Perkins School for the Blind

Physical Education at Perkins School for the Blind

Charles A. Abbott
Detail from: Charles A. Abbott
Perkins School for the Blind pioneered the first physical education program in the United States for students with blindness or visual impairment. When Samuel Gridley Howe opened the school's doors in 1832, he was immediately troubled by his students' poor health. In that era, children who were blind were customarily treated as invalids and were prevented from doing anything for themselves. Fearing they might be injured, their families discouraged them from enjoying physical activity. As a result, children who were blind were often weak and vulnerable to every illness (McGinnity, Seymour-Ford, Andries, 2004). This collection is divided into five sets and includes images from three different campus locations of Perkins School for the Blind in South Boston, Jamaica Plain and Watertown, Massachusetts.

Source: McGinnity, B.L., Seymour-Ford, J. and Andries, K.J. (2004) Sports. Perkins History Museum, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA.​

Note: Some of the images have been enhanced to improve visibility, such as brightness and contrast, or to remove dust and scratches.​

Additional Information:
More information about physical education is available on the Perkins History Museum section of

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