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Changemakers

Often changemakers are characterized as people who see a problem and set themselves the task of solving it for society. That definition certainly applies to Jacobus tenBroek (Blind Justice: Jacobus tenBroek and the Vision of Equality [BR15863, DB59656]), who founded the National Federation of the Blind in 1940 because he wanted to protect the civil rights of blind individuals. It also describes Emil Fries (But You Can Feel It: A Statement of My Mother When I Returned Empty Handed Saying, “I Can’t See It” [BR16643, DB64162]), the head of the piano tuning department at the Washington State School for the Blind, who was outraged in 1949 when the school decided to phase out their vocational courses. He knew that piano tuning and repair represented one of the few avenues for blind and visually impaired individuals to develop financial independence. He founded his own school, the Piano Hospital and Training Center, which for decades turned out blind and visually impaired piano service professionals.

Some changemakers start with the personal and don’t necessarily identify as changemakers. They need to be able to solve an individual problem. David Hartman (White Coat, White Cane [DB14631]) could not even get an interview at most of the schools where he applied, but he persevered and became the first blind individual to graduate from medical school. When applying for a sales position, Michael Hingson (Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero [BR19434, DB73300]) pointed out that blind people have to sell themselves constantly to be able to succeed at commonplace tasks such as renting an apartment, going into a grocery store with a guide dog, and boarding airplanes. He asked if the employer would prefer someone who sells only during the workday or someone who sells twenty-four hours a day. He recommends this strategy to other blind job seekers. In solving their own problems these changemakers created precedents and opened doors for others to follow.

Helen Keller belongs to both groups. Deaf and blind at 19 months, she was later taught language by her teacher Anne Sullivan. Keller’s love of learning brought her to attend Radcliffe College and become the first deaf-blind student to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. After becoming a famous author, Helen Keller used her celebrity to advocate for blind and disabled individuals. This minibibliography brings together Helen Keller’s writings along with biographies and studies of her career.

Digital braille and talking book titles can be downloaded from the NLS BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) service. Contact your local cooperating library to register for BARD. Registered users may also download audio titles on iOS and Android devices using the BARD Mobile app. Braille titles may be downloaded using the app on a device linked by Bluetooth to a refreshable braille display. To find your local cooperating library, go to www.loc.gov/nls/findyourlibrary or call toll-free 888-NLS-READ (888-657-7323).

Contents

Academia

Lawrence W. Baggett

In the Dark on the Sunny Side
by Lawrence W. Baggett

Misfortune struck one June day in 1944, when five-year-old Larry Baggett was forever blinded following an accident with a paring knife. He went on to lead an extraordinary life, and on almost every occasion he was the first blind person involved in whatever was going on. As an adult he became an internationally recognized mathematician and successful university professor. 2012.
Download DBC02932

James J. Barnes

Unforeseen: The First Blind Rhodes Scholar; A Memoir
by James J. Barnes

An historian’s memoir of becoming the first blind Rhodes Scholar in the mid-1950s. Describes the deterioration of the author’s eyesight during his first year at Oxford and his determination to press on. Relates his subsequent personal and educational achievements, including a PhD from Harvard and a distinguished forty-four-year teaching career. 2017.
Download DB90729

John M. Hull

Touching the Rock: An Experience of Blindness
by John M. Hull

In 1983, after about three years as “a sighted person who could not see,” Hull made the transition to being blind. He began to keep a journal—recording his reactions to what delighted or puzzled him and his thoughts about his relationships, his job as a university lecturer, his dreams, his self-image, his faith, his anguish, and his eventual acceptance of his blindness. 1990.
Download BR08522
Download DB33014

Art

Lisa Fittipaldi

A Brush with Darkness
by Lisa Fittipaldi

Author discusses her life after being diagnosed with vasculitis in her forties. Describes her feelings of despair during her first two years of blindness. Relates that a gift from her husband—a child’s watercolor set—became the catalyst for her new career as a renowned painter, and for her new outlook. 2004.
Download DB60724

