by Anna Kresmer
From the Editor: The following is another in our series of historical documents in the Jacobus tenBroek Library. Because of reductions in our staff, this column appears with less regularity than it did several years ago, but it is always a treat to read what Anna has prepared. Here is what she says:
Many members of the Federation may be aware of the Jacobus tenBroek Library’s ongoing project to digitize and make available online all legacy issues of the Braille Monitor from 1957 to 1984. To achieve this goal, the tenBroek Library partnered with the Internet Archive <www.archive.org> in 2010 to scan this invaluable resource, which documents the history, struggles, and accomplishments of the early Federation.
As with any text scanning project, complicated by the age of the materials and the mass-production style scanning setup at the Internet Archive, quite a few typos have had to be resolved before these digital versions are ready for release. As a result various members of the staff here at the Jernigan Institute have worked diligently over the last three years to make these digitized issues clear and fully accessible to all readers. And we are pleased to inform the membership that all issues from 1957 to 1968 are now available on the NFB website at <www.nfb.org/braille-monitor>.
Recently, while continuing work on this important project, library staff discovered a newsflash from October 1968 that presents a glimpse into another time. A seemingly unimportant change of location notice for the NFB’s Washington office offers us a unique view of the state of both the Federation and our nation’s capital in the late 1960s. Who knows what long-range effect the presentation of a more professional office with better-equipped personnel may have had on the legislative projects of the NFB. If the federal government had decided not to begin construction on the Washington Metro subway system that year, how might the gains enjoyed by blind people today have been affected? We can only conjecture.
Here is what Dr. Jernigan reported to Monitor readers in October of 1968:
As the Monitor is going to press, President Jernigan reports that he has just returned from Washington, where he completed arrangements for the relocation of the Federation's office. Because of the proposed construction of a Washington subway system (see Letter to State Presidents in this issue), it was necessary for the Federation to find new quarters. President Jernigan reports as follows:
Our new Washington address is Suite 212, Dupont Circle Building, 1346 Connecticut Avenue, N. W., Washington D. C. 20036. John Nagle and I spent a good part of Tuesday, September 10, working with decorators, office furnishers, and the building management to get things in shape. Our new quarters are really first-rate. We have three spacious rooms on the second floor of one of Washington's finest buildings.
Most of our old office furniture was dilapidated beyond belief. All of it was over ten years old, and some of it was in pretty sad shape when we got it. In making the move, I arranged for a complete set of new office furniture.The contrast between our old quarters and the new is considerable. We now have offices which are in a location and furnished in a manner which can bring pride to us all. I hope it will be possible for many of you to visit our Washington office during the coming months.