Photographs of Students with Deafblindness, Perkins School for the Blind Finding Aid
TITLE: Photographs of Students with Deafblindness Collection, Perkins School for the Blind
DATE RANGE: 1890-1950
CALL NUMBER/SHELF LOCATION: AG587
ABSTRACT: This is a collection of portraits of students, as well as their teachers, at the Perkins School for the Blind from. The students, ranging in age from kindergarten to adulthood, are shown in formal portraits, as well as in their daily activities. The collection highlights various communication methods used with people with a combined vision and hearing loss. Most are black and white photographs.
In 1931 Perkins School for the Blind opened a special department for students with deafblindness. Prior to this time, a special teacher was hired for each pupil, but once the new department was established, teachers trained in speech development were hired for classroom instruction, and residential staff was hired for time outside of the classroom.
At this time, speech work through oral instruction was the primary mode of communication and the use of sign language was not encouraged. Many students were instructed at that time using the Tadoma method, in which a hand is placed on the face of the speaker, lightly touching the lips, cheek, jaw, and neck. The listener then feels the air, lip and jaw movement, and the vibration of the speaker’s vocal cords as each sound is made. Tadoma was the primary method of teaching speech and language to children who were deafblind until the early 1950s. It was a very time-consuming process and not all students were able to master it.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION (measured in linear feet): 2 linear feet
Perkins is the oldest school for the blind in the United States. Since its incorporation in 1829, it has had a number of different names, as well as various locations in the greater Boston area. Under the leadership of its first director, Samuel Gridley Howe, the New England Asylum for the Blind opened its doors in August of 1832 at 140 Pleasant Street in Boston. In 1833 the school moved to a house on Pearl Street that had been donated by Colonel Thomas Handasyd Perkins, a wealthy merchant and philanthropist. Perkins later allowed the property to be sold to enable the school to purchase a former hotel in South Boston, and the school moved there in May 1839. In recognition of his generosity, the Board of Trustees named the school the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the Blind. In 1887, the second director of Perkins, Michael Anagnos, founded the first kindergarten for the blind, located in Jamaica Plain. The school moved to its current location in Watertown in 1912, where it is located on a 38.5 acre property on the banks of the Charles River.
Throughout its history, Perkins has attracted visitors from around the world. One of its first prominent guests was Charles Dickens, who visited in 1842 and wrote about the experience in his book American Notes. This book caught the attention of Helen Keller’s mother, and prompted her to contact the school in search of assistance to educate her daughter.
RESTRICTIONS: None It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Perkins School for the Blind, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.
CREDIT LINE/CITATION: Perkins Postcard Collection. Perkins School for the Blind.
Folder 10: Chee, David, in class using Brailler, 4 black and white photographs, [1957, no date]
Folder 11: Crocker, Cora, and Marion Rastrom, 2 black and white photographs with 9 duplicates, [no date]
Folder 12: Crouch, Stephane, with teacher, two black and white photographs, [no date]
Folder 13: Davis, Barbara, with teacher, two black and white photographs, [no date]
Folder 14: Dowdy, Leonard, with teachers and others including: R. Vivian, Miss Hall, wife Betty, Juanita Morgan, Dr. Waterhouse, 28 black and white photographs and 1 color polaroid, [1933, 1948, no date]
Folder 15: Heald, John, typing, three black and white photographs [no date]
Folder 16: Kinney, Richard (Dr.), director of the Hadley School for the Blind in Winnetka, Illinois, 6 black and white photographs with duplicates. Note: not affiliated with Perkins. [no date, died1979]
Folder 17: Miscellaneous #1, 18 black and white images. Note: some individuatls may not have deafblindness, or may not be affiliated with Perkins.[1891, 1895, 1897, 1903, no date]
Folder 18: Miscellaneous #2, 21 student and teacher cards with black and white photographs and about 40 other black and white images. Note: some individuatls may not have deafblindness, or may not be affiliated with Perkins. [1930-1980]
Box 2: Portrait of Students with DeafblindnessM-Z
Folder 1: Mitchell, Annie, 3 black and white photographs, no date
Folder 2: Morgan, Juanita, about 25 black and white photographs 
Folder 3: Otero, Carmela, about 25 black and white photographs 
Folder 4: Sabonitis, Gayle, 2 black and white photographs (1955)
Folder 5: Patrick, 6 black and white photographs (1936)
Folder 6: Shipman, Gloria, about 20 black and white photographs, no date
Folder 7: Seifert, Helen, two black and white photographs, (1935)
Folder 8: Smithdas, Robert, 6 black and white photographs, no date
Folder 9: Smith, Ernest, 9 black and white photographs (1920)
Folder 10: Weir, Zella, 4 black and white photographs, no date
Folder 11: Winitzky, Nellie, 2 black and white photographs (1910)
Folder 12: Yott, Louis, 2 black and white photographs (1910)
Folder 13: Thomas, Edith, about 30 black and white photographs mostly from photography sudios and mounted on cardboard and some photomechanical reproductions, [c 1900]
Folder 14: Robin, Willie Elizabeth, about 30 black and white photographs, mostly from photography sudios and mounted on cardboard and some photomechanical reproductions, [c 1900]
Box 3: Thomas Stringer
Folder 1: Stringer, Thomas, about 50 black and white photographs, [1894-1903]
Includes: portraits in sailor suit, with Hellen Keller, birthplace, with Elizabeth Robin, riding tandem bicycles, at plymouth rock, in theater costume, with Miss Bell, Miss Stratton, Miss Conley, plucking chickens, sawing wood, and using a Briller.
Box 4: Group portraits
Folder 1: Mrs Sager with Louis Yott,1 fragile photograph, (1910)
Folder 2: Group portriats and pairs of students and students with teachers, about 25 photographs [1890-1910]
Folder 3: Group portraits and pairs of students, many with tandem bicycle and one with President Bill Clinton, about 50 photographs, [1890-1979, bulk 1930s]
Folder 4: Teacher/student portraits with many Tadoma conversations, about 50 photographs, [1890-1970, bulk 1950s]
Folder 5: Girl with deafblindness with teachers, 3 oversized photographs, ca 1936