Published monthly in Braille and inkprint and distributed free to the blind by the American Brotherhood for the Blind, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, President. National headquarters and editorial offices at 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, Calif.

Editor: Floyd W. Matson
Executive Secretary: Anthony Mannino, 205 South Western Avenue, Room 206, Los Angeles 4, Calif.





By Floyd W. Matson



By Stanley Oliver






A significant victory for the blind is contained in the favorable report submitted by the Senate Finance Committee on H. R. 10606, the Public Welfare Amendments of 1962. Released June 14, the committee report adds an amendment to the House-approved measure providing that, in addition to the amounts of earned income already exempted under title X, the states "will exempt such other amounts of income and resources for a blind"! individual who has a plan for achieving self-support as will be necessary to fulfill such plan."

While the recommended additional exemptions to the blind carry a time limitation of one year for any individual, they represent a major step toward implementation of the welfare goals of self-sufficiency and independence. Their inclusion in the report of the Finance Committee is a tribute to the persistent efforts of Senator Vance Hartke of Indiana, a committee member, as well as to the long-term campaign of the National Federation of the Blind and its Washington representative, John F. Nagle.

The pertinent language of the report reads: "The bill as reported also contains an amendment which provides that, in determining need for aid to the blind, a State shall, in addition to present exempted amounts ($85 a month in earnings plus one-half of the balance) exempt such other amounts of income or resources as may be necessary to fulfill a State-approved rehabilitation plan for a blind individual. Such additional exemptions cannot last for more than 1 year."

In another constructive move, the Senate committee has eliminated a provision of the House bill which would have allowed the states to use voucher payments (payments directly to grocers, landlords, etc.) in place of cash grants to certain ADC recipients. But the committee has retained the authorization of the House measure for payments (which may run as high as five percent of ADC recipients) to "third parties" where the parents of a dependent child are deemed incapable of managing relief funds.

Also left intact by the Finance committee is the retrogressive provision of the House bill for federal support of community work and torious work-relief test. The report notes a single change in the provision: i. e., "payments to individuals under these programs would be excluded from gross income for Federal income tax purposes."

A further alteration in the bill by the Senate committee--in this case a step backward--removes muscle put into the measure by the House in order to insure that the states will provide certain services for self-support and self-care. The retreat is plainly indicated by the committee report:

"Under the bill as passed by the House, States would be required to provide certain minimum services for applicants and recipients, which the Secretary would prescribe, to help them attain self-care (old-age assistance); self-support and self-care (the blind and the disabled); and to strengthen family life (aid to dependent children) ...."

"The committee's bill would leave the provision of such services optional with the States; but, if they are not provided by a State, the Federal matching of all administrative costs for that category of assistance (now 50 percent) would be reduced to 25 percent . . . ."

Among the more progressive features of the House welfare bill which have been retained by the Senate committee are: permanent approval of the separate Missouri and Pennsylvania blind aid programs; increase in the federal matching formula for the aged, blind and disabled; incentive exemptions of "necessary expenses that may reasonably be attributed to the earning of income" for all aided categories, along with authority under ADC to disregard certain income set aside to meet future needs (e.g., education and preparation for employment).

On the non-creditable side of the ledger, the Finance Committee has chosen to give its approval to the provision for an optional joint category (title XVI) embracing the blind, aged and disabled. The only new note added is the following: "In the opinion of the committee, States should continue to have the option as to the inclusion of optometric services."

The Senate report indicates a complete victory for vocational rehabilitation agencies in their jurisdictional controversy with public welfare agencies over the provisions of services related to the rehabilitation objectives of public assistance. Indeed, the committee appears to have gone out of its way to discourage any attention to such needs by welfare officials--even where they are not adequately dealt with under the auspices of vocational rehabilitation. It would seem that the agents of welfare may step in only where the angels of rehabilitation fear to tread.

