Home Teaching Department Collection Finding Aid

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

Creator: 

John Vars

Date Range: 
1901-1934, bulk 1909-1914
Call number: 
AG70
Abstract: 

This collection contains materials from Perkins School for the Blind’s Home Teaching Department from 1901-1934, with the bulk from 1909-1914. Included are correspondence, a map, a ledger, and a scrapbook. The program’s first director, John Vars, is the addressee or sender of the bulk of the collection. Other recipients include Home Teachers Lillian Garside, Lydia Hayes, and Edward Schuerer, among others.  The collection also contains correspondence related to Edward E. Allen, the third Director of Perkins School For The Blind. The collection encompasses all aspects of the Home Teaching program including statistics on the program, information on new students, commendations from students, material requests for handicrafts, and the sale of said handicrafts to the general public.

Extent: 
3 linear feet
Language: 
English
Biographical/Historical notes: 

John Vars (1855-1932) was born in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.  From an early age, he had problems with his eyes, before going completely blind at about age nine.  He was educated at Perkins and after graduation held several odd jobs including tuning pianos and running a laundry service.  In 1900, he was asked by Perkins second director Michael Anagnos to start working with the adult blind in the state of Massachusetts.  Mr. Vars was assisted by his wife, Nellie, throughout his tenure as a home teacher, before retiring at age seventy in 1925.

Edward E. Allen (1861-1950) was born in Massachusetts and spent part of his early career as a teacher at Perkins. After teaching in England, he returned to Perkins to serve as its third director.  Allen was an early advocate for the Braille method of reading and writing.  He retired in 1931 and was followed by Gabriel Farrell.

Sources of information: 

"Edward E. Allen Collection."  Perkins School for the Blind Archives. Retrieved 13 Nov. 2013.

Vars, John. Autobiographical Sketch. 1931. Typed manuscript, pamphlet file, Samuel P. Hayes Research Library, Perkins School for the Blind.

Restrictions: 
None
Credit line/Citation: 
Processed by Stephanie Molnar, 2013
Arrangement: 

B1:F1 = Box 1: Folder 1

4 Series, 5 Boxes:
Series 1: Home Teaching Department, 1909-1934
            Subseries 1: Administrative Records and Correspondence, 1909-1934
            Subseries 2: Vendor Correspondence, 1909-1914
Series 2: Edward E. Allen Correspondence, 1909-1925
            Subseries 1: To Edward E. Allen, 1925
            Subseries 2: From Edward E. Allen, 1909-1914
Series 3: John Vars Correspondence, 1909-1915
            Subseries 1: Perkins Employees to John Vars, 1909-1915
            Subseries 2: John Vars to Perkins Employees, 1909-1914
            Subseries 3: From Businesses/Organizations, 1909-1914
            Subseries 4: Letters to John Vars, 1909-1914
            Subseries 5: Personal Letters to the Vars Family, 1909-1914
Series 4: Ledgers and Scrapbooks, 1901-1915

Container List: 

Series 1: Home Teaching Department 

Box 1 

Subseries 1: Administrative Records and Correspondence

B1:F1: Correspondence, Letters on Employment, Retirement, Instruction, Human Resources, Addressed to John Vars, Edward E. Allen, Lloyd Foye, Anna Fish, James Munroe, 1909-1934

B1:F2: Correspondence, “Commendations from Pupils of Home Teachers of the Adult Blind,” Addressed to John Vars, Edward E. Allen, Edward Schuerer, Lillian Garside, Lydia Hayes, Mary Roberts, 1907-1924

B1:F3: Map, Tactile Map of Massachusetts marking Home Teaching distribution, made by John Vars, 1909

B1:F4: Proceedings, Conference of Home Teachers at Perkins, 1922

B1:F5: Statistics, “Statistics of Home Teaching Work for the Adult Blind,” 1902-1916

B1:F6: [Braille pages], n. d.
 