Firearms

Carey McWilliams

Guide Dogs and Guns
by Carey McWilliams

Autobiography of Carey McWilliams (b. 1973), blind since age ten and the first totally blind person in the USA to acquire a concealed-carry permit. Describes his civilian and military weapons training, the shooting qualifying exams, and the ensuing Second Amendment debate. Discusses his passion for scuba diving, his guide dogs, and his wife, Victoria. Some strong language. 2007.
Download DB65699

Food

Christine Ha

Recipes from My Home Kitchen: Asian and American Comfort Food from the Winner of MasterChef Season 3
by Christine Ha

Winner of TV’s MasterChef recalls teaching herself to make treasured comfort foods as a teenager after her mother’s death, losing her vision to neuromyelitis optica at age twenty-five, and relearning to cook. Recipes range from appetizers to desserts, chicken pot pie to ginger-coconut tuiles. 2013.
Download BR20085
Download DB76676

Law

Harold Krents

To Race the Wind: An Autobiography
by Harold Krents

Recollections of a former Harvard law student who is blind. Krents fell in love, graduated with honors, and passed the New York State bar exam. Recalls childhood loneliness and being taunted in public school. Credits family support for his perseverance. Krents’s experiences inspired the popular play and movie Butterflies Are Free (DB06188). 1972.
Download DB53815

Literature

Stephen Kuusisto

Planet of the Blind
by Stephen Kuusisto

Although legally blind since birth, poet Kuusisto passed as sighted for more than thirty years. He describes his refracted visual perceptions and how pretending to see actually interfered with his participation in the sighted world. Then, by using a white cane and, eventually, a guide dog, he experienced new acceptance and mobility. Some descriptions of sex and some strong language. 1998.
Download DB45500

Ved Mehta

The Stolen Light
by Ved Mehta

Covers Mehta's experiences as a blind student at Pomona College in the 1950s. Even without braille textbooks, he soared to the top of his class and participated in many college activities. Some descriptions of sex. 1989.
Download BR09455
Download DB29519

Up at Oxford
by Ved Mehta

Sequel to The Stolen Light (DB 29519, BR 09455). For the author, simply getting to Oxford was the fulfillment of a dream, and meant England was to become his third spiritual home, after India and America. He recounts making friends, making history his chosen field of study, making do in a medieval city, and making an effort to hide his feelings about his inadequacies and frustrations. 1993.
Download BR09455
Download DB37366

Media

Larry P. Johnson

Mexico by Touch: True Life Experiences of a Blind American Deejay
by Larry P. Johnson

Larry Johnson relates his personal account of moving to Mexico City in 1957. Details how Johnson spent the next seventeen years advancing his bilingual broadcasting career in radio and TV, becoming the first blind newscaster on Mexican television. 2003.
Download BR15306
Download DB04882

Military

George E. Brummell

Shades of Darkness: A Black Soldier’s Journey through Vietnam, Blindness, and Back
by George E. Brummell

Memoir of Staff Sergeant George Brummell, who was blinded in Vietnam. Recalls growing up in segregated Federalsburg, Maryland, before joining the army at age seventeen. Highlights his rehabilitation, quest for a college degree, and career with the Blinded Veterans Association. Violence, strong language, and some descriptions of sex. 2006.
Download BR16819
Download DB63743

Scotty Smiley

Hope Unseen: The Story of the U.S. Army’s First Blind Active-Duty Officer
by Scotty Smiley

Account of U.S. Army Captain and Ranger Scotty Smiley, who after losing his sight during a suicide-bomber attack in Iraq became the first active-duty blind officer. Covers Smiley’s post-injury accomplishments, including earning an MBA, winning an ESPY, climbing Mount Rainier, and teaching leadership at West Point. Discusses his faith. 2010.
Download BR19133
Download DB71909

Music

Blind Tom

The Ballad of Blind Tom
by Deirdre O’Connell

Biography of Thomas Wiggins (1849–1908), a blind and possibly autistic musical savant known as “Blind Tom,” who was born a slave in Georgia. A piano prodigy and child composer, Wiggins became a novelty act of worldwide renown, profiting his white guardian. Chronicles his achievements and later descent into obscurity. 2009.
Download DB71033

Blind Tom, the Black Pianist-Composer: Continually Enslaved
by Geneva H. Southall

