Baltimore, Maryland: the Corporation, 1915. 9” x 6 1/8” Stapled wrappers. pp. 24; 16 + five plates. Very good plus: fresh with minimal wear, light dust soiling to wrappers and offsetting on pages opposite plates.
This is the fourth biennial report of the Maryland Workshop for the Blind (“MWB”) which was originally established in 1908 by an act of the Maryland legislature and is now known as the Blind Industries and Services of Maryland “BISM.” Its mission has not changed in 113 years: to provide vocational rehabilitation, continuous employment and other resources to blind adults of Maryland.
There's a short history of how MWB grew out of a small shop that was opened in 1858 at the Maryland School for the Blind (“MSB”). By 1871 the program grew to the point where it needed separate space and in 1874 a house was rented on North Howard Street. That shop was closed in 1878 and for the next 30 years, the only vocational opportunities for adult students at MSB were at off site shops willing to hire students. In 1905, the superintendent for MSB conducted a study on the employment of the adult blind; that study was the foundation of the push to lobby the legislature for funds for a shop, with the first disbursements occurring in 1906 and the shop opening in 1908. Accomplishments of the past two years are also detailed which included total production of the blind workers with respect to making and selling brooms, baskets, hammocks and other items for sale, piano tuning and more. There's also a full roster of workers, with first and last names as well as where they were from. African American workers are listed separately.
There are also 16 different photographic images which all relate to the shop and its employees. One full page shot gives a street level view of the facility, while another is a great image of the MWB sale room/store. We see employees making brooms, hammocks and rugs, tuning a piano and a woman operating a telephone switchboard. One shows a woman reading a book in Moon Type while another shows a man learning to read New York Point. At least two show African Americans and include a young man operating a hair picking machine as well as one that shows several working at chair caning.
OCLC shows six entities with physical copies of MWB reports, but looking at their respective library databases shows that three of them link to a digitized online copy of the third annual report. Two have a physical copy of the third report, the other has undetermined holdings.
An important record of early years of an institution devoted to providing opportunity, training, and a sense of independence for the blind.
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