Subseries 2: Vendor Correspondence

B1:F7: Shipments, Adams Express and American Express, 1911-1912

B1:F8: From Vendors A-Z, 1909-1914

Series 2: Edward E. Allen Correspondence

Subseries 1: To Edward E. Allen

B1:F9: Letters to Edward E. Allen regarding the education of the blind, 2 letters, 1925

Subseries 2: From Edward E. Allen

B1:F10: Letters from Edward E. Allen Addressed to Home Teachers John Vars, Lillian Garside, Edward Schuerer, 50 letters, 1909-1914

Series 3: John Vars Correspondence

Subseries 1: Correspondence from Perkins Employees to John Vars

B1:F11: Fish, Ann, 2 letters, 1911, 1914

B1:F12: Garside, Lillian, 5 letters, 1909-1913

B1:F13: Grieve, Mary, 38 letters, 1910-1911

B1:F14: Grieve, Mary, 58 letters, 1912-1914

B1:F15: Hayes, Lydia, 9 letters, 1909-1911

B1:F16: Reardon, Dennis A., 2 letters, 1912-1913

B1:F17: Schuerer, Edward, 71 letters, 1909-1915

Subseries 2: Letter from Various Persons to Perkins Employees

B1:F18: Garside, Lillian, 13 letters, 1909-1914

B1:F19: Hayes Lydia, 5 letters, 1910-1913

B1:F20: Schuerer, Edward, 25 letters, 1910-1914

Subseries 3: From Businesses/Organizations to John Vars

B1:F21: [Braunick], Catherine, Massachusetts Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary, 1909-1910

B1:F22: Burt, Charles M., Boston & Maine Railroad, 1911

B1:F23: Campbell, Charles F.F., American Association Workers for the Blind, 1913-1914

B1:F24: Campbell, Charles F.F. and Clarence Mudge, Outlook for the Blind, 1911, 1913

B1:F25: The Christian Record, 1913

B1:F26: Cummings, Florence, Commission for the Blind, 1910-1914

B1:F27: Delaware Commission for the Blind, 1911
 

Box 2

B2:F28: Delfino, Liborio, Pennsylvania Institute for the Instruction of the Blind, 1911

B2:F29: [Dolardurik], Katherine, Associated Charities of Boston, 1910

B2:F30: Drinkwater, Charlotte V., Hillside School, 1912

B2:F31: Dwight, Henry and William Foulke, American Bible Society, 1909, 1913

B2:F32: Everall, Amy F., Industrial School for Girls, 1914

B2:F33: Farmer, Gertrude, Social Service Department, Addressed to Lillian Garside, 1909

B2:F34: Flood, Everett, Massachusetts Hospital for Epileptics, Addressed to Lydia Hayes, 1909

B2:F35: Fraser, C.F., Halifax School for the Blind, 1911, 1913

B2:F36: Goldthwaite, Lucille A., New York Public Library for the Blind, 1911-1912

B2:F37: Goodwin, Violet, Soldiers’ Home, 1912

B2:F38: Hayes, Lydia Y., New Jersey Commission for the Blind, 1911-1914

B2:F39: Holmes, Charles W., Commission for the Blind, Addressed to John Vars, Fenwick Fleet, Lillian Garside, Herbert Phillips, Edward Schuerer, 1909-1914

B2:F40: Holmes, Walter G., Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind, 1909-1911

B2:F41: Holmes, Walter G., Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind, 1912-1914

B2:F42: Illinois Dept. for the Blind and School for Blind, 1911-1912

B2:F43: [Kasson, B.], State Farm, 1909

B2:F44: Kneeland, Clara L., Memorial Home for the Blind, 1912

B2:F45: Lewis, J.F., State Board of Charity, 1911

B2:F46: Marsh, Alice Hayes, Commission for the Blind, 1913

B2:F47: Mattice, Brenda F., Commission for the Blind, Addressed to John Vars, Lillian Garside, 1913-1914

B2:F48: Moon, Adelaide, The Moon Society, Adelaide Moon was the daughter of the creator of Moon Type, William Moon, 1 letter, 1913

B2:F49: Moon, Robert C. and John Thompson, Pennsylvania Home Teaching Society, Robert Moon was the son of the creator of Moon Type, William Moon, 17 letters, 1909-1914

B2:F50: Munroe, James P., Commission for the Blind, 1909-1912

B2:F51: Nichols, John H., State Infirmary, 1913

B2:F52: Pietsch, Anna Hobart, Rothchild & Co., Sales Dept. for the Blind, 1911-1912

