About the Project
The goal of this project is to capture the history of blindness in Iowa and share that history with all Iowans. That history has been collected in numerous personal histories (written and narrated) and through the collection and cataloging of related historic documents, objects, images, films, and more. This web site will serve as a conduit to the histories and historical materials.
Persons with disabilities, including those who are blind, have been noticeably absent from the historical narrative of Iowa. The daily experiences and historical achievements of blind Iowans will add an important dimension to understanding Iowa's past and the people who shaped it. All Iowans will learn how their fellow citizens changed the way blind persons are regarded by American society and its institutions. This project will show that commonly held stereotypes are a myth and will educate all Iowans about the capabilities of their friends, family members, and co-workers who are blind.
In some instances, the historic events and materials included here offer a negative or stereotypical view of blind persons. However, these representations of blind Iowans from Iowa's past is necessary to acknowledge that these beliefs were widely held and directly impacted the lives of blind Iowans and their families and communities. Many of these views continue to shape attitudes and actions toward blind individuals. The presentation of these personal histories and historic materials will demonstrate both that these negative views existed and that the reality of the lives of blind Iowans often ran counter to those stereotypes.
Please direct questions and comments about the project to:
The History of Blindness in Iowa project was partially supported by grants from these organizations:
- Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities
- Resource Enhancement and Protection - Historical Resource Development Program (REAP/HRDP): State Historical Society of Iowa
- Friends of the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Thank you to those individuals who volunteered time and effort to this project:
Jo Ann Slayton
The views and opinions expressed by this project do not necessarily reflect those of the organizations and individuals listed above.
Deborah Brix (Transcription)
Meredith Ferguson (Project Assistant)
Dr. Bill Friedricks (Humanities Scholar)
Keely Goshia (Intern)
Karen Keninger (Project Manager)
Maddy McAreavy (Intern)
Shan Sasser (Project Manager)
Beverly Tietz (Transcription)
Allie Walker (Intern)