairing. 

Tea -hawking. 




Higher Branches 

Holy Orders. Music. 

JLaw. Piano-tuning. 

Massage. Teaching. 


Basket -making (light). Netting. 

Bedding -making. Rug-work. 

Braille-writing. Straw-plaiting. 

Brush-making. Straw-bag-making. 

Chair-seating. String-bag-making. 

Crochet. Swedish weaving. 
Knitting (hand and machine). Typewriting. 

Macrame lace -making. Upholstery. 

Higher Branches 
Massage. Music. Teaching. 


No event in the history of the education of the blind 
should be of more real interest to teachers than the revisal 
of the Braille system, which was completed by the British 
Braille Committee early in 1905, and authorised by the 
Edinburgh Conference of that year as orthodox Braille for 
educational and other purposes in Grades I. and II., and 
referred to the British and Foreign Blind Association for 

This revision constitutes such an epoch in the history of 
the education of the blind that a resume of the chain of 
circumstances which led up to it is essential. 

In January, 1893, there emanated from the Braille pub- 
lishing office of the Royal Blind Asylum and School, West 
Craigmillar, Edinburgh, the first number of the now well- 
known monthly magazine Hora Jucunda, designed, as it 
then was, on the lines of Tit Bits (the popular weekly for 


the sighted). It was the first blind periodical of such a 
nature, and its correspondence column was eagerly taken 
advantage of by subscribers. 

As might have been expected, the incongruities of written 
and printed Braille soon became the chief topic of discussion,, 
and, as the letters and editorials on this subject really 
formed the embryo from which the British Braille Com- 
mittee developed, we copy them at any rate in their early 



" DEAR SIR, May I be allowed to say a word on 
the above subject ? The thanks of the blind are due to the 
British and Foreign Blind Association for introducing the 
Braille type into this country ; but in the matter of con- 
tractions that body has not always acted with that clearness 
and precision which one could have wished. The arbitrary 
rules which they drew up have been often violated by them 
in the printing of their books. Now this leads to confusion. 
It is worthy of note that you will hardly get two people 
to write contracted Braille in the same way, and the editors 
of Santa Lucia have by no means simplified the matter. 
I would be glad to interchange opinions with your sub- 
scribers on the subject. 

" Yours, etc., A. C." 

EDITORIAL, April, 1893 

" It seems to us that the subject of contractions, now 
being discussed, is one which deserves the attention of 
every thinking blind person. It is time the question was 
settled, and, as Hora Jucunda finds its way into almost 
every school for the blind in the kingdom, we think our 
pages a very fitting place for the controversy to be thrashed 
out, a unanimous conclusion arrived at, and a universal 
system adopted. 

" Will all our readers therefore take up the matter with 

* We have only space here for a small portion of the correspondence 
which appeared at the time ; but we give sufficient for our purpose. 


heart and soul, and send us their opinions. The B.F.B.A. 
is no longer the only Braille fountain, and, as experience 
teaches wisdom, so we cannot, for all time, adopt an 
arbitrary system of contractions which these would-be 
autocrats have chosen to lay down, but which they, in 
their publications, honour almost as much in the breach 
as in the observance." 


" DEAR SIR, The subject to which ' A.C.' invited the 
attention of your readers is one, I think, which deserves 
their careful consideration. The present is perhaps a good 
time for re-opening the question, as the B.F.B.A. does not 
now hold the field unchallenged, other printing-presses 
having been introduced silent witnesses that the principle 
of decentralisation is a dominant factor in the life of to-day. 
The subject can well bear discussion, and your columns 
furnish the best means for carrying it on. Well, sir, how 
shall we best approach the subject ? May I offer a few 
suggestions which may serve as a nucleus from which a 
healthy discussion may grow. 1. Contractions written in 
the lower cells should not be followed by punctuations. 
2. The omission of vowels should be deprecated, at any rate 
where there is risk of ambiguity. 3. Contractions which 
would interfere with the proper syllabising of words should 
not be used. I trust these suggestions will serve the purpose 

"Yours, etc., G. D." 

" DEAR MR. EDITOR, In your issue for March I observe 
a letter signed ' A.C.' on the above subject. I feel sure you 
will recognise its importance, and I know of no better place 
for its discussion than the pages of H. J. * A.C.' is right in 
saying that ' you will hardly get two people to write con- 
tracted Braille alike,' but it cannot be otherwise as the 
matter now stands. 

" The rules are multitudinous and confusing, and are 
the main cause of the inconsistencies referred to. A single 
instance will suffice for the present. The rule with regard 
to lower-letter contractions is that two shall not follow 
each other in succession. How is it possible to adhere to 
that rule and always write the same word in the same way ? 


Progress, the organ of the B.F.B.A., in its March issue, 
criticises H.J., favourably on the whole, but takes excep- 
tions to the contractions used. ' People who live in glass 
houses should not throw stones.' I venture to think that 
H.J. is the more correctly printed of the two magazines. 
The Association violates its own rules in every page of its 
publications. In this very number of Progress I see proper 
names contracted as often as not, and the terminal con- 
tractions are not confined to the end of words, as, for example, 
page 23, line 16, ' t:ngue,' and page 36, line 6, ' occaial,' 
etc. ' St ' and ' ch ' are contracted before and after ' a,' 
and also before the comma. The spacing is irregular, as 
many as three spaces being left blank here and there between 
words in the middle of sentences. One point in the review 
is particularly noticeable : ' Some contractions,' it says, 
4 are used which were adopted by the Association, but were 
afterwards discarded by us.' Query : what are they, and 
when, or by whom was the Association invested with 
authority to introduce or discard contractions at will ? 
Apologising for taking up so much of your valuable space, 

" I am, yours, etc., J. B." 


" DEAR SIR, I rejoice to read the vigorous protest which 
is at last being made in the pages of H.J. against the un- 
warrantable assumption of infallibility by the B.F.B.A., 
and I hope that now the blind have found a competent 
leader, the genius and common sense of the many will 
triumph over the caprice of the few. I should like to add 
two suggestions to those of 'G.D.' 1. Punctuation marks 
should be allowed to follow numbers, in the interest of 
correct representation of ordinary print. 2. There is still 
room for new contractions, and it would be well to consider 
those adopted by the editors of Santa Lucia. The rule of 
the B.F.B.A. emended to my first suggestion prevented me 
for a long while from knowing that I ought to write my 
address with a comma after the number of the house. With 
regard to my second suggestion, if we write ' rev ' for 
4 receive,' why not ' dcv ' for ' deceive,' and so forth ? I 
would also propose a modification of 'G.D.'s ' first suggestion: 
namely, ' Contractions written in the lower cells should not 


be followed by punctuation marks which involve a bottom 
dot.' I see no objection to writing ' oft en,' ' often,' though 
' t en.' is objectionable. Vowels should be missed with 
discretion. I should like to use the letter ' r ' f or ' re ' at 
the beginning of a word : e.g. ' rpeat ' for ' repeat.' I 
should like to point out that the B.F.B.A. has gone so far 
as to print books already stereotyped in Braille. Many 
years ago the Greek Gospels were printed at Worcester, 
well enough to supply the requirements of any student, 
except in the matter of accents : in spite of this the B.F.B.A. 
is printing them afresh, from pure love of autocracy. The 
same remark applies to ' Caesar's Gallic War,' books I. and II. 

"Yours truly, T. B." 


" DEAR SIR, The first suggestion given us by ' G.D.' is 
simply a repetition of one of the rules laid dow r n by the 
B.F.B.A. : ' Punctuation marks should not precede or follow 
signs of line 5.' (See table of contractions.) But my 
contention in this connection lies here, that on the very 
page where the law is so clearly stated we find it also violated. 
Respecting the omission of vowels, it is very easy to see how 
you may lead to ambiguity there. There are nineteen words 
(and their compounds) in which the letters ' ea ' are omitted. 
Few have been able to see, however, why these particular 
words have been selected to the exclusion of others similarly 
spelt. It has therefore become customary to omit ' ea ' 
in quite a number of words. I distinctly remember reading 
in the Bible about the man that ' fred ' the Lord. Certainly 
this looks very much like ' Frederick ' shortened. ' Hd ' 
stands for ' head ' and ' gd ' for ' good ' ; the only point of 
similarity between these two words is the fact they they 
both contain four letters, and it seems strange to me that 
they should have been made to look so like each other in 
Braille. To attempt to remodel our system, however, at 
this time of day, would be a very serious matter indeed, 
and certainly this was not my idea when I started this 
discussion. Though the B.F.B.A. is not the only Braille 
fountain, still it was the first, and all other Presses have 
gone upon their lines, more or less. What we want is 
uniformity in printing ; if we could get the London people 
to adhere to their own rules, and co-operate with us in 


working out some minor improvements, we will have 
gained a great deal. 

"I am, yours, A. C." 

EDITORIAL, September, 1893 

[In reply in part to a letter which appeared in the 
Leeds Mercury.'} 

" Scarcely has our good barque H.J. been launched on 
the billowy sea of literature, than it is assailed by a storm 
of criticism no less unreasonable than it is unjust. Were 
it not that our timbers are bound and welded together by 
the kindly support and encouraging words of the majority 
of our readers, and the motive power supplied by an ardent 
desire to serve our fellow men in our day and generation, 
we might have gone down before the mighty blast. We 
have ventured to strike out a new and original line as 
far as this country is concerned at least in the history 
of Braille literature, by providing a magazine at a cheap 
rate which will make a blind man laugh like an ordinary 
mortal, which will enable him to procure intellectual food 
of a light and pleasant kind, and this without driving him 
to the necessity of procuring a reader. Worst sin of all : 
we have opened a correspondence column wherein the 
Valentin Haiiys, Brailles, Alstons, and Moons of the present 
generation may ventilate their ideas for the benefit of their 
fellows. During the past few months a number of letters 
have appeared on the all-important, and what should be to 
the intelligent blind person, all-engrossing subject, ' Our 
English Braille.' We will not attempt to descant upon 
the various merits and demerits of the said letters. But 
we would note in passing that it has been a matter of great 
surprise and some regret that more of the educated blind 
in Great Britain and Ireland have not taken up the cause 
with zeal and enthusiasm. . . . We now lay the 'rules of the 
B.F.B.A. on contracted Braille ' before our readers, begin- 
ning with the October issue, and in the meantime we shall 
take measures for ensuring the consideration of these rules, 
with a view to confirmation or alteration by the Braille- 
reading blind of the three kingdoms : and, as our only and 
inspiring motive is to procure ' the greatest possible good 
for the greatest number,' we sincerely trust that we shall 


have the hearty co-operation of all interested in the welfare, 
and more especially in the higher education of the blind. 
And this is our plan : 

" 1. A Union is to be formed in connection with Horn 
Jucunda, which will be termed ' Our English Braille Union.' 
The only condition of membership of this Union will be 
' a tolerable knowledge of Braille writing.' We shall judge 
as to competence in individual cases, and our local secretaries 
where branch clubs are established. 

" 2. This will be wherever circumstances enable a number 
of our readers to confer together, as in institutions, work- 
shops, and outdoor societies. 

"3. As the various rules are printed in H.J., they will 
be considered and thoroughly discussed by the various 
members of the Union, and the decisions for and against, 
and any suggestions relating thereto, will be transmitted 
to us by the local secretaries, or, in individual cases, by the 
subscribers themselves. 

" 4. These ' ayes ' and ' noes ' will be published the 
following month, along with any new idea, which will come 
in for its share of scrutiny at the same time as the second 
batch of rules ; and so forth. 

"5. We shall send a printed copy of this editorial to all 
the masters and managers of institutions as well as to all 
missionaries to the outdoor blind, so far as we can, earnestly 
imploring their interest and co-operation. We do most 
heartily beg of our readers not to go away with the idea 
that we are propagating a scheme which will render the 
perusal of present Braille literature impossible to the 
rising generation, but one which will give to our English 
Braille a foundation, a uniformity, a symmetrical grandeur 
worthy of itself and of the Paris genius who left us a legacy 
of more value far than ' the wealth of all the Indies.' 

" We do also implore you to come to the consideration 
of this vital question with a pure heart, with a mind un- 
sullied by bias or prejudice. It is not a party question, 
for this Association or that it is cosmopolitan in the purest 
sense of the word ; and, in seeking to extend the franchise 
thereon we are doing our very best to perpetuate and carry 
forward to a greater perfection the noble work so ably begun 
by the late Dr. Armitage and his indefatigable colleagues, 
and to follow the example of one of the noblest of England's 


sons and one of the greatest benefactors of the blind the 
world has ever seen." 

LETTER TO THE EDITOR, October, 1893 

" DEAR SIR, It was with no small degree of interest 
that I perused the able editorial in H.J., September. It 
seems to me a pity that this organisation should be termed 
' Our English Braille ' Union. Why not substitute the word 
' British ' ? Then, with regard to the discussion of the rules,, 
would it not be better that the said rules should be disposed 
of by a representative council composed of delegates elected 
by the various clubs, and from the B.F.B.A., should they 
see their way clear to co-operate with us ? Of course the 
rules might be discussed in private as well. The Union 
will, I am sure, do much good. 

"W. Y." 

LETTER TO THE B.F.B.A., January, 1894 

"MADAM, As Editor of the new popular magazine for 
the blind, Hora Jucunda, and as Headmaster of one of 
the first institutions for the blind in the kingdom, I have 
the honour to address to you the following lines, with the 
request that you will kindly lay them before the Executive 
Council of the B.F.B.A., and convey to me their reply there- 
to at your convenience. In connection with the above- 
named magazine it has been deemed advisable to inaugurate 
a Union which is to be entitled 'Hora Jucunda Union,' 
and which shall have for its primary objects : ' (a) The 
discussion and settlement of all matters of common in- 
terest and difficulty to the blind ; (b) the propagation of 
new ideas for general improvement ; (c) the circulation 
of information upon matters of common interest. 

" The proposed Union is the outcome of a large number of 
letters I have received from well-educated blind people in 
all parts of Great Britain and Ireland, regarding matters 
of interest to the blind, which it is impossible for one, two, 
or a dozen people, however well-intentioned, satisfactorily 
to dispose of. While acknowledging with profound grati- 
tude the enormous blessings conferred on the blind people 
of the world by the late Dr. Armitage, and the Association, 
my correspondents and myself are agreed that the time 


has now come for that work being enlarged and extended, 
so that the opinion of all the educated blind may be con- 
sidered, regarding matters of common interest. To all 
who, like the B.F.B.A., the editors of Santa Lucia, myself, 
and others, are engaged in producing Braille printed litera- 
ture, it can but be a subject of deep concern and regret 
that so many different methods are in vogue for representing 
the same word in Braille type. This fault is chiefly notice- 
able in the use, or abuse, of contractions and combinations. 
There is no doubt that it will be extremely difficult if not 
impossible to cause all writers of Braille to adopt the same 
form and when writing for themselves such a stricture is 
unnecessary but it is, I venture to say, essential that 
those who are responsible for the printed literature should 
.at any rate adopt an absolutely uniform system, and this 
system should be one which commends itself to the many 
educated blind of the country, and not to the few. One 
of the aims of the proposed Union is to bring about this 
desirable end. In the name of the H.J. Union, therefore, 
which is shortly to come into life, I beg most respectfully 
.to solicit the hearty co-operation of the B.F.B.A. 

" Yours obediently, W. H. ILLINGWORTH. 

"Mrs. T. R. Armitage." 


" SIR, Your letter has been laid before the Council, 
-and I am instructed to inform you that the following 
resolution was agreed to : ' While ready, as they have 
always been, to receive suggestions from any quarter, the 
Council reserve to themselves the right to decide what 
alterations, if any, they should recommend to the public, 
in the rules hitherto followed in regard to Braille contrac- 

" Yours truly, G. R. BOYLE." 

EDITORIAL, April, 1894 

" We do little else this month than lay before our readers 
a copy of the minutes of the first meeting of the Edinburgh 
section, which took place on 14th March. A branch Union 
is in course of formation at Bath, under Mr. T. Barnard ; 
.another at Dundee, under Miss Dawson ; at Cambridge, 


under Mr. A. Bull ; at Deal, under Mr. Bishop ; at Hudders- 
field, under Mr. Beech. All intending members in these 
districts kindly at once communicate with the respective 
local secretaries. We have written to the Postmaster- 
General for information as to the mode of procedure to be 
adopted in carrying into effect the motion of which Mr. 
Prendergast gave notice at the meeting of our section of 
the Union. We shall be glad of the opinion of our readers 
on this important motion." 


" MINUTES OF THE MEETING, Edinburgh, March 14th, 1894 

" Business. 1. Rules for guidance of Edinburgh section 
of the Union, (a) Meetings to be held once a month, on 
the Wednesday falling on, or first after the 15th. (b) Mode 
of procedure ; notice of motion to be made at next meeting 
to be given in all cases involving a difference of opinion. 

" 2. Braille Contractions. Mr. Galley moved and Mr. 
Lees seconded : ' That the rules of contracted Braille, 
published by the B.F.B.A., be published in H.J: 

" 3. Notice of motion. Mr. Prendergast first gave notice 
of motion : ' That the powers that be shall be approached 
with a view to obtaining a substantial reduction on the 
amount of postage and railway carriage now paid on 
embossed literature.' * 

" 4. Hora Jucunda. ' That the minutes of this meeting 
be published in the April issue for the guidance of branch 
societies.' : 

EDITORIAL, May, 1894 

" A few of our readers seem to be under the impression 
that the chief object of the H.J. Union is to equip a crusade 
against the B.F.B.A., and to introduce such drastic changes 
in the Braille system of contractions as to render all existing 
books useless. Nothing could be further wrong. It has 
been our wish from the first to work harmoniously with 
the Association, and, if we have failed, the fault is not ours. 
When ' Braille, as presently written,' comes to be discussed 

* This is worthy of note as showing where the first practical movement 
in connection with cheaper postage originated. See also " The Blind " 
under date October 20, 1906, and April 20, 1907, and the green pamphlet, 
p. 63. 



by the Union, it is our intention to submit any proposed 
change to the B.F.B.A. before adopting it in the books 
we issue, or recommending it to our members. We are 
constrained to this course, first, because we wish complete 
uniformity if we can get it, and second, out of respect to 
the late pioneer of Braille in this country, who in his lifetime 
always treated us with the kindest courtesy." 

EDITORIAL, June, 1894 

" It would be very ungracious on our part if we did not 
in this number take some notice of the very kind and 
hearty way in which the editors of Santa Lucia have come 
forward, not only to co-operate with us in the work of the 
Horn Jucunda Union, but by kindly printing the matter 
in connection therewith every month, enabling readers of 
that excellent magazine to become members on condition 
that they possess the necessary Braille qualifications. This 
will greatly augment our forces, and enable us to get 
a much greater number of opinions on the great subject 
before us, than would have been the case had we confined 
ourselves to readers of H.J. In addition to this, we shall 
have the benefit of suggestions from a really good source, 
situated at Richmond-on-Thames." 


" The second meeting of the Edinburgh section of H.J.V. 
was held on Wednesday, 16th ult. The first ten characters 
of the Braille alphabet were carefully considered, and the 
following resolutions unanimously adopted : B to be used 
for ' but ' as a complete word only. C not to be used for 
' Christ,' but suggest that it be used for the word ' can,' 
wherever it is a separate word only. D to be used for the 
word ' did.' E F H I to stand as at present used. G not 
to be used for ' God,' but for the complete word ' give.' J 
for the complete word ' just.' ' 

July, 1894 

" Of those who voted on the first line of contractions, 
28 are agreed as to A B D E F H, 24 as to the suggested 
change of C G J, and 4 against such a change. One member 


suggests that all letter-words should be used also as com- 
pounds by the aid of the front middle dot: as (en) for 
' cannot.' 

' The suggestions of the Edinburgh section of the Union 
on the second line of contractions are as follows : to stand 
as complete words only, K for ' knew,' L for ' like,' M for 
' may,' N for ' not,' P ' people,' Q ' quite ' (always to signify 
4 qu '), R ' right,' S ' some,' T ' that.' ' 

October, 1894 

" A meeting of the Edinburgh section was held on Wednes- 
day, 1 9th September, when the President read his monthly 
report. 24 vote that K stand for ' knew,' 1 votes that it 
stand for ' know,' 3 for ' kind ' ; 23 that L stand for ' like,' 
3 against ; 26 that M stand for ' might,' 1 against ; 24 that 
Q represent ' qu,' 3 against ; 2 members wish P to stand 
for put.' 

" The third line of the alphabet was considered, and it 
was unanimously suggested that X stand for ' except ' or 
' were,' the Union to decide which." 

Shortly after this, for reasons fully set forth in the paper 
on "Uniform Braille," page 82, par 6, the Hora Jucunda 
Union ceased to discuss the subject. 

As will already have been noted, however, by an observant 
reader, several alterations on the old Braille system agreed 
upon by the H. J. Union are to be found in the revised 
Braille system now in use. And, further, that one of the 
correspondents suggested that the H. J. Union, should take 
the very title which was ten years afterwards assumed by 
the revising body. 

The climax which brought about the revision of Braille 
was reached at the London Conference of 1902, by the 
reading of the paper on "Uniform Braille." At that con- 
ference, on the recommendation of the Gardner Trust, a 
committee was appointed for this express purpose. After 
a few meetings this Committee was joined by an equal 
number of representatives from the British and Foreign 
Blind Association, and the joint committee became one 


under the title of the British Braille Committee almost 
ten years to a day from the date when the Association was 
asked to join the Hora Jucunda Union. 


"When the Secretary of the Gardner's Trust invited me 
to contribute a paper on the above subject for this Con- 
ference, I confess to a feeling of gratification, although I 
was aware of the difficulty and magnitude of such a task ; 
seeing it is a subject which has engrossed my attention for 
the past ten years, and upon which I have written much 
and received a considerable amount of correspondence 
owing to my official connection with Hora Jucunda. I 
therefore beg to thank the Committee for the honour they 
have thus conferred upon me. 

" And here may I be allowed to tender my best thanks to 
the many kind friends who have supplied me gratuitously 
with an immense amount of literature bearing on the sub- 
ject of embossed types, etc., which has been of great service 
to me in the preparation of this paper ; also to those ladies 
and gentlemen who have given me the benefit of their 
advice freely and directly through my circular letter and 

"I sincerely hope that none of the members of this Con- 
ference anticipate that in my paper to-day it is my intention 
to submit for their consideration any scheme of ' Uniform 
Braille System,' cut and dry and ready for immediate 
application if approved. Out of a chaos, born of conflicting 
opinions and petty jealousies, combined with an almost 
incredible amount of apathy, indifference, and indecision 
such as exists in the meantime in the Braille world, it would 
be impossible by any means short of a miracle to create or 
formulate such a scheme. I beg to submit that, though 
the time may be quite ripe for a serious attempt being made 
to improve the existing state of matters, it will require 
years of patient thought and interchange of opinion before 
a perfectly uniform and practical system can be evolved 
or devised. We have the men and women and we have the 
brains essential for such an undertaking, but what we lack, 
* By William Henry Illingworth, Esq., then Headmaster of the Royal 
Blind Asylum and School, West Craigmillar, Edinburgh. 


or at any rate have lacked in the past, is the power, or the 
will, or both, to focus and concentrate our united experience 
and skill, with absolute singleness of purpose, and charitable, 
sympathetic self-abnegation, on a determined effort to 
make the Braille system if that system be the very best 
system as perfect and simple as possible, and worthy to 
be the tangible exponent of the most powerful and univer- 
sally spoken language of modern times. 

" We hear often, and are treated to examples of, ' English 
as she is spoke,' but I venture to think that, for variety 
and specimens of the grotesque, this pales into insignificance 
before ' Braille as she is wrote.' 

" Since I suppose I may take it for granted that most 
of the members of this Conference are to a greater or less 
extent Braille scholars, I may be pardoned for entering 
pretty fully into technical details where occasion demands. 

' ' At the outset I think it desirable to give a brief history 
of Braille, English and American, with a few words on the 
New York Point, so that, as I proceed, references to any or 
all of these may be the better understood. 

"Louis Braille was born on 4th January, 1809, at Coup- 
vray, near Paris. At three years of age an accident deprived 
him of his sight, and in 1819 he was sent to the Paris Blind 
School which, you will remember, was originated by 
Valentin Haiiy. Here he made rapid progress in all his 
studies. He learned to read by the embossed roman 
letter, which was exclusively used at the time and which 
continued popular for fifty years in that country and our 
own, and is even still used in many schools in America. 

"In 1826, now a promising organist in a Paris church, 
Braille was elected Professor at the Institution. Among 
other works he wrote an embossed treatise on arithmetic. 
Both as pupil and teacher he spent most of his leisure in 
trying to find out a system by which the blind could write 
in relief, and, to this end, studied various methods in which 
arbitrary characters were used. 

