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.)


Thursday, January 03, 2019

Throwback Thursday: Down to Earth Teaching Tools

Detail of cards for “C” and “D”
I find that I have to be careful not to use the adjective “humble” so often when I write this blog.  It seems every week that I want to start “our object this week is a humble little fill-in-the blank.”  Our museum collections document the inventive minds of teachers and parents and students too.  They are primarily teaching tools, which tend to be very practical, and down-to-earth.  And this week’s object is no exception.  They are Braille Flash Cards from 1947, launched from the creative mind of Paul C. Mitchell, former assistant principal of the New York Institute for Special Education.  Mitchell also developed the geometric wire forms kit that APH sold in the 1950s.  These cards are, ahem, humble but interesting.  There are thirty-five cards featuring the alphabet, punctuation marks, and the symbols that braille uses to indicate capital letters and number signs. Each card has a large symbol on the front, and on the back there is a large simbraille version of the letter, a regular size embossed braille symbol, and the sign in American Sign Language.  They were printed at the Institute’s Gould Printery, which was founded in 1930.

Detail of the braille flash cards box
Paul Mitchell was an interesting guy.  He was an Amherst trained scientist, a Christian missionary, a veteran of both world wars, a camp director at the school’s summer Camp Wapanaki, and the author of at least three books.  But the thing on his resume that really interests me was his work right after World War II. Stationed in Korea, he oversaw the protection of their museums and religious shrines.  He was a “monument man.”  And there is nothing humble about that.

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.