Thus the report states: "The committee does not believe that public welfare agencies are likely to, or should, provide programs of vocational rehabilitation to physically handicapped individuals that duplicate those already made available by the vocational rehabilitation agencies or which the vocational rehabilitation agencies are better able to provide. The bill authorizes public welfare agencies to enter into agreements to pay for services which vocational rehabilitation agencies do not ordinarily make available, but which they are able and willing to provide under such reimbursement agreements to physically handicapped persons eligible for service from public assistance agencies. It also precludes Federal participation in the cost of vocational rehabilitation services provided by the staff of the public welfare agencies to physically handicapped persons, other than those services which the vocational rehabilitation agencies do not make available or which they are not able and willing to provide under reimbursement agreements."



The claim of the National Federation of the Blind to retain its seat on the executive committee of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind (see THE BLIND AMERICAN, May 1962) has been rejected by two of the WCWB's governing officials. The negative action was first A. Baker to NFB President Perry Sundquist, and again in a letter of June 7 from M. Robert Barnett, "titular head" of the U.S. delegation, to Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, the NFB's delegate to the World Council.

Replying for the Federation, Dr. tenBroek in a letter to Barnett submitted a formal request "that the issue of the National Federation of the Blind's right to its seat on the Executive Committee be placed upon the agenda of the forthcoming meeting of the Executive Committee in Hanover, Germany, to be officially decided by that body."

Dr. tenBroek further asked that the existing policy of secret meetings by the WCWB executive committee also be made a subject of discussion at the committee's Hanover meeting, scheduled for August 2 to 4. He cited a statement in Barnett's letter that attendance at Hanover by the NFB's delegate "cannot be approved" due to "a strict rule that meetings of the Executive Committee shall be attended only be persons who have been duly elected to that Committee." The Barnett letter added that "this is a correct attitude and a practice which is followed by all responsible organizations, including, lam sure, NFB."

Describing these statements as "a new and shocking revelation," the NFB's delegate declared that "within my experience and to my knowledge, secret meetings do not reflect a correct attitude and are distincly not a practice followed by most responsible organizations, including the National Federation of the Blind." He pointed out that the general practice within democratic agencies and organizations has increasingly been one of open and public meetings.

"Surely the [WCWB] Executive Committee itself should now undertake a full review and thorough reconsideration of a policy of closed meetings--one which, moreover, excludes not only the general public and otherwise interested persons but also official delegates and members of the World Council Assembly," Dr. tenBroek wrote.

His letter also denied an "implication" appearing in the communications of Barnett and Colonel Baker that the executive committee seat which has been held by the NFB since 1959 was "to be relinquished to a Latin American country." Dr. tenBroek maintained on the contrary that "the election of the NFB representative was without any qualifications or limitations."

The effort to remove the NFB from its executive committee seat took the form last April of a "postal ballot" by Council President Baker of North American delegates to fill two alleged vacancies on the executive committee—one of them said to result from the NFB's action in removing and replacing its delegate to the WCWB, who was also its representative member on the executive committee. The ballot was subsequently challenged by NFB President Sundquist as improper and invalid by terms of the WCWB constitution.

In his May 23 reply to Sundquist, Colonel Baker denied the charge of unconstitutionality and retorted that for the NFB to retain its seat with a new delegate "would itself be an unconstitutional and undemocratic act."

The World Council president took note of Sundquist's recommendation that organizations of the blind within member nations should be more equitably represented on the World Council's committees and in the makeup of national and regional delegations. But he maintained that only these member delegations could "determine whether a representative of an organization of blind persons or the representative of an agency serving the blind should fill each individual seat. Surely that is the democratic way," he added.

Barnett, who is also executive director of the American Foundation for the Blind, wrote in a lengthy letter to Dr. tenBroek that as "titular leader" of the United States delegation to the WCWB his role was mainly that of "housekeeping" and that he could not speak for the delegation "on any point or principle or policy unless specifically directed to do so." Nevertheless, he stated that "your admission to the U.S. delegation is confirmed," and elsewhere asserted that the attendance of the NFB delegate at the executive committee meeting in August "cannot be approved" either by the delegation or by the World Council itself.

