List of Books Printed for the Blind, Boston Line Type

List of Books Printed for the Blind at the New England Institution, 1838. Boston Line type. Dimensions: 400 x 220mm

RNIB Collection Acc No: L1/12

List of Books Printed for the Blind at the New England Institution, 1838. Boston Line type.

Credit: RNIB

The Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the Blind in Boston was the largest American publisher of embossed books, also achieving international fame for its innovative teaching methods. The Perkins director Samuel Gridley Howe (1801-76) introduced Boston Line type based on the Roman alphabet (so that sighted teachers could read it) in 1835. This list shows Howe’s keenness to develop a varied library; he also commissioned the author Charles Dickens to emboss an edition of The Old Curiosity Shop (1837) in 1868. Although American institutions began to adopt versions of braille for both reading and writing from the 1860s, Boston Line type remained the official printing system at Perkins until 1908.

A relief image of this work is available in the exhibition.

Object Description:

This is an embossed list of book titles, in a modified version of the Roman alphabet. The titles are set within a decorative embossed border made up of foliage details. The list is titled: ‘list of books printed for the blind at the new England institution’. Below this titles are given on the left hand side of the page, their prices (in dollars and cents) on the right hand side. The list of titles and prices are as follows: ‘new testament, complete. $12.00. the psalms of the old testament. $3.00. outlines of history, ancient & modern 3 vols. $10.00. howe’s geography 1 vol. $2.00. blind child’s first book. $1.00. blind child’s 2nd book. $1.00. dairyman’s daughter. $1.00. howe’s atlas u.s. states. $2.00. howe’s general atlas. $3.00. the Harvey boys. $1.00. spelling book. $1.00. English grammar. $1.00. the pilgrim’s progress. $2.00. baxter’s call. $1.50. Six penny glass of wine. $0.50. life of melancthon. $1.00. book of sacred hymns. $1.00. book of diagrams illustrative of natural philosophy. $1.00. English reader: selections in prose & verse from English authors. $2.00’ [end list]. At the bottom of the page the date is embossed, ‘boston april 1st 1838’ [end description].

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