Students reading in the Perkins Library.
Four students and a staff member sitting around a table in the Perkins Library with multiple embossed volumes open, circa 1950.

Accessibility

Our goal is provide resources that are accessible to all.

Most of Perkins Archives’ digitized text is available on the Internet Archive, which utilizes optical character recognition (OCR) and downloadable file formats, including Daisy, to provide access to users who are blind and visually impaired. We acknowledge that OCR is prone to errors, and cannot recognize graphics or handwritten text, thus creating barriers to some of these materials. It is our intention that by providing the materials as is, the resource is findable online to all. If any of Perkins Archives resources accessed online aren’t accessible in part or in whole, to a user because of a disability, we will create an accessible version upon request. 

Periodicals and annual reports collections

These collections include Perkins’ digitized annual reports from 1833 to the most current, as well as selected annual reports from other schools and organizations serving blind and deafblind populations. Perkins’ newsletters, student literary magazine, and other publications are also included.

Perkins Annual Reports

The yearly publication provides an account of the institution including detailed reports of the various departments, student lists, and fiscal information. This collection spans 1833 to the most current issue.

The Mentor

This was a monthly magazine devoted to the interests of people who are blind and those working in the field of blindness. It served as an exchange of ideas and approaches that spans the globe. It was published by the Perkins Alumni Association from 1891-1894.

The Lens

This monthly literary magazine was created for the students and community at the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts School for the Blind. It was published from 1903-1905.

The Lantern

A Perkins publication, the Lantern was a newsletter that put into writing the latest news and events going on at the school and in the greater Perkins community. The collection spans 1931-1999.

Other annual reports

A selection of digitized annual reports and newsletters for schools and organizations serving people who are deaf and blind in the United States and Canada. Links to digitized collections are available on the collection finding aid.

Outlook for the Blind

This publication was originally a “quarterly record of the progress and welfare of the blind,” first published by the Massachusetts Association for Promoting the Interests of the Blind. This collection of issues spans 1907-1926

Correspondence collections

Digitized incoming correspondence and facsimiles of outgoing correspondence of the Perkins School for the Blind and the Kindergarten. Other correspondence collections include materials related to Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan, and the Halifax Disaster.

Portrait of founding director Samuel Gridley Howe, circa 1846

Perkins Correspondence

Digitized correspondence to and from Perkins from 1828-1920. The full list of correspondence and transcribed indices of correspondents are available on the Perkins Collection finding aid.

Standing portrait of Michael Anagnos, founder of the Kindergarten, circa 1900.

Kindergarten Correspondence

Incoming and outgoing bound correspondence from 1884-1921. Indices of correspondents and links to digitized volumes are available on the finding aid for the collection.

Formal portrait of Helen Keller, circa 1899.

Helen Keller and Arthur Gilman Collection

Correspondence that spans Keller’s childhood through her entrance to Radcliffe College,1887-1904. Links to digitized boxes are available on the finding aid. 

Nella Braddy Henney sitting on a large rock under a flowering tree near her house on Foss Mountain.

Nella Braddy Henney Collection

Correspondence related to Helen Keller’s adult life. The collection spans 1903-1976. The digitized collection is available on the Internet Archive in full and selected correspondence is available on Flicker with full transcriptions.

Halifax Disaster Collection

Correspondence that documents the response to the 1917 Halifax Explosion (1917-1919). The digitized collection is available on the Internet Archive. Newspaper clippings with full transcriptions are available on Flickr. 

Journals and manuscript collections

Primarily digitized journals and manuscripts, the bulk of which are handwritten. The journals document deafblind education in the 19th century at Perkins, along with personal experiences from some of the students themselves. Craft work is included in the Thomas Stringer collection. The collection also includes an anonymous manuscript written in response to the Frost King Incident, in which Helen Keller was accused of plaigerism.

Spread from teacher journal from 1842.
Teacher journal documenting deafblind education at Perkins from January 1842 – January 1843.

Teacher Journals: Deafblind Department

18 journals with detailed accounts by teachers at the Perkins Institution (now Perkins School for the Blind) of daily activities, lessons, travel, interactions between the students, conversations, thoughts, and temperament of students who were deafblind,  including Laura Bridgman and Helen Keller. The collection spans 1841-1899.

Laura Bridgman’s Journals and Other Writings

Handwritten work created by Perkins student Laura Bridgman (1829-1889). Bridgman is considered to be the first person who was deafblind to be formally educated. The work includes journals, dictated stories, and more. The collection spans 1841-1845.