Explores the life of pianist-composer Thomas Greene Wiggins, known as Blind Tom, born into slavery in 1849. Southall details the exploitation Wiggins suffered at the hands of his manager and attempts to correct misconceptions regarding Wiggins’s life, talent, and contributions to piano literature. 1999.
Download DB54557

Child of the Silent Night
by Edith F. Hunter

A biography of Laura Bridgman, born in 1829, blind, deaf, and mute from having scarlet fever at age two. Describes her early years at home and the decision to send her to the Perkins Institute, where Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe taught her to communicate. For grades 4-7. 1963.
Download BR13357
Download DB25699

Ray Charles

Brother Ray: Ray Charles’ Own Story
by Ray Charles

Candid autobiography of Georgia-born Grammy-winning musician Ray Charles (1930–2004). Describes overcoming poverty, blindness, his parents’ deaths, and addiction to succeed in performing his unique blend of blues, jazz, and country styles. Includes discography and co-author David Ritz’s 2004 postscript, “The Last Days of Brother Ray.” Descriptions of sex and strong language. 1978.
Download BR16278/a>
Download DB16618

Uh Huh!
by John Duggleby

Chronicles the life of blind African American musician Ray Charles (1930–2004), who grew up impoverished in Florida. Discusses his childhood, education, and personal problems. Focuses on Charles’s career, which culminated in eight posthumous Grammys for his last album. Some strong language. For senior high readers. 2005.
Download DB63349

Fanny Crosby

Fanny Crosby
by Bernard Ruffin

Chronological biography of a nineteenth-century blind hymnwriter and evangelist whose life and ministry influenced thousands of people. Crosby’s hymns include such favorites as “Saved by Grace” and “Blessed Assurance.” 1976.
Download DB14621

Patrick Henry Hughes

I Am Potential
by Patrick Henry Hughes

Born with multiple physical birth defects and blind due to anophthalmia, Patrick Henry Hughes exemplifies the triumph of human potential. At the age of nine months Patrick’s family discovered he possessed an astounding musical talent that would eventually lead Patrick to perform at the Grand Old Opry, march in the University of Louisville marching band with the help of his father, and appear on the TV show Extreme Home Makeover. 2008.
Download DBC03683

Fred Lowery

Whistling in the Dark
by Fred Lowery

The talented, blind whistler tells of his life from his early days of poverty to his rise as a featured musician with the big show bands. He includes accounts of his early radio career, his tours with the big bands, his hit recordings, and his acquaintances among famous show business personalities. 1983.
Download DB19749

William Samuel McTell

Hand Me My Travelin' Shoes
by Michael Gray

Author Michael Gray recounts his odyssey through the Deep South to research this biography of Georgia blues singer and twelve-string guitarist William Samuel McTell (1903-1959), who was born blind. Portrays Willie's travels and performances during the segregation era and the way his reputation grew after his death. 2009.
Download DB71430

Paul Meinert

Rx, Applause
by Mason Turner

An upbeat account of the life and career of blind musician Paul Meinert. Depicts his fierce independence, his conflicts with his father, his sustaining marriage, his successes in vaudeville in the 1920s, and his recovery from the challenges of the depression years. 1983.
Download DB22218

Ronnie Milsap

Almost like a Song
by Ronnie Milsap

Taken in by dirt-poor but loving grandparents after his mother rejected him, Ronnie was soon sent off to a school for the blind. There, among other things, he learned discipline, determination, and classical music—acquirements that shaped his boyhood, his career, and his success as a country music superstar. His inspiring story reveals little-known aspects of the music industry where he rose to the top. 1990.
Download DB32896

Moondog

Moondog, the Viking of 6th Avenue
by Robert M. Scotto

Biography of musician Moondog, Louis Thomas Hardin Jr. (1916–1999), who was blinded at age sixteen. Discusses his rise from being a Viking-garbed, homeless street musician in New York City in the 1960s to becoming a Columbia Records pop-music sensation and master composer for European orchestras. 2007.
Download BR18439
Download DB67495

George Shearing

Lullaby of Birdland
by George Shearing

Reminiscences by congenitally blind jazz pianist Shearing about his 1920s English childhood and early success in London before he immigrated to America in 1947. Recounts hobnobbing in New York with jazz greats Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie among others and recording with his famed quintet. 2004.
Download DB57996