" One which had been invented by M. Barbier appeared 
the most promising. M. Charles Barbier was an officer of 
Artillery, who, being rich and philanthropic, was interested 
in the blind, and did what he could to promote their educa- 
tion. In 1825 he suggested embossing by means of a point 
method, the character containing 12 dots, 6 high and 2 


wide, arranged in a rectangle. The character thus obtained 
was large and unwieldy, though capable of an almost un- 
limited number of combinations. 

"Louis Braille cut Barbier's character in two, and thus 
produced his well-known 3x2. On this basis Braille was 
the first who devised a practical scheme for printing and 
writing in tangible form, suitable to the tactile capacity of 
all. This was in 1829. After some slight modification it 
reached its present form in 1834, and is the system which 
has since borne his name. 

" We do not find, however, nor does it appear, that Louis 
Braille, in arranging his system, paid attention to any other 
considerations than one, namely, a methodical arrangement 
of the letters of the alphabet * the second ten letters 
being formed from the first ten, and so forth. Now, whilst 
this may be some slight aid to pupils learning the alphabet, 
it is unscientific and clumsy when applied to literature in 
general ; and in these days, when reading is taught to a 
gtfeat extent without children learning the alphabet as such 
at all, that small advantage vanishes into thin air. 

"It appears strange on the face of it, that we, at the 
beginning of the twentieth century, should be willing to ac- 
cept, as the best possible exponent of literature for the blind, 
art arbitrary arrangement of arbitrary signs given to the 
world seventy years ago, without first having satisfied our- 
selves that this system and these arbitrary signs are the 
best that the science and art of our time can supply. 

"I ask you, my friends, in common fairness, whether it 
would not have been wiser to have had this primary question 
of the alphabet, or I should prefer to call it ' Root Braille,' 
settled by popular vote or plebiscite before proceeding to 
elaborate such an extensive superstructure as has been 
compiled at an immense expenditure of time and labour 
by the sub-committee of the British and Foreign Blind 
Association ? 

"For my own part, I must candidly confess I have a 
strong leaning to the ' American Braille ' arrangement, 
root and branch the contractions, like the letters, being 
carefully and scientifically planned ; and, as you will see 
by referring to the leaflets that I have placed in your hands, 
nearly one half of the letters of that alphabet are the same 

* Later research suggests a somewhat different view. See p. 17, par 2. 


as our own, so that, the labour of learning it by those con- 
versant with English Braille would be very small. 

"I would strongly urge that a copy of the 'American 
Braille System,' accompanied by a note prepared by an able 
exponent of that type, should be sent to all those who have 
been favoured with a copy of the ' Recommendations ' of 
the Contractions Committee, so that they may study the 
two together and vote accordingly. If that committee will 
kindly supply me with the necessary names and addresses, 
I will undertake to carry out this project. 

"If we are to have a 'Uniform Braille System,' let us 
have the best in the world. 

"But to return. The period above mentioned, 1825 to 
1835, appears to have been a period of universal activity 
in matters relating to embossed literature and printing. 
In Britain we had Gall (of Edinburgh), Alston, Moon, Fry, 
Frere, and Lucas, all bringing out their own peculiar types, 
and each having his own partisans. In America there were 
Mr. Friedlander, Dr. Howe, of Laura Bridgman fame, and 

" Although, as I have said, Braille perfected his system 
both for ordinary reading and writing, and for musical 
notation in 1834, it was not until twenty years later that it 
w r as officially adopted at the Paris School, and that was 
when Louis Braille had been dead two years. Thus, like 
many another reformer, he did not live to see the triumph 
of his labours. 

"About 1859 or 1860 the Braille system was introduced 
into America, and was taught with some success at St. 
Louis. In the year 1868 the British and Foreign Blind 
Association came into existence, and, having brought 
Braille into this country, gave to it a powerful impetus by 
printing and disseminating books in that type. Old pre- 
judices died hard, however, not only in this country, but 
also in France and America. Even in 1878 there was no 
uniform system of embossed literature in France ; for, in 
the ' Report on Articles Exhibited by various European 
Blind Institutions at the International Exhibition at Paris 
in 1878,' I find this paragraph : ' Although the Braille 
type is a French invention, it seems a mistake to make use 
of no other system of reading and writing. Valuable as it 
is, there are advantages connected with other systems 


which ought not to be overlooked in a national institution 
like the Paris School.' 

"In the same year the late Edmund C. Johnson, Esq., 
for so long a director and patron of the Southwark School, 
and also a member of the Royal Commission on the Deaf 
and Dumb and Blind at a much later date, along with the 
Chaplain, Rev. B. G. Johns, reported on the Paris Congress 
to his Committee, and on page five of that report I find : 
' After much discussion, in which Mr. Johnson frequently 
took part, the Congress dealt with the question of " Unifica- 
tion of the Systems of Reading " as the special aim of their 
labours, which they hope to reach by a universal adoption 
of Braille's system as used in France, applied to all processes 
of reading, writing, and music, as well as to more advanced 
studies in language and science. 

" ' We, however, are of opinion that the entire adoption 
of any arbitrary system, such as Braille's, would tend to 
increase that very isolation of the blind which it is thought 
to lessen, and to cut them off more and more from the rest 
of the world. We are convinced that they should, as far as 
possible, read and write, and gather information in the 
same characters as those used by the sighted. If all men 
were blind, nothing could be better than Braille ; but as, 
happily, the blind constitute only a small minority, they 
must be bound fast to the majority by the adoption of that 
character of letter known to the civilised world. The 
Braille system is a mystery to all but the initiated ; the 
roman letter is known wherever English, French, and 
German are known in a word, everywhere. We hold, 
therefore, to the roman letter as the primary foundation 
of the work in general, reserving for Braille its own special 
department : for the notation of music, which only a small 
portion of the blind can hope to pursue except as an amuse- 
ment, and for mathematics, composition, and such higher 
studies as the few richer, and more intellectual can cultivate.' 

" At the same Conference the late Dr Armitage read a 
paper on the ' Education of the Blind in Ordinary Schools 
in England,' in which he states that the London School 
Board, having called a conference of all their blind teachers 
and others for the purpose of considering what was the 
most suitable type for educational purposes, and all the 
blind, with two exceptions (Dr. Moon who voted for his 


own, and another who voted for roman), having given 
their verdict in favour of Braille, the School Board deliber- 
ately determined upon continuing to use Moon's system 
until school-books in roman type should be printed. Dr. 
Armitage goes on to say : ' This extraordinary decision 
can only be accounted for by the difficulty that the seeing 
have in understanding the educational wants of the blind, 
and their consequent tendency to retain those methods of 
education which they can understand, and reject those 
which do not at once recommend themselves to the sense 
of sight.' 

" Thus it will be seen that both in England and France 
there was, even at so late a date as 1878, considerable 
diversity of opinion as to the claims of Braille as the best 
method of reading and writing for the blind. 

" In America the same thing occurred. Mr. Waite, of 
New York, inventor, or perhaps the perfector, of New York 
Point type, tells us in his ' Review of the Origin and Develop- 
ment of Embossed Literature,' page 10, that ' the merits of 
the Braille system were recognised chiefly by a few blind 
persons who were engaged in teaching. It was proscribed 
as being arbitrary on the ground that it was unlike the 
ordinary forms of letters.' For these reasons the use of 
the system was restricted to very narrow limits, as it de- 
pended upon individual interest and enterprise only. 

" One of the most eminent teachers of the blind and 
successful of school superintendents in America writes 
me as follows, under date 17th March of this year : ' The 
New York Point, as printed, has always been open to grave 
objections. Many persons who really understood Braille 
gnashed their teeth that an inferior system should dominate 
a superior, but Braille lacked a single powerful champion.' 

" Very intelligent blind opinion in Boston undertook to 
do what it could. Mr. Anagnos was openly antagonistic 
to the New York Point, and, being forced to admit into his 
school some point system for writing purposes, allowed 
Mr. J. W. Smith, a blind teacher who understood both the 
good and the bad points of the European Braille, to try 
his hand at devising a better. Mr. Smith and his coadjutors 
laboured assiduously, rearranged the characters on the prin- 
ciple of frequency of recurrence, eliminated what seemed 
to them the illiterate crudities of the English system, 


and called his code ' Modified Braille.' This code he gave 
to our Convention in 1878, with full explanation as to its 
merits. It was used in the Perkins Institution from that 
time on. 

" But its presentation at the Conference aroused fierce 
antagonism and activity among the devotees of New York 
Point. In fact Dr. Armitage, in his ' Education and Em- 
ployment of the Blind,' states that the use of modified 
Braille is not likely to spread beyond Boston. 

' Those of us teachers who taught in Boston, after experi- 
ence in the Royal Normal College, could not but admit the 
superiority of the new code for school and all other purposes. 
St. Louis stood by the only Braille she knew the old 
Braille ; and various other independents were clamouring 
for any point system superior to New York Point. 

" By 1900 the feeling for Braille had become so strong 
that at the Convention the Braillists met, and appointed 
a committee of three to decide upon the code to adopt. 
Dr. Sibley, Superintendent of the Missouri School, and a 
member of this committee, abandoned the old code after 
a study of Mrs. Plumtre's exposition of it. His decision 
made the committee a unit for the new code. The new 
name ' American Braille ' Dr. Sibley gave, and we accepted. 
We did not consult the British and Foreign Blind Association, 
first, because we were required to report without unnecessary 
delay, and secondly, because we felt that any attempt to 
get them to abandon or modify their code to suit modern 
ideas would be fruitless. Besides, does not Dr. Armitage 
state in his book that a similar modification of the Braille 
had been proposed both in England and on the Continent 
and turned down ? 

" So far as I am now aware, every American believer in 
Braille except one adopted our Report, thus showing 
that American Braillists considered the new code scientific, 
up-to-date, well adapted to general, and particularly school, 
use. Though our school work has been revolutionised by 
so much and so easily obtained embossed matter, yet we 
cannot but regret that things are as they are. Had it 
seemed at all a feasible and possible thing to induce the 
conservative British and Foreign Blind Association to 
unite with us in a scientific code primarily made for and 
adapted to school children, and not for adults and Bible 


readers only, of course the consummation would have been 
better for the English-speaking blind. 

" Whilst we cannot but regret the fact that the committee 
here mentioned omitted to approach the British and Foreign 
Blind Association on the subject, we fear they had only 
too good reasons for their surmises as to the futility of 
such a proceeding, our own experience in 1893 exactly bear- 
ing out what they anticipated, as you will hear later. 

" We thus see to what a serious extent personal predjucies 
and conflicting opinions have been to blame for retarding 
the progress of education in that particular direction in 
which we are all peculiarly interested ; and it is to me a 
matter of wonder that the blind for there must have been 
some wealthy and influential ones amongst them sub- 
mitted for such a prolonged period to the absurd domination 
of the seeing in such matters. 

" More than half a century elapsed before the type which 
has proved itself at least, I think it has to be the very 
best educational medium for the blind was accepted as 
such by the most enlightened nations in the world. Since 
1878 the Braille system, so far as we are concerned, has 
undergone no generally accepted practical changes or 
improvements, and up till the present those responsible 
for its introduction and early propagation in this country 
have steadily refused to admit into their literature new 
signs and modifications which were obviously advantageous 
and in strictly good taste, and which those patriotic and 
enthusiastic pioneers of modernised Braille I mean the 
worthy editors of Santa Lucia first used in their most 
delightful and deservedly popular magazine. And here, if 
I may be allowed to digress for an instant, I would like to 
place on record my deep sense <# gratitude for the invalu- 
able aid which they so magnanimously gave me when I 
introduced Braille printing at the Royal Blind Asylum and 
School, West Craigmillar, and for the genial and friendly 
spirit which they have at all times manifested towards me 
and my work. I venture to think that, among the many 
benefactors of the blind in this country, there are none 
whose names are held in higher estimation than the names 
of the sisters Hodgkin. 

" Now, however, the British and Foreign Blind Association 
are making a praiseworthy effort to make up for lost time, 


and have elaborated a system which may, I hope, in the 
hands of Providence, go far to assist in hastening on the 
day when ' Uniform Braille System ' shall be no more a 
myth, but an accomplished fact. To this end they invite 
criticism of their ' Recommendations,' and, as a true friend 
reproves as well as praises, I think I cannot do better- 
keeping in view my desire in this paper to aid in the acquiring 
of a uniform Braille system than to suggest by means of 
a few criticisms passed thereon by myself, the lines which 
those who have been favoured with a copy of the British 
and Foreign Blind Association's special committee's ' Re- 
commendations ' may profitably follow when they proceed 
to the consideration thereof. 

" My first word is one of congratulation and praise. I 
think I should be lacking in gratitude indeed if I did not 
recognise and appreciate, and call for the united thanks 
and congratulations of all interested in Braille and the blind 
for such an exhaustive work as they have prepared, and 
for the immense amount of time, patience, and careful 
thought which the select committee and perhaps, at the 
risk of appearing invidious, I may single out specially Miss 
Douglas-Hamilton must have devoted to their labour of 
love in order to produce so complete and elaborate a scheme 
of ' Recommendations.' 

" They have practically ' ploughed the field,' and, if the 
ploughing is followed by a wisely directed harrowing and 
sowing and tending and weeding, there is no doubt that, 
with the smile of heaven upon it, the harvest will follow ; 
and I believe it will be a harvest of uniform grain ; but it 
will take time it will take time. 

" Now, to proceed, I will simply deal with Grade II., 
as Grade III. is, in the meantime, beyond me. 

"In considering the question of a 'Uniform Braille System,' 
we must first of all decide whether such system shall, in 
its construction and application, dominate or be dominated 
by the beautiful, powerful, historic, and world- wide lan- 
guage of which it is to be the written exponent. I say it is 
essential that this must be the first question to be decided, 
as on such decision our attitude towards contractions and 
abbreviations must rest. 

" Are the beauties of the English language to be sacrificed 
to that indefinite thing called ' space ' ? Is the historical 


etymology of the greatest language in the world to be 
bartered for a few dots per page, or a few pages per volume 
of raised type ? Is every claim of good orthography to be 
waived, and correct spelling to be made almost impossible 
to the blind child in order to satisfy the cravings of those 
who are slaves to the morbid habit of what, if I may coin 
a word, I would term ' contractionism ' ? 

" Are we to answer these questions in the affirmative ? 
Then, I fear, the ostensible conclusion must be, that blind 
readers are deficient in those poetic instincts which enable 
one to enjoy the beautiful in literature as in nature. 

" I have seen people who profess to be passionately 
fond of flowers collect what here in England you term a 
posy or nosegay, and, tying all the stems tightly together, 
place the bunch of flowers in a big vase or bowl in the 
middle of the parlour table, and think the room is decorated ; 
but who with a true sense of beauty will deny that a feiu 
flowers, neatly arranged in separate vessels, and placed 
apart, are more pleasing to the poetic sense and elevating 
to the mind in a word, fulfilling their mission more per- 
fectly ? 

" In exactly the same degree, I maintain, a book of 
exquisite English literature in immoderately contracted 
Braille I especially refer now to words abbreviated by the 
omission of vowels, etc., and neglect of the rules of syllabi- 
fication cannot possibly convey to the reader the sense of 
delight and the elevating and educative influence which it 
otherwise might do. If we are to have books in Braille 
shorthand then let us call them * shorthand.' Let us elabor- 
ate the excellent Birmingham system and utilise its bound- 
less possibilities in a sensible direction ; but do not let us. 
massacre the finest literature in the world, and call the 
resulting carnage ' Braille.' 

" I can scarcely fancy even the most ardent of steno- 
graphers going into raptures over a passage from Tennyson 
in Pitman's shorthand ! 

" In the book of ' Recommendations ' we have a list of 
no less than 820 words or thereby, in the majority of which 
not the smallest guide is given to the correct spelling of 
the original word. How, then, are our blind children to 
learn spelling ? Of course it may be said that they are 
supposed to have learned spelling before they reach this 


stage ; but I appeal to you all, what would become of our 
own spelling if all the literature we read were served up to 
us in this skeletonised form ? Nay, verily, it would be a 
literature of dry bones ! 

" Mental strain and discomfort are infinitely more weari- 
some and exhausting than bodily fatigue, therefore I say, 
to exchange a somewhat lengthy character and system 
requiring a small amount of mental exertion, for its direct 
opposite, is far from a desirable exchange. 

" I am free to confess that until recently I was personally 
in favour of considerable additions to our contraction code, 
but when, a few weeks ago, I received a printed copy of 
the ' Recommendations ' of the New Contractions Com- 
mittee of the British and Foreign Blind Association, a 
document containing twelve pages of closely printed rules 
and regulations necessary for the correct writing of Braille 
as proposed by the said Committee, my hair literally stood 
on end ; and as, with the aid of a big lexicon, and a friendly 
lawyer from next door, I strove to wade through and digest 
all the ' when thou shalt's ' and ' then thou shalt not's ' 
set forth in truly legal fashion, and all the mystifying tech- 
nicalities involved in the use or abuse of the ' Apostrophe 
Capital Sign,' the ' Primary Initial Sign,' and the ' Auxiliary 
Sign,' my dull brain swam, and I had visions of future 
classes of blind children in the fifth and sixth standards, 
grey-haired and dejected, dropping immaturely into their 
graves, or being carried off to the lunatic asylums, having 
abbreviated their lives and contracted madness in a vain 
attempt to cram their minds with the rules for contracting 
everything else. I say it without wishing to make the 
slightest reflection detrimental to the enthusiastic and well- 
intentioned Committee who have so ungrudgingly given 
their time and thought to the production of the ' Recom- 
mendations,' but still I must say, and I believe every 
intelligent teacher of the blind in the country will support 
me when I say, if this system is to be the ' Uniform System 
of Braille,' and it alone is to be considered orthodox, and 
if all its complex and mystifying rules and regulations are 
essential to the correct writing of it, then we will have 
none of it ; and this for the simple reason that uniformity 
under such conditions would be hopeless of achievement 
even amongst the highly educated, whilst among the 


average blind the Braille chaos would be awful to con- 

" I would suggest that these rules, elaborate and complex 
as they are, would have been rendered infinitely more 
simple and easy to understand if an example of what is 
meant were given in each case that is, if such a thing 
were possible. 

" You will pardon me if I quote from page 4, par. 9, of 
the ' Recommendations ' in support of my last remarks. 
4 Grade II., or the moderately contracted grade. . . . Braille 
in this grade shall be printed and written subject to, and 
in accordance with, the preceding recommendations, except 
Recommendation VIII. ; and further, in this grade only 
the " signs " and " abbreviated " words contained in, 
or the use of which is by implication authorised by, the 
said First Schedule hereunder written shall be used, and, 
subject to the aforesaid, " signs " or " abbreviated " 
words other than those contained in, or the use of which 
is by implication authorised by such First Schedule, shall 
be used, and Braille in this grade shall be otherwise printed 
or written in accordance with the following thirteen sub- 
recommendations . ' 

" Now, I put it to the Conference, do you, ladies and 
gentlemen, who, as delegates, may be taken to represent 
the most experienced arid intelligent blind opinion in the 
country do you grasp the full meaning of this heading ? 
Who is to decide which signs are and which are not ' by 
implication authorised ' ? My view of what is implied may 
be quite different from yours, and yours from your neigh- 
bour's, yet each has a right to his own opinion, and would 
doubtless act upon it when writing Braille ; then, wherein 
comes the uniformity ? I am terribly in earnest in this, and 
desire to again emphasise my contention that a ' Uniform 
Braille System,' to be practicable, must have simplicity 
itself as its primary, secondary, and auxiliary recommenda- 

" And whilst, as I have stated above, I quite agree that 
a number of additional contractions and abbreviations 
systematically arranged are very desirable (in fact, a 
number of those included in Schedule I. were my own sug- 
gestions), I most strongly urge that the rules, if any, affecting 
their use shall be as few and as short as possible. To my 


mind it were quite sufficient to say that all signs representing 
letter combinations shall be used when they retain the 
original sound, excepting when such use would interfere 
with the correct syllabification of a word. I may, perhaps, 
make my meaning more plain by taking concrete examples. 
To be brief, I will mention but two of the best known : ' of ' 
and ' the ' are contractions of the third line, and are taught 
to infants along with the alphabet, not as ' o-f ' and ' t-h-e, } 
but as ' of ' and ' the.' Now I maintain that these signs, 
by force of habit and instruction, are impressed on the 
mind of the child as sounds ' of ' and ' the,' and not as com- 
binations or sequences of letters, and, immediately the 
finger recognises the sign, the corresponding sound presents 
itself to the mind for utterance, and gives a false impression 
in such instances as in ' Geo/rey,' ' roo/,' etc., ' the ' in 
' scythe ' and ' brea^e.' In each of these latter words the 
final ' e ' is silent, and therefore the sign does not retain its 
original sound. And again, should you wish to write the 
past tense of ' breathe ' would you write * brea-ZAe-d ' ? If 
so, you interfere with correct syllabification. Or would you 
write ' brea-Z^-ed ' ? If the latter, then you are inconsistent. 
Obviously the right way to spell all words ending in ' the ' 
is to use the contraction ' th ' and ' e ' ; then, in case of a past 
tense, you simply add the final syllable ' ed ' to the root- 
ending in ' th.' The use of the present participle makes 
the necessity for such a course even more striking. All 
difficulties of this kind would, however, be obviated by the 
application of some such brief and simple rule as I have 

" I note that on page 5, rule 6, of the ' Recommendations 5 
such restrictions are made regarding the sign ' the ' except 
where it occurs in compound words. I am somewhat at a 
loss to understand this modification of the rule. Suppose 
we turn the simple word ' scythe ' into the compound word 
' scythe-blade,' it does not alter the fact, or remove the 
objection complained of. Could I be satisfied, however, 
that the majority of the educated reading blind do not, 
in practice, look upon these combinations as sound signs 
rather than letter sequences, I would waive my objection on 
that score, but would certainly, as a teacher, stand out 
against vandalism in syllabification. 

" Again, if we turn to page 4, head ix., 1, 2, we find that 


two lower signs such as ' en ' and ' in ' may not follow each 
other close together. For instance, in ' peninsula ' they 
may not both be contracted, yet these contractions are 
allowed if one space intervene, as in the case of ' the pen in 
his hand ' where we have three lower signs allowed. Now 
why should this be ? Surely if such rule is in the interests 
of simplicity and to prevent difficulty of ascertaining 
whether the said signs are in the upper or lower cells and 
I can think of no other reason it were much easier to discern 
this when the characters are close together and in proximity 
to full-length characters, or letters, or signs, than when 
further apart. The same remark applies to the first rule 
on page 5, and I would suggest that these two sub-rules be 

" Further, I am much pleased to find that, by rule 10 on 
page 6, two or more word signs such as ' and, for, of, the, 
with,' shall, where the sense permits, be used in succession 
to each other, and I sincerely hope the verdict of the country 
will be unanimous on this point. 

" I am strongly opposed to the use of the apostrophe 
instead of the period after initials to names or contracted 
words, such as Col., Capt., Dr., Rev., etc., and I believe 
my objection is shared by most of those who, like myself, 
are teachers of Braille, and by the majority of Braille 

" Just a few references to Schedule I. of the ' Recom- 
mendations ' to conclude my criticisms. I ask you to go 
no further than page 1 of it. Will not ' dot 2 b ' (better) 
be confounded with ' d,' and ' dot 4 b ' (brother) with ' j ' ? 
Does not ' 2, 4 b ' (blood) resemble ' g,' and ' 2, 4, 6 a ' 
make a good ' p ' ? I would suggest that in order to carry 
out successfully the excellent system of classification 
adopted in this schedule, in the case of all combinations of 
what are called front dots (2, 4, 6) with the letters 'a, b, k, 
and 1,' the old rule of writing these letters in the front holes 
be adhered to, making a wider space and preventing am- 
biguity ; or perhaps, better still, drop the combination 
with these four letters altogether. 

; ' With most of the other contractions proposed for 
Grade II., I cordially agree, except in the cases of (on page 4) 
' bringing,' which is like ' ou,' and ' brought,' which is the 
counterpart of ' of.' To abbreviated words, except in a 



very limited degree, I am, as a teacher, conscientiously 
opposed on the ground of spelling. ' Lower 6-g-t-n ' 
(for begotten) suggests only one ' t ' in the word, and such 
a thing as ' dots 2, 4, er ' for * erroneous ' is, to my mind, 
monstrous. These are two specimens taken at random, 
but they serve my purpose. 

' That there was a real desire on the part of the educated 
and reading blind of the country for some improvement 
of the then existing Braille system was clearly evidenced 
early in 1893. In January of that year the first number 
of Horn Jucunda was published, with its correspondence 
column, in which, for the first time in the history of the 
world, I suppose, the blind had the opportunity of giving 
public expression to their opinions in an embossed journal. 
This privilege was quickly taken advantage of, and the 
very first letter to the editor w r as one on the vexed question 
of Braille inconsistency. My correspondents, some of them 
scholars of no mean order, expressed their dissatisfaction in 
plain terms, and the rules of the British and Foreign Blind 
Association came in for a good deal of adverse criticism, 
as well as its autocratic method of controlling Braille. 