The Work of Thomas Stringer

Bound volume of letters, writings, and crafts (origami and sewing) completed by Thomas “Tommy” Stringer, a Perkins student who was deafblind and a contemporary of Helen Keller, who helped to raise money for his education. The collection spans 1896-1897.

Miss Sullivan’s Methods

An unpublished manuscript that compares Helen Keller’s story “The Frost King” paragraph by paragraph with Margaret Canby’s story “Frost Fairies,” showing how similar the texts are. Written 10 years or more after the scandal, this volume argues that Anne Sullivan was lying about her methods, and is a response to writings in support of Sullivan by her husband John Macy. Read more about the Frost King incident on the Archives blog.


Books and other published works collection

Digitized works that include books, pamphlets, catalogs, and more. The bulk of the collection is published by Perkins and topics include instruction of geography curriculum for students who are blind, Howe Press catalogs, and information about Perkins students with deafblindness. Titles are arranged by publication year from earliest to most current.

Three Perkins publications on display.
Perkins publications, Practical Geography for the Blind by Clara L. Pratt and Perkins Institution and the Deaf-Blind Pupils by Anna Gardner Fish, provide history and how-to in the instruction of students who are deafblind or blind.
  • A Key to the Braille Alphabet and Musical Notation, by the British and Foreign Blind Association, 1871, available on the Internet Archive.
  • The Census of 1890, Eleventh Census of the United States, Special Schedule for Schools for the Blind, Department of the Interior, available on the Internet Archive.
  • List of Embossed Books, Music, Maps, Appliances and Tangible Apparatus for the Use of the Blind, by Howe Memorial Press, 1910, available on the Internet Archive.
  • The Perkins School for the Blind, by Edward E. Allen, 1924, available on the Internet Archive.
  • Perkins Institution and its Deaf-Blind Pupils 1837-1933, by Anna Gardner Fish, 1934, available on the Internet Archive.
  • Practical Geography for the Blind, by Clara L. Pratt, 1937, available on the Internet Archive.
  • The Centenary of Michael Anagnos and the Semi-Centenary of the Kindergarten, 1937, available on the Internet Archive.
  • History of the Howe Press of Perkins School for the Blind, by Edward J. Waterhouse, 1975, available on the Internet Archive.
  • Howe Press Catalog, by Howe Press, August 1976, available on the Internet Archive.

Clippings scrapbooks collections

This collection of digitized scrapbooks span 1829-1958 and contain clippings on many topics including Perkins, other schools for students who are blind or deafblind, related organizations, and notable figures such as Laura Bridgman and Helen Keller. They also contain ephemera such as theater programs. The books were collected and bound at what is now known as the Perkins School for the Blind. A list of topics with descriptions is provided or browse the full list of scrapbooks.

A scrapbook next to an interior spread from a kindergarten scrapbook.
The cover of a bound scrapbook with a decorative, gold embossed label next to a spread from the Kindergarten Bound Clippings Collection, 1903-1908. The spread features news stories about Perkins’ graduation on the left page and highlights the Kindergarten on the right page. The story is illustrated with students playing music, exercising, and kindergarten students at a table working with blocks.

Perkins Institution

Fifty volumes of digitized scrapbooks with newspaper clippings featuring articles about the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts School for the Blind, now Perkins School for the Blind. The collection spans 1833-1957.

Perkins Kindergarten

Six volumes of digitized scrapbooks with newspaper clippings featuring articles about Perkins Kindergarten, the first kindergarten for students who are blind. The collection spans 1887-1908.

Helen Keller

This twenty-volume collection of bound scrapbooks from 1887-1947 contains newspaper clippings, articles, and pamphlets about Helen Keller, detailing information about her early education to her later life.

Articles on blindness

Thirty-two volumes of scrapbooks with newspaper clippings featuring articles related to blindness or deafblindness, originally labeled as “miscellaneous.” The collection spans 1888-1958.

Music and theater

A digitized scrapbook documenting music and theater performances in Boston. It includes articles on John S. Dwight, a notable musician, and critic in 19th century Boston. Dwight was also a Perkins Trustee. The collection spans 1890-1905.

Perkins centennial

A digitized scrapbook of newspaper clippings from 1932, documenting the centennial of the year the New England Institution for the Education of the Blind, now known as Perkins School for the Blind, first opened its doors to students in 1832.

