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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: Mary K. Bauman

Mary K. Bauman
Inducted 2002
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

Mary K. Bauman (1911-1991) was born in Pennsylvania. She received a B.S. and M.S., both in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

During World War II Mary Bauman developed a set of manual dexterity tests for blind persons. As director of psychometric work at Philadelphia's Trainee Acceptance Center, an organization which guided applicants for defense work into the training programs and industrial jobs they were best suited for, she discovered that no usable instrument existed that could test blind persons for manual dexterity or mechanical skills. She proceeded to develop her own adaptations of the performance tests used with sighted persons. These were the first of many contributions she made to the development of non-verbal psychological evaluation instruments for blind or visually impaired people. Her increasing interest in the subject led her to establish a psychological testing and vocational guidance service for blind persons and she was Director of the Personnel Research Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In 1964 Mary Bauman began a long affiliation with AAWB as board member; chair of the committees on projects, membership and regionalization; member of awards committee and member of the editorial board. She was president of AAWB from 1977 until 1979. In addition to her responsibilities with AAWB, in 1968 she became executive secretary of the Association for the Education of the Visually Handicapped (AEVH), a position which she held for about ten years. Because of her involvement in both organizations, she was a strong promoter and supporter of the movement to merge the education and rehabilitation associations to form AER.

For many years Mary Bauman served as consultant to agencies and schools for the blind in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, South Carolina and Virginia. Her research and writing of numerous books and articles in the professional literature centered on evaluation of blind persons, nature of employment, effects of blindness, social competency and other psychological characteristics of blind or visually impaired people. She wrote the chapters "Research on Psychological Factors Associated with Blindness" and "Special Problems in the Psychological Evaluation of Blind Persons" in Hardy and Cull's Social and Rehabilitation Services for the Blind, and co-authored with Yoder, Placing the Blind and Visually Handicapped in Professional Occupations.

Mary Bauman was honored with several awards for her outstanding contribution to the profession. She was the 2nd Recipient of the Douglas C. MacFarland Award from AAWB in 1981. The first Mary K. Bauman Award from AEVH was given to the one for whom the award was named in 1982. She was the recipient of the Presidents Award from Pittsburgh Guild for the Blind. On two different occasions, she received the Mary E. Switzer Award from the National Rehabilitation Association.

Mary K. Bauman Mary K. Bauman'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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