" I suggested a Union or Association for the consideration 
of the subject ; the idea became so popular that what was 
termed the Hora Jucunda Union was started, with the 
primary object of obtaining, if possible, ' Uniformity of 
Braille System.' 

" Branches of the Union were speedily formed in various 
English and Scottish centres, and things promised well for 
a successful issue. Braille, as at present written, and the 
rules relating thereto, were to be reviewed, discussed and 
voted upon, as were all suggestions for improvements or 
alterations, and a majority of two-thirds was necessary to 
warrant a recommendation to change the existing code. 

" For reasons of their own, the British and Foreign Blind 
Association, although we sent a special invitation to them, 
declined to unite with us, stating that they reserved to 
themselves the right to make alterations in the Braille 

" Realising the folly of proceeding with such a powerful 
and well-subsidised opponent in the field, and that under 
such circumstances uniformity was impossible, on the 
advice of the late Mr. Buckle we decided to leave the 


matter in abeyance. His words to me were : ' You have 
set the wheels in motion : let them grind slowly ; the result 
is certain to follow, and I hope the day is not far distant 
when the desired goal may be reached, and a " Uniform 
Braille System " be an accomplished fact.' 

" In order to do this, all those who take in hand to assist 
in the great work must, as I said before, sink their personal 
or party feeling, and be willing to act with a single eye in 
the interests of that community who have so long been 
the victims of the fads, fancies, and stupid jealousies of 
individuals and autocratic coteries. 

" Now, a word as to the use of capital letters in Braille. 
In reply to the circular letter which I recently sent out to 
educators of the blind, and others in this country, in regard 
to this and other interesting questions, I received fifty 
replies. Of these, 27 voted for capitals in all embossed 
literature, 32 in school books, 5 were indifferent, and 13 
would have no capitals at all. 

" For my own part, I hold that capitals are as necessary 
for the blind as for the seeing. Without them literature 
loses a great deal of its character and force ; and without 
them embossed books are not an adequate transcript of 
ordinary books. Probably, if we who see had never been 
educated to use capitals, we should never have felt the need 
of them ; but who shall say that they do not give style, 
character, and distinctness to what we read ? 

" If ladies, for instance, had never been used to the wear- 
ing of hats and bonnets, they would have thought such 
things absolutely unnecessary ; but I fear the majority 
of them are of a different way of thinking as things are, 
and I am bound to admit, though they like Braille capitals 
take up a great deal of space, there is a good deal to be 
said for them on the score of style and character. 

" Most blind children now are taught to use the type- 
writer. How are they to acquire a correct and adequate 
knowledge as to placing capitals if they do not find them 
in their own books and magazines ? The School for the 
Blind, which holds the foremost position as such in the 
world, under the most eminent teacher of the blind in 
the world, himself blind need I say to whom I refer ? my 
dear friend, Dr. F. J. Campbell believes in the use of 
capitals in Braille, and that after years of patient thought 


and experiment. Therefore, had I not been satisfied in 
my own mind as to the advisability of using them, such " 
evidence as this would have convinced me. 

" My concluding remarks I devote to suggesting what 
are, in my opinion, practical lines of action for the accom- 
plishment of the great end we have in view. These sug- 
gestions have been made to me by two eminent principals 
of blind schools. 

"1. The establishment of a National Council, all whose 
members should be able to read and write fully contracted 
Braille, and be drawn from various parts of the country, 
also corresponding members in the Colonies. 

" 2. The education of the blind being now under the 
Board of Education, they should be the authority for issuing 
a universal system. This would be an authority which 
would have weight, and which would have power to issue 
instructions which no society would be in a position to do. 
They would obtain the opinions of experts and good Brail- 
lists, focussing the opinions, and from them collaborate a 
system which would be made a universal and authorised 

" The former, you will note, is practically what the 
Hora Jucunda Union was intended to be, and I have 
not the slightest doubt it would have been successful nine 
years ago, and that by now we should have had a ' Uniform 
Braille System ' in use, could we have secured concerted 
.action ; but ' It's never too late to mend,' and that this 
Conference may be the means of leading all those taking 
part in it to give their support to some such measure is my 
earnest hope. Is it not advisable that the Conference 
should appoint a committee a representative committee 
to go into the whole question, and report, through the 
Braille magazines, and by circular to the heads of institu- 
tions, their finding ? The question is a momentous one 
not to be discussed and dismissed in twenty minutes, but 
necessitating the calm and deliberate consideration of 
weeks and months. Let us all, therefore, forget ourselves 
and our own little schemes, fads, and prejudices, and throw 
ourselves heart and soul into the great work to which our 
Heavenly Father has called us." 



The first apparatus for tactile working of arithmetic by 
the blind was invented by a blind man, Nicholas Saunderson, 
in 1720. It was improved by Dr. Moyes in 1790, and 
again by McBeath in 1817. 

Taylor, of York, also used a system very similar to 

McBeath was a prominent character and teacher in the 
Edinburgh Institution. He was quite a dwarf, standing 
only 4 ft. 6 in. in height, but exceedingly proportionate 
throughout. He looked like a boy of ten or twelve, but 
was a veritable walking encyclopaedia. He had lost his 
sight very early in life, and entered the Asylum as a handi- 
craft worker ; but his great extent of knowledge and his 
aptness at imparting it to others, soon caused his appoint- 
ment as a teacher, and an excellent one he made. Along 
with one of his companions he invented the string alphabet, 
much used at the time for intercommunication amongst 
the blind, but now only an object of curiosity in our school 
museums. (See page 25.) 

Nicholas Saunderson, already mentioned, born January, 
1682, was one of the most remarkable blind men of whom 
we have any record. Although blind from twelve months 
old, he rose, by force of genius and laborious study, to be 
Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, to 
which he was aided by the exertions of Sir Isaac Newton, 
who held him in high esteem. In 1728 King George II. 
visited Cambridge, and asked to see Professor Saunderson, 
of whose remarkable gifts he had heard ; and when the 
Professor attended upon His Majesty in the Senate House, 
he was created Doctor of Laws by his royal favour. 

His first idea of a tangible aid to arithmetic led him to the 
construction of a board divided into square spaces which 
he cut for himself. Each space was provided with a pin- 
hole at each corner, midway on each side, and in the centre, 
making nine holes in all. By means of two pins placed in 
varied positions in these holes relative to the sides and 


centre of the square he obtained his nine digits. When the 
square remained unoccupied by pins, it represented a nought. 

Later this wooden 
board was replaced by 
a metal plate with 
short lines embossed 
on its face, forming, 
as it were, the top 
and bottom lines of 
^ numerous squares ; be- 
tween the ends of these 
lines were two small 
^ holes, and the relative 
position of the pins in 
these holes, having re- 
. gard to the top or 
bottom line, repre- 
sented the required 

S figures, : : , the result 

being a very near ap- 
X proach to our Braille 

Dr. Saunderson died 
April 19, 1739. 
' Moyes's improve- 
ment was the use of 
o three variously shaped 
pegs, which, by their 
angle or position in the 
holes, denoted the 
^ numbers. 

^ McBeath invented a 
four-sided peg, with a 
point raised at one corner on one end of the peg, and a point 
raised in the middle of a flat side on the other end ; so that, 
by turning the pin in the square hole, eight positions were 




obtained representing eight figures the remaining two 
figures being made with other pegs. 

This was practically an inversion of Saunderson's method, 


and was a decided advance on anything yet thought of ; 
but, ere long, even this was superseded by another pupil 
and teacher of the Edinburgh School, named Lang, who 
made the peg pentagonal, also the hole for its reception in 
the board, thus securing, by using both ends of the peg, 


all the ten figures. His peg had a raised line corresponding 
with one side of the pentagonal face at one end of the peg, 


and a raised angle on the other end. This system remained 
in use for fifty years and more ; as a matter of fact, it was 


in common use in many schools twenty years ago. Now 


it is altogether discarded in favour of the octagonal board, 
which is so well known as to need no description here. 
One remark, however, must be made, and that is with 


regard to the diverse ways in which the present peg is used. 
Some use the pointed end for the first eight figures, and 
some the line end. The British and Foreign Blind Associa- 
tion recommend the latter, and probably for that reason 
it is now most generally taught so. It seems somewhat 
inconsistent to have a line type for arithmetic and point 
type for reading and writing. For twenty years, in Edin- 
burgh, the point end of the type was used with excellent 
results. The octagonal board was invented by Taylor, of 


Worcester, about thirty years ago, and is known as Taylor's 
Octagonal Board and Pegs. For algebra the same board 
is used, but there is a special type for algebraic signs, 
supplied by the British and Foreign Blind Association. 

The Paris method consisted of a board with square holes, 
the types having the ordinary numerals in relief on one 
end. It necessitated each type being distributed into its 
own division in the box or other receptacle after each 
exercise. It remained in use till the early seventies. 


ARMITAGE, THOMAS RHODES. The name of Thomas 
Rhodes Armitage will always be a household word amongst 


the English-speaking blind, and had the public generally 
been aware of the nature and extent of his labours, it can 
scarcely be doubted that his last resting-place would have 
been amid the " glorious glooms " of Westminster, and not 
in far-off Tipper ary. 

Dr. Armitage, although descended from an old York- 
shire family, was born at Tilgate Hall, in Sussex, in 1824. He 
was the sixth of seven sons, several of whom became notable 
men. In 1831 the family removed to Avranches, in Nor- 
mandy, and two years later to Frankfort. In 1834 he was 
sent with his younger brother to a school at Offenbach, 
kept by Dr. Becker, the grammarian, and here he remained 
for two years. Upon leaving, he could speak German as 
fluently as English, an accomplishment which proved of 
great service to him and to his cause in after life. Then,, 
after a short stay in England, the family went to Paris,, 
where young Armitage attended lectures at the Sorboime, 
and where his studies were superintended by a German 
tutor. Later he studied botany whilst residing at a shooting- 
forest which his father had rented in Brittany. Returning 
to London in 1840, he was entered as a medical student at 
King's College, but, after working hard for twelve months, 
his sight became so much impaired that a rest of two years 
was deemed necessary. After this interval he resumed 
his studies, and in due time took his diploma as surgeon, 
and later the degree of M.D. Subsequently he became a 
Member of the Royal College of Physicians, and practised 
for many years in the metropolis. 

He was very successful in his profession, but this success 
entailed so much work on his eyes that they again broke 
down, and this time so seriously that, in order to save any 
portion of his sight, he was compelled in 1860 finally to 
relinquish his calling. This was a great trial to one who 
was proud of his profession, and who was rapidly gaining 
distinction in it. 

When this mischance befell him, Dr. Armitage was in 
his thirty-sixth year, but, instead of repining at the infirmity 


which had overtaken him, he soon began to turn it to the 
advantage of his fellow sufferers, who equalled him in fate, 
though not in fortune. This blind world, Dr. Armitage 
soon found, was anything but a beautiful place, and, char- 
acteristically, he began his attempts to improve it with 
that class whose lot was the most deplorable of all, viz. 
the indigent blind of London. He joined the Committee 
of the Indigent Blind Visiting Society, which, although it 
had been in existence for five-and-twenty years, had not, 
up to that time, answered the expectations of its founders. 
In 1865 Dr. Armitage persuaded the committee to appoint 
a blind man as one of their visitors. This departure proved 
a, great success, and vacancies as they occurred were filled 
up in a similar manner ; and now the Society's visitors 
are all chosen from the blind. 

After thoroughly reorganising the Society, he began in 
these early days gradually to endow the " Samaritan 
Fund," which was a sort of " charity within a charity." 
To this object alone he devoted no less than 17,000, the 
interest on which is used to help the blind in times of extreme 
need. When Dr. Armitage joined the committee about 
1,000 was distributed annually to 250 persons ; in 1895 
nearly 1,100 persons received more than 6,000. The 
extent of these operations may be judged from the fact 
that at two convenient centres work is found for upwards 
of seventy blind women. The beautiful goods produced by 
these women are, as far as possible, sold to the public. 

As Dr. Armitage moved about day by day amongst the 
blind of London, he found that, besides those who had lost 
their sight in middle life or old age, there were great numbers 
who had been blind from birth or early childhood. Most 
of these were ex-pupils of blind institutions which had 
professed to fit them to earn their own livelihood, but, so 
far from this being the case, nearly all had drifted into 
pauperism. Accordingly, Dr. Armitage, though he had 
never relaxed his efforts to better the condition of this 
helpless class, soon began to look about for one amongst 


the existing institutions which would be willing to try new 
methods. This search was by no means encouraging, and 
he determined as soon as possible to found an institution, 
where new methods should be tried and different results, 
obtained. It was fortunate for the blind that he came to- 
his self-imposed task qualified in every way to gain his 
ends. By nature he had been endowed with a large heart, 
he had received an education which had peculiarly fitted 
him for the work, and by inheritance he possessed a large 

In 1868 Dr. Armitage founded the first of his great 
societies. Previous to that date he had passed much time 
in the Paris Blind Institution, studying the methods of 
education and training which obtained there. He was 
surprised to find that no less than 30 per cent, of the pupils 
were able, on leaving, to support themselves as organists, 
teachers of music, or piano-tuners. In England, not 1 per 
cent, were able to do this. In founding the British and 
Foreign Blind Association, Dr. Armitage hoped to bring order 
out of chaos as to the methods of education amongst the I/ 
blind in England, and especially in the vital matter of \he 
types used for reading and writing. 

This was in the year 1868. Being convinced that many 
of the difficulties surrounding the education of the blind 
had been produced by sighted managers of blind institu- 
tions, who, with the best intentions, had selected types 
adapted for the eyes of the sighted rather than the fingers 
of the blind, Dr. Armitage called to his aid half a dozen 
blind gentlemen, who, with himself, formed the first council 
of the Association. For tw r o years they carefully studied 
every known type. Types there were in abundance and 
to spare Lucas, Frere, Roman, Moon, and many others 
but none of them could be written, and were, therefore, 
comparatively worthless for educational purposes. The 
only one now surviving is Moon, and that because it is 
considered suitable for the hard hands of working men 
who have lost their sight in middle life or old age. In 1870 


the council completed their arduous preliminary task, and 
decided that the type of the future was to be the one in- 
vented by the illustrious Frenchman, Louis Braille. And 
in that wise choice lay a boundless promise for the 

Up to this time Braille was unknown in our institutions, 
but now it is taught in all of them, and before long no blind 
school will use any other. It had for many years been 
the official type in France, and one can only \vonder that 
its paramount merits had been so long overlooked in Eng- 
land. Dr. Armitage gave the Association rent-free offices 
in his town house, 33, Cambridge Square, Hyde Park, paid 
the clerical staff, and year after year, with large gifts, 
balanced the excess of expenditure over income. 

Having now got the necessary alphabet and apparatus, 
Dr. Armitage was ready to advocate the new methods of 
education for the blind. He gave a lecture at the Society 
of Arts, in which he explained the merits of the Braille 
alphabet and the Braille musical notation, which latter my 
blind musical friends tell me is more wonderful even than 
the former. He told his audience of the remarkable results, 
as they were then deemed, which had been obtained in 
France by giving a musical training to all the pupils qualified 
to receive one. He had hoped that one of the existing 
institutions would have been induced to try the new methods, 
especially as he was prepared to pay the whole cost of the 

At this critical juncture Mr. (now Sir Francis F.) Campbell 
called on Dr. Armitage. He was returning to America 
after completing his studies in Berlin. Before visiting 
Europe he had been a tutor in the Perkins Institution, 
Boston. In that institution he had practically demon- 
strated the advantages to the blind of a really superior 
musical education. Of twenty pupils who had been en- 
trusted to his care nineteen had been turned out quite 
-able to support themselves. 

Dr. Armitage read parts of his lecture to his visitor, and 


numerous conferences followed. In the end, after again 
trying in vain to get one of the old institutions to make the 
experiment, it was decided to found the Royal Normal 
College. It was opened with two pupils in the spring of 
1872. These were both from the town of Leeds, and both 
turned out well. Dr. Campbell was the first, as happily 
he has been the only, principal. Dr. Armitage and the 
late Mr. Gardner each gave 1,000 towards the preliminary 
expenses, and, looking through the annual reports, one 
everywhere comes across sentences like the following : 
' The council is once more deeply indebted to Dr. Armitage 
for his generous gift of three organs, very urgently needed, 
at a cost of a thousand guineas, and for a further sum of 
275 spontaneously offered, etc." ; " By the kindness of 
Dr. Armitage the deficit of 1,200 on the year's working 
has been paid off." The report published in October, 1881, 
tells of gifts from Dr. and Mrs. Armitage amounting alto- 
gether to more than 7,500. In 1883 he gave more than 
1,500, besides equipping the girls' gymnasium and enlarging 
that of the boys. But, as Dr. Campbell once said to me, 
" Why talk about Dr. Armitage's gifts ? He was always 

One very striking instance of this, Dr. Campbell has 
related. He was in America, and, seeing some expensive 
athletic apparatus which he thought should be bought for 
the college, he wrote to Dr. Armitage. The latter replied : 
" Buy what you deem necessary, and draw upon me for the 
amount." Dr. Campbell has placed on record in eloquent 
words his opinion of the constant and generous support 
which he received for eighteen years from his friend. 

In 1886 Dr. Armitage lectured for a second time at the 
Society of Arts. He was able to hold up the Royal Normal 
College as an object-lesson to the managers of all other blind 
institutions. When one remembers that previous to the 
founding of the Royal Normal College hardly 1 per cent, 
of those pupils in the old institution who received a so- 
called musical training were able to support themselves, 


it will be seen what a complete revolution has been wrought 
in this branch of blind education. 

In the same lecture Dr. Armitage said that similar 
results would follow in the case of those who were trained 
to handicrafts, if the plan known as " The Saxon System " 
were adopted by our institution. He had, with his usual 
thoroughness, examined the system on the spot. He had 
passed ten days visiting the blind of Saxony in their own 
homes in the small towns and villages about Dresden. 
He found them one and all able to support themselves, 
and this because, from the first moment of entering the 
institution to learn their trade to the last moment of their 
lives, a friendly hand was extended to them. Moral and 
material support was given them, and a special fund of 
1,500 per annum, which had been established for the 
purpose, was found ample to prevent any of them from 
drifting into pauperism. As there were 300 former pupils 
to be looked after, it follows that the average yearly help 
afforded to each was only 5. So convinced was Dr. 
Armitage of the necessity of compelling our institutions 
to adopt this system, that at the time of his death he was 
engaged in arranging a deputation to the Education Minister 
to ask that a clause might be inserted in the Bill then 
being drafted, making the supervision of former pupils a 
condition of receiving the Government grant. 

It has only been possible in this sketch to tell what 
Dr. Armitage did for the blind by re-organising the Indigent 
Blind Visiting Society, and by founding and fostering the 
British and Foreign Blind Association, and the Royal 
Normal College and Academy of Music at Upper Norwood. 
The services rendered by Dr. Armitage on the Royal Com- 
mission, which was presided over by Lord Egertoh of 
Tatton, were invaluable. There is a modest allusion to 
his work upon it in a lecture which he delivered at the 
Society of Arts in 1886 : "I hope that the result of our 
inquiries may tend to the benefit of those to whom for 
many years I have been devoting my life." These inquiries 


did result in the passing of a Bill through the Legislature 
which leaves little to be desired beyond the raising of the 
school age from sixteen to nineteen years, so that the pupils 
may be turned out, not only well educated, but thoroughly 
trained in some handicraft or profession ; and then, with 
the supervision which Dr. Armitage so strongly advocated, 
at least five out of every six would be self-supporting. 
Another signal service he rendered to the blind was helping 
to prevent Mr. Gardner's splendid bequest of 300,000 being 
misused in the proposed erection of a vast asylum at Wind- 
sor. The trustees, with the assistance of their able secretary, 
Mr. H. J. Wilson, are carrying out in an admirable manner 
the wise scheme imposed upon them by Lord Justice Fry. 
Mr. Wilson writes : " Many a time he has come to see me, 
and, having told me of the needs of a certain blind person, 
he invariably promised to give half of the requisite sum 
if the Gardner Trust would promise the other half." 

Only a few of the large sums given to the Royal Normal 
College have been mentioned, but in addition Dr. Armitage 
paid the fees, in whole or in part, of many of its pupils. 
Not long before his death he gave 1,000 to the splendid 
workshop at Belfast, which he regarded as a model of what 
such places should be, and, in fact, the sums he distributed 
and the help he afforded were not much less important than 
those of the Gardner Trust itself. He helped with what he 
called small loans hundreds of the needy blind throughout 
the country, and these loans were almost always repaid. 
The following story was told by his secretary, now dead : 
" I remember, during the Royal Commission, a blind man 
named Alston calling one morning to say that he had a 
pass on the Great Western to see some relatives in the 
country. He had no money, and thought his coat was too 
shabby. The money was given to him, and Dr. Armitage, 
turning to me, said, ' Do you think my coat will fit 
Alston ? ' I replied, ' It will.' And I put it on Alston, 
to his great delight. Dr. Armitage went upstairs on to a 
balcony to take club exercise, which he often did. At twelve 



o'clock I went up and asked him if he remembered that 
he had to attend the Royal Commission at half -past. Of 
course he was in his shirt-sleeves, as Alston had his coat. 
He went upstairs to put on his coat, and in a minute or 
two came down, and I can now, as it were, hear him laugh- 
ing. When he could speak, he told me he had given away 
his last coat, and had not one to go to the Royal Commission 
with. Dr. Armitage took care that the blind scribes and 
others employed by the Association were provided with 
good woollen clothing." 

Dr. Armitage not only visited almost every blind institu- 
tion in this country and on the Continent, but also those in 
Canada and the United States, getting and giving informa- 
tion. He tried, but in vain, to rescue Canada and the 
United States from the evils which accompany the use of 
many types. He published the results of his experiences 
and researches in a volume entitled, " The Education and 
Employment of the Blind : What it has been, is, and 
ought to be." This work should be carefully studied by 
every one connected with blind institutions. 

Dr. Armitage served the blind in yet another field. He 
invented a process of stereotyping which enabled blind 
men to do this work, and by an ingenious contrivance he 
greatly increased the rapidity and comfort with which 
English Braille can be read. 

It was Dr. Armitage's custom to pass the autumn and 
early winter at Noan, near Thurles, his Irish residence. 
One gloomy afternoon, in the month of October, 1890, 
whilst riding from Noan towards Cashel for, despite his 
deficient sight, he was a good horseman his horse, which, it 
was afterwards discovered, had been badly shod, stumbled 
and fell, and so injured his rider that, when Dr. Armitage 
was carried to the house of a medical friend in Cashel, it 
was discovered that the least serious of his injuries was a 
double fracture of the arm. After some days hope of his 
recovery was being entertained, when, early on the morning 
of the 23rd, his nurse noticed a sudden and decided change, 


and in a few minutes he had passed away. On the 28th he 
was laid to rest in the churchyard of Magorban. 

Many of those who knew him best think that neither his 
generosity nor his ability formed the most distinguished 
trait in his character, but his loving, tender sympathy. 
This " very perfect, gentle knight " made even the most 
uninteresting and commonplace amongst those who sought 
his counsel and help feel that he took a special interest in 
each individual case. He possessed all the qualities which 
make a great man ; he was courteous, candid, high-minded, 
dignified, resolute, generous. He has not left a dead, 
unprofitable name, but one which must give rise to noble 


Weston-super-Mare on August 15, 1871, whence his family 
removed to Bath, in 1874. As the result of a severe accident 
while at play, he became totally blind in early childhood, 
and was therefore sent, in January, 1877, to the School for 
the Blind and Deaf and Dumb, at Bath. Having obtained 
a Gardner Scholarship, in September, 1883, he became a 
student of the Worcester College. From this college, in 
1891, he was the first blind student to obtain the certificate 
at the Oxford Senior Local Examination, and this entitled 
him to proceed to the University without the usual ex- 
amination in lieu of Responsions. In 1893 .he obtained 
Classical Honours in Moderations at Oxford, and was also 
elected to the scholarship founded in memory of Mr. Faw- 
cett, the blind Postmaster-General. In 1895 he took 
his B.A. degree, with Second Class Honours, and proceeded 
to his M.A. degree in 1899. In 1898 he was ordained 
deacon and was raised to the priesthood in the following 
year, having been gospeller-deacon and also senior priest 
of his year. His first curacy was to the little parish of 
Llandevaud, Mon., under the Rev. J. Swinnerton, whom 

* " A Friend and Benefactor of the Blind," by Alfred Hirst, Sunday 
Magazine, November, 1896. 


he also assisted in his work for the Church Pastoral Aid 
Society, and whose only daughter he married in 1899. In 
this year he became curate of St. Saviour's, Plymouth, 
and in 1902 he was appointed to the curacy of Christ Church, 
Paignton, South Devon. 