Following is the full text of Dr. tenBroek's reply to Barnett:

June 13, 1962

Dear Dr. Barnett:

This will serve to acknowledge Colonel Baker's letter of May 23 to President Sundquist and your letter of June 7 to me, and to thank each of you in turn for your correspondence.

The correspondence raises a number of issues and problems, some of which were not touched upon in President Sundquist's initial letter to Colonel Baker. I should now like to discuss these, without any particular regard for the order or source of their appearance.

I regret that I cannot agree with you that Colonel Baker's letter answers the questions and issues raised specifically and in detail by Mr. Sundquist. Basically, in my view, Colonel Baker's letter fails to touch the central issue bearing on the unconstitutional removal of the National Federation of the Blind from its seat on the WCWB Executive Committee. The heart of Colonel Baker's position seems to be summed up in the last sentence of the first paragraph on page 2 of his letter: "A careful reading of the WCWB Constitution will indicate no explicit or implicit requirement that the agency with which an elected Executive Committee member is associated can lay claim to an Executive Committee seat should the elected member be forced to withdraw.

"The explicit and implicit requirements of the WCWB constitution compelling a conclusion opposite to that of Colonel Baker were carefully reviewed and identified in President Sundquist' s letter. Indeed, the basic one was reiterated by Colonel Baker in his letter. It is that the members of the World Council Executive Committee are representative members. Consequently, they do not and cannot serve in an individual or a personal capacity. If they are representative, then their personal or individual removal from their representative capacity does not in any way constitute a withdrawal or a vacation of the seat by the organization or country being represented. There is thus a confusion of terms in Colonel Baker's sentence summation. "Should the elected member be forced to withdraw"--this is an expression which constitutionally can have no reference to individuals or persons who happen at any given moment to occupy the representative capacity. It can only refer to the representative capacity itself.

Our claim to continued occupancy of our seat on the Executive Committee of the WCWB is based directly upon the constitution of the WCWB and secondarily upon the general principles and purposes of the same organization.

Upon this topic the situation seems to me now to have arrived at this point: The National Federation of the Blind has contested the propriety and challenged the constitutionality of its removal from its seat upon the Executive Committee of the WCWB and the selection of another to fill that place. The National Federation of the Blind submitted that contest and that challenge to the president of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind. On whatever grounds and moved by whatever considerations—whether made explicit or remaining unexpressed, and however relevant or irrelevant--the president of the WCWB has refused to invalidate the removal and has expressly confirmed the selection of the new appointee.

On behalf of the National Federation of the Blind and in my capacity as a United States delegate to the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, I now formally request that the issue of the National Federation of the Blind's right to its seat on the Executive Committee be placed upon the agenda of the forthcoming meeting of the Executive Committee in Hanover, Germany, to be officially decided by that body. I assume that due notice of this action will be given me, and that normal rights of representation will be accorded.

I note that the WCWB, according to its constitution, is formed under a French statute. May I request that you supply me with a copy of that statute so that I may be informed as to the degree to which French law may provide an opportunity for review of decisions of the World Council on claims of their unconstitutionality.

May I further request that you supply me with the names and addresses of all members of the Executive Committee of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, so that I may seek to inform them of the views of my organization in this matter and the degree of importance we attach to a proper solution.

Turning now more particularly to your letter to me, may I say that I find a number of matters in it deeply troubling. You say that "I am now pleased to inform you that your admission to the U. S. delegation is confirmed." There are similar implications in Colonel Baker's letter that the professional qualifications, personal attitudes and other qualities of delegates are not matters which lie solely within the judgment of the appointing organization but somehow are proper subjects of review by the World Council officialdom or by fellow delegates. I have searched the World Council constitution from one end to the other and can find. However, if notwithstanding the absence of constitutional authority, the appointment by member organizations of their representatives is subject to the pleasure of, and confirmation by, other member organizations or their representatives, then presumably I should receive from you a request for my confirmation or disconfirmation of the remaining members of the U.S. delegation.

