Please join us from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Thursday, March 26, for the official release of the Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar. The U.S. government is issuing this commemorative coin to help the organized blind in their efforts to bring literacy to greater numbers of blind people. For numismatists and collectors, uncirculated and proof coins will be on sale at a discount.
Of particular interest to historians, however, will be a display of nineteenth-century tactile books for the blind that use a variety of alphabetic systems. The star of the exhibit will be Louis Braille's 1829 Procédé pour Écrire les Paroles, la Musique et le Plain-Chant en Points á l'Usage des Aveugles et Disposé pour Eux. The book is on loan from the bookseller Jonathan Hill (to whom we are very grateful), and is described, with photos, on his website (http://www.jonathanahill.com/search.php?search_input=braille). The text is embossed in Roman alphabet letters on both sides of leaves of heavy paper and the book is also interesting for its binding. It was produced at the Institution Royale des Jeunes Aveugles, on a press that was regularly used to produce reading material for the institution's students-most of whom found it difficult if not impossible to read using embossed letters of the alphabet. Braille himself was a student at the school when he devised his system, and this book is the first published description of the Braille code of raise dots representing letters of the alphabet and various signs and symbols. The basic alphabet code (for Roman alphabet languages) has remained unchanged since.
For more information about the event, please click on Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar Launch, For more information about Braille literacy and our Braille literacy campaign, please click on www.braille.org.
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