Howe Press 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: 
Circa 1911-1997, bulk 1940s-1960s
Call number: 

Materials related to the Howe Press circa 1911-1997. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence related to the Perkins Brailler most of which are addressed to or from its inventor David Abraham (1896–1978). This collection also includes photographs, prints, price lists, catalogs, brochures, and clippings. Photographs include the Howe Press staff, facilities, products, and processes such as the embossing of braille plates for book-printing. Some photographs are reproductions of material from the 1930s and earlier.Products featured in the collection include the Perkins Brailers 1 and 2, the Free Hand Drawing Stylus, the Life-Time Eraser, the Reversible Stylus, the E-Z Read Slate, and the Howe Press Braille-Master Vertical Plate Stereotyping Machine. An illustration of games designed or modified for people who are blind and made in the manual training department of Perkins in 1911 is also included.

0.5 linear feet
Processed by: 

Jennifer Hale, 2015

Credit line/Citation: 
Howe Press Collection, Perkins School for the Blind.

This collection documents the history of the Howe Press, particularly the 20th century when Perkins School for the Blind designed and manufactured several models of braillewriters. In the 1930s David Abraham was tasked with redesigning the braille writer. In 1941, after several years of solitary labor, he finally presented the prototype to Perkins. Ingeniously and scrupulously designed, it is essentially identical with the Perkins Brailler still in production more than 50 years later.

This collection primarily focuses on the Perkins Brailler. Several photographs document the Perkins Braillers as well as their manufacture from the 1950s through the 1970s. The bulk of the collection is correspondence which is primarily written to David Abraham and all related to the brailler. Publicity for Howe Press products and services include a few catalogs and price lists from the 1950s, 1970s, and 1990s. Instructions for the brailler from 1967, include two copies in braille.

This collection also documents book printing and other Perkins products developed at the Howe Press. Photographs document stereotyping, printing, and binding of books from the early turn of the century through the 1970's. Photographs also include several publicity shots of Perkins products for writing tools such as braille slates and stylus.

Container List: 

Box 1: 

B1:F1:   Document with account of early titles from Howe Press, undated

B1:F2:   Howe Memorial Press photographs, clipping, and photocopies of stereotyping, undated

B1:F3:   Howe Press stereotyping machine photographs, undated

B1:F4:   Howe Press stereotyping machine brochures, circa 1952

B1:F5:   Labeled and unlabeled prints showcasing Perkins products, undated, 1911

B1:F6:   Perkins Brailler correspondence, 1932-1954

B1:F7:   Perkins Brailler original publicity and correspondence, 1947-1958

B1:F8:   Perkins Brailler 2 photographs, 2 brochures, and print, circa 1940s and 1950s

B1:F9:   Howe Press  Catalog, 1956

B1:F10: Perkins Brailler photographs, undated, circa 1964

B1:F11: Perkins Brailler instructions, undated, 1967

B1:F12: History of the Howe Press, by Waterhouse, 1975

B1:F13: Howe Press Price lists, 1976-1977

B1:F14: Howe Press booklet in braille, ca. 1990s

B1:F15: Howe Press catalogs, price lists, and 1959 Perkins Brailler schematic photocopies, undated, 1995-1997

Copyright © Perkins School for the Blind