B2:F53: Rand, Lotta R., Commission for the Blind, Addressed to John Vars, Lillian Garside, Edward Schuerer, 1909-1914

B2:F54: Selby, Kate, Sales Department for the Blind, 1911

B2:F55: Thompson, John, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1909-1912

B2:F56: Todd, John S., Department of Public Health and Charities, 1913

B2:F57: Wilson, Susan E., Commission for the Blind, Addressed to John Vars, Lillian Garside, Edward Schuerer, 1911-1912

B2:F58: Wright, Lucy, Commission for the Blind, Addressed to John Vars, Lillian Garside, Mary Roberts, Edward Schuerer, 1909-1914

B2:F59: Yauncey, Ellen Condie, Commission for the Blind, Addressed to John Vars, Lillian Garside, 1914

B2:F60: Miscellaneous Persons, Commission for the Blind, 1909-1914

Subseries 4: Letters to John Vars

B2:F61: Ending or declining Home Teaching education, 17 letters, 1909-1913

B2:F62: Requesting education, 64 letters, 1909-1914

Box 3

B3:F63: Requesting supplies, curriculum materials, goods, and providing or requesting money, 16 letters, 1909-1910

B3:F64: Requesting supplies, curriculum materials, goods, and providing or requesting money, 34 letters, 1911

B3:F65: Requesting supplies, curriculum materials, goods, and providing or requesting money, 25 letters, 1912

B3:F66: Requesting supplies, curriculum materials, goods, and providing or requesting money, 40 letters, 1913

B3:F67: Requesting supplies, curriculum materials, goods, and providing or requesting money, 69 letters, 1914, 1916

B3:F68: Requesting supplies, curriculum materials, goods, and providing or requesting money, 41 letters, n. d.

B3:F69: Thank You Notes to John Vars, 10 letters, 1909-1914

B3:F70: Estabrook, Edith M., Swastika Club, charity organization in the early 20th century that changed its name prior to World War II, notable because of gold embossed swastika letterhead, 1 letter, 1914

B3:F71: Miscellaneous Letters, 55 letters, 1909-1914

B3:F72: Miscellaneous Letters to Unknown Persons, 7 letters, 1911-1913

Subseries 5: Personal Letters to John Vars and Family

B3:F73: Personal Letters to the Vars Family, 1909-1914

Series 4: Ledgers and Scrapbooks

Box 4: Ledger, 1901-1904

Book of teacher’s names and expenditures including salaries, travel expenses, guides, and postage.

Address Book, 1916-1917

List of students and their teachers including new cases, continuing students and what each student was learning or needing help with.  Also contains Massachusetts Commission for the Blind meeting notes from November 9, 1917 and general business notes including state organizations and business expenses.
 

Box 5: Bound Correspondence, 1911-1915

Outgoing correspondence from John Vars to various persons and associations, alphabetically indexed by addressee’s last name (see Appendix A).

