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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Miracle Worker: 1908

Miracle Worker: 1908

New York circa 1908. "Blind woman taking dictation on machine." 8x10 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.

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Ah, Braille

I thought this looked like the machine my friends used but when shorthand was mentioned I had to search. The stenotype machine has many more keys than the Braille seven: six for the dot pattern and one to advance character.


There are many levels of blindness. Some cannot see anything including light. Then some can see some light or objects, but can not bee optically corrected. Then there is legally blind, that is vision of 20/200. This can often be optically corrected to a point. I come under the next lrval, vision impaired. My vision can be corrected to the point that I am able to drve. However, I failed my preinduction physical in 1967. Under the ADA, I too am classified as blind. I hope that makes it clearer.

Braille or shorthand?

Clearly this elderly woman, while legally blind (defined by vision below a certain acuity) is not sightless. Many blind people can see light, dark, color, and shapes. It isn't just a "somebody turned out all the lights" condition. What I wonder is what is the output format of what she is typing. That sort of looks like a Braille writer. It certainly isn't a traditional typewriter. Or is she typing shorthand?

Definition of Blind

I believe there is a partial blindness that declares one "legally blind", even though one may have partial vision. I have a friend who is blind in one eye only but can see somewhat out of her other eye, so she is classified as "legally blind" and is not allowed to drive, but she does read and watch TV.


Why the glasses if she is blind?

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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