Memphis Friends of the Library Embossed Books Collection, 1836-1839

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


Perkins School for the Blind, Publisher

Date Range: 
Call number: 

Collection of three books printed in Boston Line Type and published by Perkins. Titles include The New Testament, 1836; Atlas of the United States, 1837; and Viri Romae, 1839. The atlas has an inscription that reads “Abigail Carter’s Book.”

.5 Linear feet, one oversized manuscript box.
English and Latin. Printed in Boston Line Type.
Processed by: 

Jen Hale, 2019. 

Biographical/Historical notes: 

Historical Note:
Samuel Gridley Howe, director of Perkins School for the Blind, developed an embossed alphabet called Boston Line Type in 1835. Because it was compact and had few confusing flourishes, he considered it vastly superior to the fonts used in Europe and at the Pennsylvania Institute. Howe commissioned a printer, Stephen Preston Ruggles, to design a press that could produce Boston Line Type books. Ruggles’ press produced books until 1881. Seven books were published in 1835.

Biographical Note: 
Abigail Carter was one of the first 6 students to attend The New England Institution for the Education of the Blind (now Perkins School for the Blind) at 8 years of age. Her six year old sister Sophia carter was also a student. The sisters toured the United States in 1841 with founding Director Samuel Gridley Howe, demonstrating their skills and knowledge. The tour advocated for support and funding for the creation of schools and books for the blind. Sophia later becomes a teacher at Perkins, working closely with future students.

Sources of information: 

Perkins History Timeline. 1800s. Accessed 22 Jan. 2019.

Perkins History Timeline. 1800s, Accessed 22 Jan. 2019.

Gallery Guide. Perkins Books for the Blind, 2018

Credit line/Citation: 
Memphis Friends of the Library Embossed Books Collection, Perkins School for the Blind

This collection provides some of the earliest examples of books published by Perkins School for the Blind for students printed in Boston Line Type. The books include religious text, classical Latin text, and an Atlas for geography curriculum. 


1 Series, 1 box

This collection is arranged in one series and one box.

Series 1: Books, 1836-1839

Container List: 

Box: 1
Series 1: Books, 1836-1839

B1:F1: The New Testament, 1836
B1:F2: Atlas of the United States Printed for the Use of the Blind, 1837
B1:F3: Viri Romae, 1839

This collection was donated by the Memphis Friends of the Library in February of 2016. They had received them as a donation to help raise funds for the library.
Subject Headings: 

Perkins School for the Blind--History.

New England Institution for the Education of the Blind.

Carter, Abigail, -1875.

Blind--Printing and writing systems

Blind--Books and reading

Copyright © Perkins School for the Blind