Library Collections: Document: Full Text

The Work Of The Adult Blind

Creator: M. R. Hodder (author)
Date: October 22, 1904
Publication: Brookline Chronicle
Source: Perkins School for the Blind


The Work of the Adult Blind.


To the Editor of The Chronicle: --


Two years ago we called the attention of your readers to the fact that in the Mechanics Fair there was a table of the handiwork of blind women, and that a committee from the Women's Educational and Industrial Union was there to tell the public the needs of that overlooked class of people -- the adult blind.


You have heard from time to time how this movement to help the blind to help themselves, grew into the "Mass Association for Promoting the Interests of the Adult Blind;" how it was brought to the notice of the Legislature, and met the cordial support of both houses of the General Court, and that the Governor appointed a Commission consisting of Dr. Hartwell, the noted statistician, Alpheus Hardy, one of the most public-spirited citizens of Boston, and Miss Agnes Irwin, Dean of Radcliffe, to look into the needs of this long neglected class of citizens.


The report of this commission being favorable, and the need of more time for their work being shown last winter, they were re-appointed, and are still studying the problem of how the blind can be given industrial opportunities, that may result in self-support.


In the meantime, the Association has started an "Experiment Station" at 345a Broadway, Cambridge, where they are demonstrating the fact that the blind can do as good work as the seeing in some of the crafts.


In the Fair at Mechanics Building this month there is a very attractive booth, where five sightless men and women skillfully ply five different crafts. One man makes flower stands, coat-bangers, bill-files, and an ingenious puzzle, in wire. One weaves all kinds and sizes of fancy baskets, wall-pockets and work stands. A woman crochets table covers, bedspreads, doilies, and lace; another makes iron holders, and a loom has been sent from the experiment station, and a young girl is weaving useful and beautiful table and pillow covers, and sets for the dining table.


This booth attracts much attention in the Fair, and visitors never tire of watching the deft fingers and talking with these cheerful workers.


As the Association is trying to impress upon the state the fact that it is an economy to open a trade school for the adult blind, instead of supporting those who are poor in the Almshouse (the only doors now open to them), they chose October 17th, the "State Economy Day" of the Fair, to hold their two meetings, and to tell the public of the present status of this much needed work.


Rev. Edward Cummings, President of the Association, presided over these meetings in his usual happy manner, and Mr. C. F. F. Campbel, the able agent of the Association, was there to tell of the encouragement he has met with when lecturing over the state, and to show the work already done at the Experiment Station.


Many earnest men were there to speak for this good cause, and among them were none more eloquent and convincing than two of our Brookline divines, Rev. D. D. Addison, and Rev. Francis Rowley, who stirred the hearts of all who heard them. Good music was rendered by Mr. O'Brien, a blind artist, and an original monologue given by Mr. Coles, the blind humorist.


Several of the firms represented at the Fair joined in giving an afternoon tea to the assembled guests, and much interest in this worthy cause was expressed over the tea-cups.


M. R. Hodder.