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Creator:

Perkins School for the Blind

Date Range:

1700s-1980s, bulk 1880-1910

Call Number:

AG129

Abstract:

The Blind in Art collection, composed largely of reproductions, was begun in 1800 with some depictions dating as early as the 13th century. This collection consists of reproduction prints, posters, photographs, clippings and a few original art objects relating to the depiction of the blind in art.  The collection is heavily European, with French, English, Dutch, Flemish, Spanish, and Italian art with some sections from the United States, Japan, India, and Peru. Subjects include famous individuals with visual impairments, mythological characters, biblical characters, educational communities that serve the blind, Latin American ceramics, depictions of “the blind leading the blind”, blind beggars or mendicants, blind musicians, seeing eye dogs, political cartoons about visual impairments and other topics relating to the history of blindness, stereotypes, and depictions from other aspects of popular culture and the media. 

Extent:

21 linear feet

Language:

English

Processed by:

Molly Stothert-Maurer, 2012. Historical note and sources added by Susanna Coit, 2022.

Processing Note:

This collection was processed with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Preservation and Access, Washington, D.C., 2012-2015.

Historical notes:

The Blind in Art collection, composed largely of reproductions, was begun in 1800 with some depictions dating as early as the 13th century. The collection is heavily European, with French, English, Dutch, Flemish, Spanish, and Italian art with some sections from the United States, Japan, India, and Peru. Subjects of the artworks include famous individuals with visual impairments, mythological characters, biblical characters, educational communities that serve the blind, Latin American ceramics, depictions of “the blind leading the blind”, blind beggars or mendicants, blind musicians, seeing eye dogs, political cartoons about visual impairments and other topics relating to the history of blindness, stereotypes, and depictions from other aspects of popular culture and the media. 

The collection was greatly enhanced by Perkins second director, Michael Anagnos through a friendship and partnership with Alexander Mell, the director of the Vienna School for the Blind. Many of the European prints were purchased through Mell and include a small note bearing Mell’s name, sometimes accompanied by a purchase date and price.

Sources of information:

Berman, Charlotte. “Collection Spotlight: The Blind in Art Collection at Perkins School for the Blind.” Digital Commonwealth Blog. March 3, 2021.

Coon, Nelson. “The Blind in Art: a discussion of the collection housed in the Blindiana Library at the Perkins Institution for the Blind, Watertown, Massachusetts.” Eye to Eye, No. 6, September 1954.

Hale, Jen. “Alexander Mell and the Imperial Royal Institute for the Education of the Blind in Vienna.” Perkins Archives Blog, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown MA. September 17, 2020.

Restrictions:

The Perkins Archives reserves the right to deny physical access to materials available in a digital format. 

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Perkins School for the Blind, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.

Credit line/Citation:

AG129 Blind in Art Collection. Perkins School for the Blind Archives, Watertown, MA.

Scope and Contents:

Includes reproduction prints, posters, photographs, clippings and a few original art objects relating to the depiction of the blind in art.  The collection is heavily European, with French, English, Dutch, Flemish, Spanish, and Italian art with some sections from the United States, Japan, India, and Peru. Subjects include famous individuals with visual impairments, mythological characters, biblical characters, educational communities that serve the blind, Latin American ceramics, depictions of “the blind leading the blind”, blind beggars or mendicants, blind musicians, seeing eye dogs, political cartoons about visual impairments and other topics relating to the history of blindness, stereotypes, and depictions from other aspects of popular culture and the media. 

Arrangement:

43 boxes

Blind in Art Album on Flickr

Container List:

  • Box 1: Louis Dulon, bound volume , 3 prints
  • Box 2: John Milton, bound volume (some loose items)
  • Box 3: Henry Fawcett, bound volume
  • Box 4: Nicholas Saunderson, bound volume
  • Box 5: Typen von der blinden Kindern, photographs of blind students with a range of emotional expressions, by Alexander Mell, in bound volume
  • Box 6: Tobias, bound volume
  • Box 7: Colored Pictures of the Blind, bound volume. Many Political cartoons from French and German periodicals: L’Assiette au Beurre and Simplicissimus
  • Box 8: Nicholas Bacon, bound volume
  • Box 9: Madame du Deffand, bound volume
  • Box 10: John Stanley, bound volume
  • Box 11: Portraits, bound volume
  • Box 12: Bourdaloue, bound volume
  • Box 13: James Holman, bound volume
  • Box 14: Misc. Pictures, Vol. II, bound volume
  • Box 15: William Hickling Prescott, bound volume
  • Box 16: Valentin Haüy, bound volume
  • Box 17: Leonard Euler, bound volume
  • Box 18: Blind Characters from the Bible, bound volume
  • Box 19: Homer, bound volume
  • Box 20: Ossian, bound volume
  • Box 21: Blind Players on Musical Instruments, bound volume
  • Box 22: Oedipus, bound volume
  • Box 23: Misc. Pictures, Vol. I, bound volume
  • Box 24: Christ Healing the Blind, bound volume
  • Box 25: George III, King of England, bound volume
  • Box 26: Belisarius, bound volume
  • Box 27: Samson, bound volume
  • Box 28: The Blind Fiddler, Wilkie, bound volume
  • Box 29: Elymas the Sorcerer, bound volume
  • Box 30: Institutions for the Blind, bound volume
  • Box 31: Johan Zizka, bound volume
  • Box 32: Blind Boys in India, bound volume
  • Box 33: Misc. Pictures, Vol. III, bound volume
  • Box 34: The Blind Girl, Millais, bound volume
  • Box 35: labeled “King Bela, Einar Nielson artist? Cliff Ostrom’s bio pictures”,  box with 28 items
  • Box 36: Misc., 14 items
  • Box 37: Misc., 24 items
  • Box 38: Misc., 35 items
  • Box 39: Misc., 88 items
  • Box 40: Misc., 18 sleeved items in makeshift enclosure with brown paper
  • Box 41:  Framed Christ healing the blind and prints of Mideast/Israel
  • Box 42: Oversized poster/prints in make-shift enclosure of brown paper, cardboard and foam core.
  • Box 43: Smallest items, 8 folders

Provenance:

Unknown. Greatly enhanced by former Perkins director Michael Anagnos- especially through a friendship with the director of a school for the blind in Vienna named Alexander Mell.

Subject headings:

  • Perkins School for the Blind
  • Perkins School for the Blind–History
  • Art
  • People who are blind
  • Anagnos, Michael, 1837-1906
  • Mell, Alexander, 1850-