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The Kentucky School for the Blind Alumni Association Archive

A hand-drawn image of a cloud, flating over a patch of three daisies in a garden. The daisies have smiley faces in their centers. Ritten inside the cloud is “Colonel News.” In the sky are the letters N-E-W-S, repeated several times. At the bottom of the page is written Vo1. XXXVI, February 1974, No. 3

In 2020, the Kentucky School for the Blind [KSB] Alumni Association signed an agreement that gave the care of the artifacts in their History Room to the Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind. Formerly housed in the old KSB Superintendent’s residence, the Museum began working on cataloging and preserving the collection immediately and moved the artifacts to the archival area at APH in October of 2021.

Earlier this year, the KSB Alumni Association received a grant from the Downtown Louisville Lions Club to rehouse the collection’s braille materials in archival phase boxes, and to start a pilot project to digitize discs from a Soundscriber – a dictation machine developed in 1945.

The grant also provided funding to digitize 132 issues of the KSB school newspaper “The Kentucky Colonel” at Internet Archive.  Spanning the years 1946 to 2007, the newsletters have been digitized into several accessible formats, and are available at the new Kentucky School for the Blind Alumni Association Archive page at Internet Archive. Subtitled “The Student Magazine of the Kentucky School for the Blind,” The Colonel contains a very personal perspective, written by the students. Some of the expected reports of school news, sports, and honor rolls are included. But unique student stories take up much of the rest of the magazine.  Some are light-hearted, such as the articles about summer vacation trips. Others are more unusual, like a letter written by a student who was recovering from surgery in St. Joseph’s Hospital. “They really are treating me rough. I have my ears pinned back, and I am blindfolded.  It looks like I am ready to start on a witch’s prowl.” Each story has its own significance in the 60-year continuum of student voices, all collected now in one accessible place.

 

Justin Gardner is the AFB Helen Keller Archivist at the APH.

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