Help Bring an Ultra-Rare Book to The APH Museum
The Printing House has a rare opportunity to share one of the truly unique gems of blindness history and we need your help.
In 1821, a blind boy met a soldier, Charles Barbier, who had a clever idea, a code based on raised dots that could be read in the dark. The boy, Louis Braille, took the idea, organized and simplified it, and published his system in 1829. Today, the Braille System is used all over the world by people who are blind and visually impaired to read and write.
This fall, one of the few remaining copies of Braille’s pioneering book, Procédé pour écrire les paroles, la musique et le plain-chant au moyen de point, or Method for Writing Words, Music, and Plainsong in Dots, became available from a New York bookseller. One of only six known copies left anywhere in the world, our museum has only a few weeks to raise the $95,000 purchase price.
The book is in incredible condition. Its beautiful blue marbled paper cover is bright. The thirty-seven embossed pages are clean and intact. The pages are fascinating, illustrating the experimental nature of early embossing for blind readers, the wooden blocks used to set up the page clearly outlined where they were pressed onto wet paper.
But the true wonder of the book is found in the elegance of the code, Louis Braille’s original alphabet, the same code still found wherever the Roman alphabet is used. The same alphabet used to emboss millions of pages at the Printing House every year and create countless millions more on refreshable braille displays.