Leaders and Legends: Josephine Lister Taylor

Josephine Lister Taylor
Inducted 2002
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

Josephine Taylor (1910-1988) was born in Minnesota. She received her B.A. from Western College in Oxford, Ohio, and M.A. degrees from Teachers' College, Columbia University and New York University. She completed individual studies with Dr. Kathryn E. Maxfield and Dr. Samuel P. Hayes on developmental assessments and intelligence testing of blind children. She received honorary doctoral degrees from Boston College; Stonehill College, N. Easton, MA.; and college of St. Joseph, Rutland, VT.

Jo Taylor began her career in the education of the visually handicapped in 1933 as a nursery school teacher in New York. From 1936 to 1942, she taught at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Mass. She then served as director of educational services for the visually handicapped in New Jersey from 1942 to 1967. She always had a special love for multihandicapped children, especially deaf-blind. While in New Jersey, she was a strong advocate for and implementor of public day school programs for blind and visually handicapped children.

Jo Taylor moved to the Washington area in 1968 and joined the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Division of Personnel Preparation. While serving as a project officer and branch chief with the Special Education Services, she continued her role as a strong advocate for educational services for blind and multihandicapped children as well as advocating for teacher training programs for those specialized populations. She retired from the Department of Education in 1982.

During Jo Taylor's varied roles in behalf of blind children, she was president of the National Braille Club (1955-1958), president of the New Jersey Conference on the Handicapped, member of the board of directors of the American Association of Instructors of the Blind and the International Council for Exceptional Children. She was one of the delegates from the United States to the International Conference of Educators of Blind Youth in Oslo, Norway, 1957. In 1985 she was a member of the Advisory Group for the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China on the Education of the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Jo Taylor was the recipient of many honors. The Council for Exceptional Children presented her with a special award for outstanding service. She received the Migel Award from the American Foundation for the Blind for exceptional service. In 1984 she was the recipient of the AER Mary K. Bauman Award. In 1985 she was honored by the state of New Jersey Department of Human Services with the first Josephine L. Taylor Award for state, national, and international impact on services for the blind and visually impaired. In 1986 the American Foundation for the Blind hosted the First Annual Josephine L. Taylor leadership institute, named in her honor.

Josephine Taylor Josephine Taylor'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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