[mountainstate] Fw: [acb-l] National Braille Press
dandmbrown at atlanticbb.net
Thu May 3 21:11:31 EDT 2012
Posted to wcb-l by Becky Frankeberger:
How National Braille Press Made it to the Top.
The history of the National Braille Press is an interesting tale. Started by
a blind Italian immigrant named Francis B. Ierardi in 1927, National Braille
Press was founded with the premise that there needed to be a newspaper made
available weekly in braille.
Francis B. Ierardi was born in Armento, Italy in 1886 and immigrated to New
York in 1887. He lost his sight at age 12 while playing with a box of nails
and a dynamite cap exploded. He then sold newspapers and worked as a
shoeshine boy in order to support his family and make
himself feel self-sufficient. Later, he talked his family into moving to
Boston so that he could attend the Perkins School for the Blind in 1901.
After graduating from Perkins, he became a social worker with the State
Division for The Blind in Massachusetts.
When World War I broke out, Francis realized that there was no great way to
keep up with the news if a person was blind. The only way he could keep up
with the news himself was to hear it from family and friends. This simply
wouldn't suffice, and in 1918, Francis came up
with the idea of starting a weekly newspaper for the blind and deafblind in
Even with the poor economy that persisted between 1918 and 1927, Francis was
able to successfully launch the paper. First and foremost, he was able to
obtain the start-up funding from the Massachusetts Association for Promoting
the Interests of the Adult Blind as well as from Christian Herter and
Richard E. Danielson who were the publishers of the Independent Weekly. In
addition, a carbon copy of the Week in Review was supplied by the publishers
of Independent Weekly. Volunteers would work evenings and produced the many
copies of the publication.
These then were stitched by hand and then collated as well as rolled in
paper. The finished product was then driven by taxi to the South Postal
Annex. All of this made it possible for the first edition to come out on
March 17, 1927, which consisted of 200 copies.
At first, the periodical was only available statewide, but the demand was so
great that it grew nationally and eventually internationally.
It was always hard to keep the paper going because of funding needed to keep
the presses running. However, funding from the Perkins Institution for the
Blind during that initial year made it possible.
National Braille Press showed signs of growth from 1927 to 1946. They
occupied six buildings and obtained funding assistance from the Women's
Educational and Industrial Union and the Paulist Fathers. Not too long
afterwards, they settled at their present location at 88 St. Stevens
Street in Boston.
After almost four decades of being the head of National Braille Press,
Frances Ierardi retired in 1965 and worked as a consultant until 1967 when
Frances Ierardi was a great man who recognized a problem and sought to solve
it. What's so amazing is that he started a small organization that ended up
being a major player as far as publishing books for the blind is concerned.
They publish and proofread such material as
Dialogue Magazine, National Library Service for the Blind & Physically
Handicapped books, and some computer books for the blind, among many other
things. Best of all, they try to keep the prices the same as the print copy
of the book.
For more information about the products and services offered, you can visit
the National Braille Press website at:
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