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Photograph album from the Royal Normal College for the Blind, England. Note in album reads: "Prepared by and presented to Perkins Institution for the Blind by Lady Francis Campbell in memory of two pleasant years (1870-1872), spent in that Institution as teacher."

The photographs are of the Royal Normal College for the Blind grounds, students, classrooms, athletic programs, special events, and of founder Sir Francis Joseph Campbell.

The Royal Normal College for the Blind was founded in 1871 in Upper Norwood, London, England by the English philanthropist and doctor Thomas Rhodes Armitage and the American anti-slavery campaigner and teacher Francis Joseph Campbell. Both Thomas Armitage and Francis Campbell were blind, and sought to establish a school where blind students could learn to be independent. In 1872, with the support of the English nobility and funds of £3000, the college enrolled its first two students. The student population quickly grew from that point on. The curriculum of the school placed emphasis on physical and music education, with the hope that the students of the college would go on to find careers as organists, piano tuners and music teachers. Francis Joseph Campbell recruited many teachers for the college from America, several of whom came from the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston, Massachusetts where Francis Joseph Campbell had been the director of the music program for eleven years. Between eighty and ninety percent of the college’s graduates were successful in their musical professions, and the college enjoyed great public popularity and financial support.

Sources: McGinnity, B.L., Seymour-Ford, J. and Andries, K.J. (2004) Famous People. Perkins History Museum, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA.

Campbell, Sophia. (1913). "Royal Normal College and Academy of Music for the Blind: A Sketch of Its History, Organization and Work". Reprinted from The Blind, and Outlook for the Blind, 1913.

History page on the Royal National College website:,About-28/History_of_The_Royal_National_Co...

Digitized at the Boston Public Library and federally funded with LSTA funds through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

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