Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh

What’s online?

The Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh online photograph collection primarily contains images of blind men and women engaged in occupations such as making brooms, weaving, and caning chairs.

What’s in the entire collection?

Held by the Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center, the Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh contains correspondence, facsimiles of Pittsburgh newspaper articles and annual reports, photographs, and glass plate negatives.

About the Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh

The result of a merger between the Pittsburgh Blind Association and the Greater Pittsburgh Guild for the Blind, the Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh has provided training programs, service clinics, and employment opportunities to the blind and visually impaired throughout Allegheny County, Pa. for over a century. The organization traces its beginnings to the establishment of the Pittsburgh Association for the Adult Blind in 1910.

Under direction of Charles F.F. Campbell, the organization’s first executive secretary, the PAB worked to prevent unnecessary blindness, help blind individuals find employment, and provide financial assistance to those unable to support themselves. Campbell launched the Pittsburgh Workshop for the Blind, which provided occupational training and opportunities to the blind. The skills taught to the blind through the workshop included mop making, rug weaving, and chair caning. In the 1920s, following the creation of other branches within the commonwealth, the organization became known as the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind, Pittsburgh branch. In 1932, after operating from several locations downtown, PAB moved to Craig Street in the Oakland neighborhood.

Greater Pittsburgh Guild for the Blind was established in 1959 through the efforts of Father Paul Lackner and Bishop John Wright. Operating out of a building near Shadyside Hospital, the organization provided instruction on daily living skills to the blind. The organization moved to a larger building in Bridgeville, Pa., in 1968.

In 1997, the two organizations merged to form Pittsburgh Vision Services. In 2005, the name was changed to Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh.

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