With respect to the forthcoming Hanover meeting of the WCWB Executive Committee, your letter states: "I must advise you that your attendance cannot be approved, either by the United States delegation as a whole or by the World Council itself. WCWB has always maintained a strict rule that meetings of the Executive Committee shall be attended only by persons who have been duly elected to that Committee. I am sure you will agree that this is a correct attitude and a practice which is followed by all responsible organizations, including, I am sure, NFB."

You will pardon me if I say to you with absolute candor that this comes to me as a new and shocking revelation. Within my experience and to my knowledge, secret meetings do not reflect a correct attitude and are distinctly not a practice followed by most responsible organizations, including the National Federation of the Blind. The exact contrary is increasingly the general practice and has always been the correct (i. e. democratic) attitude. All of the organs of the United Nations follow the general rule that meetings shall be open and public. Indeed every effort is exerted to publicize rather than conceal what goes on. The same, moreover, is increasingly true in our national and our state governments. In many states there are now numerous statutes on the books requiring virtually all the agencies of state and local government to hold open and public meetings. Many of these statutes permit of no exceptions whatsoever. It seems to me that wise policy would authorize the closing of meetings in certain limited types of situations—as when personnel matters are being considered or when the private lives and rights of individuals would unjustifiably be exposed to public view. It is one thing, however, to permit meetings to be closed when in the particular case there are strong arguments of public policy for doing so. It is quite another matter to follow a categorical rule of closed meetings. The Executive Committee of the WCWB is not denominated such in order to indicate that its meetings should be held in executive sessions. It receives that title because of the character of its functions and its relationship to the World Council Assembly.

Incidentally, your speculation about the character of meetings of the NFB Executive Committee in in error. Our Executive Committee follows a rule of open meetings, permitting them to be closed only in very rare and exceptional circumstances.

Addressing you as "titular head" of the U.S. delegation and Colonel Baker as de jure president of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, and again acting on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind and in my capacity as a U. S. delegate, I herewith formally request that this issue too be placed on the agenda of the forthcoming Executive Committee meeting at Hanover, Germany. Surely the Executive Committee itself should now undertake a full review and thorough reconsideration of a policy of closed meetings— one which, moreover, excludes not only the general public and otherwise interested persons but also official delegates and members of the World Council Assembly.

I am no less troubled by your advice that my own attendance at the forthcoming Executive Committee meeting "cannot be approved either by the United States delegation or by the World Council itself." Is this advice and action a part of the "housekeeping" duties to which you deem yourself restricted by your role as "titular leader" of the U.S. delegation? At the outset of your letter, you say that your role "has been not one of speaking for the delegation as a group on any point of principle or policy unless specifically directed to do so after proper caucus or conference. Essentially, my task has been only that of housekeeping . . . . " If I may be permitted a pun, your advice to me plainly goes beyond the authority of light housekeeping—or even of lighthouse-keeping. Is this not a matter of principle or policy? Did you speak only after proper caucus and conference? If so, I had no notice of any such gathering.

There is an implication in your letter, though not a direct statement, that the Executive Committee seat to which the NFB representative was elected in 1959 was to be relinquished to a Latin American country. Whatever may have been the tacit understanding of some American delegates or the statements of the president of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, to the best of my knowledge the election of the NFB representative was without any qualifications or limitations. Following the 1959 meeting, our representative reported to the NFB as follows: "The nominating committee nominated me for the fifth North American seat. It was a straight nomination, with no strings. President Baker interpreted this as being a pro tern nomination, until the Mexican situation could be straightened out. The Assembly elected me unanimously, though with no protest from Mexico until the following day. I believe Baker's interpretation was a gratuitous expression of his personal opinion and if they try to take away my seat I shall make a fight of it. The nominating committee made no such qualification when they recommended me for election."