In 1905 he was appointed to succeed the Rev. J. B. 
Nicholson, as headmaster of his old college, at Worcester, 
which, in 1889, had been made an endowed public school, 
and in 1902 had found a permanent home in a new building 
of its own. 

Since entering upon his headmastership at Worcester, 
Mr. Barnard has thoroughly re-organised the work and 
general arrangements of the college. He has published 
a revised system of writing and printing Greek, Latin, 
and mathematics in the Braille type ; was the author 
of an article on "The Higher Education of the Blind," 
in The Blind, of October, 1905 ; while one of his hymns 
has found a place in a well-known collection. He holds 
a general licence to officiate in the Diocese of Worcester, 
is also honorary local secretary to the British and Foreign 
Blind Association, and is a member of the Executive Council 
of the College of Teachers of the Blind, for which he acted 
as one of the examiners for the year 1908. 

- BRIDGEMAN, LAUKA. This American blind, deaf girl 
was the first to concentrate the attention of the civilised 
world on the possibilities of successfully educating such 
cases. To Dr. Howe, the Principal of the Boston (Mass.) 
School for the Blind, belongs the distinction of emancipating 
the intelligence of Laura Bridgeman. The work was slow 
and tedious. Delicate of physique, Laura never rose to 
the heights of knowledge and achievement acquired by 
Helen Keller, David McLean, and a score of others so 
afflicted ; still what she did achieve was, at the time, con- 
sidered little short of miraculous. 

The most prominent blind man in England, and we may 


say in the world, at the present time, and indeed for the 
past quarter of a century, is Francis Joseph Campbell, 
the popular principal of the Royal Normal College for the 
Blind, Upper Norwood. 

He was born in Franklin County, Tennessee, on October 9, 
1832. When about three and a half years old, while at 
play, an acacia-thorn ran into his eye. Inflammation 
ensued, and both eyes were destroyed. 

A few years afterwards, his father, suffering heavy losses, 
had only a small farm remaining to him, and the whole 
family had to work early and late, with the exception of 
little Joseph, who was not expected to do anything, on 
account of his blindness. But one day, in his father's 
absence, the little lad persuaded his mother to allow him 
to help his brothers to cut wood, and his father was so 
pleased at what he had done that he bought him a new 
axe, little Joseph thus learning for the first time the 
sweetness of toil, and of being able to do something. 

In 1844 he was sent to a blind school which was opened 
at Nashville, where he learnt the embossed alphabet in 
three-quarters of an hour, thus giving a forecast of the 
marvellous persistency which has characterised his whole 

At music he was considered hopeless, and was told he 
could never learn it, but must take to basket- and brush- 
making. Determined to learn music, however, he hired 
one of the boys to give him lessons, and fifteen months 
later gained the prize for piano -play ing. 

The whipping of slaves, although quite common, produced 
in his young mind impressions of loathing and horror, 
and he became a pronounced abolitionist. His kind heart 
went out to all the dumb animals on his father's farm, he 
being especially devoted to the horses. 

As his father was too poor to give him a University 
education, he determined to educate himself, raising the 
required money by giving music lessons. The following 
year, when just sixteen, he was appointed teacher of music 


in the very institution where he had been told he could 
never learn music. 

We now find the blind boy fairly plunged into life as a 
young man, maintaining himself by music lessons, while 
he found time to continue his education in other branches, 
including mathematics, Latin, and Greek. But burning 
the candle at both ends produced the natural result, and 
young Campbell's health gave way, so that he had to 
rusticate for a while. He spent his holiday on a tree- 
felling expedition, taking his full share in the exciting but 
laborious work, thus laying the foundations for his sound 
and practical views on the value of physical exercise for 
the blind. 

On returning to Nashville, he went on a tour of the State 
to scour the country for pupils, and was able to persuade 
many reluctant parents to send their blind children to 

In 1856 he entered Harvard University, and the same 
year, in August, married a Miss Bond, of Bridgewater, and 
within a month of that day all his savings were lost through 
the failure of a firm to which he had entrusted them. Vicissi- 
tude followed vicissitude ; on one occasion he was very near 
being lynched on account of his abolitionist proclivities. 

After a short period of temporary work at the Wisconsin 
Institution for the Blind, he had to leave it, to take his 
wife for medical help to Boston, being so poor that he could 
not afford more than sixpence a day for his food. 

At this juncture his indomitable perseverance and real 
ability secured his appointment as musical instructor at 
the Perkins Institution for the Blind in Boston, then in 
charge of Dr. Howe. Here his life was one of continued 
success ; he carried out his theory of physical exercise 
conjointly with music lessons, taking his pupils daily to 
swim in the open sea, and teaching them to skate in the 

Seven years later, in the winter of 1868-9, his health 
again broke down, and, with his wife a confirmed invalid, 


he acceded to Dr. Howe's entreaties to take his wife and 
son on a tour to Europe; so in August, 1869, he set sail. 
He visited Leipsic and other conservatoires of music, learn- 
ing all he could of means and methods, and, reaching London 
again, in January, 1871, was on his way home to America, 
when he met Dr. Armitage, as told in our account of the 
Royal Normal College. 

In 1873, he lost his wife. She died in August, leaving 
him a son Mr. Guy Campbell now well known through- 
out the kingdom, not only as the vice-principal of the 
Normal College, but as a high authority on athletics. 

In 1874 Mr. Campbell took to himself a second wife in 
the person of Miss Faulkner, an American lady who had 
been one of his first lady assistants at the Normal College, 
and she it is who has been such a real helpmeet for him in 
his great work. 

A few years later the honorary degree of LL.D. was 
conferred on him by Glasgow University.* 

It is not too much to say that Sir Francis Campbell and 
the Royal Normal College have revolutionised blind educa- 
tion, especially in regard to music and physical training in 
this country. He has shown, by his own life, and by the 
successful blind men and women whom he has turned out, 
to what positions of eminence and usefulness blind people 
may attain ; and all educators of the blind, and those 
interested in the course of the welfare of the blind, owe 
him a debt of gratitude which it is impossible to estimate. 

As Mrs. Craik says, in her biography of him in her 
beautiful work, " Plain Speaking," " He makes use of all his 
opportunities." His retrospect must be of a cheering nature. 

That the King should have seen fit to include him in 
the list of Birthday Honours for 1909, by conferring a 
knighthood upon him, comes as no surprise ; the honour is 
well-deserved, both by himself and Lady Campbell. 

May they live long to enjoy it ! 

* And on October 23, 1909, the Fellowship of the Royal College of 
Teachers of the Blind was conferred upon him. 


FAWCETT, HENRY. Was born at Salisbury, Wilts, in 
the year 1833. At Cambridge he became acquainted with 
John Stuart Mill, who had a decided influence on his life. 
The loss of his sight, through the accidental discharge of 
a gun in 1858, only increased his intellectual activity. He 
was a keen sportsman, and continued an expert angler all 
his life, as well as a clever horseman. 

In 1863 he published his " Manual of Political Economy," 
which led to his appointment to the Professorship of Political 
Economy at Cambridge in the same year, a post which 
he held till his death. His lectures were published as " The 
Economic Position of the English Labourer " ; " Pauperism : 
its Causes and Remedies" ; " Free Trade and Protection," etc. 
As an economist he was content to be a faithful expositor 
of Mill. He entered Parliament as Member for Brighton, 
in 1865, as an advanced Liberal, took an independent 
attitude regarding education in 1870, but was largely 
instrumental in defeating Mr. Gladstone's Irish University 
Bill, in 1874. During the Parliament of 1874-80 he showed 
so marked an interest in Indian affairs that he became 
known as " the Member for Hindustan " ; and he also 
advocated the preservation of commons in the interests of 
agricultural labourers. In Mr. Gladstone's second adminis- 
tration he became Postmaster-General (1880), and intro- 
duced several practical reforms, such as the parcel post 
(1882) and devised many schemes to encourage thrift, 
notably the " stamp forms," to enable a shilling at a time 
to be saved in penny stamps affixed thereon, and after- 
wards credited in the Post Office Savings Bank. 

Since his death, which took place in 1884, his widow, 
the w r ell-known Mrs. Henry Fawcett, has continually 
identified herself with every movement for the amelioration 
of the condition of the blind, presiding at conferences, etc., 
and helping on the w r ork by every means in her power. 

FRASER, DR., Superintendent of the Halifax School for 
the Blind, Nova Scotia, is an example of what skill and 


perseverance can accomplish in the face of great difficulties. 
His paper on " Commercial Training of the Blind," at the 
Manchester Conference, 1908, roused great interest in the 

GILBERT, Miss. The pioneer of workshops for the 
blind. See the book on her life, by Frances Martin, pub- 
lished by Macmillan & Co. 

HENDRY, MR. Totally blind. One of the most enthu- 
siastic and successful superintendents of blind institutions 
in the world. In charge of the Industrial School for the 
Blind, Adelaide, South Australia. On his visit to this 
country, a few years ago, he impressed every one by his 
.geniality and business acumen. 

KELLER, HELEN. Probably one of the best-known 
names in the world just now, especially amongst those 
interested in the blind, is that of Helen Keller. It is not 
necessary to say much about her here, as the two books 
written by herself, "The Story of my Life," and "The 
World I Live in," published by Messrs. Hodder & 
uStoughton, London, come within the reach of all, from 
blind institution or other libraries, and give a much 
better idea of the education of this remarkable American 
blind deaf mute than can be obtained through any other 

As she herself states in the first-named book, Helen Keller 
ivas born on June 27, 1880, in Tuscumbia, a little town of 
Alabama. She is of Swiss descent through her father 
Caspar Keller, a native of Switzerland, who settled in 

From her earliest days she was a precocious child, and 
at the age of six months could say, " How d'ye " and such 
words as " tea " and " water." She walked the day she 
was a year old. 

When only eighteen monthe old she was seized with 
acute congestion of the brain and stomach, and her life 


was despaired of. She recovered, however, but was, by 
the illness, bereft of hearing and sight. 

The name of Miss Sullivan is, one may say, inseparable 
from that of Helen Keller. She was the young lady who 
was selected as the companion-teacher of the remarkable 
child, and, through her devotion, tenderness, enthusiasm, 
and skill, had the privilege of setting free the imprisoned 

The child is now a grown young woman of twenty-eight, 
has passed with distinction through Harvard University, 
and given to the world two of the most remarkable books 
of the age books that it is nothing short of an inspiration 
to read. Students of psychology will find much to ponder 
over, and those critics who dispute the possession by man- 
kind of a sixth sense will be puzzled to find any other 
satisfactory explanation of the phenomenon Helen Keller. 

DAVID BROWN. As the following account of 
this youth will show, it is not America alone that can 
boast of wonderful achievements by one bereft of hearing 
and sight. The education of David was conducted on 
entirely original lines taking the possession of a sixth 
sense as a foregone conclusion and has proved so eminently 
satisfactory, that the story of it is given here, as contained 
in a paper read at the " Deaf and Dumb Conference," in 
London, in 1903. 

David Brown McLean was born in Edinburgh on 
December 12, 1892. When five years of age both sight and 
hearing began to be affected, as the result of a cold. The 
early symptoms being neglected, disease laid a firm hold 
of both organs, and in less than a year the child was totally 
blind and deaf. 

There appears to have been a predisposition to blindness, 
however, for his maternal grandfather had two blind 
sisters, their parents being cousins. 

In his early days David led the free and active life of a 
street arab, and at the age of five must have been a most 


observant and precocious child, for he had laid in a store 
of knowledge both useful and undesirable which a more 
than ordinarily retentive memory preserved through the 
succeeding five years of silence and darkness. 

When the boy was brought to the Royal Blind Asylum 
and School, West Craigmillar, on May 13, 1901, a very 
cursory examination satisfied me that in spite of his double 
affliction David was a child of more than average intelligence, 
and I was convinced in my own mind that his was a case 
which, under careful special treatment, would develop in- 
teresting and practical results. 

He was admitted to the school as an ordinary pupil, and 
I devoted as much time and attention to him as my multi- 
farious duties would allow, carefully studying the individu- 
ality of the child and noticing his every trait and movement, 
in order that I might catch, if possible, some glimpse of an 
approach to the child's intellect. 

One habit David had which I have observed in every 
blind deaf mute child which has come under my notice 
namely, that of beating the sides of the head with the 
palms of the hands and violently flicking or pinching the 
ears. In his case, however, this peculiar habit was present 
only in a comparatively mild form, probably because his 
intellect was practically unimpaired. From my own 
observations and the reading of reports of similar cases in 
America and on the Continent, I think it is safe to assume 
that one may fairly gauge the amount and condition of the 
intellect by the violence and frequency of the paroxysms 
of this beating of the head. Where the intellect is very 
weak and the brain practically imbecile other and more 
vicious habits exhibit themselves, as biting the hands 
and fingers, often to the effusion of blood, without any 
apparent suffering being experienced. 

One child, I remember, who came under my charge 
many years ago, a little girl, Marjory Gumming, was an 
example of this kind. She was absolutely intractable and 
apparently lower in the scale of development than many 


of the brute creation. She was repulsive to a degree in 
appearance and instincts, and shrieked and screamed for 
hours without intermission. One thing only appeared to 
have a taming or quieting influence upon her, and that 
was the vibration caused by the playing of the big organ, 
which seemed sometimes to have the power even of giving 
her a certain amount of pleasure. Her biting proclivities 
were evident from the raw condition of her finger-ends, 
and were well known in some instances too well known 
by the other pupils in the school. 

In vain I attempted to rouse a spark of intellect. On 
one occasion, wishing to discover if the ticking of my watch 
in contact with the teeth would produce any effect on her, 
as I had often known it do on other blind, deaf mute children, 
I opened her mouth and let my watch rest on the lower 
incisors, when, in an instant, down came the upper jaw, and 
my poor watch was reduced to a wreck of its former self 
almost severed in two. A demoniacal laugh followed, and 
then a series of ear-splitting yells and screams. Congratu- 
lating myself that my fingers were still intact and contiguous 
to my hand, I quietly made up my mind that, the next 
time I desired to try the experiment, I would, like the con- 
jurors, borrow somebody else's watch. This by the way, 
however. I simply mention it to show that I have had 
experience with blind deaf mutes of varying intellects. 

Now, as is well known to every true teacher, the best 
way to combat bad habits and tendencies is not a negative 
but a positive one. That is, instead of devoting too much 
time and attention to the stopping of that which is objec- 
tionable, a beneficial outlet should, if possible, be discovered 
for the previously misdirected energy, and the attention 
of the pupil attracted and turned in other and useful direc- 

At the time of his admission to the school David had 
lost the power of articulate speech, and could with difficulty 
make himself understood by a few words uttered in an 
almost incoherent whisper ; whilst the only w r ay in which 


we could communicate with him was by nodding or shaking 
the head (his hand touching it) in reply to his questions, 
a very imperfect mode of communication, it is true, and 
one which .must have been puzzling and unsatisfactory to 
the little fellow. 

Poor David ! In those early days he would cry and 
scream in a most distressing fashion when left alone, and 
often when in the company of others ; whilst we could 
only look on in utter helplessness, being as unable to ask 
him the cause of his unhappiness as we were to give him 
back his sight and hearing. 

All in the house did their best to amuse and interest 
him, and in his subsequent education I have been ably 
seconded in my efforts by those assistants in whose class 
David had been placed. Toys and other objects were 
placed in his hands, and often his face would beam again 
with bright intelligence as he recognised something he had 
known when he could see. Any mechanical toy was a 
treasure to him, and his fingers would deftly examine all 
the working parts till he satisfied himself as to the con- 
struction. The sewing-machine was, from the first, a 
wonderful attraction, and he never rested till he was pro- 
moted to the position of operator thereat, but that was 
not for some months. 

His schoolwork in its first stages was purely kinder- 
garten brick-building, bead-and-wire work, etc. with a 
short time daily devoted to careful attempts on my part 
at voice-production. 

This was a more difficult task than is probably at first 
realised. Of course the boy had no conception what I 
wished him to do. In the course of giving an ordinary 
deaf mute his first lessons in articulation, the teacher can 
easily make him understand by sign and gesture that he 
is to imitate, but, when the avenue of sight is also closed, 
the difficulty is very great ; and I spent many hours before 
I succeeded in getting David to produce the articulate sound 
of " a " (" ah "). This is how I accomplished it. Following 


on orthodox lines, I began by opening his mouth and 
letting him feel that I also had opened mine ; then that 
his tongue was to be kept down like mine. Then, placing 
the back of his left hand on my larynx, I loudly sounded "a," 
much to the boy's amusement ; but no articulate or resonant 
sound escaped him. I then tried the breathing with wide 
open mouth on the back of his hand, but all to no purpose. 
At last it occurred to me that if I could make him laugh 
out aloud I should make him produce involuntarily the 
sound I wanted. By tickling him under the arms I achieved 
this, and, placing the back of his fingers on his own larynx 
at the same moment, he appeared to immediately realise 
the similarity of the vibration to that he had noticed in 
mine, and then the repetition of " a a a " caused him consider- 
able merriment. After much time and patience, and by 
the aid of many tricks and devices which came to me almost 
instinctively, I got David to say "a, 6,u," and the other 
vowels, " a " being the hardest to get ; but all the while, of 
course, he had not the slightest idea what I was after. (He 
did not appear to realise in the smallest degree that he was 
at school. He could only come in contact with one or two 
boys at a time, and he would not recognise much difference 
between them.) I could not, while he was pronouncing "a," 
point to a printed letter and make him understand by signs 
that that was the written sound. To have placed an 
embossed letter, also, under his finger would* have conveyed 
no idea whatever, because, as yet, he was totally ignorant of 
the Braille alphabet. I then proceeded to the consonants, 
many of which present almost insuperable difficulties to 
those who are deaf only ; but even at this stage my little 
pupil evinced a desire to learn, which was most encouraging 
and helpful. 

It was at this juncture that I resolved on the experiment 
which has since proved so successful in opening up an 
avenue to David's brain, and in enabling me to carry on 
his education on practical and scientific lines. 

Being thoroughly conversant with the story of the 


renowned American blind and deaf mute, Helen Keller, 
and having been for many years a firm believer in the 
theory that the transmission of nervous energy or influence 
is not confined to the body in which it is generated, but 
that brain-waves or sympathetic influence may be trans- 
mitted to a separate individual with or without physical 
contact in fact, it is my opinion that the remarkable 
achievements (shall I say reported achievements ?) of Helen 
Keller are to a very great extent simply the reflex of the 
brain action of her companion, Miss Sullivan I was 
desirous of experimenting on similar lines with my pupil, 
David McLean. 

I therefore approached my directors, with the request 
that they would provide for David a bright intelligent boy, 
in possession of all his faculties, to be his constant companion 
in work and in play. My board of directors invited me 
to appear before them to state my case and explain my 
views and theories on the matter. This I did, with the 
result that that body of ladies and gentlemen became 
thoroughly and sympathetically interested in my project, 
and agreed to allow me to try the experiment for three 

After interviewing several applicants for the post, I 
selected a smart young fellow, Robert Brunton, aged twelve, 
and in September, 1901, he entered on his duties. My 
modus operandi was as follows : 

When David came to me for his morning lesson in articu- 
lation and lip-reading, Robert stood beside him, with strict 
injunctions to keep his mind firmly fixed on the work in 
hand. If I were teaching David a new sound, syllable, or 
word, then Robert had to think intently of that and nothing 
else, keeping one hand on David's head or shoulder all the 
time. And, while I used David's right hand on my larynx, 
his left was placed on Robert's lips, who was enunciating 
the same sound that I was trying to make David imitate. 
The effect of this double concentration of effort was, from 
the first, little short of magical. The essential sounds of 


most of the letters of the alphabet were mastered in a few 
weeks. Short words of one syllable followed, then longer 
words of one syllable, and finally dissyllables. Words of 
two or more syllables were at first a puzzle to him, but by 
means of a simple device the difficulty was surmounted. 
One syllable was taught, and we made believe that it was- 
placed in one of David's hands ; the second syllable was 
treated likewise ; then the two hands placed side by side. 
The idea seemed to strike him at once, and he pronounced 
the desired word. After that, by this simple means, more 
words were rapidly taught and learned, it being very notice- 
able, even to outsiders, that, when Robert was present to* 
act as medium, David learned very much more quickly 
and intelligently than when alone. 

Before losing his sight David had been for a few weeks 
at school, and fortunately remembered the forms of some 
letters of the alphabet large roman. This was discovered 
by putting into his hands O, S, T, and some other of the 
easiest letters cut out of thick cardboard, in the hope that 
he might possibly recognise them, and I was more than 
delighted to find that he did. I then proceeded to give him 
the equivalent characters in Braille to feel, and at the 
same time taught him to pronounce the letter or its phonetic 
sound. This was a slow and tedious work, and it was 
many weeks before the idea began to dawn on his mind that 
there was any connection between the Braille character, 
the roman letter, and his articulation. 

By and by the deaf and dumb manual alphabet was 
added. I can most conscientiously assert that I do not 
think I should ever have achieved success and surmounted 
these initial difficulties so perfectly without the aid of the 
auxiliary mental concentration provided, in this case, by 
the boy Robert. 

Often half an hour would be spent to little or no purpose r 
David appearing restless and impatient the while as if 
groping in the dark after something ; then suddenly he 
would brighten up, with an intelligent light beaming all 


over his face, and he would take his lesson as fast as I could 
give it for ten minutes or a quarter of an hour, and as 
suddenly the light would go out, and no more could be done 
for that time. Surely convincing evidence of the truth 
and trustworthiness of the theory on which I was working. 

David learned to write the letters of the Braille alphabet 
and to spell on his fingers simultaneously, and by the time 
he had had four months of my special course of instruction 
he was able to copy from a simple Braille book, and to read 
little words, enunciating them fairly, though imperfectly, 
every syllable having to be taught in the manner I have 

When he was preparing a reading lesson, Robert sat 
beside him, with strict orders to keep his eyes on David's 
fingers and his mind concentrated on the word they rested 
upon ; and at these times it was nothing short of marvellous 
to notice that, although not physically touching each other, 
if Robert happened to turn his head or allow his attention 
to wander, David would at once turn on him with impatience 
and give him to understand that he was failing in his duty. 
It was just as if the little fellow were, so to speak, reading 
in a good light while he had the aid of Robert's concentra- 
tion and sympathetic influence, and, when Robert ceased 
to attend, a cloud came over the sun. 

When nine months had passed, and the summer holidays 
drew near, David was a very different child from the David 
of the previous year. He was bright and happy all day 
long, interested in everybody and everything, in school and 
out ; had learned and could pronounce the names of almost 
all the pupils and officials, and many of the directors of the 
institution, and was beginning to take information from 
others spelling on his hands. The learning of people's 
names was an interesting and apparently very amusing 
process to the little chap. Our lady superintendent's 
name is Miss Henderson, and the first stage in teaching this 
name was, of course, to get the syllable " Hen." This was 
somewhat easy, for, after a little time being spent, a stuffed 



hen produced, and in addition, an egg, the eager brain put 
two and two together, and memory coming to his aid, and 
helped by articulation and spelling of the word, he pro- 
nounced the syllable " Hen." He then burst into a merry 
laugh, and, turning to the lady, called her " Mrs. Hen." 
The idea tickled him so that it was no use to attempt more 
that day, and for many days that was the name of the lady 
superintendent whenever he spoke of or to her, always with 
an amused smile on his face. 

My name was, of course, out of all question at this stage, 
so I taught him to call me " Master," and thereafter for 
months I was " Mr. Master," and my wife " Mrs. Master." 
Now, however, he pronounces my name better than many 
people with all their faculties. 

He is never more happy than in the gymnasium, which 
at first he called the " Trick-room," and gymnastics he 
termed " tricks." Now, however, he is proud to speak of 
the " Jimmynasium," the extra syllable, so common in 
the enunciation of the deaf, being very difficult to eradicate 
in his pronunciation of this word ; and he is now quite a 
passable gymnast. 

During the past session his progress has been phenomenal. 
He reads with ease and fairly correct pronunciation from a 
Second Standard Reading Book, writes a passable letter 
of good composition in Braille, works addition and sub- 
traction sums, makes pretty little articles in bead and 
wire work, knits a stocking, sews a seam, and works the 
sewing-machine with ease and pleasure ; last, but not least, 
he is making good headway with typewriting. He has 
this year carried off the good conduct prize for boys, and 
the second knitting prize. 

At a sale of work held in the Freemasons' Hall last autumn 
it was a source of great interest to see little David sitting 
at a Singer's sewing-machine, stitching towels and sheets, 
and his work was in great demand. 

David has a keen sense of humour, and is fond of playing 
little pranks on those whom he knows well. He is a uni- 


versal favourite, and bids fair to become a most intelligent 
and useful member of society. 

