Perkins School for the Blind

Imperial Royal Institute for the Education of the Blind, Vienna

A collection of photographs of students, teachers, educational methods, buildings, and workshops at the Imperial Royal Institute for the Education of the Blind, Vienna (K.K. Blinden-Erziehungs-Institut, Wien). The school was founded in 1804 by Johann Wilhelm Klein, known as "The Father of the Blind" in Austria. The photographs in this collection were taken by Alexander Mell (1850-1931) who was the director of the school at the time. Mell had a close relationship with Perkins throughout his life. When Perkins' second director, Michael Anagnos, visited Vienna and saw Mell's outstanding library devoted to material about the blind, he returned to America intent on starting a collection at Perkins. In 1880, the "Blindiana Library" was formed--now the Samuel P. Hayes Research Library. In the coming years a number of duplicate copies of books that were in the collection in Vienna were obtained. This proved to be very fortunate because Mell's collection was almost completely destroyed by the Nazis during World War II leaving only a few copies of these books, many of them in the Perkins collection (The Lantern, Winter, 1980). Many of Perkins' science models and prints in the Blind in Art Collection were also purchased from Mell.

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