Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Blind Doctor

In 1912, at the age of 24, Jacob Bolotin became the first totally blind physician fully licensed to practice medicine. By the time he was thirty, he was one of the top heart and lung specialists in Chicago. A new biography, The Blind Doctor: The Jacob Bolotin Story tells about the amazing life of a remarkable man who was born blind to poor Jewish parents in Chicago in 1888 and fought his way into and through medical school.

During the last years of his short life, Dr. Bolotin used his celebrity to give speeches around the Midwest to raise the awareness of the world to the plight of the blind. His words are as timely today as they were in 1922 when he said:

"I am blind, and I am a doctor. The fact that I am standing here before you is living proof of what we, the [blind], can achieve.. The major problem for us is not our affliction, but the wall of ignorance, injustices, indifference and misconceptions that separate us from you who can see. We must break down that wall, but we can't do it alone. We need your help.".

In this inspiring and entertaining book, Rosalind Perlman drew on the memories of her husband, Alfred, who was Dr. Bolotin's nephew, to bring "Doctor Jake" back into the spotlight. Alfred and his widowed mother had lived with the Bolotins for the four years preceding Dr. Bolotin's tragic death. When he died in 1924, 5,000 people attended his funeral.

After her own death in 2004, Rosalind left a bequest in the name of the Alfred and Rosalind Perlman Trust to the Santa Barbara Foundation to publish The Blind Doctor and to establish an annual award: The Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award for the Blind. This national award will be given out annually by the National Federation of the Blind and presented to blind people or organizations that have made a significant impact within the blind community.

Click this link to purchase The Blind Doctor: The Jacob Bolotin Story from

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