In conclusion, I would remark that it is commonly 
believed by the laity that blind people in general enjoy a 
peculiar compensation in the form of acute hearing, or in 
the possession of some other remarkable faculty to make 
up for their loss of sight. But this idea is as erroneous as 
the prevalent supposition that all blind people are gifted with 
a special taste for music, and that blind people never smoke. 

Of course there is no doubt that blindness tends to a 
higher and more perfect development of the sense of hearing 
even in the uneducated, on the same principle that Nature 
almost always comes to the aid of her children in providing 
protective agencies of one kind or another even in the very 
lowest organisms ; and, naturally, in the case of those who 
are blind, the sense of hearing is the first to fall back upon 
for this purpose. Thus it becomes more highly developed, 
simply because there is more frequent call upon and exercise 
of that sense. 

But in the case of the highly trained and educated, or of 
the super-sensitive blind, there is another sense developed. 
This sense is an indefinable one those even of the blind 
who possess it in the highest degree are unable to say in 
what it consists ; the nearest approach to a definition which 
I have been able to obtain is, "an exceedingly subtle kind 
of instinct that enables a blind individual to detect the 
presence or proximity of a person or object under circum- 
stances of absolute silence, and very often to know the 
nature of the object, as, for instance, a van, a lamp-post, 
or a wall ; not only so, but to state very approximately the 
distance of such object from them." 

In my own mind I have not the smallest doubt that this 
is, shall we say, a sixth sense, which is possessed by us all 
in a latent and undeveloped form undeveloped because 
one who can see has no need to make use of such a reserve 
force or power ; and I am further of opinion that this 
remarkable power is of electrical origin. 


Further, if those deprived of one sense, but still possessed 
of an active brain and intellect (the two terms are by no 
means synonymous), are able to draw upon the resources 
of nature to supply the deficiency for protective purposes 
in the first instance, and later for their individual comfort 
and convenience how much more those who are doubly 
deprived ? Helen Keller in America, and David McLean 
in Scotland, are living proofs that such is the case ; and, as 
I have already stated, to my personal knowledge the latter 
has frequently received impressions and information which 
can be accounted for in no other way than on the brain- 
wave theory, call it electropathy, telepathy, sympathetic 
influence, or what you will. I do not attempt to explain 
it. It is there, and cannot be gainsaid. The whole subject 
is as yet in its infancy, but, to use a common Scotch proverb, 
" Facts are chiels 'at winna ding," and what I have per- 
sonally witnessed with my own eyes in my attempts to 
develop the intellect of David McLean inspires me with 
renewed confidence that my method is the correct and 
scientific one. W. HY. ILLINGWOETH. 

McNEiLE, The REV. N. F., Vicar of Brafferton, Yorkshire. 
Probably one of the best-known and most esteemed and 
beloved blind men of the day. His genial presence and 
humorous and pithy speeches always attract attention at 
our Conferences, and arouse interest in the great work of 
which he is such an ardent supporter. 

Was born at Knaresborough in 1716. He lost his sight 
through smallpox, when he was six years of age. At 
fifteen he was employed to dive for the bodies of two 
drowned men in the River Nidd, and succeeded in 
bringing one of them up. He also dived for and brought 
up two packs of yarn, which were sunk in 21 feet of water. 
He rode and won a race on his own horse, and, enlisting, 
in 1745, in Thornton's troop, fought at Culloden and else- 
where. He afterwards acted as a guide for belated travellers, 


and drove a stage-wagon between York and Knaresborough. 
After studying mensuration and engineering he became a 
projector and surveyor of roads and bridges. Amongst other 
works he built Bo rough bridge, and made roads through 
Yorkshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire, and Cheshire. With 
the assistance of only a long staff he traversed the roads, 
ascended precipices, explored valleys, investigating their 
several extents, forms, and situations, so as to further his 
projects in the best manner. Most of the roads of the 
Peak of Derbyshire have been altered by his direction, 
particularly those in the vicinity of Buxton. This extra- 
ordinary man lived to the advanced age of eighty-five, 
possessed of his mental faculties to the last.* 

PLATER, MR. J. J. Is one of those men who have carved 
their way through life by a proper use of their natural 
gifts. He was born at Rugby in 1839, and came to the 
Midland metropolis on attaining his seventh year. When 
he was nine years of age he enjoyed the benefits of free 
education, in return for setting the copies in the copy 
books at school, being an admirable caligraphist. At 
twelve he took a position as clerk in a business house. 
He remained here to the satisfaction of himself and his 
employers until he reached his twentieth year, when he 
passed through a serious illness which resulted in the total 
loss of sight. 

Entering the Birmingham Institution for the Blind, 
with the intention of adopting music as a profession, he 
found that it would take too many of the best years 
of his life to qualify himself for the position either of organist 
or teacher of music ; and so, under the circumstances, he 
adopted basket-making, feeling that in this branch of business 
at any rate he was free to an open market for the sale of his 
goods, and could give value for money, and perhaps find 
employment for others. After a few years he left the 
Blind Institution, with the best wishes of all with whom 

* Abridged from Bull's "Sense Denied," pp. 103-7. 


he had been brought into contact, to make another start 
in life. During the next few years he worked incessantly. 
His hours were, during the first year, from six in the morning 
till twelve midnight, with only very brief intervals for 
rest and food. In due course his industry was rewarded. 
As his goods became better known, the demand for them 
increased. It then became necessary for Mr. Plater to 
employ other hands. From that time his business has 
steadily prospered, until at the present moment it is one of 
the largest concerns of the kind throughout the kingdom. 

Naturally he takes a deep interest in the blind, and has 
done much locally and otherwise, both by example and 
influence, for their advancement and well-being, taking 
a prominent part in all the various Conferences that have 
been held on their behalf. He was examined before the 
Royal Commission on the Education of the Blind, and 
was complimented upon the practical information he gave 
during the two hours he was under examination. 

He takes a keen interest in local, social, and political life. 
He is one of the vice-presidents, and an active supporter of 
both the Sparkhill Institute and Sparkhill Ladies' Cricket 
Clubs, and during the season frequently attends the 
matches. He was one of the first members of the Sparkhill 
and Greet Institute, and was re-elected chairman of the 
trustees at the last annual meeting. In 1891 he was elected 
an overseer of the highways of the parish. He was chair- 
man of the council of the South Birmingham Parliamentary 
Divisional Liberal Association for seven years, a member 
of the management committee of the Birmingham Liberal 
Association, and a member of the executive committee of 
the East Worcestershire Liberal Association. 

In his business he makes it a practice to beat every previous 
year's record. Mr. Plater discharges his various and varied 
duties conscientiously and well ; he manifests an active, 
not merely a passive, interest in the institutions with which 
he is connected, and it is scarcely to be marvelled at, there- 
fore, that his services are in great demand. With all his 


activity, Mr. Plater preserves a very evenly balanced 
temperament. He is genial to a fault, straightforward, 
generous, and candid, possesses plenty of tact, and can 
invariably give a Roland for an Oliver. In short, he 
possesses all the characteristics of an Englishman of the 
old school, and does his level best to make the world the 
better for his living in it. 

RANGER, DR. Alfred Washington Guest Ranger, M.A., 
D.C.L. Oxon., eldest son of the late Josiah Ranger, formerly 
of Ashdown Park, Sussex, was born at Brislington, 
Somersetshire, March 9, 1848. Educated at Bristol Gram- 
mar School, and having completely lost his sight at the age 
of fifteen, he entered the College for the Higher Education 
of the Blind, Worcester, and then graduated at Worcester 
College, Oxford. First Class Honours at Jurisprudence 
School, 1875, and again for the B.C.L., 1876; proxime accessit, 
Vinerian Law Scholarship, 1878; graduated B.A. 1876, 
M.A. and B.C.L. 1879, D.C.L. 1871 ; Solicitor, admitted 
1879 ; senior partner of the firm of Ranger, Burton & 
Frost, Langbourn Chambers, 17, Fenchurch Street. Married, 
1893, Alice Elizabeth, daughter of the late Jonathan 
Chambers, of Bendigo, Victoria. Dr. Ranger is, and has 
for many years been, an active member of the British 
and Foreign Blind Association. 

ROBERTSON, SIR TINDAL. At one time M.P. for Brighton 
and a member of the Gardner's Trust Committee. Founded 
the Brighton Blind Missionary Fund. 

TAYLOR, HENRY MARTYN. Was born at Bristol on June 6, 
1842. In 1847 he began to attend the Grammar School 
of Queen Elizabeth at Wakefield in Yorkshire, of which 
school his father, the Rev. James Taylor, M.A. (afterwards 
D.D.), had just been appointed headmaster. In October, 
1861, he entered at Trinity College, Cambridge, where, in 
January, 1865, he graduated as Third Wrangler, and shortly 
afterwards obtained the Second Smith's Prize. 

During the next four years Mr. Taylor was Vice-Principal 


of the Royal School of Naval Architecture and Marine 
Engineering at South Kensington, where he was employed 
in the winter months in teaching mathematics to the 
students. He spent the rest of the year in the study of 
law, and was called to the Bar by the Society of Lincoln's 
Inn in the autumn of 1869, but never practised. Recalled 
to his college in 1869, of which he had been elected a Fellow 
in October, 1866, he was placed on the teaching-staff of 
the college as Lecturer in Mathematics. He on many oc- 
casions examined in the annual examination of his college, 
as well as in those for Scholarships and Fellowships. 

In the University Mr. Taylor has served on many " syn- 
dicates," has held the offices of pro-proctor and proctor, 
and has examined five times in the Mathematical Tripos 

Mr. Taylor's sight although he had always been short- 
sighted, and also markedly colour-blind to green and red- 
was clear and keen until May, 1894, when it began to fail 
rapidly, and since the summer of that year he has been 
quite unable to see to read or write. 

Mr. Taylor followed the advice he then received, not to 
give up any of his occupations unless compelled to do so. 
With the help of friends he completed his edition of Euclid, 
and since his blindness he has written several mathematical 
papers, one of which, " On a Method of Plotting out on a 
Chart the Great Circle Route between any Two Points," 
attracted some attention at the Liverpool meeting of the 
British Association in 1896. 

In 1898 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. 
Having for some years been a University representative 
on the Borough of Cambridge Council, he was elected one 
of the University Aldermen ; and in the year 1900-1 he 
served the office of Mayor of Cambridge. In 1903 his 
name was placed permanently on the Commission of the 
Peace for the borough. 

As a member of the British Braille Committee from 
1902 to 1905, he did yeoman service in the revision of 


Braille. In 1903 he joined the Executive Council of the 
British and Foreign Blind Association, of which he is still 
a member, and through his influence an important work 
on algebra has been published by that body in Braille. 

In consequence of the dearth of embossed books of a 
scientific character, Mr. Taylor, in the autumn of 1907, 
started a fund called the Embossed Scientific Books Fund, 
with a view to the publication in Braille of books of a 
scientific character, at prices within the reach of the blind. 
He has already written out in Braille the first copy of 
four small works on the following subjects : " Sound 
and Music," " Astronomy," " Geology," and " Trigono- 
metry," forming nine volumes in all. 

TOWSE, CAPT., V.C. Vice-Chairman of the British and 
Foreign Blind Association, and one of His Majesty's Gentle- 
men-at-Arms. Lost his sight in the South African war 
by a bullet shot. His Victoria Cross bears two inscriptions 
for conspicuous bravery in the Boer war first at Magers- 
fontein, where he carried the body of Col. Downham from 
the fighting- line, and again for his famous charge with 
the Gordons, which cost him both eyes. Immediately on 
his return to this country he studied Braille, and interested 
himself in the education of the blind. He was a member 
of the British Braille Committee, and takes a very active 
part in the work of the Association. 

VIVIAN, GLYNN. Known as " The Blind Philanthropist." 
Has done much for the blind in the neighbourhood of 


SCOTLAND, 1891. The Act for the Compulsory Education 
of Blind and Deaf Children from five to sixteen years of 
age in Scotland was passed in 1890 and came into force in 
January, 1891. 

Thus a distinct epoch was marked in the progress of 
the cause of the education of the blind by far the most 


important epoch in the history of that community. It 
carried with it, for the benefit of all blind schools certified 
by the Scotch Education Department, a capitation grant 
of 3 3s. per annum for each child satisfying the requirements 
of the Code in elementary subjects, and a further sum of 
2 2s. per head for efficiency in manual work. 

ENGLAND, 1893. A similar Act came into force in 
England, in January, 1893, the Board of Education 
giving the same amount in capitation grants as the Scotch 
Education Department, on the same conditions being 

IRELAND. It is a matter for surprise and much regret 
that no provision of this kind is yet made in Ireland. Sad 
to relate, however, for many years after 1893, both in 
England and Scotland, school-boards, as they then were, 
remained in actual ignorance of their responsibilities under 
these Acts ; whilst many others wilfully ignored or neglected 
to send the blind children in their respective areas to- 
certified schools. 

At the present day, even, one meets with cases of isolated 
education authorities who are absolutely unaware that 
the duty of attending to the education and maintenance, 
if necessary, of blind children devolves upon them. 


It is important that all teachers of the blind should 
know that under the English Education Act, 1902, Part II. 
(Higher Education), local education authorities are 
empowered to continue the education of blind children 
above the age of sixteen, in respect of higher education,* 
in properly certified schools. They have also the powers 
to adopt cases over the age of sixteen who have had no 
previous training ; so that blind persons unable to pay 

* That is " education other than elementary," which, of course, includes 
all forms of technical training. 


for their maintenance and instruction in trades suitable to 
their respective cases no longer need to pauperise them- 
selves by appealing to the Guardians for the aid they require. 

For this broad interpretation of the Act the blind of 
this country are indebted to Mr. Henry Stainsby, who, 
for a long period prior thereto, engaged in a clever and 
persistent correspondence with the Board of Education on 
the subject of facilities for blind young people of both 
sexes obtaining adequate technical training after they 
have passed school age. 

A further step in this direction was attained a year or 
two later, when the Board of Education expressed their 
willingness to recognise certain institutions as technological 
schools, under condition that they complied with the 
requirements of the Department as set forth in the " Regula- 
tions for Day Technical Classes." A substantial capitation 
grant is paid on the satisfactory report of H.M. Inspector, 
and this greatly assists in providing efficient instruction. 

The first institution to be so recognised was the Midland 
Institution for the Blind, Nottingham, and Mr. H. W. P. 
Pine, the worthy secretary and superintendent of that 
institution, deserves great credit for his pioneer work in 
this direction. 

Henshaw's Blind Asylum followed suit in 1906, and 
now several other institutions are similarly recognised. 
All learners over sixteen years of age are eligible as 
grant-earners that is to say, they may be entered as 
pupils in the technological department, under the Board 
of Education. 

This is the right direction in which to look for State Aid ; 
and there is little doubt that if those responsible for the 
proper conduct and equipment of the technical departments 
of the blind schools and institutions of this country realise 
their responsibilities, and make the most of the opportunities 
already afforded, the results achieved will stimulate the 
Board of Education to still further open their purse-strings, 
and increase the facilities at present granted by them. 



25 & 26 Viet. (1862), cap. 43, sects. 1, 10. 

30 & 31 Viet. (1867), cap. 106, sect. 21. 

31 & 32 Viet. (1868), cap. 122, sect. 42. 
42 & 43 Viet. (1879), cap. 54, sect. 10. 
45 & 46 Viet. (1882), cap. 58, sect. 13. 


LIVERPOOL. The first asylum and school of instruction 
for the blind in this country was established at Liverpool 
in 1790. It was set on foot by the Rev. Henry Dannet, 
the Rev. John Smyth, and others, the object set forth 
being, " to render the blind happy in themselves and 
useful to society." 

EDINBURGH, 1793. Three years later the Edinburgh 
Blind Asylum was founded, by Dr. Johnstone, a minister 
of North Leith, aided by Mr. David Miller, a teacher in 

The chief object of the founders was to teach the blind a 
trade, so that they might, if possible, maintain themselves 
by their own industry. 

At first the house was an asylum ; then there was added 
a school for young blind persons. As the institution grew, 
and more commodious premises were required, the location 
was moved from one part of the city to another several 
times. From these humble beginnings the present Royal 
Blind Asylum and School, with its magnificent educational 
establishment for juveniles, and asylum for women at 
West Craigmillar, and its extensive workshops and sale- 
room in Nicolson Street, has developed. 

BRISTOL. This was established in 1793, under the title 
of " Bristol Asylum or Industrial School for the Blind," 
its object being, " not to employ the blind after being 


educated, but teach them the means of getting a living 
by work." 


GEORGE'S-IN-THE-FIELDS, 1799. Founded by Messrs. Ware, 
Bosanquet, Boddington, and Houlston. The object was to 
teach the pupils a trade, so that they might gain a sub- 
sistence wholly or in part. 

A few years ago the establishment at St. George 's-in-the- 
Fields was sold, and the pupils removed to their magnificent 
new institution at Leatherhead. 

DUBLIN. The Richmond National Institution for the 
Blind was founded in 1810, " to provide a Protestant home 
for blind male children and adults, and instruction in trades. " 

A complete list of all the institutions and charities for 
the blind in this country will be found in the little green 
book, " Information with regard to Institutions, etc., for 
the Blind," edited by Mr. Henry J. Wilson, Secretary of 
the Gardner Trust, 53, Victoria Street, Westminster, and 
obtainable from him, price 4<f. post free. Every teacher 
of the blind should possess one of these little books, which 
contains also a wealth of information valuable to those 
engaged in blind work. 


Without wishing to be in the slightest degree invidious, 
it is desirable to make special mention of this world-renowned 
institution, which, under its remarkable blind Principal, 
Sir F. J. Campbell, and his clever wife, has attained so 
conspicuous a degree of success in itself, and done so much 
to stimulate the cause of the higher education of the blind 
all over the world. 

The following account of the establishment of this 
wonderful institution is extracted from Dr. Campbell's 
Report on the College for 1890 : 

" Twenty years ago to-day, January 20th, I arrived in 


England, on my way from Germany to the United States, 
intending to sail from Liverpool on the 23rd. On the 
evening of my first day in London I visited a blind tea- 
meeting, at which hundreds of blind persons were present. 
A number of blind speakers took part in the meeting, and 
at first I was much impressed by the apparent happiness 
and contentment of these poor people. Little by little, 
however, the truth dawned upon me, as I moved about 
among the men and women, asking and answering questions. 
Before I left the room, the burden of the blind poor of 
this great metropolis rested heavily upon me. I was 
satisfied that many of those with whom I conversed might 
have been independent men and women if they could have 
had suitable advantages early in life. They frankly stated 
that, with few exceptions, they were all charity pensioners, 
and I was told that, out of 3,150 blind persons then in 
London, nearly 2,300 depended upon charitable relief. 

" I arranged next morning to defer my sailing until a 
later steamer, and called upon the late Dr. Armitage, to 
whom I had a letter of introduction from the Rev. W. 
Davidson, of Berlin. After a short conversation, Dr. 
Armitage invited me to dine with him. During the evening 
he gave me a full account of his work in connection with 
the Indigent Blind Visiting Society and the British and 
Foreign Blind Association. In 1868, Dr. Armitage, being 
aware of the great improvements which had been made 
in the education of the blind in other countries, founded 
the British and Foreign Blind Association. Dr. Armitage 
also showed me a paper which he had read before the 
Society of Arts on the importance of pianoforte-tuning as 
an employment for the blind, and on the desirability of 
introducing into all schools for the blind in the United 
Kingdom the Braille musical notation, which had been 
used for many years in Paris, with marked success. He 
urged that piano-tuning, and other branches of the profession 
of music, promised better remuneration to the blind than 
any other occupation ; but, to train them successfully in 
music, it was necessary to provide a better education than 
that hitherto obtainable in our institutions. 

" After Dr. Armitage had given me an account of the 
efforts he was making on behalf of the blind, he wished 
me to tell him of my work in connection with Dr. S. G. 


Howe, at the Perkins Institute for the Blind, Boston. 
When I went to Boston in 1858, I urged that the higher 
musical education of the blind should be made a principal 
feature in the institution, and that in the future the institu- 
tion should take the initiative in obtaining employment 
for its pupils. I pointed out that the failure of the blind 
in the profession of music was due to the following reasons : 
(1) In the selection of pupils the musical ear rather than 
the mental capacity was considered. (2) The physical 
and intellectual powers of the musical students were not 
developed. (3) The musical instruction was insufficient 
both in quantity and quality. (4) The opportunity of hear- 
ing music in its highest forms was not afforded them. As 
an experiment a test was made with a class of twenty 
pupils. The candidates were first examined in literature, 
history, mathematics, etc., and if they did not show at least 
average mental capacity their musical qualifications were not 
tested. The twenty were selected, the training given, and 
nineteen out of the twenty became not only self-sustaining, 
but men and women of great activity and usefulness. 

;t Dr. Armitage read with much interest the scheme 
which I had drawn up for establishing a musical conserva- 
toire for the blind, in connection with one of the leading 
American Universities. He urged me to make London the 
field rather than America. We arranged to visit the existing 
schools and institutions, with the hope of inducing them 
to adopt new methods of training. 

: ' With him I visited all the schools, workshops, classes, 
and religious meetings for the blind to-day in Pimlico, 
to-morrow in the New Cut, the day after at the East End. 
We spent many hours in these classes ; all wished to consult 
him. He patiently heard, then kindly advised and com- 
forted ; he ministered alike to body and soul work, food, 
clothing, medicines, and heavenly truths were all in his 
never-failing store. Sometimes he chided for idleness or 
neglect of duty, but his chiding never became scolding ; 
it was earnest, thoughtful, and prayerful ; it rarely ever 
failed in its purpose. After hours of what would have 
been weary work for any one whose heart was not filled 
to overflowing with love for those whom he was serving, 
he would stand by the door and give all the poor people 
a kind parting word. He possessed the rare and wonderful 


gift of making the humblest and most ignorant feel that 
it was his special pleasure to talk with them. His happy 
manner and pleasant words were like sunshine, and cheered 
even the most forlorn. 

" It was during those first weeks and months that I learned 
to appreciate and love his noble character, beautiful life, 
and self-sacrificing spirit. Like the Master, he went about 
doing good. 

" After various meetings and consultations, some of the 
most active friends of the blind the late Mr. Hornsby 
Wright, Mr. Edward Lawrence, Mr. B. F. Ward, and others 
considered it would be inexpedient to try such a plan 
in one of the old institutions ; they strongly advised that 
an independent experiment should be made, and it was 
resolved to make the effort. At one time the discourage- 
ments were so great, the movement was practically given 
up. On a certain Saturday afternoon Dr. Armitage and 
I had, as we supposed, our last walk in the Park. I returned 
to Richmond, and on Sunday spent several hours in a 
quiet nook in Kew Gardens. The long meditation did 
not show even a faint path, and early Monday morning 
packing was commenced. During breakfast the morning 
letters were brought, and the first opened was from William 
Mather, Esq., M.P. for Gorton. It was to this effect : 
' Since your visit to Manchester I have thought much of 
what you said about the higher education and training of 
the blind. I wish to do my share, and enclose a cheque 
for the purpose. If more help is needed write to me.' 
Mr. Mather's letter gave a new inspiration. I immediately 
returned to London, and the result is well known. 

" Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, and Edinburgh 
were visited ; Dr. Armitage, Professor Fawcett, Mr. Law- 
rence, Mr. Miner, and Mr. Tebb wrote letters to the Times and 
other papers. On August 16th, at the rooms of the Charity 
Organisation Society, Mount Street, by the special exertion 
of Mr. C. A. Miner, a provisional committee was formed, 
and on November 14th, the 3,000 having been raised, of 
which Dr. Armitage gave 1,000, an executive committee 
was appointed. 

" The Royal Normal College, and the practical results 
of its work, testify to the untiring zeal, earnest devotion, 
and liberal policy of this committee and its successors. 


A governing body was constituted, of which His Grace 
the Duke of Westminster became president, and the late 
Lord Shaftesbury, the late Lord Lichfield, the late Right 
Hon. W. H. Smith, M.P., and the late Geo. Moore, Esq., 
trustees . 

" Her Majesty the Queen graciously consented to become 
patron ; H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, K.G., H.R.H. the 
Princess of Wales, H.R.H. Alfred Duke of Saxe-Coburg 
and Gotha (Duke of Edinburgh), K.G., H.R.I.H. the Duchess 
of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Duchess of Edinburgh), H.R.H. 
the Princess Louise (Marchioness of Lome), H.R.H. the 
Duke of Connaught, K.G., and H.R.H. the Princess 
Frederica, vice-patrons. 

" Scholarship committees were formed in Liverpool, 
Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Bristol. On 
March 1st, 1872, the school was opened near the Crystal 

" On June 21st, 1873, our beautiful freehold property of 
six acres was purchased. Dr. Armitage contributed liberally 
towards our library, gave the large organ in the music- 
hall, built and equipped the boys' gymnasium, erected 
our swimming-bath, and always took the lead when money 
was required. Being practically blind, he thoroughly 
understood my difficulties, and consequently my special 
plans of working. It is mainly due to him that I have had 
the opportunity of organising and perfecting our plans 
and methods for educating and training the blind. Without 
Dr. Armitage, the Royal Normal College would never 
have been founded. 

