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bi-ennial period is much larger than for the first year. In 1922-23 the number of home pupils was 127, residing in 38 towns. For the period 1923-24 the pupils increased to 196, residing in 62 towns. The work has had unavoidable interruptions; one teacher developed tuberculosis and is now in a sanitarium; another was able to better herself in a field outside work for the blind. The work has grown steadily, however, and has won widespread favor. We have sought in this work the true missionary spirit and have tried to hold these ideals before the teachers, with some success we trust. We are certain that the work has proven a blessing.
. One lonely blind woman in a small town, who has been bed-ridden for sixteen years, said she had longed for a certain convenience for more than ten years, but had never been able to purchase it because it would cost more than $12. The teacher taught her to make waxed flowers, and soon we had sold more than enough of them for her to pay for what she had longed for. The story of any home teaching effort is one of uphill work-the story of a struggle with despair, ignorance, neglect, old age, declining physical capacity, the prejudices of relatives and friends, with rain, snow, cold, late hours, the annoyances of travel, with dirt, bad odors, uncouthness, sickness, the dread of contagion, and with all the weaknesses of the flesh. In no uncertain terms we are ready to pay our meed of respect and gratitude to our faithful home teachers, who have rendered unselfish and devoted service in a cause which we know they all love.
The relief work is also growing. For the twelve months' period for 1922-23 there was expended $9,347.14 for one hundred persons, who represented forty-one townships. For 1923-24 the total was $10,397.18 for 102 persons, who represented forty townships. It is our endeavor to disburse the relief upon the basis of actual need and to supervise it as carefully as our facilities will permit. We view with concern the unguarded manner in which relief is administered in certain western states, and hope that Connecticut will have the good sense to see that the relief is disbursed with increasing caution.
We had hoped that this scorge was reaching the vanishing point in this state, but now and again it re-appears and reminds us that more emphasis must be placed upon the insistence upon prophylactic measures being taken by physicians and midwives. Through the efforts of this Board, and several individuals who are interested, the state law regarding preventive measures to be taken to prevent babies' sore eyes was strengthend and modernized at the 1921 session of the General Assembly. And yet, we have found a baby probably blind for life in one central Connecticut town who was born in a private hospital and was attended by a physician who disregarded the law. Upon the advice of the State Department of Health the matter was reported to the Connecticut Medical Society. When tragic occurrences such as this remind us of the heedless indifference of certain individuals whose first thought should be to safeguard the sight of the newly-born babe, we realize that there is need for an insistence upon what the law calls for.
HOME TEACHERS' CONFERENCE
In December, 1922, a conference of home teachers was held at Perkins Institution at Watertown, Mass.
The program lasted two days and was most helpful and suggestive. The organizations cooperating were the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, Perkins Institution, the Rhode Island State Board of Education, and the Board of Education of the Blind of this state. The following year the conference was repeated and there is reason to believe that it will become an annual affair and that out of it will emerge the first interstate organization of home teachers in this country, The commissions for the blind in New Hampshire and New Jersey have both signified a desire to become a part of the conference group.
WOMEN BRAILLE BOOKS
A group of New Haven women, who were members of the local chapter of the American Red Cross, expressed a desire early in 1924 to give their services and time to put some good reading into the embossed type. This meant learning the Revised Braille. They appealed to this Board and we agreed to cooperate. Miss Feuchtwanger and the secretary spoke at a public meeting in New Haven and two of our teachers met groups of women at frequent intervals and taught them to write the Braille. Some books have already been copied by these volunteer workers and are to be bound and put in circulation in this state.
DEATH OF JOEL W. SMITH
Early in May, 1924, occurred the death of Joel West Smith of East Hampton, whose name will be recorded in the annals of work for the blind. Mr. Smith was born in East Hampton September 17, 1837, and lost his sight through the premature explosion of a cannon July 4, 1862. Mr. Smith was educated at Perkins Institution and later assisted Sir Francis Campbell, a blind man, in founding the Royal Normal College for the Blind in London, England. Later he taught the blind in France and then returned to Perkins and taught there under the late Dr. Samuel G. Howe. Mr. Smith collaborated with Mr. Elwyn H. Fowler and Mrs. Fowler of Watertown, Mass., in the invention of the American Braille system of embossed type. He also invented various appliances for producing this type. He helped to found "The Mentor," the first magazine for the blind in ink print in America. It was an article in this magazine which was Miss Helen Keller's first incentive to learn to speak aloud. One of his practical services was the popularizing of piano tuning among the blind. Mr. Smith was a man of fine gifts and we are glad to pay this tribute to his life and work.
AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR THE BLIND
One of the noteworthy achievements in the field of work for the blind the past two years has been the establishment of the American Foundation for the Blind. This is a national organization and will have somewhat the same relationship to its field as the Russell Sage Foundation bears to social work. The new foundation has had the assistance and backing of a few men of means, but for a time the outlook was precarious. At the annual meeting of the foundation in Boston in June, 1924, however, it was announced that certain generous grants had been obtained which would assure a continuance of the work for three years at least, provided that certain funds could be raised to supplement these grants. This Board will be called upon to cooperate in an endeavor to place this national foundation upon a firm footing and we trust that the people of Connecticut will be ready to assist when the call is made.
Respect fully submitted,
CHARLES A. TEMPLETON,