Founded in Boston in 1829, Perkins School for the Blind was the first school of its kind in the United States. Perkins pioneered education for people who are deafblind when seven-year-old Laura Bridgman became the first deafblind person to learn language, in 1837. Fifty years later, alumna Annie Sullivan used the same methods to teach Helen Keller, the deafblind Perkins student who became one of the foremost humanitarians of the twentieth century. The school also pioneered the first kindergarten for the blind and the first training programs for teachers of the blind and deafblind. Perkins School for the Blind pays tribute to this groundbreaking institution and its legacy of establishing education programs that bring hope and dignity to more than forty thousand people with blindness and deafblindness worldwide.
Kimberly French is an accomplished writer and essayist whose work has been included twice in the Best American Essays series. French compiled this history by tapping the extensive archives of the school and the rich experience of its staff.