Appendix A: Index to outgoing correspondence from John Vars
Adams, Charles: 29
Adams Express Co.: 124, 291
Albee Stove Co., The: 434
Allen, E.E.: 1, 32, 47, 103, 118, 126, 137, 144, 148, 198, 213, 228, 230, 248, 254, 267, 280, 298, 312, 314, 321, 356, 362, 371, 376, 378, 388, 407, 408, 426, 429, 441, 448, 453, 482, 489, 506, 514, 518, 527, 567, 582, 589, 601, 611, 631, 644, 649, 658, 684, 686, 703,
Alms House Lancaster: 785, 799
Am. Bible Co.: 513, 972, 994
Am. Express Co.: 103, 105
Amerzine, Mrs.: 865 T?
Andrews, A.R.: 640, 687, 727
Apthorp, H.O.: 375
Armstrong, R.M.: 562
Barker, Charles: 187, 243
Beamis, Charles: 92, 99
Bell, C.: 654??
Berry, John W.: 285
Bestick, George R.: 797, 807
Blood, Susan: 156
Bodfish, John: 22
Bolton, Josephine: 262, 273
Broderick, Nora: 591, 597, 920, 923
Brown, A.C.: 108, 112
Burdett, F.W., Silver Burdett & Co.: 759, 775
Burke, Henry: 28
Burnham, L.G.: 653??
Cahoon, Nehimiah: 233, 595, 827, 902
Campbell, Charles F.F., School for the Blind, Columbus, Ohio: 137, 441, 614, 821
Canadian Free Library for the Blind, Mrs. Marion Robinson, Librarian: 25
Carr, E.J.: 578
Champlain, Lillie: 921
Chase, John S.: 130, 325
Chasse, Josephine: 269, 757
Christian Record: 308, 420
Christianson, John: 308, 513
Coburn, Pheobe J.: 337, 339, 410, 439, 634, 657, 816, 907, 910, 971
Comstock, Charles E.: 60, 258
Cook, Mr.: 606
Cooper Eng. Mfg. Co.: 517, 579
Cote, Gaspar: 272
Cummings, Florence: 372
Cunnison, Mrs.: 527 (actually 528)
Daman, E.C.: 677, 752, 806, 974
Daman, Edith: 932
Davis, Lyman L.: 241, 337(336), 413, 515, 594, 676, 824, 878
Deady, Rosalina: 201 (actually 210)
Desmond, John T.: 995
Dix, Grace: 7, 57, 201, 236
Dixon, Mrs. Edwin J.: 456-457, 458, 471, 501 (502), 522, 558, 584, 593, 598, 604, 606, 620, 733, 760, 807, 881, 892 (and 493)
Dwight, Henry O., American Bible Society: 516
Eaton, F. Merrill: 210 (actually 201)
Epler, Rev.: 172
Estabrook/Estabrooke/Estabrooks, Edith: 439, 872
Evangelister, Sister, St. Joseph's Home: 30, 50, 59, 81, 89, [92], 93
Everall, A.F., Supt., State Industrial School for Girls: 613, 957
Fenno, M: 363?
Fibro Sales Co.: 990, 997
Fisher, Judge Frederick A.: 654 (actually 655)
Fleet, Laura: 823
Fog/Fogg, Anna: 793
Fowler, E: [2], 15?
Fowler, Elwin H.: 505
Fraser, C.F., Supt., School for the Blind, Halifax, NS: 83, 831?
French, Carrie: 87, 96, 123
Fridericks & Co., J.W.: 496
Gardner, Mr., Music Dept. @ Perkins: 743, 845
Garside, Lillian R.: 10, 40, 80, 84, 90, 95, 121, 157, 188, 190, 218, 225, 246, 271, 293, 432, 446, 468, 479, 534, 541, 554, 559, 577, 586, 624, 693, 714, 723, 787, 849, 874, 896, 936
Gaskill, Mrs. Arthur: 240
Giddings, Gladys: 414
Globe-Wernecker Co., Mr. Smith: 233
Golthwait, L.A., Library for the Blind, NY Public Library: 155
Goodell, Charles W.: 951 (actually 952)
Greenwood, Mrs. H.: 701
Grieve, Mary F.: 9, 20, 35, 74, 82, 109, 122, 132, 154, 165, 179, 182, 192, 204, 211, 217, 227, 239, 239, 251, 257, 263, 303, 317, 365, 382, 388, 416, 417, 435, 450, 481, 500, 526, 539, 560, 566, 571, 587, 593, 616, 619, 627, 635, 680, 691, 702, 709, 718, 737, 745, 801, 8
Griffin, James J.: 27, 44, 219, 348, 406, 610
Hall, Mrs. Charles: 495
Hamilton, Annie: 358, 388
Hamilton, D.O.: 793
