The Hayes Research Library and Perkins Archives have been developing an exceptional collection of resources since the school’s founding in 1829. The resources represent the continual innovation and development of education for students who are blind and deafblind from the 1600s to today.

Looking down on Howe Tower on Perkins Campus from the sky


"Research Library" sign hangs from near the ceiling of a hallway. The hallway stretches off into the distance with sunlight making the red brick walls and terracotta floor tiles glow with warmth.

Research Library

The Samuel P. Hayes Research Library is a resource for the Perkins community, researchers, professionals, parents and the public. The Research Library offers the largest and most comprehensive collection on the non-medical aspects of blindness and deafblindness open to the public with more than 55,000 books, pamphlets, journal articles, newspaper clippings, dissertations, conference reports and multimedia materials.

Teacher fingerspelling to student who is deafblind in 1910.


The Perkins Archives house institutional records and historical collections that document the history of American’s first school for the blind and more broadly the history of education for people with blindness or deafblindness, as well as their gradual inclusion into mainstream society. Significant figures in Perkins history include Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan and Laura Bridgman. Archivists work to ensure collections are preserved and available to researchers of all kinds — with a growing number of these materials available online.

Discover Perkins history


Our expert staff is here to help.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for in our FAQs, please contact the Research Library or Archives team today. We’ll help answer your questions.

Visits to our collections are by appointment only. We’re able to help with many questions through email and our digitized materials. Please feel free to email us your questions, and we can arrange the best options from there.

Learn about research visits.

Yes. Many of our items are available digitally, including the most commonly used archives collections. We are glad to direct you to specific resources and to help with questions about Perkins or blindness and deafblindness. Complete our Virtual Research Visit Request form and we will get in touch to discuss what options are available for your specific question and research needs. On-demand scanning and photographing options are also available. More information about this can be found on our Digitization and Scanning Requests page

We are glad to help. Please visit the Research Library Resources page to learn more.

It’s important to us to respect the privacy of former students and staff at Perkins. The information we can share depends on many different factors. The amount of information we have about former students and staff also varies a great deal.

The best way to start is to email us with the information you have and the information you are looking for. Helpful details to include are dates, the name they used while here and any known interests. We’ll get back to you with how we can help in your specific case.

Perkins Archives

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Follow @PerkinsArchives on Instagram to learn more about the items and stories in our collections.

A sign reading "Hayes Research Library" sits on top of wooden file cabinets next to a stack of books.

Have a question?

The Research Library and Archives staff are glad to help with your questions about a range of topics including blindness and deafblindness, blindness education, and the school’s history.