"Blind Tom" Collection Finding Aid

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



Date Range: 
Call number: 
1.5 linear feet
English, French
Processed by: 

Elizabeth Constanti, 2014.

Biographical/Historical notes: 

Thomas Green Bethune/Wiggins [1848-1908], commonly known as Blind Tom, was an African American pianist who was blind. It is unclear which last name, Bethune or Wiggins, he used predominantly, since one he may have been given to him or he adopted for himself. He was born into slavery in Columbus, Georgia in 1848, and was later purchased by James Bethune. As a young child he was articulate, enjoyed music, and began playing the piano. At a young age Tom began performing as a pianist professionally, and continued to perform throughout the country into his adult life. “Blind Tom” died in 1908.

Sources of information: 

BlindTom.Org: Website dedicated to the nineteenth-century slave pianist and autistic savant Blind Tom Wiggins. Retrieved Feb. 26, 2014 from: http://www.blindtom.org

Wikipedia entry on Blind Tom Wiggins. Retrieved Feb. 26, 2014 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_Tom_Wiggins

Credit line/Citation: 
Elizabeth Constanti, 2014

Collection includes multiple newspaper articles, clippings, and published works about Thomas Green Bethune/Wiggins, commonly know as “Blind Tom”. Many items highlight his piano performances as he toured across the country. Some materials are oversized.


1 box, 1 oversized box

Container List: 

Box 1

Folder 1: Thomas Green Bethune, newspaper clippings, Blind pianist, 1861-

Folder 2: Thomas Green Bethune (Wiggins), blind, “Blind Tom”, clippings & articles, 1862-1908

Folder 3: Thomas Green Bethune, blind, famous pianist, 1900’s (bulk), 1867

Box 2 (oversized)

Thomas Green Bethune, “Blind Tom”, newspaper articles, oversized, 1881, 1898, 1908

Subject Headings: 

Blind Tom, 1849-1908.

Blind musicians--United States.

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