The commemorative edition of James Wilson's Biography of the Blind has once again received recognition for its design.
This time the book that was published by LC's National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and the Friends of Libraries for Blind and Physically Handicapped Individuals in North America received the gold medal design award at the 48th Annual Show of the Art Directors' Club of Metropolitan Washington on Nov. 1 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington.
Biography of the Blind was one of 150 entries for the show selected from among 1,300 submissions. Doug Fuller, chairman of this year's event, explained that the entries were rated on the basis of their "exceptional design." Eric Baker of Eric Baker Design Associates Inc. in New York City; Rick Binger of RBD/Creative Services in San Francisco; and Pat Samata of Samata Mason in Chicago formed the panel of judges for the 1997 contest.
Last year Biography of the Blind was selected for the prestigious Fifth Biennial AIGA 50 design competition by the American Institute of Graphic Arts' Washington chapter. It was one of 50 works selected from 573 submissions.
Originally published in four separate editions from 1821 to 1838, Biography of the Blind presents the biographies of more than 60 blind people "who have distinguished themselves," beginning with "the father of epic poetry," Homer. The 528-page commemorative edition combines the biographies under one cover and contains notes by Kenneth Stuckey, research librarian of the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Mass.
James Wilson, 1775-1845, was born in Richmond, Va., and grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He was blind from the age of four and devoted his adult life to documenting the achievements of blind people. Mr. Stuckey says Mr. Wilson's work is important because "it offers insights into the lives of blind people before the great emancipators of the blind, such as Valentin Haüy, Louis, Braille, Samuel G. Howe and Sir Francis Campbell, who influenced the education, welfare and rehabilitation of the blind throughout the 19th and 20th centuries."
The commemorative edition of Biography of the Blind was designed and composed by Robert L. Wiser of Archetype Press Inc. of Washington. Mr. Wiser explains that this edition is a facsimile of earlier English editions of Mr. Wilson's works, the first published by D. Lyons in Belfast in 1821. The other three were published by J.W. Showell in Birmingham, England, in 1833, 1835 and 1838. Mr. Wiser used a digital version of Monotype Bulmer, which is based on types cut by William Martin for the Shakespeare Printing Office of William Bulmer.