Hayes, Lydia Y., Supt., Work for the Blind, Newark, NJ: 146, 188?, 455
Hayner Co., George M.: 988
Hays, Sadie: 179, 334, 575
Heap, Myra: 389, 394
Heinrich, Desdemona, Lasell Seminary: 837
Higgins, Dr.: 12
Hirst, James: 310
Hogan, Patrick: 350
Holmes, Charles W., Supt., Training and Work for Men, State Comm. For the Blind: 70, 117, 158, 171, 175, 191, 245, 282, 296, 343, 351, 411, 419, 431, 447, 470, 502, 537, 585, 883, 915
Holmes, Walter G., Manager, Ziegler Pub. Co., NYC: 15, 53, 79, 111, 133, 149, 159, 197, 200, 206, 274, 316, 323, (334), 335, 360, 404, 437, 453, 472, 494, 509, 533, 555, 572, 590, 626, 653, 763, 894, 987
Holt, Sarah: 858, 947 (acutally 946)
Home for Elderly People, Gardner, MA: 135, 234
Hunt, Louisa P., Perkins Inst. Library: 131, 151, 190, 552, 731, 732, 741, 887, 985
Hunter, Anna B.: 682, 685, 857
Hutchings, E.L.: 433?
Illinois Dept. for Blind, Illinois School for the Blind: 105, 168, 403, 417, 541, 729
International Mills: 981, 996
Jaques, Sarah: 508, 885, 906
Jewell, Arthur, School for the Blind, Jacksonville, IL: 11, 34
Johnsen, Mary J., State Comm. For the Blind, NYC: 860 (actually 859)
Johnson, William: 911, 912
Keefe, Dr. John J.: 829, 890, 919, 927, 938
Kelley, Michael: 442
Kelly: 914?
Kimball, Fannie A.: 115, 150, 199, 278
Kneeland, Clara L., Supt., Partridge Memorial Home: 220, 223
Leach, John M.: 78, 309, 680 (actually 679), 805
Lebeau, Edward: 792, 826 (actually 825)
Lee, Etta: 250, 600, 609
Lewis, Dr. J.F., Supt., State Adult Poor: 77, 92
Lewis, John: 418
Linnell, Orissa: 247, 507, 570
Linscott?: 517?
Little, Dr. Abbie: 486
Lombard, Horace: 125, 130, 164, 338, 366, 390, 440 (actually 442), 507, 557, 592, 831, 862, 952
Long, William: 569
Lothrop, Henry: 646
MacIntyre, Mary: 652 (actually 653)
Magan, Father: 51
Magoun, Ella: 86, 116, 174, 529
Mann, M.E.: 779 (actually 780)
Manson, W.J.: 424, 476 (actually 475)
Marable, Rev. Jesse: 926
Marsh, Alice H., Temporary Worker, State Comm. for the Blind: [428], 471
Marshall, Charlot: 56
Marsland, William J.: 474, 477, 870
Mathers, C.E.: 629, 641
Mattice, R.F., State Comm. for the Blind: 551
McCarthy, E.: 973?
McCarthy, Eliza: 754
McCarthy, Mary: 374 (actually 375), 761
Merrill, E.S.: 858, 924
Merrill, Warren: 803, 820
Moon, Dr. Robert C.: 147, 152, 402, 415, 436, 478, 517, 656, 973
Morris, Amealia: 873, 905
Mumford, Sarah: 772
Muskegan Knitting Mills: 982
N.E. Novelty Yarn Co.: 639, 696, 708, 721, 728, 742, 749, 798, 869, 877 (actually 878), 955 (actually 954)
N.E. Reed Co.: 80, 200, 621, 633
Nature Cure (National Drug Co.): 485 (actually 486)
Nelson, S.: 102, 733 (actually 734)
New England News Co.: 404
New England Reed Co.: 199
Nichols, Dr. John H., State Infirmary, Tewksbury, MA: 84, 615
No. Western Needle Co.: 24, 37, 41, 46, 49, 52, 73, 150, 173, 178, 180, 218, 271, 281, 405, 444,
NY Pub. Library, Library for the Blind, NY Public Library: 133 (actually 134), 931
NY State Comm. for the Blind: 819, 864, 893, 922, 930
O'Neil, Josephine: 309
Parsons, L.W.: [533], 903
Payne, Mary J.: 838
Peel, John: 853?, 868 (actually 869)
Perkins Library: 23, 43, 45, 678, 688, 748, 777, 846, 949
Perkins Work Shop: 232, 433, 443, 573, 574, 605, 630, 792, 794, 847, 861
