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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Friday, February 15, 2008

Leaders and Legends: C. Warren Bledsoe

C. Warren Bledsoe
Inducted 2002
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

Warren Bledsoe (1912-2005) was born at the Maryland School for the Blind where his father was serving as superintendent. He and his wife Anne had two daughters. He graduated from Princeton University, the Harvard course for teachers of the blind and did graduate work at Johns Hopkins. He taught at the Maryland School for the Blind until he was drafted in World War II.

Warren Bledsoe speaking at the 1990 APH Annual Meeting

In 1947 Warren Bledsoe was appointed by General Omar Bradley as the Coordinator of the Blinded Veterans Affairs and played an important role in setting up the program for blinded military personnel at Valley Forge. Because of his determination and development of a training curriculum, the long cane method of travel which was developed by Dr. Richard Hoover was implemented to prepare blinded veterans for return to civilian life. It is now used around the world to enable visually impaired people to travel independently. He was influential in the establishment of the blind Center at Hines VA Hospital in Illinois.

After World War II Warren Bledsoe joined the staff of the American Foundation for the Blind to serve as editor of the New Outlook. He then joined the staff of the Veteran's Administration, where he was in charge of the Blind Rehabilitation Service for all veterans. In the late 1950's he was reassigned from the VA to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, where he fought to preserve the position of Director of Blind Rehabilitation, including writing a letter to President Eisenhower with positive results. He retired as principal consultant on blindness to the Rehabilitation Services Administration of the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare, having served in the Division for the Blind from 1958 to 1966.

Warren Bledsoe's many publications include a novel which was unrelated to blindness; frequent contributions to the Blindness Annual; "Credo Ascribed to Certain Masters of the Art of Teaching Blind People"; "Originators of Orientation and Mobility Training" in Foundations of Orientation and Mobility by Welsh and Blasch; "Social and Rehabilitation Services for the Blind" in Hardy & Cull's Social and Rehabilitation Services for the Blind. He has been instrumental in preserving historical literature concerning work with blind and visually impaired persons.

Warren Bledsoe was awarded the Alfred Allen Award by AAWB in 1977 for his awareness and understanding of the problems of blindness, of its limitations and of what to do about it; Wings of Freedom Award in 1996 from the American Printing House for the Blind for his outstanding commitment to the advancement of rehabilitation programs for the blind. He has been referred to as a master at teaching blind persons how to manage their blindness, knowing when to help and when not to.

Warren Bledsoe Warren Bledsoe's Hall of Fame Plaque
About the Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is dedicated to preserving, honoring, and promoting the tradition of excellence manifested by the specific individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame and through the history of outstanding services provided to people who are blind or visually impaired.

These significant professional colleagues of the recent and distant past are a fascinating cross-section of heroes and pioneers who not only shaped our rich history, philosophy, knowledge and skills, but also give us insights into current and future challenges. These giants shared their personal lives and showed us strategies to ensure that services for blind persons remain unique and specialized. Enjoy their lives and contributions and reflect upon your own list of heroes.

Hall of Fame: Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is a project of the entire field of blindness. It is curated by the American Printing House for the Blind, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

Visit the virtual Hall of Fame for the inspiring stories of many more heroes of the field of blindness.

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