Founded in 1858 in Louisville, Kentucky, American Printing House for the Blind is the oldest organization of its kind in the United States. From 1858 until the Civil War began, APH organized its operation and raised funds to create embossed books. After the war, APH resumed operations and produced its first tactile books. By the early 1870s, APH was operating on a national scale.
APH received a federal mandate in 1879 when the Congress of the United States passed the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind. This act designates APH as the official supplier of educational materials to all students in the U.S. who meet the definition of blindness and are working at less than college level. (APH website)
When I was working, first with the Ohio Resource Center for the Visually Handicapped and then with the Ohio Resource Center for Low Incidence and Severely Handicapped, I drove to Louisville 3-4 times a year for meetings. I served on a number of committees throughout the years and, along with our staff, coordinated the expenditure of Federal funds for materials for students with visual impairments.
At the APH museum - bottom right is a picture of the Ohio Institution for the Education of the Blind. Established in 1837, it was the first public school for the blind in the United States.
The desk went on display at the APH museum the day before my visit.
During my visit I went on a fascinating tour. We saw people recording books for the free national talking book program. Then we saw various items being printed. The product line has greatly expanded since I was working with them - many more technology products.
See the green tree to the left of the entrance in the top picture? It's a holly tree. It's probably the same one I saw decades ago when I first visited APH. That's the first time I saw holly growing as a tree.
The current building surrounds the original structure built in 1883. On the tour, we could sometimes see parts of the original building. Click here for a picture of the original structure.