May I request from you more detailed information about the Hanover meeting. You have given me the dates and the city but not the names of hotels or other places of meetings and related information.

May I convey my best personal wishes to you and Colonel Baker.

Yours sincerely,

Jacobus tenBroek



Dr. Richard S. French, retired superintendent of the California State School for the Blind and famed author of scholarly works on blindness, died June 11 at his Berkeley, California, home. He was 79 years of age.

A native of San Bernardino, he graduated from the University of California in 1906, served as a blind school instructor for four years and subsequently entered the field of public school administration. He served as a principal of high schools in Los Banos and Crockett before joining the staff of the California School for the Blind, where he was to become superintendent for more than two decades prior to his retirement in 1949.

On the occasion of his retirement, Dr. French was credited by State Superintendent of Schools Roy Simpson with building the international reputation of the blind school. In addition to his administrative functions, Dr. French was a member of the faculty of the University of California School of Education from 1918 to 1947.

He was the author of three books which gained worldwide recognition: The Education of the Blind, From Homer to Helen Keller , and An Introduction to the Problem of Sight Conservation. The most famous of these, From Homer to Helen Keller (published in 1932), is a vast compendium of information dealing with the growth of programs and institutions for the blind from early times.

Still widely consulted a full generation after its first appearance, Dr. French's historical study reflects a modern and constructive viewpoint in many of its chapters. Somewhat less congenial with present-day knowledge, however, is the book's discussion of vocational training and employment opportunities for the blind. In general, Dr. French tended to regard sightless persons as incapable of equal competition in normal trades and professions, and instead placed his hopes on the further development of sheltered industries.

"It must be unqualifiedly conceded that there is little in an industrial way that a blind person can do at all that cannot be done better and more expeditiously by people with sight," he declared in his book. He maintained also that "the handcrafts in which the blind can do first-class work are very limited in number, with basketry, weaving, knitting, broom-and brush-making and chair-caning as the most promising and most thoroughly tried out." Even with respect to these limited enterprises Dr. French was far from optimistic; he asserted that "in these crafts the blind cannot enter into direct competition with the seeing either in the quality of product or the amount turned out in a given time."

Despite such outmoded and rather defeatist views, Dr. French persistently strove in his administrative career as well as in his authoritative writings to broaden the horizons of blind people both educationally and socially. His death, a year after that of Dr. Newel Perry, marks the end of a pioneering era in the education and welfare of the American blind.



By Floyd W. Matson

One of the most controversial measures now before Congress and the nation- -perhaps as bitterly contested as any since the early days of the New Deal--is the Kennedy Administration's program for medical aid to the aged under the social insurance provisions of the Social Security Act.

Backing the proposal, in addition to the majority of senior citizens themselves, are most labor organizations, consumer interests, and liberal political groups. Against it are the forces of organized medicine (notably the American Medical Association), many large-scale business and financial institutions, and virtually all "taxpayer" associations.

In general, the lines of battle would seem to be clearly drawn and the lines of argument almost as clearly laid down--at least since the successive televised appearances at New York's Madison Square Garden, recently, of President Kennedy and the A. M. A. top brass.

Somewhat less well-known--but destined to become thoroughly familiar before the battle is over--is a curious strategy of argument on the part of Administration forces which may be said in effect to pit social security against itself. More exactly, this persuasive appeal ranges the "medicare" program of social insurance against the medical-aid programs now available under public assistance. In so doing it presents a devastating indictment of the quality of medical help for the aged (and for other public assistance clients such as the blind and disabled) as presently administered by the same federal department which has drawn up the indictment.