Tom Sullivan

If You Could See What I Hear
by Tom Sullivan

Autobiography of a young man who became blind shortly after birth. Gifted and refusing to accept limitations, he developed his abilities, becoming a champion wrestler, a dean’s list student, a Harvard graduate, and a successful musician. He focuses on personal relationships—especially with his family—and experiences that have helped him maintain a positive outlook. 1975.
Download DB35991

Art Tatum

Too Marvelous for Words: The Life and Genius of Art Tatum
by James Lester

The freelance musician and retired psychologist bases this first biography of the 1930s and 1940s jazz great on interviews with Tatum’s surviving associates. They describe the blind piano player’s intimidating virtuosity and fun-loving lifestyle and provide details of his life. Tatum, who loved alcohol and ignored his diabetes, died in 1956 at age forty-seven. 1994.
Download DB42227

Doc Watson

Blind but Now I See
by Kent Gustavson

Biography of blind Grammy Award-winning guitarist, songwriter, and singer Arthel “Doc” Watson (1923—2012) from Appalachian North Carolina. Explores his training at the Raleigh School for the Blind, rise during the 1960s folk revival, partnership with his son Merle, and development of the flatpicking style of guitar playing. 2010.
Download DB76189

Stevie Wonder

The Story of Stevie Wonder
by James Haskins

Biography of the blind composer, pianist, and singer who emerged as a child prodigy and went on to win many Grammy awards. For junior and senior high readers. 1976.
Download DB11600

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered: The Soulful Journey of Stevie Wonder
by Mark Ribowsky

Portrait of the legendary blind Motown musician (born 1950) from his impoverished childhood to his sixtieth year. Traces his musical development; his long relationship with Motown Records, which began when he was eleven; and his political activism, womanizing, and descents into depression. Some strong language. 2010.
Download BR18996

Science

Jacob Bolotin

The Blind Doctor
by Rosalind Perlman

Biography of Chicago-born Jacob Bolotin (1888–1924), blind from birth. The author, whose husband was related to Bolotin, discusses Bolotin’s determination to become a physician and describes the hard-won training that enabled him to practice medicine as a respected heart and lung specialist. Some strong language. 2007.
Download DB64720

David Hartman

White Coat, White Cane
by David Hartman

Account of the obstacles the blind author encountered in becoming a psychiatrist. He credits a “persistent brattiness” and bouts with a competitive sister for his considerable drive. Some strong language. 1978.
Download DB14631

Lawrence Scadden

Surpassing Expectations: My Life without Sight
by Lawrence Scadden

Autobiography of California-born (1939) Scadden, who was blinded at age five. Describes his career as a research psychologist with a doctorate degree. Discusses his work in developing assistive technology for visually impaired people and promoting science education. Examines the effects of blindness, Scadden’s personal development, and his experiences abroad. 2008.
Download BR18597
Download DB68883

Katherine Schneider

To the Left of Inspiration
by Katherine Schneider

Psychologist pens memoir, providing opinions and “pearls of wisdom” acquired during some fifty years as a blind woman. Describes contracting fibromyalgia a decade ago. Discusses the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, her career as a clinical psychologist, and personal experiences with guide dogs and grocery stores. 2005.
Download DB64437

Ralph Teetor

One Man’s Vision: The Life of Automotive Pioneer Ralph Teetor
by Marjorie Teetor

Meyer Ralph Teetor’s daughter tells how as a young boy in the 1890s, her father lost his sight because of an accident with a knife. She describes how he refused to let his blindness deter him from his growing love for the new automotive engine. Graduating with a college degree in mechanical engineering, Teetor worked in the family business and invented devices such as cruise control. 1995.
Download BR10592
Download DBC12167

Geerat J. Vermeij

Privileged Hands: A Scientific Life
by Geerat J. Vermeij

An esteemed evolutionary biologist and paleontologist, who has been blind since the age of four, describes his childhood and his career. Born in the Netherlands, Vermeij faced learning both a new language and contracted braille when he began third grade in the United States. But he brought with him a love of seashells, which became his life’s work. 1997.
Download BR10669
Download DB42911

