« PreviousContinue »
Royal Normal College for the Blind, London, he borrowed Mr. Smith for three years to organize it.
The typewriter is perhaps the greatest emancipator of the blind, enabling them to carry on their business and personal correspondence without the help of outside persons. Indeed, the early models of this machine were evolved in attempts to put blind people in written touch with their seeing friends. Our Mr. Smith no sooner heard of this machine than he got one and worked out for himself what is now known and universally taught as the touch system of using it.
Realizing as he did that blindness is a condition shackling enough in itself, he continually labored in behalf of better means of school education, devising first a simplified system of the Braille point code of reading and writing, and then pushing its use in place of the old raised line letter which only a half of the young blind could learn to read with comfort and profit. Next he devised improved slates with which to write it; but he never failed to welcome such means as were better than his own. For four years he carried on a monthly publication in common type-The Mentor, which was the pioneer organ of communication among schools and workers for the blind,--finally giving it up only because events forced him to do so.
Mr. Smith had a pet name for most of his fellow teachers. They liked to be nicknamed-by him. When he received a letter he might say, "Come, Cleopatra, lend me your peepers.” When afterwards any of these teachers returned after a vacation or from a visit there was no one whom they sought to see first if not their friend, Mr. Smith. He was, then, a chief citizen of the Perkins Institution community, and everyone recognized this fact.
It is not easy to appraise a life such as his. But when, as in this instance, "the block of granite which is an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping stone in the pathway of the strong," not only those handicapped by blindness can take heart but we who are blessed with our sight can learn, too, the lesson that "they can who think they can."
PUBLIC DOCUMENT No. 74
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The Mystic Oral School
For The Deaf
For the fiscal years beginning
PRINTED IN COMPLIANCE WITH STATUTE