Laura Bridgman

Four volumes of scrapbooks containing clippings related to Laura Bridgman (1829–1889). Bridgman was a pupil at Perkins and considered to be the first deafblind person to be formally educated. The collection spans 1838-1903

Guide dogs

Six volumes of scrapbooks of clippings related to the topic of guide dogs, originally titled “dogs for the blind.” The collection spans 1924-1941. Topics include training programs and stories about their use and popularity.

“War blind”

Eight volumes of scrapbooks containing clippings related to servicemen blinded or visually impaired in World War I and World War II. There is a focus on rehabilitation and occupational training. The collection spans 1915–1946.

“Adult blind”

60 volumes of scrapbooks containing clippings related to adult blindness. Topics include occupations, associations, events, group homes, and other news items organized by state, topic, and region. The collection spans 1860-1942.

Blindness associations

Nine volumes of scrapbooks of clippings related to associations serving people who are blind. Associations included are, the Buffalo Association & Western New York Adult Blind, the Lions Club, the New York Association for the Blind, Pennsylvania (Eastern), the American Association of Workers for the Blind, and the American Foundation for the Blind. The collection spans 1907-1939.

Reading and information delivery

Clippings collections that cover braille transcribing, 1921-1922, radio clippings 1922-1931, and reading devices for people who are blind, 1935-1936.

“Canadian blind”

A scrapbook of clippings with articles from Canada about people who are blind and blindness advocacy. Topics include rehabilitation, blinded war veterans, and employment. Articles include mentions of people blinded by the Halifax Explosion in 1917. The collection spans,1907-1934. 

“Blind babies”

Seven volumes of scrapbooks containing clippings on topics related to charitable organizations caring for babies born blind, particularly the Blind Babies’ Aid Society. The collection includes in Boston 1908-1925 in 1 volume, Brooklyn, 1905-1926 in four volumes, and New Jersey 1907-1934 in two volumes.

Medical aspects of blindness

9 volumes of scrapbooks of clippings with articles on the medical aspects of blindness, including volume dedicated specifically to the prevention of blindness, and sight restored articles.

Anthology of English verse

Four volumes of scrapbooks containing clippings of poetry verse, often about blindness or individuals who are blind. Volumes include typewritten indices. The collection spans 1734-1951.

Sir Francis Campbell

Scrapbook of clippings with articles about Sir Francis Campbell (1832 –1914). Campbell was blinded as a young boy in Tennessee. As a teacher, Cambell’s anti-slavery views nearly cost him his life and he ended up in Boston where he taught at Perkins. He would go on to co-found the Academy of Music for the Blind, and the Royal Normal College in 1872, in England. In 1909, King Edward VII conferred knighthood on him in Buckingham Palace. The collection spans 1907-1910.

Frances J. Crosby

A scrapbook of clippings with articles about Frances J. Crosby (1820-1915). Commonly known as Fanny, Crosby was a well-known public figure. She also happened to be blind.  In 1843 Crosby became the first woman to speak in the United States Senate. She argued for the support of education for people who are blind and in 1846 she joined a delegation from Perkins and the School for the blind in Philadelphia in support of schools for students who are blind. The scrapbook spans 1843-1911.

Pennsylvania (eastern)

Scrapbook of clippings with articles related to blindness from eastern Pennsylvania newspapers. The bulk of the topics included is advocacy and fundraising. The collection spans 1935-1939. 

Frederick Douglas Morrison

A scrapbook of clippings with articles about Frederick Douglas Morrison (1837-1904). Morrison was the superintendent of the Maryland School for the Blind for forty years. The collection spans 1837-1904.

Thomas P. Gore

Two volumes of scrapbooks documenting Thomas P. Gore (1870–1949). Gore, who lost his sight as a young boy, went on to become a lawyer and one of the first two United States senators for Oklahoma when it became a state. He would serve in the Senate twice and practice law in Washington D.C. Volume 1 spans 1907-1908. Volume 2 spans 1907-1917.

Royal Normal College

Two volumes of clippings, program pamphlets, and papers from or about the Royal Normal College for the Blind in Hereford England. Now known as the Royal National College for the Blind, the college was founded in 1872. Volume 1 contains program pamphlets and papers spanning 1870-1930. Volume 2 contains clippings from 1868-1910.

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Kindergarten students playing a game in a circle formation in 1893.

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