The Michael Zinman Collection of Printing for the Blind


The Library Company of Philadelphia has collected printing for the blind since at least 1838. That year, it acquired the fi rst text printed in raised letters in the United States, the Gospel According to Saint Mark (1833) (fi g. 1). It was printed by Jacob Snider Jr. for the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind (PIIB), which Julius Friedlander (1803–39) established in1833. The text appeared in tactile rounded script, one of many reading systems developed in the nineteenth century to educate the visually impaired.1 In the following decades, more such publications entered the library’s holdings. In recent years, this growth took place through the generosity of Library Company trustee emeritus Michael Zinman.