Service to Blind Individuals

Emil B. Fries

But You Can Feel It: A Statement of My Mother When I Returned Empty Handed Saying, "I Can't See It"
by Emil B. Fries

Blind author recounts his life from his boyhood in a log cabin and struggles for an education to international recognition in the field of vocational training for visually impaired persons. Chronicles his establishment in 1949 of the Emil Fries Piano Hospital and Training Center for piano servicing and tuning. 1980.
Download BR16643
Download DB64162

Georgia Griffith

Running Around in Family Circles with Friends in Pursuit
by Georgia Griffith

Author, born blind, recalls her life from childhood in the 1930s through the 1990s. Griffith discusses growing up in a sighted family, attending a school for the blind, obtaining a degree in music education, becoming a braille music proofreader for the National Library Service, and organizing and managing computer discussion groups for CompuServe. 2003.
Download BR15247

Ever Lee Hairston

Blind Ambition: One Woman’s Journey to Greatness despite Her Blindness
by Ever Lee Hairston

Decades after losing her eyesight, a woman works her way up to an executive position in the N.J. Department of Health and Human Services Division, helping others overcome obstacles to realize the purpose of their lives. 2015.
Download DBC01886

Michael Hingson

Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero
by Michael Hingson

Michael Hingson recounts his escape from the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Hingson, blind since birth, describes his and his guide dog Roselle’s experience as she led him down seventy-eight flights of stairs to safety. 2011.
Download BR19434
Download DB73300

Kenneth Jernigan

Kenneth Jernigan: The Master, the Mission, the Movement
by Kenneth Jernigan

Collection of Dr. Jernigan's writings composed mostly during the 1990s. Includes numerous speeches and excerpts from the Kernel Books. In an introduction, Marc Maurer, of the National Federation of the Blind, describes Jernigan as a man who “changed the lives of blind people through his example and inspiration.” 1999.
Download BR12404

The Power of Love: How Kenneth Jernigan Changed the World for the Blind
by National Federation of the Blind

Twenty-nine essays illustrate the impact Kenneth Jernigan (1926-1998) made during his life, which included two decades at the helm of the National Federation of the Blind. Contributors include former director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled Frank Kurt Cylke and inventor Raymond Kurzweil. 2016.
Download BR21775
Download DB86625

Rose Resnick

Dare to Dream: The Rose Resnick Story
by Rose Resnick

Resnick lost her sight in 1918 at the age of two—the result of measles. As a child growing up in New York City she attended public schools. Her musical talent was discovered at the New York Association for the Blind. Her love of music has aided her throughout her life in her careers in education and social work, and has brought her many awards. 1988.
Download BR08459
Download DB32877

Jacobus tenBroek

Blind Justice: Jacobus tenBroek and the Vision of Equality
by Floyd W. Matson

Biography of the founder of the National Federation of the Blind, written by friend and collaborator Matson. Tells how tenBroek (1911-1968), blinded at age seven, obtained a law degree and became an advocate not only for blind people but for people with disabilities, poor people, and other minority groups. 2005.
Download BR15863
Download DB59656

Sports

Lonnie Bedwell

226: How I Became First Blind Person to Kayak the Grand Canyon
by Lonnie Bedwell

A personal chronicle of the life of Indiana veteran Lonnie Bedwell as he takes on a variety of life challenges after being blinded in a hunting accident to the culmination of his becoming the first blind person to kayak the Grand Canyon. Some violence. 2015.
Download DBC12182

Charley Boswell

Now I See
by Charley Boswell

Boswell tells the story of his life, beginning with being blinded in 1944 and abandoning his hopes for a baseball career. After painful readjustment, he went on to become a successful businessman, father of three children, and National Blind Golf Champion. Boswell's account is based on his conviction that "lives frustrated by physical misfortune can be turned into new directions by new interests." 1969.
Download BR09370
Download DB37739

Harry C. Cordellos

Breaking Through
by Harry C. Cordellos

The autobiography of a renowned blind athlete. Cordellos describes his transformation from a timid, fumbling youngster with glaucoma to the accomplished and confident athlete he is today. His accomplishments in sports are as diverse as waterskiing, gymnastics, distance running, and diving. 1981.
BR05865
Download DB20843