Perry Mason Co.: 17
Peters, Virginia, State Industrial School for Girls: 918
Peterson, Helena: 809
Phillips, Herbert W.: 42, 69, 163, [258], 510
Phinny/Phinney, Lola: 396
Pierce, Dr. G.A., State Infirmary, Tewksbury, MA: 607
Pietsch, C.F.: 349
Pittsley, Alexander: 327, 514, 882, 948
Poirier, Joseph: no page
Postmaster, Amesbury, MA: 284
Postmaster, Whitingsville: 363
Puffer, Mildred: 622 (actually 623)
Putney, Arthur F.: 626, 665, 689, 861 (actually 860)
Rand, Letta, Supt., Training and Work for Men, State Comm. For the Blind: 31, 169, 226, 530 (actually 531), 540, 549, 560, 769, 776
Reardon, Dennis A.: 39, 68, 189, 369, 699, 720
Rice, M.E.: 497
Roberts, Mary E.: 18, 76, 91, 135, 214, 216, 289, 294, 311, 392 (actually 393), 469, 651, 758, 767, 782, 791, 804, 908, 934
Robertson, Walter B.: 13, 225, 384, 473, 744, 911
Robinson, Mr.: 993
S.A. Jacobson & Co.: 989
Sabin, William: 288
Sanborn, John P.: 120, 129, 380, 385, 381 (actually 380), 591, 917
Savage, L.D., City Hospital, Haverhill, MA: 361, 367, 370
Scalon, Michael, Mayor: 565
Schuerer, Edward S.: 19, 55, 75, 99, 107, 127, 142, 145, 161, 184, 193, 209, 221, 229, 231, 237, 270, 283, 286, 292, 305, 319, 326, 391, 395, 400, 430, 450, 459, 464, 470, 477, 498, 512, 536, 545 (actually 546) , 556, 580, 583, 599, 617, 623, 628, 643, 650, 661, 666, 671, 683
Schwimmer & Co.: 457
Scott, Daniel, Workshop for the Blind, Worcester, MA: 746, 830
Selley, Kate, Illinois Dept. of the Blind, Chicago, IL: 106
Sherman, Phebe A.G.: 97
Smith, Mrs. Thomas P.: 196, 235, 301, 373
Snow, Mrs. Albert: 798
Spool Cotton Co.: 295
St. Martin, Ernest: 189
Starbuck, Simeon: 828
Stevens, Mrs. J.H.: 98 (actually 99)
Stewart, Margaret: 664
Stott, E.B.: 462
Summit Thread Co.: 553, 564, 608, 663, 655, 806, 854, 944
Swan, Dr. Lawrence C.: 956 (actually 955)
Swinbourne, Mrs. James G.: 26, 523, 535, 564, 747, 770, 825, 850, 871, 969
T.D. Whitney & Co.: 563, 574, 630, 647, 648, 755, 866, 880, 957, 998
T.I. Smith Co.: 6, 35, 119, 203, 269, 288, 315, 561?
Thomas Meehan & Sons: 722, 753, 781, 784, 811, 852, 937, 970
Thompson, John, Librarian, People's Library, Philadelphia, PA: 8, 37, 88, 104, 222, 359, 504, 653, 743, 755, 914, 975
Thorndyke Hotel: 771 (actually 772)
Toomy, Patrick: 700
Vanderwarner, C.E.: 98, 140
Vogler, Ethel: 910
Walkley, Charles: 397
Walkley, Mary: 812, 959
Walsh, Daniel P.: 310
Walsh Law: 810
Warren, E.E.: 265, 287
Watts, K.: [884], [929]
West, Nellie: 277
West, Nettie: 276
Wetherbee, H.J.: 244
White, Anthony: 888
Whitehead, Clara: 176, 183, 398, 421, 486, 961
Whittemore, F.S.: 794
Widdoff/Widdiff, James: 291, 322
Wilkinson, Mr., Samuel Ward & Co.: 553
Wilson, Alfred G.: 36, 618
Wilson, Susan E., Field Worker, State Comm. for the Blind: 185, 208, 224, 242
Woodman, Charles: 266
Worcester Work Shop: 946
Wright, Ida: 332, 347
Wright, Lucy, Supt., State Comm. for the Blind: 662, 950
Wright, Lucy Wright, Gen. Supt., State Comm. for the Blind: 85, 94, 106, 113, 114, 139, 170, 177, 186, 189, 219, 253, 290, 301, 328, 341, 368, 427, 465, 528, 541, 726

Provenance: 
Unknown
Subject Headings: 

Perkins School for the Blind.
Perkins School for the Blind--History.
Perkins School for the Blind--Home Teaching.