Born into an upper-middle-class family in 1803, Thérèse-Adèle Husson was a French writer in the post-Revolutionary period. At the age of nine months, she became blind as a result of smallpox. She wrote more than a dozen children's novels. She also wrote an autobiography, dictated to two different writers, which was sent to the director of the Quinze-Vingts Hospital in 1825. This autobiography was later discovered by Zina Weygand in the hospital's archives, and with the assistance of Catherine Kudlick, Weygand translated the work and published it as Reflections: The Life and Writings of a Young Blind Woman in Post-Revolutionary France. The book is known for being the first French-language book by a blind person about blindness. Husson died in 1831 following severe burns received when her apartment caught on fire.
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Different cultures through history have depicted blindness in a variety of ways; among the Greeks, for example, it was a punishment from the gods, for which the afflicted individual was often granted compensation in the form of artistic genius. Judeo-Christian literature positioned blindness as a flaw; only through a cure could God's love be made manifest, when the scales would fall away from the eyes of an afflicted individual upon contact with a holy man or relic. Almost without exception in early literature, blind people could bring this condition down upon themselves through sin or trespasses against the gods, but were never the sole instruments of its reversal.
Braille is a tactile writing system used by people who are visually impaired. It is traditionally written with embossed paper. Braille users can read computer screens and other electronic supports using refreshable braille displays. They can write braille with the original slate and stylus or type it on a braille writer, such as a portable braille notetaker or computer that prints with a braille embosser.
Helen Adams Keller was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The story of Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan, was made famous by Keller's autobiography, The Story of My Life, and its adaptations for film and stage, The Miracle Worker. Her birthplace in West Tuscumbia, Alabama, is now a museum and sponsors an annual "Helen Keller Day." Her June 27th birthday is commemorated as Helen Keller Day in Pennsylvania and, in the centenary year of her birth, was recognized by a presidential proclamation from US President Jimmy Carter.
Louis Braille was a French educator, catholic priest and inventor of a system of reading and writing for use by the blind or visually impaired. His system remains virtually unchanged to this day, and is known worldwide simply as braille.
Thérèse of Lisieux, born Marie Françoise-Thérèse Martin, also known as Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, was a French Catholic Discalced Carmelite nun who is widely venerated in modern times. She is popularly known as "The Little Flower of Jesus", or simply "The Little Flower.”
The subject of blindness and education has included evolving approaches and public perceptions of how best to address the special needs of blind students. The practice of institutionalizing the blind in asylums has a history extending back over a thousand years, but it was not until the 18th century that authorities created schools for them where blind children, particularly those more privileged, were usually educated in such specialized settings. These institutions provided simple vocational and adaptive training, as well as grounding in academic subjects offered through alternative formats. Literature, for example, was being made available to blind students by way of embossed Roman letters.
The Perkins Brailler is a "braille typewriter" with a key corresponding to each of the six dots of the braille code, a space key, a backspace key, and a line space key. Like a manual typewriter, it has two side knobs to advance paper through the machine and a carriage return lever above the keys. The rollers that hold and advance the paper have grooves designed to avoid crushing the raised dots the brailler creates.
Matilda Ann Aston, better known as Tilly Aston, was a blind Australian writer and teacher, who founded the Victorian Association of Braille Writers, and later went on to establish the Association for the Advancement of the Blind, with herself as secretary. She is remembered for her achievements in promoting the rights of vision-impaired people.
Therese Neumann was a German Catholic mystic and stigmatic.
Valentin Haüy was the founder, in 1785, of the first school for the blind, the Institute for Blind Youth in Paris. In 1819, Louis Braille entered this school.
Juliette Drouet, born Julienne Josephine Gauvain, was a French actress. She abandoned her career on the stage after becoming the mistress of Victor Hugo, to whom she acted as a secretary and travelling companion. Juliette accompanied Hugo in his exile to the Channel Islands, and wrote thousands of letters to him throughout her life.
Mélanie de Salignac was a young French woman whose achievements in the face of her disability - blindness - were mentioned in the accounts of Diderot. She was born blind long before the invention of Braille in 1829, but taught herself to read using cut out card letters and achieved much more through her sense of touch. Diderot wrote about her achievements in his "Addition to the Letter on the Blind". She was born at the Château de Mons (Charente-Maritime), the daughter of financier Pierre Vallet de Salignac (d.1760) and Marie-Jeanne Élisabeth Volland, elder sister of Sophie Volland. Her older brother was the politician Nicolas-Thérèse Vallet de Salignac.
Institut National des Jeunes Aveugles,, in Paris, was the first special school for blind students in the world, and served as a model for many subsequent schools for blind students.
The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is an American non-for-profit corporation in Louisville, Kentucky promoting independent living for people who are blind and visually impaired. For over 150 years APH has created unique products and services to support all aspects of daily life without sight.
Frank Haven Hall was an American inventor and essayist who is credited with inventing the Hall braille writer and the stereographer machine. He also invented the first successful mechanical point writer and developed major functions of modern day typography with kerning and tracking.
The Quinze-Vingts National Ophthalmology Hospital,, is France's national ophthalmology hospital located in Paris, in the 12th arrondissement. The hospital gave its name to the Quinze-Vingts quarter.
Catherine Kudlick is professor of history and director of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University. She is also affiliated professor in the Laboratoire ICT Université Paris VII.
Husson is a French surname. Notable people by that name include:
Pierre-François-Victor Foucault (1797-1871) was the inventor in 1843 of the first printing machine for braille, the raphigraphe.
Zina Weygand is a French historian and emeritus researcher at the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers. She obtained her PhD from University Paris 1 in 1998.