" The influence of the College is not limited to the young 
men and women who have been educated and established 
in business. During recent years, representatives have 
been sent from other countries to examine our work, and 
leading institutions, both at home and abroad, are adopting 
our methods, introducing well-arranged gymnasiums, rinks, 
swimming-baths, cycles, and shops for elementary technical 

" I cannot close this sketch without an expression of grate- 
ful appreciation to the Committee of the Gardner Trust, by 
whose liberal aid the College was able to establish the 
primary and technical schools. 

' Through the Gardner Scholarships, many of the very 



poorest blind boys and girls are receiving a practical educa- 
tion and training, which is lifting them out of the charity 
class and placing them in positions of independence and 


" Committee : The Right Hon. Lord Kinnaird ; Mr. A. P. S. Beaumont ; 
Mr. W. S. Seton-Karr ; The Right Hon. Lord Belhaven and Stenton ; 
Mr. P. Lyttelton Gell : Mr. Douglas C. Richmond, C.B. ; Mr. W. F. 
Lawrence. Secretary : Mr. Henry J. Wilson. Office : 53, Victoria Street, 
Westminster, London, S.W. 

" The ' Gardner Trust for the Blind ' is the Trust created 
by the will of the late Mr. Henry Gardner, of 1, Westbourne 
Terrace, Hyde Park, who, at his death on January 9, 1879, 
left the sum of 300,000, free of legacy duty, for the benefit 
of blind persons residing in England or Wales. 

" In order that the Fund should be employed in the best 
possible way, and in accordance with the wishes of the 
testator, the matter was referred to the Court of Chancery, 
where a scheme for the administration of the Fund, dated 
January 20, 1882, was drawn up and approved.* In 
pursuance of an application from the committee, the Board 
of Charity Commissioners for England and Wales issued 
an order on February 23, 1894, varying the scheme of 
the Trust, which has the effect of constituting four general 
headings for the distribution of the income of the Fund, 
after payment of the necessary expenses of management, 
viz. : 

" 1. Two-ninths shall be applied in instructing the blind 
in the profession of music. 

"2. Two-ninths shall be applied in instructing the blind 
in suitable trades, handicrafts, and professions other than 
the profession of music. 

" 3. Two other of such nine equal parts shall be applied 

* The committee appointed by the testator consisted of his daughter, 
Mrs. Richardson Gardner ; the then Bishop of London (Dr. Jackson) ; 
Lord Kinnaird (the late) ; the Hon. A. F. Kinnaird (the present Lord) ; 
and Mr. A. P. S. Beaumont. By the deed of trust, the committee must 
never exceed seven in number. The late Lord Kinnaird was appointed 
chairman, and filled that office till his death in 1887, when he was succeeded 
by the present chairman, Mr. W. S. Seton-Karr. Mr. Henry J. Wilson 
was elected on February 21, 1882, to the position of secretary, which he 
still holds. 


in providing pensions for the poor and deserving blind 
who may be incapable of earning their livelihood. 

" 4. The remaining three of such nine equal parts shall be 
applied in such manner as the committee think best for 
the benefit of the blind. 

" The committee, who meet, as a rule, on the first Tuesday 
in each month, and oftener when necessary, have absolute 
discretion in managing and carrying into effect the scheme 
of the charity, in strict accordance with these provisions. 

"All applications should be made to the secretary, either 
personally or by letter, at the office, and not to members 
of the committee. 

" A report of the Trust is published annually, and a copy 
an be obtained on application to the secretary. 

" In administering the Fund, the committee desire as far 
.as possible 

" (a) To make grants from this Fund the means of eliciting 
the contributions or assistance of other persons and societies. 

" (6) To give to the persons aided such assistance as will 
call out their own exertions, and put them in the way 
of maintaining themselves ; but this is not meant to apply 
to the cases of persons who are considered fit subjects for 

" (c) To avoid such application of the Fund as will merely 
do that which would otherwise be done by the parochial 

" No person is disqualified from receiving assistance by 
reason of his religious opinions ; but no person can receive 
assistance unless the committee are first satisfied that he 
is of good moral character and in real need of help from 
the Fund. 

" The following information will be useful to persons 
seeking assistance from the Trust : 

"1. INSTRUCTION in trades, handicrafts, and professions, 
including music. 

" (a) Scholarships of different values from 20 to 60 
a year are founded at the Universities, at various institu- 
tions, and, as vacancies occur from time to time, blind 
persons between the ages of sixteen and twenty-seven, 
who are desirous of becoming candidates, should make 
application to the secretary of the Trust, in order that 
their names may be registered. No person is permitted 


to compete for any scholarship unless the committee are first 
satisfied that he has such health and strength of body and 
mind as will enable him to pursue his studies to advantage. 

" The scholarship does not cover, as a rule, the entire 
cost of the pupil's expenses at the institution. In the 
first instance, the scholar is sent for three months on trial, 
and the committee reserve to themselves the power of 
declaring the scholarship vacant, if the result be unsatis- 
factory to them ; if, however, the result be satisfactory, 
the scholar holds his scholarship for a year from the time 
that he entered the institution, and then is re-elected from 
year to year, provided that the committee, at the expira- 
tion of each year, are satisfied, by such evidence as they 
may require, that the scholar has shown capacity, and 
applied himself diligently to his studies, and has other- 
wise conducted himself in a satisfactory manner, and is 
in need of further instruction. The decision of the com- 
mittee as to the re-election of a scholar or otherwise is 
final and conclusive. 

" (b) Assistance by way of contribution is given to insti- 
tutions undertaking the instruction of the blind, and also 
to individual blind persons above the age of sixteen years 
who are unable to meet the whole expense of such instruction. 

" 2. PENSIONS. Grants by way of pension are made 
without restriction as to age. 

" Persons in receipt of parochial relief are, by one of the 
regulations drawn up by the committee for their general 
guidance, ineligible. No assistance is given to street 
musicians, and the intermarriage of blind persons is much 
deprecated. In the ' Report of the Royal Commission on the 
Blind, the Deaf and Dumb, etc.,' it is recommended that 
the intermarriage of the blind should be strongly dis- 
couraged. Every applicant should, in the first instance, 
send his name in full, age, and address, to the secretary, 
and state the average amount of his weekly income and 
from what sources it is derived. A letter from the clergy- 
man of the parish in which the applicant lives, or from 
the minister of the chapel which he attends, should also 
be sent to the secretary, giving full particulars, and certifying 
from personal knowledge that the applicant is of good 
character, thoroughly deserving, and in real need of assist- 
ance from the Trust. 


" The pensions, which are of the amounts 10, 15, and 
20 a year, are terminable by the committee on six months' 
notice, and are withdrawn without notice if the pensioner 
prove undeserving or no longer in need. 

" As only a portion of the income of the Trust can be 
applied in granting pensions, and as the applicants have 
been very numerous, and vacancies occur but seldom in 
the list of pensioners, very many persons, however deserving, 
must perforce be disappointed. 

"3. GRANTS by way of free gifts are made in the 
following and other cases : 

" (a) To institutions for the purchase of furniture and 
apparatus required for the instruction of additional pupils 
beyond those already there, or otherwise in special cases. 

" (b) For the manufacture of books in blind type, and 
grants of such books. 

" (c) To assist local efforts for the establishment or fitting 
up of schools, at which technical training may be given to 
the blind in trades or handicrafts. 

" (d) To enable persons who have received instruction in 
a trade, handicraft, or profession to begin the practice 
thereof and make a start in life, by providing them with 
tools, materials, etc., and also 

" (e) To those persons who require help to continue their 
trade, handicraft, or profession, and are unable to procure 
it from friends or other sources. 

" Grants under headings (d) and (e) are made with no 
intention that they will be repeated, but with the hope 
of permanently establishing the recipients in some trade, 
handicraft, or profession. 

" Note. Throughout this precis words importing males 
include females." 

The above is reprinted, by kind permission of Mr. H. J. 
Wilson, from his little green book referred to on p. 125. 

Another well-known and useful paper emanating from 
the offices of the Gardner Trust, and edited by the secretary, 
is The Blind, a quarterly magazine on blind events and 
matters of interest, which should be in the hands of all 
interested in the work ; price Is. 2d. per annum, post free. 


" Incorporated 1902. For Promoting the Education and Employment of 
the Blind. 206, Great Portland Street, London, W. Mr. Henry Stainsby, 
Secretary-General, to whom all communications should be addressed. 

" This Association was founded in 1868, by the late 
Thomas Rhodes Armitage, M.D., and to it the blind of 
this country are indebted for the introduction of the Braille 
system of reading and writing which is now universally 

" The chief objects of the Association are : To discover 
the best methods of educating and employing the blind ; to 
persuade people to adopt these methods ; to produce writ- 
ing-frames, books, maps, and other educational apparatus 
for sale to schools or individuals at the lowest possible 
price, and to collect and diffuse information, and to advise 
on all subjects relating to the blind. All books printed by 
the Association are printed from stereotyped plates em- 
bossed by blind copyists. Several reading-books, grammars, 
lesson-books, Greek and Latin classics, French works, stan- 
dard works of history, poetry, etc., and musical publications 
have been stereotyped and are kept ready for sale. About 
fifteen thousand separate works, varying in length from 
one to twelve volumes, have been copied by hand to meet 
the requirements of public libraries and individuals. About 
six hundred ladies, who give their services gratuitously, 
make the first Braille copies of these books, and their 
copies are re-copied by blind scribes, chiefly women and 
girls, who are paid for their work, and of whom over two 
hundred are employed. Nine blind persons are regularly 
employed in stereotyping books and music. The Associa- 
tion publishes several magazines (see p. 136). 

" The volunteer writers have formed themselves into an 
Auxiliary Union, the members of which render assistance 
to blind people in all parts of the country by obtaining 
employment and custom for them, and supplying them 
with instruction and useful information." 

The Secretary-General of this Association is Mr. Henry 
Stainsby, a gentleman recognised as a pioneer in all 
matters connected with the Education and Employment 

* Copied, by kind permission, from Mr. H. J. Wilson's little green 


of the Blind. Prior to receiving his present appointment 
lie was for many years Secretary and General Superin- 
tendent of the Birmingham Institution, which, thanks to 
his zeal, enthusiasm, and skill, has come to be recognised 
as a model to be copied by all who would conduct their 
Blind Schools and workshops on up-to-date and successful 


" For Embossing and Circulating the Holy Scriptures and other useful 
books, etc., in Dr. Moon's Type for the Blind. Miss Moon, Hon. Treasurer 
and Hon. Secretary, 104, Queen's Road, Brighton. 

"This Society was instituted in June, 1847, by the late 
Dr. Moon, to whom the blind are deeply indebted for the 
well-known type bearing his name. The property, to- 
gether with the buildings, the machinery for stereotyping, 
embossing, etc., is held by trustees for the benefit of the 
blind in perpetuity. 

" This type has already been adapted to over four hundred 
languages and dialects. 

" In addition to the Bible, and many separate chapters 
and psalms, the publications now comprise 600 volumes 
in English and 310 foreign books. More than 72,000 
electrotyped and stereotyped plates have been prepared, 
and are preserved for future use of the Society, and are 
daily being added to." 


" Nearly all the institutions and societies for the blind, 
and also many public libraries for the sighted, have books 
printed in types used by the blind. The Public Library 
at Oxford has many volumes of classical and standard 
works for the use of University students. The following 
special circulating libraries in London may be mentioned 
separately : 

Street, Westminster, S.W. For those in superior circum- 
stances. Annual subscription of not less than 10s. Moon 
and Braille types. 



FOR THE BLIND, 125, Queen's Road, Bayswater, W. ; secre- 
tary, Miss E. W. Austin. Founded 1882 by Miss C. Howderi 
and Miss M. Arnold. Incorporated 1898. This library has 
upwards of 8,500 volumes in Braille and Moon types. 
Books are forwarded to all parts of the kingdom, carriage 
being paid by the reader. Assistance is given from the 
' Arnold Carriage Fund ' where the inability of the reader 
to meet this expense is proved. The annual subscription 
of members is 2 2s., but special terms are made with 
institutions when a large number of volumes is required. 
Lower rates are allowed on application, adapted to the 
means of the reader, the minimum being 5s., on statement 
of circumstances, with letter of reference in confirmation. 
About 500 books are added to the Library in the course 
of the year by the kindness of nearly 100 voluntary writers. 
In order to increase the supply of books for the Library, 
and to assist in providing work for the blind, ' The Dow 
Blind Writers' Fund ' has been started for the employment 
of blind writers and copyists. 

three free libraries in 1884, at 8, Red Lion Square, W.C., 
Lecture Hall, Harley Street, Bow, E., and Lecture Hall, 
Surrey Chapel, Blackfriars Road, S.E. Braille type. 

4. " LENDING LIBRARY, belonging to the Society for the 
Propagation of the Gospel. Books about missionary work 
of the Church, written almost entirely in Braille (interlined). 
There is no subscription, but borrowers have to pay the 
postage of the books to and from the Library. Address, 
The Librarian, S.P.G. House, 19, Delahay Street, West- 
minster, S.W." * 


" Several magazines are now published in Braille type, 
and two in Moon's. The particulars of those brought 
under notice are as follow : 

Progress, started January, 1881. Revised Braille type 
(interpointed). Published monthly at 206, Great Portland 
Street, London, W. Price 6s. a year, post free. 

* Most large towns provide embossed books for the Blind in connection 
with their Free Libraries. 

f Copied, by kind permission, from Mr. H. J. Wilson's little green 


" Dawn, started September, 1886. Moon's type, with 
extra contractions, etc. Published quarterly by the 
Northern Counties Blind Society, at 4 and 5, Howard 
Street, North Shields. Price 3s. d. a year, post free. 

" Santa Lucia, started March, 1889. Revised Braille type 
(interlined). Published on the 7th of each month by the 
Misses Hodgkin, Zenda, Balcombe, Sussex. Price 19s. 
a year, post free. 

"The Weekly Summary, started June, 1892. This is a 
newspaper in Revised Braille type, giving current news, 
with special regard to all matters concerning the blind. 
Published every Wednesday by the Misses E. R. Scott 
and L. T. Bloxam, Eltham, Kent. Price 2d., or Ss. Sd. 
per annum, post free. Specimen copy free. 

" Hora Jucunda, started January, 1893. Revised Braille 
type (interpointed). Published every month at the Royal 
Blind Asylum and School, West Craigmillar, Edinburgh. 
Price 12s. a year, post free. 

" Recreation (for Adults), started January, 1895. Revised 
Braille type (interpointed). Published on the 15th of 
each month at 208, Great Portland Street, London, W. 
Price 105. a year, post free. 

" Gospel Light in Heathen Darkness, started January, 1895. 
A magazine containing missionary information. Revised 
Braille type. Published quarterly by Mrs. C. E. Lamb, 
Vincent House, Kettering. Price 2s. 4d. a year, post free. 

" The King's Messengers (for Children), started January, 
1895. A magazine containing missionary information. 
Revised Braille type. Published monthly by Mrs. C. E. 
Lamb, Vincent House, Kettering. Price 5s. a year, post free. 

" The Craigmillar Harp, started January, 1895. Braille 
type. Published quarterly at the Royal Blind Asylum 
and School, West Craigmillar, Edinburgh. Price 3s. a 
year, post free. A magazine specially for the musical blind. 
A printed price list, with details of all the pieces published 
up to date, is supplied free on application to the editor. 

" The Church Messenger, started February, 1896. Revised 
Braille type. Published monthly. Hon. Sec., Miss M. C. 
Langton, 2, Percy Villas, Campden Hill, Kensington, W. 
Price 10s. per annum, post free. 

" Channels of Blessing, started January, 1898. Braille 
type. Published monthly. Editors Miss. I. M. Brook- 


field, of Hove, Sussex, and Mr. Edwin Norris (to whom 
all communications should be addressed), 21, St. Peter's 
Road, St. Leonards-on-Sea. Price \d. each copy, post 

" Morning, started January, 1902. An Australian Braille 
magazine of 60 pages. Published monthly at the Royal 
Institution for the Blind, Adelaide, South Australia. Price 
12s., post free, yearly. 

" The Hampstead, started November, 1902. Revised 
Braille type. Published on the 15th of each month. Em- 
bossed and published by The London Society for Teaching 
the Blind, 10, Upper Avenue Road, Hampstead, London, 
N.W. Price Is. each copy, by post, Is. 3d. 

" Quarterly Intercession Paper, started October, 1903. 
This is a quarterly paper of information and intercession 
on behalf of the Church's missionary work. Revised 
Braille (interpointed). Price 3s. per annum, post free. 
Issued on 1st of January, April, July, and October, and 
supplied by Miss D. Blyth, 11, Dryburgh Road, Putney, 

" The Mission Field, started September, 1904. This is a 
magazine about Foreign Missions, published on the 1st of 
each month. Revised Braille (interpointed). Price 2d. 
a copy, or 2s. per annum, post free. Published by the 
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, 19, Delahay 
Street, Westminster, S.W. 

' ' The Braille News Packet, started December, 1 904. Hand- 
written in Revised Braille type (interlined). Published 
fortnightly on alternate Mondays, and circulated amongst 
members of a club. It contains articles on politics, litera- 
ture, science, etc. Particulars can be obtained from Miss 
Z. Ethel Grimwood, 7, Fourth Avenue, Hove, Sussex. 

" Excelsior, started March, 1905. A monthly magazine, 
hand- written in Braille, for circulation amongst the readers 
in Forfarshire and Kincardineshire. Published the 1st of 
each month in connection with the Mission to the Blind, 
St. Helen's, Forfar. 

" The 'Moon' Monthly Magazine, started January, 1906. 
Printed at 104, Queen's Road, Brighton. Moon's type. 
Price 195. a year, post free. 

" Golden Sunbeams (extracts). A magazine for children. 
Revised Braille Grade II., with a few pages of Grade I. 


for the little ones (interlined). Price 3s. a year or by post 
4s. Published at 206, Great Portland Street, London, W. 

" The Daily Mail in Braille type was first published on 
Saturday, December 1, 1906, and is issued weekly every 
Saturday. Price Id. per copy, and 65. 6d. per annum 
post free. 

" The Blind, started January, 1898. Ordinary type. 
Published by Mr. Henry J. Wilson, Secretary of Gardner's 
Trust for the Blind, 53, Victoria Street, Westminster, S.W., 
on the 20th of January, April, July, and October of each 
year. Price Is. 2d. a year, post free, for the four numbers. 
Special articles on questions concerning the blind, and 
the latest information in regard to institutions, societies, 
and current affairs. 

" The Braille Review, started January 1, 1903. Ordinary 
type. The review gives a monthly list of Braille publi- 
cations, etc. Price Is. a year, post free. Published by 
the British and Foreign Blind Association, 206, Great 
Portland Street, London, W." 


*1773. "An Essay on Blindness." Diderot, Paris. 
*1774. "The Education of the Blind." The Edinburgh 

Magazine and Review. 
*1786. "An Essay on the Education of the Blind." 

Haiiy, Paris. 
*1801. " The Employment of the Blind." The School at 

Liverpool. Lettsom. 
*1819. ' The Instruction and Amusements of the Blind." 

Guillie, Paris. 

*1833. " The Education of the Blind." The North Ameri- 
can Review. Boston, U.S.A. 
*1837. "The Education of the Blind." James Gall, 

*1837. " Observations on the Employment, Education, and 

Habits of the Blind." Anderson, York. 
1838. " Biography of the Blind." Wilson. 

* These have been reprinted by Messrs. Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 
Ltd., 100, Southwark Street, London, S.E. 


*1838. " The Establishments for the Blind in England." 

Carton, Bruges. 
*1842. " The Education, Employments, etc., at the 

Asylum for the Blind." Alston, Glasgow. 
1845. "Blindness." Kitto. G. Cox, 18, King Street, 

Co vent Garden, London. 

1851. "The Great Exhibition of all Nations." Jurors' 
report on Writing and Reading Apparatus, and 
Books for the Blind. 
1859. " The Sense Denied and Lost." Bull. Longman, 

Green, Longman & Co., London. 
*1859. "The Blind." From The English Cyclopaedia. 


*1860. " The Blind." From The National Review. 
*1861. Knie's (of Breslau) "Management and Education 

of Blind Children." Taylor, York. 

1865. "Exile and Home. The advantages of Social 
Education for the Blind." Landeghem. Clowes 
& Sons. 

1867. "Blind People, their Works and Ways." Johns. 

John Murray, Albemarle Street, London. 

1868. "The Story of a Blind Inventor." (Dr. Gale.) 


1871. "A Guide to the Institutions, Charities, etc., for 

the Blind." Turner & Harris. Also in the 
year 1884. Simpkin, Marshall Co., 4, Stationers' 
Hall Court, London. 

1872. " Blindness and the Blind." Hanks-Levy. Chap- 

man & Hall, 193, Piccadilly, W. 
1875. "The Education of Blind Children in Ordinary 

Schools." Barnhill, Glasgow. Chas. Glass & Co., 

85, Maxwell Street, Glasgow. 
1875. " Consequences and Amelioration of Blindness." 

Moon. Longmans & Co., Paternoster Row, 


* These have been reprinted by Messrs. Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 
Ltd., 100, Southwark Street, London, S.E. 


1876. " Training of the Blind." The Charity Organisa- 
tion Society's Report (London). Longman, 
Green & Co., London. 

1876. "The Instruction of Blind Children." School 
Board for London Conference. Spottiswoode 
& Co., New Street Square, London. 

1876. "Arithmetic for the Blind." W. H. Taylor, 


1877. " Light for the Blind." Moon's System of Reading. 

Moon. Longmans & Co. 

1880. "Gardner Bequest for the Blind." (Charity Or- 
ganisation Society, London.) 

1883. "The Yorkshire School for the Blind." Jubilee 
and Conference. York Herald Newspaper Co., 

1886. "The Education and Employment of the Blind." 

Armitage. B.F.B.A. 

1887. " Elizabeth Gilbert and her Work for the Blind." 

Martin. Macmillan. 

1889. "The Evidence given before the Royal Com- 

mission, and Report " (2 vols.). 

1890. "The Conference at the Royal Normal College, 


1891. "Light on Dark Paths." A Hand-book for 

Teachers and Parents of Blind Children. Mel- 
drum, Aberdeen. 

1892. "The True Structural Basis of Punctographic 

Systems of Literature and Music." W. B. Wait, 
New York. 

1893. " Roman Letter (for the Blind)." Frank Rainey, 

M.D., Austin, Texas, U.S.A. 
1893. Sizeranne's (of Paris) " The Blind as seen through 

Blind Eyes." Lewis, New York. 
1898. " Wm. Moon, LL.D., and his Work for the Blind." 

Hodder & Stoughton. 



" Report of the Conference on Matters relating to the 
Blind, held at the Church House, Westminster, April, 1902." 
Notably papers on the following subjects : 

1. "Higher Education of the Blind." Rev. H. J. R. 
Marston, M.A. 

2. " Provision for Defective Blind Children." Rev. 
T. W. Sharpe. 

3. " Physical Training of the Blind." Dr. F. J. Campbell. 

4. " Uniform Braille System." Mr. W. Hy. Illingworth. 

5. " Statistics Concerning Blindness." Mr. Reginald 
McLeod, C.B. 

6. " Home Teaching Societies." Miss E. M. Bainbrigge. 

7. " Prevention of Blindness." Mr. R. Brudenell Carter, 

" Report of the International Conference on the Blind, 
Edinburgh, 1905": 

1. " Education of the Blind under the Elementary 
Education (Blind and Deaf Mute) Act, 1893." Mr. Henry 

2. "Higher Education of the Blind." Mr. W. Hy. 

3. " The Problem of the Defective Blind." Mr. Henry 
J. Wilson. 

" Report of the Second Triennial International Conference 
on the Blind, Manchester, 1908 " : 

1. "Technical Training and Industrial Employment of 
the Blind in the United States." Mr. S. M. Green, Missouri. 

2. " Commercial Training of the Blind." Dr. Fraser. 

3. " Recreations for the Blind." Mr. W. Littlewood. 

4. " Psychology of Blindness." Mr. J. M. Ritchie. 

5. " Music for the Blind." Mr. H. E. Platt. 

6. " Scientific Books in Braille." Mr. H. M. Taylor. 
These books may be borrowed from almost any insti- 
tution for the blind, or from the B.F.B.A. 



