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, March 14, 2008

Leaders and Legends: Peter J. Salmon

Peter J. Salmon
Inducted 2002
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

Peter Salmon (1895-1981) was born in Hudson, Massachusetts. He was educated at the Perkins School for the Blind as a "partially seeing" student. After completing two years of post-graduate work, specializing in teaching the deaf-blind, he joined the staff of the New York Association for the Blind.

In 1917, Peter Salmon took a position with the Industrial Home for the Blind as a salesman and subsequently served in a number of posts until he was appointed executive director in 1945. IHB of Brooklyn became Peter Salmon's own unique creation as he built it into the most complete voluntary agency service program for the blind in America. Two outstanding service achievements stood out: the first, a break-through in IHB's program for the partially seeing in the form of a workable optical aids program, which brought ophthalmologist and optometrist together; the second was a program for deaf-blind adults. He had begun to show the way in which a private agency such as his could make use of government resources without losing its own identity.

Peter Salmon had a talent for dealing with seemingly irreconcilable forces, a talent which was appreciated and respected by his colleagues. Newly available through the 1954 amendments to the Vocational Rehabilitation Act was a national program of research in rehabilitation of the handicapped and the National Advisory Council had just come into existence. Peter Salmon was the closest thing to everybody's choice to represent the interests of the blind in this program, and he was to use this opportunity to bring into focus the awesome problems of the deaf-blind. He united with Helen Keller to do something for deaf-blind people and was probably the last of the notable allies of her active career, and one whom she perhaps prized the most because he was willing to take on the cause of people with multiple disabilities.

In 1966 he resigned from his position as Executive Director, assuming the title of administrative vice president and he continued to play a strong advocacy role at the national, state, and local levels. Though officially retired, his greatest achievement was yet to come, for Peter Salmon went on to found the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults at Sands Point, NY in 1976.

During his long life, Peter Salmon developed an impressive list of accomplishments. He was responsible for establishing the first social services department to counsel blind people. He also started the first vocational placement service in 1929 and inaugurated programs that placed blind children in public school classes with sighted children. He helped found National Industries for the Blind, was a past president of the American Association of Workers for the Blind, a trustee of the American Foundation for the Blind and of the Helen Keller International. The recipient of numerous awards, including AFB's Migel Medal and AAWB's Ambrose M. Shotwell Awards, Peter Salmon was also the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Laws by Gallaudet College.

Peter Salmon Peter Salmon's Hall of Fame Plaque

Plaque sponsored by the Helen Keller National Center

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.