Jean Sorel Scrapbook

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

Creator: 

Jean Sorel

Date Range: 
1951-1993
Call number: 
AG74
Abstract: 

This collection consists of a scrapbook curated by Jean Sorel. The scrapbook contains clippings about services for the blind in Haiti and Montreal as well as articles about events that Sorel attended. There are also articles and letters written by Sorel. Many of the articles are in French.

Extent: 
.25 linear feet, 1 box
Language: 
English, French
Processed by: 

Susanna Coit, 2018

Biographical/Historical notes: 

Jean Sorel was born in Jacmel in Haiti on January 1, 1928. He was blind at birth due to congenital glaucoma. Sorel’s mother and family advocated for him throughout his childhood and facilitated his education by having wooden letters made so that he could learn reading and writing.

Sorel learned to read and studied under the guidance of Dr. Justin Castera, Sr. After losing his eyesight in his 50s, Dr. Castera learned about braille while he was visiting France in 1933. When he returned home to Haiti, he began to learn braille with Sorel, who was 5 years old at the time. Sorel continued his education by reading braille books extensively until Dr. Castera died in 1938. Sorel enrolled in a class through Hadley Correspondence School and attended Perkins School for the Blind for 2 years between 1948 and 1950. He also completed teachers’ training courses at Harvard College in a collaborative program with Perkins.  

Sorel went on to attend law school from 1951 to 1953 and was the State University of Haiti’s first student who was visually impaired. He also taught classes for the blind at multiple schools, including St. Vincent School for Handicapped Children and the Hadley School. He hosted a radio show on Radio Haiti from 1956 to 1964 and was involved with a number organizations including the Haitian Society for the Blind, which he co-founded in 1952. He also continued to teach at his home in Jacmel before emigrating to Montreal in 1967, where he died on April 17, 2017.  

Sources of information: 

Haiti Sun, October 1957

“Blindness No Handicap For 28 Year Old Jean Sorel Now Popular Evening Announcer For Radio Haiti” Haiti Sun, July 22, 1956. Link.

Restrictions: 
None
Credit line/Citation: 
Jean Sorel Scrapbook, Perkins School for the Blind
Scope/Contents: 

This collection consists of a scrapbook curated by Jean Sorel. The scrapbook contains clippings about services for the blind in Haiti and Montreal as well as articles about events that Sorel attended. There are also articles and letters written by Sorel. Many of the articles are in French. The collection also contains a documentary (DVD) about Jean Sorel, produced in 2014.

Arrangement: 

This collection contains one bound scrapbook and one DVD. The articles in the scrapbook are arranged in the scrapbook by the creator in no discernible order.

Container List: 

Box 1:

Scrapbook (1951-1993)

Jean Sorel de Jacmel A Montreal, Un Exceptionnel Parcours Dans Le Noir, Un documentaire de Roger Boisrond, 2014

Provenance: 
This collection was donated by Jean Sorel. It was acknowledged by the Archives in 2012.
Subject Headings: 

Perkins School for the Blind.

Perkins School for the Blind--History.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Jacmel, Haiti.

Montreal, Canada.

Harvard College.

Copyright © Perkins School for the Blind