1854 Overseers Report

December 1854


Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives:

     As required by section nine, chapter twenty-six, of an act for the establishment of an Asylum for the Blind, approved January 18, 1853, we beg leave to make the following Report:

     We organized the Asylum for the instruction of the blind at as early a day as practicable after the passage of the law establishing the same, by appointing Prof. S. Bacon, Principal; Prof. S. J. Gittinger, Teacher of Music, and Mrs. Bacon, Matron.

     The Institution was opened for the reception of pupils on the fourth day of April, 1853. The first session continued about fourteen months, at which time we ordered a vacation until the fourth of September, 1854, when the present session commenced. Since the opening of the Asylum for the reception of pupils, there have been twenty-three admitted, a list of whom you will find attached to this report, marked “A.”

     Donations to the Asylum you will find marked “B.” A table, showing the receipts and disbursements, you will also find attached, marked “C.”

     It has been with the greatest difficulty that we could procure suitable buildings for the accommodations of the pupils, and it is utterly impossible for a large class to be accommodated with our present buildings.

     We would most earnestly and respectfully urge the necessity of making the necessary appropriations the present session of the Legislature, for the erection of suitable buildings for the accommodation and instruction of this unfortunate portion of our citizens; also, a sufficient amount to support the Institution in its present condition until the erection of new and suitable buildings.

     The teachers connected with the Asylum appear to be devoted to the interests of the Institution, and take special care of the mental and moral training of the pupils under their charge.

     The pupils have made rapid progress in their educational and mechanical departments, even far beyond the expectations of the most sanguine friends of the enterprise.

     We think it would be good policy to so amend the law, establishing the Asylum for the Blind, as to do away with all distinctions between the rich and poor, as we have found by long experience that all educational enterprises succeed best where all distinctions between rich and poor are abolished, and where all the pupils can enter the school upon an equal footing.

     It is unpleasant to be poor, but it is humiliating in the extreme to compel poor persons to have a record of their poverty made in our country courts before they can send their unfortunate children to a school where they can be taught to read and understand all about the world they live in, which is all utter darkness to them, and thereby become intelligent and useful citizens.

     We refer you to the Report of the Principal of the Asylum, which is made a part of this Report, for a more full and definite statement of the workings of the Asylum.

     We ask that the name of the “Asylum for the Blind” be changed to that of “Institution for the Instruction of the Blind,” as we think the term Asylum inappropriate as the Institution is a school for the instruction of the blind, and not an asylum.

All of which is respectfully submitted.
JAMES D. EADS, President