It is fairly safe to say that the two chief causes of the 
phenomenally slow progress in the development of the 
education of the blind during the first century after 
Valentine Haiiy's pioneer work were (1) the mistaken idea 
that the best methods of such education were necessarily 
those which leave the greatest resemblance to the means 
employed in the education of the seeing, and which appealed 
to the sense of sight to such an extent as to make them 
easy of acquirement by sighted persons ; and (2) the 
individual jealousies and prejudices of inventors of 
types and mechanical appliances, which jealousies and 
prejudices appear to have been fostered most zealously 
by the respective institutions or coteries to which these 
inventors belonged. 

Anything approaching a conference of those working in 
the cause of the blind, with a view to the adoption of the 
best that united wisdom and skill could produce, does 
not appear to have been thought of. 

These facts are sufficiently evident, even to the casual 
student of the history of the education of the blind, as 
to render it unnecessary to do more than simply state 
them ; yet some evidence in support of the above statement 
will prove at least interesting. 

First, as to the tendency of committees and teachers 
to use as the media of instruction those systems which 
most nearly resembled such as were in vogue for the educa- 
tion of the sighted, and which commended themselves to 
the sense of sight. 

VALENTIN HAUY, 1786. "After having successively 
employed characters of different sizes, according as we 
found the sense of touch more or less delicate and sus- 
ceptible, it appeared to us, at least during the first periods 
of our progress, desirable to confine ourselves to that type 
which has been used in printing the greatest part of 
this work." 


OF BLIND CHILDREN, 1876. Mr. S. 8. Forster, Principal of 
the Worcester College for the Blind Sons of Gentlemen, said 
he would confine himself to facts with regard to the use 
of the roman type. It had obviously this advantage, 
that it could be read by ordinary school teachers, which 
was a point before them. 

Mr. William Harris, of Leicester, stated that he was 
perfectly disinterested as far as all institutions and charities 
were concerned. He looked upon himself as a juryman 
on the question of the education of the blind, having had 
evidence placed before him, and read every book on the 
subject. ... If they had books in the roman type the blind 
children would also be able to teach their brothers and 
sisters who could see. . . . Moon's type had also its 
advantages it was similar to the roman in having no 
abbreviations. . . . Special teachers were required to teach 
Moon's type, which was a point in question ; but to teach 
the roman this was unnecessary. 

Mr. H. J. R. Marston, undergraduate of Durham Uni- 
versity, stated that he considered roman type the best. 
To get the literature of the blind into the settled characters 
of the country would be an emancipation for the blind. 
It was appalling, the needless exclusion of blind children 
from the occupation and pursuits of the sighted ; and this 
matter of blind literature was amongst the causes. 

Dr. Armitage and Dr. (then Mr.) Campbell, of Norwood, 
also gave evidence chiefly in favour of Braille, though Dr. 
Campbell preferred Moon for reading. Mr. Shadwell was 
strong in support of Braille, and Dr. Moon, of course, stood 
by his own type. 

The decision of the School Board, as given in their Report, 
July 21, 1876, was, in brief, as follows : 

1. That one uniform system for reading-books for the 
blind is much to be desired. 

2. That the system in use for the blind should be, with 
possibly very slight modifications, the same as that in 


use for the seeing viz. the roman, because it is the accepted 
character of the country ; and especially because, with 
books in this character, ordinary school teachers could 
everywhere teach a blind child, and ordinary persons could 
everywhere help a blind child. 

GALL, 1834. One of Gall's chief arguments as to the 
superiority of his type over contemporary systems was 
its resemblance to roman, and the ease with which it 
could be read by the seeing. 

1872. The American Association of Instruction of the 
Blind passed a series of resolutions in favour of the adoption, 
as far as practicable, of seeing methods. 

Most marvellous of all, however, considering the late 
date at which the following deliverance was made, and 
the prominent position in blind work occupied by the 
gentlemen whose words we are about to quote, is the 
report of Mr. Edmund C. Johnson, member of the committee 
of the School for the Indigent Blind, Southwark, and the 
Rev. B. G. Johns, chaplain, on the Blind Congress at Paris, 
1878, concluding thus : " We are of opinion, however, that 
the entire adoption of any arbitrary system, such as Braille's, 
would tend to increase that very isolation of the blind 
which it is sought to lessen, and to cut them off more and 
more from the rest of the world. We are convinced that 
they should, as far as possible, read, write, and gather 
information in the same characters as those used by the 
sighted. . . . The Braille system is a mystery to all but 
the initiated. . . . We hold, therefore, to the roman letter 
as the primary foundation for work in general." 

Finally, so lately as 1884, a superintendent of one of 
the best schools for the blind in the kingdom, when pressed 
to introduce the Braille system, exclaimed : " What ! that 
barbarous and heathen system of reading ? Never ! It 
has not the smallest resemblance to ordinary print ! How 
are our teachers to learn it ? " 

Alas ! there is little doubt that the unwillingness of 
sighted teachers to take the trouble to learn Braille was. 



in a great measure responsible for its tardy adoption in 
this country. 

The fact that so many such teachers, even now, persist 
in using a sighted book when giving a reading-lesson in 
school, whilst the pupils use Braille books, tends to manifest 
the unwillingness of the teacher to master, in all its details 
and bearings, the system which is the very lux in tenebris 
of the blind. 


One of the most marvellous features of the present- 
day rapid developments in connection with work for 
the blind is to be found in the formation of these unions, 
of which there are now seven, which together cover the 
whole of England and Wales : 

1. The North of England Union, including Yorkshire, 
Lancashire, Northumberland, Durham, Cumberland, and 

2. The Metropolitan and Adjacent Counties Union, 
including Essex, Hertford, London, Middlesex, Berks, 
Hants, Sussex, Kent, and Surrey. 

3. The Midland Union, comprising Bucks, Derby, Here- 
ford, Leicester, Northampton, Nottingham, Oxford, Stafford, 
Warwick, and Worcester. 

4. The North-West Union, comprising Cheshire, Shrop- 
shire, and North Wales. 

5. The Eastern Union, comprising Bedford, Cambridge, 
Huntingdon, Lincoln, Norfolk, Rutland, and Suffolk. 

6. The Western Counties Union, comprising Cornwall, 
Devon, Dorset, Gloucester, Somerset, and Wilts. 

7. The South Wales and Monmouthshire Union, com- 
prising Monmouth and South Wales. 

The Northern was the pioneer union, and it originated 


at a small meeting called by Miss I. M. Hey wood, in Man- 
chester, early in 1906. Representatives were invited from 
the principal institutions and societies in the six northern 
counties. At this meeting the projected union was dis- 
cussed, and a plan of organisation decided upon. In a 
few months an organising secretary, to devote her whole 
time and attention to the work, was appointed in the 
person of Miss Edith Wright, of Wakefield, and to her 
and the indefatigable chairman, Mr. Fred J. Mannby, 
of York, the union is chiefly indebted for its conspicuous 

Two years later the rest of England wakened up to the 
realisation of the value of the new work being done in the 
north ; and before the year 1908 closed, the seven unions 
already mentioned had come into being. 

The crowning point was reached when, at a meeting in 
London of the executives of these seven unions, called by 
Mr. H. J. Wilson, it was decided to form a central union 
of unions, whose chief function should be to secure uni- 
formity of principles of administration of the several unions, 
and interchange of opinion on all matters concerning the 

Thus, by the natural forces of evolution, we may say, has 
been brought about " The Central Bureau and National 
Register," on which Mr. Tate, at the 1902 conference, 
and Mr. Norwood, in 1905, read papers, but which neither 
of these conferences considered feasible or desirable. 

The value of this movement can hardly be over-estimated, 
and the interest thus aroused amongst all classes of the 
community augurs well for the future in so far as concerns 
the amelioration of the condition of the blind. It is 
for the younger generation of workers in this great cause 
to see to it that they carry forward the banner of hope 
with all the enthusiasm which it deserves. 

We append a copy of the constitution of the Northern 
Union ; all the others are on similar lines. 



" 1. The Union shall be called 'The North of England 
Union of Institutions, Societies, and Agencies for the 

" 2. The area of the operations of the Union shall be the 
six northern counties. 

" 3. The objects of the Union are to promote such inter- 
course among existing agencies and individuals interested 
in the welfare of the outdoor blind as may lead to the 
organisation, unification, and extension of work on their 
behalf, and to the formation of societies in districts where 
there are none existing to the end that no blind person 
in the northern counties may be left uncared for. 

" 4. Any person engaged or interested in the promotion 
of the welfare of the blind giving a donation of 5, or 
subscribing not less than 1 Is. a year, will be qualified as a 
Member of the Union. 

" 5. Any person engaged or interested in the promotion 
of the welfare of the blind, and subscribing less than 1 Is., 
will be qualified as an Associate of the Union, and as such 
may attend any general meeting without the power of 

" 6. The officers of the Union shall consist of a president, 
vice-presidents, and a general committee, with chairman, 
honorary treasurer, and honorary secretary. The general 
committee shall consist of one or two representatives of each 
society belonging to the Union subscribing not less than 
1 Is. to its funds, such representatives being appointed 
annually by their respective societies. The general com- 
mittee may co-opt not more than five Members. 

" 7. The general committee shall, from time to time, make 
rules for the government of the business of the Union. 

"8. There shall be an annual conference of the Union 
in the month of May at different towns convened by the 
honorary secretary of the general committee, the local 
arrangements for the conference being in charge of the 
secretary of the society in the place where the conference 
is held. 

" 9. The financial year commences on January 1, on which 
day annual subscriptions become due. 



" Nisi Dominus Frustra " 

The latest development in the interests of the education 
of the blind was the foundation of this college. 

The first meeting was called on July 5, 1907, by the 
Council of the British and Foreign Blind Association, and 
was held at their offices in Great Portland Street, London, 
W. The meeting was very representative and was largely 
attended. Mr. Henry J. Wilson, Secretary of the Gardner 
Trust for the Blind, was unanimously elected chairman. 
Dr. Eichholz was present, and explained to the meeting 
the very useful purpose that the College would serve in the 
education of the blind by raising the standard of teachers 
engaged in this special work. A draft of the proposed 
rules, regulations, and syllabus was submitted, amended, 
and generally approved. The following important reso- 
lution was adopted by the meeting : 

" That all present co-operate, and that an association 
be, and is hereby formed, embracing the United King- 
dom, and entitled ' The College of Teachers of the 
Blind,' the object of which shall be to conduct ex- 
aminations of teachers of the blind in accordance 
with the rules and regulations which shall be now and 
subsequently drafted." 

Subsequent meetings were held at the office of the Gardner 
Trust for the Blind, 53, Victoria Street, Westminster, S.W., 
at which important and necessary business was transacted. 

The original draft of the constitution of the College was 
prepared by Mr. W. E. Taylor, honorary treasurer of the 
Catholic Blind Asylum, Liverpool, and the design for the 
certificate of efficiency issued to the successful teachers 
was prepared by Miss Stainsby. 


The following is an extract from the constitution or 
foundation deed of the College : 

" 1. The name of the College shall be 'The College of 
Teachers of the Blind.' 

"2. The offices of the College shall be situate at the 
offices of the British and Foreign Blind Association (Incor- 
porated 1902), 206, Great Portland Street, London, W., or 
at such other place in the county of London as the com- 
mittee of the College may from time to time select. 

" 3. The objects for which the College is established are : 

" (a) To promote and encourage the training of teachers 
of the blind. 

" (6) To raise the status of teachers of the blind by 
forming them into a college with a recognised position as 
specialists in the work of education. 

" (c) To give teachers of the blind the opportunity of 
submitting their qualifications to the scrutiny and judg- 
ment of an accredited body for the purpose of examination, 
so that upon proof of fitness they may receive certificates 
of competency, and with that object to hold all necessary 
examinations, and to grant such certificates and diplomas 
as can lawfully be granted. 

" (d) To raise the tone and character of the instruction 
of the blind generally. 

" (e) To diffuse by means of a library, lectures, and 
otherwise, information on all matters connected with the 
education and the moral, mental, physical, and social 
condition of the blind, and to encourage interchange of 
thought and opinion thereon. 

" (/) To receive and apply donations and subscriptions 
from persons desirous of promoting the objects of the 
College, or any of them. 

" (g) To grant Fellowships to those who have done dis- 
tinguished service in the education of the blind, provided 
that their experience extends over a continuous period of 
not less than ten years. 

" (h) To promote the efficiency of teachers of the blind, 
and the cause of the education of the blind generally, and 
to do all such lawful things as are incidental or conducive 
to the attainment of any of the foregoing objects. Provided, 
nevertheless, that the College shall not grant, nor profess 


to grant, titles other than the title of Fellow, Member, or 
Officer of the College, and that all certificates of fitness 
granted by the College shall express on the face of them 
that they are granted by the College on the report of ex- 
aminers or an examiner, by whom the examination was 
made on behalf of the College, or on a certificate or other 
evidence which the committee of the College has considered 
sufficient ; and shall specify the subjects in which the 
examiners or the committee have been satisfied and those 
in which ' honours ' have been obtained. 

"4. The College shall be governed by a council and a 
committee, and shall have an honorary treasurer, honorary 
solicitor, honorary auditors, and an honorary registrar, 
and such other honorary or paid officials as the council 
shall from time to time elect. 

"5. The members of the College shall consist of : 

" (a) Members of the council of the College. 

" (6) Fellows of the College. 

" (c) Holders of a certificate of the College. 
" 6. All persons who by their public position or by their 
support, financial or otherwise, may or may be deemed 
to be likely to assist the objects of the College, shall be 
eligible to be elected as members of the council." 

Mr. Henry J. Wilson is chairman of the committee, 
Mr. Henry Stainsby registrar, and the Hon. Arthur Kinnaird 
treasurer. The first board of examiners were the Rev. St. 
Clare Hill (chairman), Miss Laura Douglas-Hamilton, the 
Rev. Thos. Barnard, Mr. H. M. Taylor, F.R.S., Mr. A. 
Pearson, Mr. Henry Stainsby, and Mr. W. H. Illingworth 

The first examination was held at Henshaw's Blind 
Asylum, Manchester, in July, 1908, when twenty-seven 
candidates presented themselves. 

Already the London County Council and most of the 
institutions and schools for the blind in the kingdom have 
decided that all their teaching staff, who have not already 
done so, must qualify for the College diploma within a 
given time. 

The following letter from the Board of Education, con- 


veying official recognition, marks an important epoch in 
the history of the College. 



"26th Oc'.ober, 1909. 

" SIR - 

" With reference to your letter of the 26th February 
last, I am directed to inform you that since the committee 
are prepared to fulfil the conditions laid down in the official 
letter of the 1st February last, the Board will recognise ex- 
aminations conducted by the College in accordance with 
those conditions for the purposes of Articles 16 (a) (iii.), 
16 (d) (ii.), and 16 (e) of the Regulations applicable to schools 
for blind, deaf, defective and epileptic children. 
" I am, sir, 

" Your obedient servant, 

" R. G. MAYOR. 




Of many conferences that have been held in recent 
years in the interests of the care, education, and employment 
of the blind the most important were : 

1. That held at the Wilberforce Memorial School for 
the Blind, York, 1883. 

2. That held at the Royal Normal College, Norwood, in 

3. Conference on Matters relating to the Blind, con- 
voked by the Gardner Trust, at the Church House, West- 
minster, 1902. It was then decided to hold such conferences 
triennially, and to invite foreign delegates. 

4. First Triennial International Conference on the Blind, 
and exhibition of their work, in Edinburgh, 1905. 


5. The Second Triennial International Conference on 
the Blind, with competitive exhibition of their work and 
award of prizes, held in Manchester, 1908. 

At the conclusion of the Gardner Trust Conference above 
referred to in 1902, a committee of organisation was ap- 
pointed, to make all the necessary arrangements for the 
first " International Triennial." The chairman of this 
committee was Mr. Henry J. Wilson, and the secretary 
Mr. H. W. P. Pine, superintendent and secretary of the 
Nottingham Institution, and Mr. George Stott, manager of 
the Royal Blind Asylum, Edinburgh, acted as local secretary. 

Mr. Wilson was again elected chairman of the Manchester 
Conference (1908) Committee, and Mr. W. H. Illing- 
worth, superintendent of Henshaw's Blind Asylum, as 
secretary, the local secretary being Mr. W. B. Phillips, of 
Manchester. For the first time in the history of the blind 
a competitive exhibition of their work in every department 
was held, and over 60 awarded in prizes. 


It had not been our intention to make personal reference 
in this little work to any seeing official worker on behalf 
of the blind, as there are so many ladies and gentlemen 
filling offices of responsibility and trust in our institutions 
and societies with praiseworthy efficiency, that to single 
out a few for special mention would be, to say the least, 

Mr. Henry J. Wilson, however, standing as he does 
figuratively speaking head and shoulders above all his 
confreres in the work, has become so involved in every 
movement, of whatsoever sort or kind, that has for its 

* Chairman of (1) Triennial International Conference Committee ; 
(2) College of Teachers of the Blind ; (3) Metropolitan Union ; (4) National 
Committee for the Employment of the Blind ; (5) Prevention of Blindness 
Committee; (6) Pensions Committee; (7) Union of Unions of Agencies 
for the Blind. 


object the welfare of the blind, that, apart from his being 
the secretary of the largest trust for the blind in the kingdom, 
his position is unique, and no less so in the esteem, and 
we may say affection, of all who know him. 

For this reason, therefore, any up-to-date history of the 
education of the blind would be sadly incomplete without 
a sketch of his life and work the most trusted friend 
and counsellor of the blind and their friends. 

Henry Josiah Wilson was born in Wales on March 1, 
1844, and is the third son of the late Edward Wilson, of 
Hean Castle, Pembrokeshire, the second son being the 
late Major-General Sir Charles W. Wilson, K.C.B., F.R.S., 
etc., whose life has recently been published by Mr. John 

In 1855 he went to Cheltenham College and remained 
there until 1863, being in the first-class classical depart- 
ment, and a prefect, when he left. His holidays were spent 
on his father's estate, chiefly in shooting and fishing. 

In 1866 he had a very severe attack of scarlet fever 
with complications, and, being recommended to spend 
some winters out of England, he went in 1867 to the Ar- 
gentine Republic in South America. There he engaged in 
cattle and sheep farming, and at first led an exceedingly 
rough life, as he settled close to the Indian frontier, where 
Indian raids were of frequent occurrence. He entered into 
his new and strange life with much energy, and soon adapted 
himself to it. He became very fond of lassoing, and throwing 
the " bolas," and thought there was nothing more exciting 
than having at the end of his lasso, buttoned on to his 
saddle, a wild bull plunging about and bellowing, and 
often suddenly charging him on his horse. It was in 1871, 
when lassoing some horses, that the lasso snapped, and 
recoiled with great force into his face, especially damaging 
the right eye. He had to travel, while suffering greatly, 
over the prairie for more than 200 miles, before the eye 
could be attended to, and, though the inflammation was. 
cured after some weeks, the sight was lost in that eye. 


In 1873 he came home for a year, returning in 1874 
until 1880, when he returned to England for good. Whilst 
he was in South America he took several long excursions, 
on one occasion going as far north as Salta, on another 
as far west as Mendoza, nestling in the Andes, where he 
stayed for a week in the new town, which is built alongside 
of the old one that was completely destroyed by an earth- 
quake in 1863, and was then lying just as it fell. 

On another occasion he rode on one horse, leading 
another for use when the one he rode was tired, as far 
south as Bahia Blanca, crossing a large uninhabited tract, 
where he saw nothing but ostriches, deer, etc. Ten days 
after he took this ride the whole district was raided by 
Indians. He sympathised much with the Indians, especially 
in the way they were driven off the land and maltreated,, 
and he was eye-witness to several acts of cruelty which 
took place in the practical extermination of this fine tribe 
of Indians. 

In 1882 he married Edith Nairne, daughter of the late 
Rev. John Du Pre Addison, vicar of Weymouth for many 
years. As he was desirous of remaining in England he 
answered an advertisement for the post of secretary of 
Gardner's Trust for the Blind, which had just been created 
by a legacy of 300,000 from the late Mr. Henry Gardner. 
There were 373 applicants, including many clergymen f 
retired officers, and others, and he was selected as one of 
five to interview the committee on February 18, 1882. He 
was appointed secretary on February 21, and took up the 
work on February 24. As he was the first to hold the post, 
he had not only to attend to an accumulation of 1,500 
letters from applicants for assistance from the Trust, but 
he also had to organise the work under the deed of trust, 
which had been drawn up in the Court of Chancery. 

During the twenty-seven years that he has acted a& 
secretary, he has visited nearly all the institutions for the 
blind in England, Scotland, and Wales, and also many on 
the Continent. He attended the conference at York in 


1883, and also the conference at Amsterdam in 1885. On 
the latter occasion he went with Dr. Armitage and M. 
Maurice de la Sizeranne to Utrecht, where, at their request, 
he guided these two blind men up 458 steps to the top of 
the detached tower of the Cathedral, and described to 
them the wonderful panoramic view which lay before 
them. In 1889 he went with Dr. Armitage, whom he con- 
stantly saw and whose friendship he valued most highly, 
to the conference in Paris. In 1890 he acted as honorary 
secretary to the conference held at the Royal Normal 
College, and in 1902 he organised and carried out all the 
arrangements for the conference held in London on the 
initiative, and under the aegis, of the Gardner Trust. 

He was appointed chairman of the committee for organ- 
ising the conference held at Edinburgh in 1905, when he 
read a paper on " The Problem of the ' Defective ' Blind, 
and its Best Solution," and was also elected chairman of 
the committee to organise the conference held at Manchester 
in 1908, when he gave the inaugural address, and opened 
the debate on " Pensions for the Blind." He has again 
been elected chairman of the committee for organising the 
conference to be held at Exeter in 1911. 

In 1887 he brought out the first edition of the pamphlet 
a Information with regard to Institutions, Societies, and 
Classes for the Blind in England and Wales." There have 
been four editions of the pamphlet, and 10,000 copies 

In January, 1898, he published the first number of 
The Blind, a paper which appears quarterly and gives 
current information, and special articles on questions con- 
nected with the blind. 

He has frequently spoken at the annual meetings of 
various institutions and societies for the blind, and readily 
advocates their cause when he has the time and the oppor- 
tunity to do so. Being the secretary of the largest trust 
for the blind, he knows, and is known by, most of the workers 
for the blind, and is the keeper of many secrets confided 


to him, and of many opinions from different points of 
view. He has very frequent interviews with callers, and 
a large correspondence on different questions connected 
with the blind, more especially in regard to difficulties in 
dealing with individual cases. 

At a meeting of the General Council of the College of 
Teachers of the T31ind, held in London on October 23, 1909, 
Mr. Wilson was elected a Fellow of the College. Only five 
fellowships were conferred, the other four gentlemen so 
honoured being Sir Francis J. Campbell, Rev. St. Clare 
Hill, Mr. W. Hy. Illingworth, and Mr. Henry Stainsby. 




" INTRODUCTION. Having had charge of one of the most 
important and successful schools for the blind in Great 
Britain for a period of fifteen years, I have no hesitation 
in answering the above question in the affirmative ; and 
will strive, in the short space of time allowed to me for 
this paper, to bring forward such arguments, founded on 
direct observation, as shall tend to justify the position 
which I have taken up. 

is a sine qua non that the blind teacher to be employed 
shall be one who 

" (a) Has had the advantage of a sound education ; 

" (b) Is possessed of the power of self-control in a high 
degree ; 

'* (c) Is enthusiastic and determined to succeed; 

" (d) Is kind and sympathetic, and at the same time 
firm ; 

" (e) Is true to his word. 

* A paper read at the International Congress, Paris, July, 1900, by 
Mr. W. H. Illingworth, then Headmaster of the Royal Blind Asylum 
and School, West Craigmillar, Edinburgh. 


" Given these qualifications, a blind teacher for ordinary 
class work, and for much out-of-school duty also, is, if 
anything, preferable to one who can see. The question of 
supervision, correction of bad habits, etc., I will deal with 
later on. 

if not quite, as impossible for a seeing person to realise 
what it is to be blind, and for him to enter into and sym- 
pathise with the difficulties of his blind pupil, as it is for 
a congenitally blind person to enter into, and share with one 
who can see, the beauty of a glorious picture or landscape. 

