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.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)


Friday, February 15, 2008

Leaders and Legends: Samuel C. Ashcroft

Samuel C. Ashcroft
Inducted 2002
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

Photo 1. See captions below

Sam Ashcroft (1921 - 2006) earned degrees that included a B.S. in Education from Northwestern University, M.A. in Guidance & Counseling from New York University, and an Ed.D in Special Education, University of Illinois. His life-long interest in braille emerged early with his dissertation on "Errors in Reading in Braille in Elementary Grades."

Sam Ashcroft's career on behalf of blind and visually impaired children and youth spans over fifty years in both education and research. He began as a regular classroom teacher where children with visual disabilities were integrated. In 1949 he assumed the responsibilities as principal of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School. Among other positions, he served as founder & first Director of Educational Research, APH; Professor in the Department of Special Education, University of Maryland; and the Director of The National Center on Educational Media and Materials for the Handicapped, Ohio State University.

Photo 2. See captions below

Most of his career, however, was at George Peabody College in Nashville (1957-1971, 1978-1985) where he developed and coordinated a regional program of preparation for teachers of blind and visually impaired. He is best remembered in his role as professor and Director of Graduate Studies for the quality of the scholars, researchers, and administrators who are now serving throughout the nation. His research efforts included studies on the topics of braille, assistive technology for the blind, severely/profoundly handicapped and chronically ill children.

Photo 3. See captions below

Sam Ashcroft was active in the Council for Exceptional Children, serving as its National President (1970-1971) and the founding President of the Foundation for Exceptional Children (1971). He was a Delegate to the White House Conference on Children in 1970 and was chairman of the Committee on International Children's Year (IYC). He has participated in the Pan Pacific Conference on Children, Honolulu, Hawaii and served numerous times as grants reviewer and site visitor for the U.S. Office of Education, BEH.

Photo 4. See captions below

A legacy of numerous professional journal articles, conference presentations and book chapters can be illustrated with a few representative titles: "Blind and Visually Limited Children in Schools" in Dunn, Exceptional Children in the Schools; with Henderson, Sanford and Koenig, New Programmed Instruction in Braille (SCALARS Publishing); and Publisher of The Braille Enthusiast's Dictionary by Koenig & Holbrook, (SCALARS Publishing).

The international scene in special education was no stranger to Sam Ashcroft. He was chairman, U.S. Delegation, to Nordic Countries and participated in a study tour of special education in many European countries. He contributed to special education seminars in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, and Athens. He served as an international consultant for the American Foundation for Overseas Blind, missions to the Philippines, Brazil and Puerto Rico.

Photos: 1) Professor Peabody College (ca. 1957); 2) Ronnie Milsap visits the Peabody Project "Making Microcomputers Accessible to Students with Visual Disabilities" (ca. 1983); 3) Retirement from Peabody-Vanderbilt (June 1985); 4) Mrs. Ashcroft's Retirement Party (1992).

Samuel Ashcroft Samuel Ashcroft'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.

No comments:

Subscribe to receive posts via email

* indicates required

Browse Articles by Subject

Follow us on Twitter


Write for us

Your input and support in the evolution of Fred's Head are invaluable! Contact us about contributing original writing or for suggestions for updating existing articles. Email us at


The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.

The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.

The information and techniques contained in Fred's Head are provided without legal consideration (free-of-charge) and are not warranted by APH to be safe or effective. All users of this service assume the risk of any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information provided.

Information in Fred's Head is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult your physician before utilizing information regarding your health that may be presented on this site. Consult other professionals as appropriate for legal, financial, and related advice.

Fred's Head articles may contain links to other websites. APH is not responsible for the content of these sites.

Fred's Head articles created by APH staff are (C) copyright American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. You must request permission from APH to reprint these articles. Email to request permission.

Any submissions to Fred's Head should be free of copyright restrictions and should be the intellectual property of the submitter. By submitting information to Fred's Head, you are granting APH permission to publish this information.

Fair Use Notice: This website may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright holder(s). This site is operated on the assumption that using this information constitutes 'fair use' of said copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.

Opinions appearing in Fred's Head records are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Printing House for the Blind.