No Limits
by Harry C. Cordellos

Cordellos avoided sports in his youth because of failing sight and a heart murmur. His attitude changed when he was introduced to water skiing through an orientation center. Now considered the most highly conditioned blind athlete in the world by Dr. Kenneth Cooper, director of Cooper Aerobics Center, Dallas, fifty-three-year-old Cordellos holds a master's degree in physical education and lectures widely. 1993.
Download DB37752

Travis Freeman

Lights Out: Living in a Sightless World
by Travis Freeman

Travis was a typical 12-year-old in Corbin, KY, looking forward to playing middle-school football, when a serious illness resulted in the loss of his sight. Travis relates how he and his family used their faith in God to prove that disability does not equal inability. He went on to play high school football, be an equipment manager for the UK football team, and earn a PhD. The movie '23 Blast' is based on his story. 2014.
Download DBC08408

Michael O. Hanson

The Unseen Trail: The Story of a Blind Hiker’s Journey on the Appalachian Trail
by Michael O. Hanson

Minneapolis-based attorney Mike Hanson set out along the Appalachian Trail in the spring of 2010. Using only a GPS device and trekking poles, the visually impaired Hanson plotted and completed the majority of the Appalachian Trail without outside assistance, making an important point about the power of technology and the independence of those without sight. 2013.
Download DBC02612

Bill Irwin

Blind Courage
by Bill Irwin

A variety of problems involving family, alcoholism, and blindness prompted middle-aged Bill Irwin's decision to tackle the 2,000-mile-long Appalachian Trail with his dog guide Orient. For eight months in 1990, the self-proclaimed non-hiker made his way along the sometimes treacherous trail—a feat he credits to God—and became the first blind individual to hike the Trail. In describing the trip, Irwin stresses the helpfulness of the other "thru-hikers" he met. 1992.
Download DB36368

Michael May

Crashing Through: A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See
by Robert Kurson

Award-winning author profiles Michael May (born 1953), who was blinded at age three and later became a champion skier, CIA analyst, and entrepreneur. Relates May's internal conflict over whether to undergo a revolutionary stem-cell procedure and a cornea transplant to restore his sight. 2007.
Download BR17156

John Ross

Feeling Sports
by John Ross

In his autobiography John Ross tells of being an avid athlete, freelance writer, teacher, journalist, and coach despite being blind since childhood. His love of sports led him to refine the game of Beep Baseball, a sport adapted for players who are visually impaired. 1998.
Download DBC00614

Rachael Scdoris

No End in Sight: My Life as a Blind Iditarod Racer
by Rachael Scdoris

Twenty-one-year-old author discusses her Oregon childhood, her experience with low vision, and her determination to become a professional sled dog racer. Describes being introduced to the sport by her father, becoming the youngest athlete to win a five-hundred-mile race, and the obstacles she overcame to qualify for the Iditarod. 2006.
Download DB61948

Erik Weihenmayer

Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man's Journey to Climb Farther than the Eye Can See
by Erik Weihenmayer

In this adventure-packed memoir, the author recalls rebelling against becoming blind by age fifteen. Relates acquiring a passion for mountaineering and developing the character traits that enabled him to succeed. Covers his climbing exploits and his wedding on top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Some strong language. 2001.
Download BR14512
Download DB51505

Deaf and Blind Individuals

Laura Bridgman

The Education of Laura Bridgman: First Deaf and Blind Person to Learn Language
by Ernest Freeberg

Chronicles the life of Laura Bridgman, who, born into a New Hampshire farm family in 1829, became deaf and blind at the age of two. Freeberg recounts Laura's transformation into a woman who voraciously absorbed the world around her under the tutelage of Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe of the Perkins Institution for the Blind. 2001.
Download BR13354
Download DB51875

The Imprisoned Guest: Samuel Howe and Laura Bridgman, the Original Deaf-Blind Girl
by Elisabeth Gitter

The life of Laura Bridgman, deaf and blind from age two, who became one of the most famous women of the mid-nineteenth century. Explores her education with Samuel Howe at Boston's Perkins Institution for the Blind; views her achievements in the context of American social, cultural, and intellectual history. 2001.
Download BR13353
Download DB51840

