Arthur W. Evans Correspondence and Other Material Collection

Samuel P. Hayes Research Library
Perkins School for the Blind
175 N. Beacon Street
Watertown, MA 02472


Perkins School for the Blind

Date Range: 
Call number: 

Correspondence and a couple manuscripts and clippings collected by Arthur W. Evans related to Jimmy Osborn, the 10 year old British blind pianist. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence written by Evans in 1946. Evans was director of Camp Wonalancet for Boys at Eaton Center, New Hampshire. This collection also includes correspondence written to Evans, clippings, handwritten notes, and an incomplete typewritten manuscript detailing Osborn’s time at the camp. Correspondents include Osborn’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Osborn; John B. Butler; Victor C. Lovejoy; and Perkins director Dr. Gabriell Farrell. Some correspondence related to John Richards, also a student at Perkins who attended camp with Osborn, is also part of this collection.

25 linear feet
Processed by: 

Jennifer Hale, 2015

Biographical/Historical notes: 

James Osborn, known as Jimmy, became widely known in the United States as the British blind pianist who was “adopted” by members the American Ninth Air Force. While stationed in England during World War II, the 9th raised money so that 10-year-old Jimmy could get an education in the United States. In 1945, James was enrolled at Perkins School for the Blind. James was from Romford, England. In 1947, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Osborn moved to the United States, settling in Plymouth, Massachusetts. 

Credit line/Citation: 
Arthur W. Evans Correspondence and Other Material Collection, Perkins School for the Blind.

This collection primarily documents the planning and eventual attendance of Jimmy Osborn at Camp Wanalancet in the summer of 1946.  Correspondence highlights everything from acquiring funding for his stay, to reports on his daily activities at camp. There is also mention of the positive effects inclusion can have for children with disabilities and their peers. Two clippings related to Osborn highlight his family’s  move to Massachusetts in 1947 and his life in Plymouth 1948. Correspondence from the Osborn’s to Evans discusses the process of getting a visa to make this move. While this collection almost exclusively focuses on Jimmy Osborn, also mentioned briefly is John Richards. Richards, a partially sighted Perkins student, was selected to go with Jimmy Osborn to be of assistance and a comfort to him. Richard’s material includes a letter Evans wrote to his father regarding this matter. A few manuscripts include informal notes about camp and a typed, incomplete manuscript about Jimmy’s summer at Wanalancet.


1 box arranged by format and chronologically within. B1:F1 = Box 1: Folder 1

Container List: 

B1:F1: Correspondence and manuscripts, April-June 1946

B1:F2: Correspondence and manuscript, July 1946-March 1947

B1:F3: 2 Clippings, 1947, 1948

B1:F4: Photograph of campers and counselors at Camp Wanalancet, 1946

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