" In Seeing Schools. Those who have charge of large 
educational establishments I mean ordinary schools for 
seeing pupils know to their cost what difficulty is ex- 
perienced in procuring teachers who have the power, or 
the will, or both, to bring themselves down to the child's 
level that is, to be able to become for a time a child 
again, so as to see the difficulties of the lesson, or the 
meaning of an apparently stupid answer to a question, 
from a child's point of view. A difficulty explained away 
in child's language, a lesson illustrated in childish fashion, 
appeals at once and directly to the child's mind, and the 
impression remains on the young brain ; whilst an abstruse 
explanation, or a classical illustration, which may be given 
in the same connection by one who is a scholar, but not 
a teacher, though perfectly logical and mathematically 
correct, and lucid enough too, from his point of view, creates 
only an impression if any at all of wonderment in the 
young mind, at the long words and unintelligible phrases 

" Difficulty Increased in the Case of the Blind. This 
difficulty is increased tenfold when pupils are removed 
further still from the level of the teacher by the barrier 
of blindness. A skilful seeing teacher may in the course of 
a few weeks master the peculiar methods used in teaching 
the blind, and be able to give a certain amount of daily 
instruction to a class of blind children ; but it takes him 
years before he becomes what might be called a ' natura- 
lised blind person,' and is able to see things from what 
I designate the blind point of view ; whilst he is never 
in that favourable position enjoyed by the blind teacher 


especially a teacher blind from childhood of being able to 
say to the child despairing over a difficult sum or piece 
of music : ' See, do it so ! I can do it. I am blind like 
you. If I have learned, so can you.' How often even 
the best seeing teachers are met with the rejoinder from 
one or other of their blind pupils : ' Ah, yes ! it's easy 
for you. You can see.' If for no other reason, then, it is 
well to employ blind teachers, because their very presence 
in such positions in school is a continual incentive and 
encouragement to the pupils. 

; ' TEACHING BRAILLE READING. I have found by experi- 
ence that a blind teacher is able more readily to explain 
to his pupils how to recognise and distinguish between 
the various Braille characters than a seeing one that is 
to say, other things being equal, children under a blind 
teacher will more rapidly become fluent readers of Braille 
than those taught exclusively by a seeing teacher. 

" The reason of this is not far to seek. Although most 
seeing teachers of the blind are able to read Braille, they 
do so with their eyes, and T have seldom met one who 
could read it with his fingers ; though I do not say that 
some may not be able to recognise a number of the 
characters, or perhaps all of them, very slowly by touch. 
But the blind teacher, having himself overcome all the 
technical difficulties some of which it is almost impossible 
to explain in so many words is able to help the little one 
by sympathetic hints and guidance, and even by anticipa- 
ting, as a seeing teacher can very rarely do, the many 
little stumbling-blocks which present themselves to the 
young Braille scholar. 

" ARITHMETIC. The same argument holds good in the 
teaching of arithmetic, and to an equal extent at any 
rate, where the blind teacher has access, as is the case in 
our school, to up-to-date class-books, test-cards, etc., on 
the subject, and is ready to take advantage of opportunities 
which occur for consulting seeing persons who are conver- 
sant with the newest methods ; and here I may remark 
that, if there is one error more than another into which a 
blind teacher is liable to fall, it is the fault of over-conserva- 
tiveness in methods of teaching, and a general reluctance 
to accept what is new. 

" In mental arithmetic a good blind teacher will invent 


a variety of short cuts for arriving at a satisfactory result 
which would never occur to a seeing person ; and I have 
no hesitation in saying that a class of children taught by 
a blind teacher will easily outstrip, in this subject, a similar 
class taught by a teacher with sight. 

" WRITING BRAILLE. In the teaching of Braille writing 
there is perhaps not quite so much to be said in favour of 
the blind teacher, but still, as a rule, the results are quite 

" Music. In this subject again, the blind teacher excels. 
The old argument comes to the front. A seeing teacher 
cannot, and does not, play from Braille music, and very, 
very few have a thorough knowledge of the system. They 
cannot realise what it means to be able to see only one 
line of music at a time, and to have to depend entirely 
on the imagination for the formation of a chord, the top 
or bottom note only of which is written in Braille, and on 
the memory for the playing of a piece at the learning stage. 
For, even though the blind pupil or teacher may have 
his music at hand, still, if he wishes to refer to it, he must 
stop playing, look up the place oft-times no easy matter 
and then resume playing from memory. Thus a blind 
pupil under a seeing master is much more readily dis- 
heartened than if his teacher were blind like himself. Much 
has been said against the ability of a blind music-teacher 
to give efficient instruction in technique, and to ensure 
correct fingering ; but there is little doubt that after the 
correct fingering of scales, arpeggios, and finger exercises 
has been taught (and this a blind teacher can do quite 
well by placing his hands upon those of his pupils), the 
smoothness and accuracy with which a passage is rendered 
will tell an intelligent and competent blind music-teacher 
whether the notes are correctly fingered, at least in the 
great majority of cases. 

" There is no doubt that it is an advantage for a blind 
pupil to have his progress in music examined by a skilful 
seeing master, and to have a finishing course of lessons 
also from him ; but the greater part of the work can be 
quite efficiently performed by a blind teacher. We have 
no better proof of this fact than the very extraordinary 
amount of success achieved by the talented Principal of 
the Royal Normal College for the Blind, Upper Norwood, 


London, as a teacher of music, both before and since he 
attained his present position. 

" EAR DEVELOPMENT. This is a subject which should re- 
ceive far more attention in our schools than it does. I 
mean the training of the children to recognise by means 
of hearing what other people observe by sight direction 
of sound, obstruction on the path, locality, etc. ; and I 
suppose no one will deny that these will be best taught 
by a blind teacher. It is the development of an instinct 
which none but the blind can really appreciate and under- 
stand, and, if carefully cultivated in children, will save the 
pupil from many a hard knock and fall later in life. 

" CONCENTRATION. The blind teacher, as a rule, gives 
more of his leisure time to thinking over and preparing 
lessons for school than could reasonably be expected of 
his seeing colleague. Having such limited scope for phy- 
sical and mental recreation, and so much less to occupy 
the attention out of school hours than his sighted fellow 
teacher, the blind man's mind reverts to what took 
place during the lessons, and occupies itself in comparing 
and contrasting the individualities and outstanding 
characteristics of his pupils. The pupils are quick to 
recognise a sympathetic nature, and, without doubt, are 
more readily influenced either for good or ill by a blind 
person than one who can see. There is a sort of innate 
suspiciousness with which the blind, young and old, regard 
those who can see, until they have proved them to be 
absolutely trustworthy ; and this peculiarity is very 
marked in blind children. That is the reason why I always 
so strongly urge that it is more essential, if possible, that 
the teacher of blind children whether he is blind or sighted 
should be ' true to his word ' than is the case in a seeing 
school. If he promises a reward, no matter how small, 
let him see to it that he fulfils his promise. If he promises 
a punishment, let him not avoid the infliction of it. 

" I have now said sufficient, I think, to justify the employ- 
ment of blind teachers in our schools. Let us go on to 
consider to what extent they can be so employed successfully 
and beneficially to all concerned. 

SEEING TEACHERS. In the present day, when so much 
more is taught to, and expected of, blind children than 



used to be the case, it is only natural to expect that we 
find in the school curriculum some subjects the teaching, 
of which requires the aid of the seeing Typewriting, 
kindergarten, sewing, gymnastics, swimming, etc., form 
examples of what I mean. These and similar subjects 
should be taught by a seeing teacher, or at any rate under 
the supervision of an intelligent seeing person. 

known, most blind children are guilty of bad habits, eccentric 
movements of hands or face, or body, or all three, and 
some have stooping or injurious tendencies, all of which 
require to be looked out for and checked continually. If 
persistently corrected, an intelligent blind child will quickly 
acquire sufficient self-control to banish these eccentricities 
of gesture and injurious habits; whilst, if left alone, he will 
grow up an object of pity however clever he may be 
to all with whom he comes in contact. I know of two or 
three most excellent, highly educated blind gentlemen, 
who, for lack of correction when young, are the victims 
of imbecile movements and gestures which seriously detract 
from the pleasure and influence which their otherwise 
splendid personality would exert upon those who esteem 
them best and love them most. 

" SUCCESS IN AFTER LIFE. The blind boy or girl who 
hopes to become an intelligent member of society, and to 
move with grace and ease among his fellows when he goes out 
into the world, requires a good deal of instruction which 
a blind teacher cannot, in the nature of things, impart 
to him, but which he can readily acquire from a seeing 

" CONCLUSION. To conclude in a word, I might say that 
the education of blind children in those subjects in which 
the methods of instruction are, necessarily and essentially, 
totally different from those in vogue for the seeing is 
best in the hands of a properly qualified blind teacher. 
The religious and moral training is also as safe in his hands 
as it would otherwise be; but neatness in personal appearance 
(if anything, more essential to success in the blind than 
the seeing), development of physique, typewriting, many 
technical employments, and such like in fact, those 
subjects in acquiring which the blind must pursue the 
same or similar methods as the seeing are best in the 


hands of a seeing teacher, or at any rate taught under 
the supervision of a qualified seeing superintendent. 

the blind schools have now adopted the class-room system, 
one class being separated from another by a glazed parti- 
tion, so that the principal can exercise a direct supervision 
over the whole. By this system, also, two blind teachers 
and three seeing make an excellent staff for five classes, 
the seeing teacher being able to call his blind colleague's 
attention to any misconduct or eccentric movement on the 
part of any member of his class. Such an arrangement 
lias proved very successful in many British schools." 


TJi large dots represent the raised points of the Braille letter ; the small simply 
to indicate their position in the grou/p of six. 


B C 



F G 

H 1 


but Christ 


from God 



1st line. 





L M 



P Q 

R S 




people quite 

right some 


2nd line, 




V X 



and for 

of the 





ird line. 



gh sh 



d er 

on ow 







ith line. 



:r :: 

:. ;r 

The signs of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th lines are formed from those of the 1st 1 
the addition of lower dots. 

The signs of the 5th line are the same as those of the first, except that th< 
are written in the middle and lower holes. 



be con dig 

en to 

bii in wa 

5th line. 

Only at a icparate 
ejllable commencing 
a word. 

Only when a 
tparate word. 

prefix it etai 
for by. 

?; r. i\ 

' < 

prefix end of 
for line 
St infer numbers in poetry 

apoe. (Whcnueed 
trophe aa a prefix 



When at the end 
of a word, ble. 

. * 

The signs of the 1st lire when preceded by the prefix for numbers m 
for the nine numbers and the cipher. 



r A B C D E F G H 

but can do ' every from go have 

1= = 3- 5- I? 6 fc- 


9n j | know- like more not people quite rather so that 

{K I* 

know- like 
i - 


U V X Y Z and for of the with 

3rd / s y A L i s 

LINE |? 


{ch gh sh th wh td er ou ow W 

child shall this which out will 

?z Jz 

f , ; : ! () 

ea be con dis en to were ? in was 

X 1 J bb cc dd enough ff gg his by 


Fraction-line Sign Numeral Poetry Apostrophe and 

still Sign Sign Abbreviation Hyphen 

ble ar Sign com Dash 


, still 

1 st ing 

\ Z? Z? 


y- Accent S 

Accent Sign Capital or Decimal- Letter Sign Italic Sign 

7th P int 


_ _ 9 
Used in forming Contractions : Z? Z? 


Alston, 13, 29, 71 
Anagnos, Mr., 73 

Armitage, Dr., 37, 72, 74, 90, 126, 

Ballu, 40 

Barbier, 16, 42, 69 

Barnard, Rev. Thos., 99 

Belfast, Workshops for the Blind, 

Birmingham, Institution for the 
Blind, 31, 50, 117 

Braille, Louis, 14, 16, 30, 41, 47, 70 

Bridgeman, Laura, 71, 100 

Bristol, Institution for the Blind, 

British and Foreign Blind Associa- 
tion, 56-67, 74, 78, 90, 93, 126 

Buckle, Anthony, 27, 82 

Campbell, Guy, 103 
Campbell, Lady, 103 
Campbell, Sir Francis, 27, 31, 83, 

94, 100, 125, 144 
Carton, Abbe, 39 
Craik, Mrs., 103 

Diderot, M., 1, 2, 4, 8, 
Douglas-Hamilton, 76 
Dublin, Institution for the Blind, 

Eichholz, Dr., 3 

Emperor Paul of Russia, 5 

Exeter, Institution for the Blind, 50 

Fawcett, Henry, 104 
Forster, S. S., 144 

Foucaud, 30 
Fraser, Dr., 104 
Frere, H., 14, 23, 40, 93 
Fry, 10, 13, 71, 93 

Gall, 8, 10, 12, 71, 144 

Gardner Trust, 67, 68, 95, 125, 130 

Gilbert, Elizabeth, 105 

Gladstone, 104 

Gosley, Captain, 52 

Guillie, Dr., 6, 55 

Guldberg, 29 

Hall's Typewriter, 33 

Harris, William, 144 

Haiiy, Valentin, 4, 6, 7, 8, 29, 39, 

53, 143 

Henderson, Miss, 113 
Hendry, 105 
Henshaw's Blind Asylum, 50, 53, 

123, 151 

Hey wood, Miss I. M., 147 
Hill, Rev. St. Clare, 157 
Hodgkin, Misses, 75 
Howe, Dr., 18, 21, 71, 103 
Hughes, 39 

Johns, Rev. B. G., 72, 145 
Johnson, Edmund, 72, 145 

Keller, Helen, 105, 111 
King Edward VII., 103 

Lang of Edinburgh, 87 
Leatherhead, School for the Blind, 

50, 125 
Le Sueur, 5 




Levitte, 30 

Little, Dr. Fletcher, 53 

Liverpool, School for the Blind, 50, 

Liverpool, Workshops for the Blind, 


Lord Egerton of Tatton, 96 
Louis XV., 1 
Louis XVI., 5 
Lucas, 14, 23, 71, 95 

MacBeath, 85, 86 

MacLean, David Brown, 106 

MacNeile, Rev. N. F., 116 

MacNicol, Mrs., 53 

Marston, Rev. H. J. R., 144 

Martin, William, 17,54 

Massage, Institute of, 52 

Menzel, Herr, 33 

Metcalf, John, 116 

Montal, Claude, 51 

Moon, Dr., 14, 16, 19, 22, 30, 34, 72, 

93, 135 
Moyes, 85, 86 
Munby, Fredk. J., 147 
Murray, Rev. Hill, 26 
Mylne, Robert, 12 

Newton, Sir Isaac, 85 
Nicholson, Rev. J. B., 100 
Norwood, A. B., of York, 147 
Nottingham, Institution for the 
Blind, 50 

Phillips, W. B., 153 
Pine, H. W. P., 123, 153 
Plater, J. J., 117 
Pooley, 30 

Ranger, Dr., 119 

Ritchie, J. M., 1 

Robertson, Sir Tindal, 119 

Royal Blind Asylum and School, 

Edinburgh, 32, 50, 52, 55, 56, 

107, 124 
Royal Normal College of Music, 

Upper Norwood, 31, 50, 125 
Russ, Dr., 36 

Saunderson, Nicholas, 85, 86 
Sheffield, Institution for the Blind, 


Smith, J. W., 43, 73 
Stainsby, Henry, 27, 123 
Stainsby, Miss, 149 
Stott, George, 153 
Sullivan, Miss, 106, 111 
Swinnerton, Rev. J., 99 
Swiss Cottage, School for the Blind, 


Tate, W. H., of Bradford, 147 
Taylor, Henry Martyn, 119 
Taylor, W. E., 149 
Taylor, of York, 85 
Thursfield, 30 
Towse, Capt. E. B. B., 121 

Vivian, Rev. Glynn, 121 

Wait, 21, 31, 38, 73 
! Wayne, Alfred, 33 
Wedgwood's Noctograph, 30 
Wilson, Henry J., 97, 125, 130, 147, 

149, 151, 153, 157 
Wright, Miss Edith, 147 

York, School for the Blind, 50 

Printed by Hazell, Watson d: yiney, Ld., London and Aylenbury. 

The Pioneer Business ESTABLISHED 


for the Blind ! 


5, Fen Court, Fenchurch Avenue, LONDON, E.G. 

Agents, wholly or partially blind, wanted for the sale of 

Our Well-known 
Tea, Coffee, and Cocoa, 

Authorised Agents require no Capital or Licence. 

For further particulars and Unsolicited Testimonials, apply to 

CHAS. E. DUSTOW, Manager 

(Himself Blind), 

5, Fen Court, Fenchurch Avenue, LONDON, E.G. 


26 S 27, Budge Row, 

Coir Yarn & Fibres 

of every description supplied on very ad- 
vantageous conditions to all Institutions, 

etc., etc. 

Very large Stocks held for immediate 
delivery for Mat and Matting Manu- 
factures, and all other purposes. 

Packing Canvases 


Sewing Twines 

of all Descriptions. 

Established Half a Century, and one 

of the largest and most reliable houses 

for these articles. 

Contractors to His Majesty's Govern= 
ment in all Departments of the State, 

Inquiries for Quotations and Samples invited. 

The Harrison Patent Knitting Machines 

are the best for the Blind, 
being specially constructed for 
easy manipulation and adjust- 
ment by Blind Workers, who 
successfully use both our 
Circular and Straight type. 

The most Important Blind 
Institutions in the Kingdom 
employ the HARRISON KNIT- 
TING MACHINES in preference 
to others. 

Knitting is an industry which 
can be successfully worked by the 


The following are a few opinions concerning our machines: 
Bristol Blind Institution. " We have tested your machine, and t 

am glad to be able to state that I think it is admirably suited for the Blind. 

Your special construction for this purpose makes it in my opinion the most perfect 

I have seen for the use of the Blind." Rev. H. T. G. KINGDON, Supt. 

The Rev. H. T. G. Kin^don was the first to appreciate our machine for use for 

the Blind, and we are indebted to him for interest he has shown in the perfecting 

of its suitable construction for Blind workers. 

General Blind Institution, Birmingham. " We use the Harrison 
Knitting Machines exclusively in this Institution. We have three ' Flat ' Machines 
in use, and a large number of ' Circular ' ones. The machines are well and strongly 
made, and quite adapted to the requirements of the Blind. I am firmly convinced 
that if a Knitting Department with Blind Operators is well organised it can be 
made remunerative alike to the Workers and the Institutions. I consider that 
knitting by machine and especially that done on the ' Flat ' Machines is one of 
the most suitable occupations for Blind Women. There is practically no limit to 
the variety of the articles which can be made on the ' Flat ' Machine." 

H. STAINSBY, General Supt. & Sec. 

Midland Blind Institution, Nottingham. "I propose to use 
your machines only ; this decision was arrived at after a long trial with yours and 
other machines." H. W. P. PINE, Sec. 

Mr. Pine, of the Nottingham Institution, writes: "It is well 
known that there is a great dearth of employments for Blind Women, and to the 
few that there are the manufacture of Hosiery by means of the Knitting Machine 
comes as a most valuable addition. This form of employment is one that can be 
eminently well practised at home." 

Brighton Barclay Blind Institution. ''The committee have 
agreed to adopt your machine and ask you to exchange two other makes we have." 

A. SNOWBALL, Matron. 

The Harrison Patent Knitting Machines 


The Blind working Our Machine 

Miss Warren, now at 
the Birmingham insti- 
tution, writes : " I am pleased 
to inform you that although blind 
I can work your Harrison Knit- 
ting Machines, and make a pair 
of gents' ribbed socks in about 
forty minutes. I worked your 
Knitting Machine before the Com- 
mittee at the Manchester Blind 
Asylum, and they were interested 
and I consider your Knitting 
Machines, both Round and Straight, 
are very suitable for the Blind." 

Miss Lucy Chambers 
(Blind), of the Notting- 
ham Institution, writes: 
" I can knit a pair of socks in, 
about twenty to thirty minutes, 
a pair of stockings in about forty- 
five to sixty minutes. 


Birmingham, Nottingham, Manchester, Bristol, Swansea, Brighton, 

Leeds, Llandevaud, Sheffield, Accrington, York, Carlisle, Oldham, 

and Cape Colony, and others. 

For further particulars kindly apply to : 

The Harrison Patent Knitting 
Machine Company, Ltd. 

Works: 48, Upper Brook Street, Manchester. 

Branch : 
54, Goodge Street, off Tottenham Court Road, LONDON. 

The Bennet Furnishing 
Co., Ltd. 


All the Latest & most Up-to-date Designs of Appliances 


Catalogues on Application 


36, Tennant St. 47, Glengall Rd., Peckham 





262-3-4, and 255, BRADFORD STREET, 


Green Street Works, BIRMINGHAM. 


/CONTRACTORS to Home and Foreign Institutions for Willows, Basket 
^ ' and Chair Cane, Pulp and Coloured Cane, and all kinds of Rush and 
Straw Plaits. Brass, Nickel-plated, Iron and 
Leather Fittings, Slide Bars, etc., for the Basket 
Trade, Plater's Sunshine Varnish, etc. 

Round Plate Castor. 

G.P.O. Rollers and Plates. 

Wood Wheels with Iron Tyres, and Rubber-tyred Wheels, for all Carriages 
and Trucks. Also Iron and Rubber-tyred Castors. 

Invalid Carriages, Trucks, and Other Articles 

made 'on the Premises, and all kinds of Articles made up in Willows and Cane 

other than can be made by the 2 


Institutions supplied with Water- 
proof Cloth, Baize, and other Material 
used in the lining of Baskets. 

Send for Price List with 

particulars to No. 2. Bar and Eyes. 

JOHN J. PLATER & SONS, Birmingham. 


Cane, Willows 







Jttbion Qane Works, 


Telephone No. : 313. Telegraphic Address : " Abbatt, Bolton. 


Cane & Willows 

M. Jacobs, Young S Co., Ltd., London, 

description of CANE and WILLOWS, solicit inquiries 
for the supply of materials for making BASKETS, 
CHAIRS, etc. 

Having been established in this business OVER 70 
YEARS, and specially catering for the requirements of 
BLIND INSTITUTIONS, they are able to supply the most 
suitable materials, and being DIRECT IMPORTERS are 
able to offer great advantages in prices. 

SAMPLES FREE by post upon receipt of a post 
card giving full details of requirements. 


265, Borough High Street, 


Telephones : 655 & 65 5 A Hop. 
8208 Central. 

Telegrams ^ Established 1833. 

andC^les} Rattans ' London ' Incorporated 1900. 

Codes: ABC (4th & 5th Editions), 
and Ai. 


(Incorporated 1902). 

For Promoting the Education & Employment of the Blind 

Founded 1868 

By the late T. R. ARMITAGE, Esq., M.D., 

206, Great Portland Street, LONDON, W. 

Telephone : ( Portland Road (Met. & D. Ry.), 2 minutes. 

Gerrard ^^ Stations-* Warren Street, (Hampstead Tube), 4 minutes. 

1 162. ( Regent's Park, (Bakerloo Tube), 4 minutes. 

Patrons : 


Chairman of the Executive Council : 


Hon. Treasurer : 


Solicitors : 

MESSRS. RANGER, BURTON & FROST, 17, Fenchurch Street, E.G. 

Secretary-General : 


The objects of the Association are so many and so far-reaching that they 
cannot here be easily defined, but briefly they are as follows : 

(a) To print and distribute books for the use of the Blind, and 

to supply all kinds of apparatus for their use. 

(b) To investigate any questions with reference to the education, 

training, employment, and well-being of the Blind. 

(c) To give advice and assistance of every kind to the Blind, and 

to those charged or concerned with their well-being. 

(d) To promote the higher education, profitable employment, and 

social well-being of the Blind in every possible way. 

Catalogue of "Books and Appliances for the use of the 'Blind 
free on application. 


The Royal Blind Asylum 
and School, Edinburgh. 

School Reading Books. 


3rd Braille Edition, in 1 Vol., price 2/6. 


No. I. 2 Vols. pries per vol 2/6 

II- 2 , 2/6 

HI. 3 ., 2/6 

IV. 3 31- 

V. 4 31- 



A Literary Reader for Senior Classes in 3 Vols., price 4/- each. 


Book III. in 3 Vols., 2/6 per vol. Vol. 1 , Animal Life. Vol. 2, 
Plant Life. Vol. 3, Common Objects. 


A series of selections from the works of the Great Writers of 
Prose. In separate numbers, post free I/- each. The numbers 
already issued include selections from Thomas de Quincey, 
J. A. Froude, Emerson, Hazlitt, Matthew Arnold, Samuel 
Johnson, Thackeray, and Washington Irving. Others in 


A Literary Monthly Magazine, price 1 /- post free. 

Full detailed Catalogue (in Braille or ordinary Print) on application to 

MR. W. M. STONE, Head Master, 
Royal Blind Asylum and School, 

West Craigmillar, 




Price, 6 6s. Treadle, lOs. 6d. 

All Information to be obtained from 

Miss MOON, 104, Queen's Road, BRIGHTON, 


BOOKS for the BLIND in the MOON TYPE 

Hon. Secretary and Treasurer, Miss MOON 

(From whom all information can be obtained), 

104, Queen's Road, 'BRIGHTON. 


.5, ( f 


\ ; 


- 11 


-1 v 

The Alphabet was adapted by the late Dr. MOON to 400 Languages 

and Dialects. Besides the Bible, over 600 Volumes can be obtained in 

English, and 315 Volumes in Foreign Languages. 




This book is due on the last date stamped below, or 

on the date to which renewed. 
Renewed books are subject to immediate recall. 

cv - u 


OCT 5 '65 -4 P 


'69 - 

LD 21A-60m-4,'64 

General Library 

University of California 



General Library 

University of California