Mae Brown

Bravo! Miss Brown: A World without Sight and Sound
by Joan Mactavish

Biography of Mae Brown (1935-1973), who was the first deaf-blind person to graduate from a Canadian university and a counselor at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. Her college tutor chronicles Brown's family, education, social and professional life, and triumphs and disappointments. 2000.
Download BR13551
Download DB52603

Haben Girma

Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law
by Haben Girma

The autobiography of the first deaf-blind graduate of Harvard Law School. Girma describes her childhood, world travels, development of a text-to-braille communication system, and time at Harvard Law, as well as the ways she uses her talents to advocate for those with disabilities. Commercial audiobook. 2019.
Download BR22702
Download DB96188

James Morrison Heady

Beyond the Double Night
by Ken D. Thompson

Life story of James Morrison Heady, an American novelist, poet, inventor, philosopher, musician, and composer. Born in 1829, Heady, who became both blind and deaf, invented the "Talking Glove" and Diplograph embossing typewriter. Traces Heady's advocacy of the production of books in raised letters as a significant force behind the founding of the American Printing House for the Blind. 1996.
Download BR10679
Download DB43139

Robert J. Smithdas

Life at My Fingertips
by Robert J. Smithdas

Blind and deaf from the age of five, the author, a noted lecturer, public relations counselor, and administrator, recounts his training at various institutions where he learned to communicate through the sense of touch. He attended Perkins Institution, graduated from St. John's University, and was the first deaf and blind person to receive a master's degree. A matter-of-face document of the achievements of an indomitable spirit. 1958.
BR06957
Download DB26059

Children’s Books

Sally Hobart Alexander

On My Own: The Journey Continues
by Sally Hobart

Alexander After going blind at twenty-four as told in Taking Hold: My Journey into Blindness (DB40247 and BR10223), Alexander describes also losing part of her hearing. Determined to be independent and self-sufficient, she recounts her fears and difficulties adjusting to a new apartment, finding a job, and meeting the right man. For grades 6-9 and older readers. 1997.
Download BR11394
Download DB45189

Taking Hold: My Journey into Blindness
by Sally Hobart Alexander

Sally Hobart was twenty-four when she began to lose her sight. At first she saw a thin black line that disappeared after a few minutes. But the line returned, and Sally realized after visits to many specialists that she would soon be totally blind. She tells of her frustrations, the loss of her fiancé, the support of family and friends, and the help she got in adjusting to her new world. For grades 6-9 and older readers. 1994.
Download BR10223
Download DB40247

Laura Bridgman

She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman, Deaf-Blind Pioneer
by Sally Hobart Alexander

Biography of Laura Bridgman (1829-1889), the first deaf-blind child to receive a formal education—decades before Helen Keller. Discusses the causes of Laura's deaf-blindness at age two; her sponsorship at Perkins Institution; and her success at learning manual sign language. For grades 4-7. 2008.
Download BR18068
Download DB66527

Ray Charles

Ray Charles
by Carin T. Ford

Biography of musical legend Ray Charles (1930-2004), who became blind at age seven. Chronicles his education at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind and his career. Describes his love of music and his struggles with racial prejudice, marriage difficulties, drug abuse, and legal problems. For grades 6-9. 2008.
Download DB67059

Tom Sullivan

Adventures in Darkness
by Tom Sullivan

Memoir of actor, singer, and entertainer Tom Sullivan, who has been blind since birth. Sullivan describes the summer before his twelfth birthday when he experienced life through sports and adventure. For junior and senior high and older readers. 2006.
Download DB63856

Art Tatum

Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum
by Robert Andrew Parker

Bad eyesight doesn't stop Art Tatum from learning to play his family piano. Art's musical career grows from playing professional shows in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, to appearing with jazz bands across the country. Includes biographical information. For grades K-3. 2008.
BR18019
Download DBC08576

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder
by Tenley Williams

Biography of the composer, pianist, and singer whose musical talent was evident from childhood. Discusses Stevie Wonder's recording success despite being "blind, black, and broke" when he started. For grades 6-9. 2002.
Download BR14571
Download DB55785

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