Pauline Moor Collection

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


Virginia E. Bishop

Date Range: 
Call number: 

This collection contains records related to Pauline (Polly) Moor’s time in high school at the Northfield Seminary and college and graduate school at Smith College, including commencement programs, theater programs, and other items. The collection also includes one photograph from her time at Smith College and a medal from a conference that Moor attended as an adult. The collection also features biographical information authored by Virginia E. Bishop.

.5 linear feet, 1 box
Processed by: 

Susanna Coit, 2018

Biographical/Historical notes: 

Pauline Moor (Polly) was born in Odell, Illinois on May 19, 1909. As a child, she lived in Northfield, MA and attended Northfield School for Girls for high school and graduated in 1927. She graduated from Smith College in 1931 and went on to earn a Master of Arts In Child Development, also from Smith College in 1940. She gained experience teaching kindergarten while she worked towards her graduate degree and became the Director of the Nursery School at the Hale House in Boston in 1934.

After graduation she continued to teach early childhood education before eventually joining a research program at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital in Boston. There, she worked with Dr. Theodore Terry as his team’s Educator and Child Development Specialist. Her work with Dr. Terry led her to Perkins School for the Blind during the summer of 1945 when she directed a nursery program for children while their mothers attended a summer institute. While mothers attended lectures from psychologists, pediatricians, nursery school educators, and other experts, the children would play together, under the direction of Moor.  (She later became a member of the Corporation at Perkins.)

In 1952, she was hired by the American Foundation for the Blind as the National Consultant in Early Childhood. She became known as the national expert on blind preschool education and provided guidance for programs as they opened across the country. Her work help to “accelerate mainstreaming for blind children” (Bishop, 2005, 9).

She participated in and worked with numerous conferences and groups including the International Preschool Blind Seminar, the National Work Session on the Education of Blind with Sighted. She was also a member of the New England Association for Nursery Education.

Her work resulted in numerous publications including No Place to Go (1963), No Time to Lose (1968), and numerous articles and pamphlets. Her resources were used by educators, parents, and policy makers.

Following her retirement in June of 1974, she continued her work as a consultant and attended and participated in conferences. Moor died on August 6, 2004.

Sources of information: 

Bishop, Virginia E. “A Tribute to the Life of Polly Moor.” Watertown, Perkins School for the Blind, 2005.

Bishop, Virginia E. Mini-Steps and Milestones: A History of Services for Young Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired. Watertown, Perkins School for the Blind, 2006.

Koestler, Frances A. The Unseen Minority: A Social History of Blindness in the United States. New York, David McCay Company, Inc., 1976.

Credit line/Citation: 
Pauline Moor Collection, Perkins School for the Blind

This collection includes theater programs, student records (e.g., admission note, scholarship award information), a photograph, and commencement programs documenting Pauline (Polly) Moor’s time in high school, her undergraduate and graduate studies. In addition to representation of her academic career, there is a booklet from a college reunion and a name medal from a conference she attended and biographical materials written by Virginia E. Bishop.


B1:F1 = Box 1: Folder 1

4 Series, 1 box arranged chronologically
Series 1: Biography and Other

Series 2: Northfield Seminary, 1927

Series 3: Smith College Undergraduate, 1927-1931

Series 4: Smith College Graduate, 1940

This collection is arranged in four series.

Container List: 

Box: 1 Series 1: Biography and Other

B1:F1: “A Tribute to the Life of Polly Moor”  by Virginia E. Bishop, 2005

B1:F2: Donation Letter (redacted copy), May 1, 2005

B1:F3: International Congress of Ophthalmology Exhibitor Medal, 1954

Box: 1 Series 2: Northfield Seminary, 1927

B1:F4: Northfield Seminary clippings, undated

B1:F5: Northfield Seminary theater programs, 1927

B1:F6: Northfield Seminary commencement, 1927

Box: 1 Series 3: Smith College Undergraduate, 1927-1931

B1:F7: Smith College records, 1927, 1931

B1:F8: Smith College student handbook, 1931

B1:F9: Smith College commencement, 1931

B1:F10: 15th Smith College Reunion booklet, 1946

B1:F11: Smith College group photo, undated

B1:F12: Theater programs, 1930, 1934, 1935, undated

Box 1 Series 4: Smith College Graduate, 1940

B1:F13: Masters Thesis acceptance, June 4, 1940

B1:F14: Smith College commencement, 1940

Bound Masters Thesis: A History of the Education of Preschool Children in the Social Settlements of Boston, May 1940, Smith College

This collection was donated by Virginia E. Bishop in May 2005.
Subject Headings: 

Perkins School for the Blind.

Perkins School for the Blind--History.

American Foundation for the Blind.


Farrell, Gabriel.

Smith College.

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