Isabelle Grant Papers: Newly processed collection in disability history
The Jacobus tenBroek Library at the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute (NFBJI) in Baltimore is pleased to announce the opening of the Isabelle Grant Collection. The first blind person employed as a public school teacher in California and an early NFB leader, Dr. Grant (1896-1977) believed in the self-organization of the blind and the importance of schooling blind children with their sighted peers—ideas she promoted within the United States and around the world. Between 1960 and her death, Grant made several trips overseas, usually without a sighted companion. She twice won awards from the Fulbright-Hayes program, which she used for unaccompanied travel to developing countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, where she helped the blind create their own organizations, worked for the creation of libraries for the blind, and advised educators of the blind. She was honored for her work many times, including nomination for the 1972 Nobel Peace Prize.
Finding aids for the Isabelle Grant Collection and our other processed collections are available through our Archon database, The Cane Tip—named for the long white cane that serves the blind both as a tool for exploring the environment and a symbol of independence. We also plan to start soon in making The Cane Tip home to digitized and born-digital archival materials.
The Jacobus tenBroek Library actively seeks collections that document the lives of blind people in any walk of life, as well as sighted people who have had significant impact on the lives of the blind. Our premiere collections are the papers of Jacobus tenBroek (1911-1968), blind constitutional scholar and founder of the NFB, and the Institutional Records of the NFB. We also preserve the papers of sighted high school biology teacher, Dorothy Elve Tombaugh (1917-2009), who became an expert in the area of accessible science education in the 1960s and '70s. Unprocessed holdings include several small collections, oral history interviews, and a sizable museum collection of electronic and mechanical devices developed for use by blind people.
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