The attack on existing medical provisions is set forth in an elaborate two-toned brochure, labeled "SPEAKER'S COPY," being distributed nationally among welfare groups by the Social Security Administration of the Health, Education, and Welfare Department. The impressive pamphlet, available either in standard format or pocketsize (presumably for handy reference by speakers), strikes as hard or harder at the inadequacies of public assistance health protection as it does at private-insurance alternatives to the proposed social- insurance plan of medical care.

Here are some of the particulars of the attack upon the left hand of social security by the right hand of social security:

"Let us compare the characteristics of existing law -- the relief approach -- with those of President Kennedy's plan, which places main reliance on health insurance, thus reducing the need for public relief to as low a level as possible.

"With means test, or poverty oath medicine, savings or income above the minimum disqualifies you so that only the very poorest are protected.

"To qualify for means test medicine, you must prove that you are impoverished. In many states even your children's financial condition is investigated before you can get help ....

"Means test medicine can mean danger to health and safety because the limited tax resources of many states force them to use substandard facilities. Under the President's plan only health care of good quality would be paid for because substandard facilities would be barred by the law.

"Means test medicine in many cases does not let you choose your own hospital and doctor. The proposed health insurance law guarantees freedom of choice.

"Even means test medicine is not available to most low income people since only about half the states have enacted MAA [Medical Assistance for the Aged] programs, only one-third of the states made any payments under these programs last December, and many of the states that made payments did so for only a handful of the aged. About 92 percent of the MAA payments in December were made in three states. Most states that are making payments offer only meager assistance. Because it is up to the state, benefits are very uneven. The President's plan would guarantee uniform benefits throughout the nation."

In a column of tersely outlined main points paralleling this prose--entitled "Public Relief is NOT the Answer"--the Administration brochure fairly shouts such epithets as "poverty oath medicine," "humiliating poverty test," and "danger to health and security."

Here, at long last, is clear and emphatic recognition by the Federal Social Security Administration of the injustice and humiliation of its own means test, the impossibility of the requirement of relatives' responsibility, and the utter inability of the national government to make good across the country its solemn commitment to maintain standards of aid consistent with decency and health. Many of the central features of public assistance, previously defended with righteous persistence by the federal agency against all criticism and all efforts at reform, now stand condemned by that same agency out of its own mouth -- or, at least, out of one side of its mouth.

No doubt such candor and confession of error is a good thing--for the country as well as for the official soul. No doubt, also, the critical charges which the social security now levels against itself are wholly justified. It is to be noted, however, that those charges are not limited to the medical and health provisions of public assistance — and therefore cannot be wholly corrected by shifting medical functions to OASI. The federal structure of public assistance, despite this high-powered blast at its foundations, is still left standing. The pauper's oath of the means test is still administered to all petitioners at the door; and the intolerable odor of the poor law still pervades its halls. Most tragically of all, millions of Americans -- comprising the lame, the halt, the blind, and the homeless -- are still served at its tables.

Let the custodians of this venerable public institution, now that they have condemned it, take the lead in rebuilding it. They have clearly identified the prime source of corruption--namely, the means test. Let them then eradicate that source wherever it operates to destroy dignity, disallow incentive and defeat the hope of independence.



Robert Russell, blinded at five by a splinter from a croquet mallet, went on to get his education first at the New York Institute for the Blind, then at Yale where he won a master's degree, finally at Oxford where he went on a Rhodes scholarship and from which he took home a Bachelor of Literature diploma. Now he has put all of this personal experience plus his subsequent marriage and present career as a college professor of English, into a book wonderfully titled: To Catch an Angel: Adventures in a World I Cannot See (Vanguard Press, New York).

Reviewing Russell's autobiography in the July Book-of-the-Club NEWS, Dorothy McCleary wrote: "The remarkable thing is that although the catastrophe [his sudden blindness] immeasurably complicated his life, it failed ... to embitter his spirit. He simply accepted his changed condition and, with no faintest overtones of 'What a brave boy am I,' set himself to follow the same life patterns and be judged by the same strict standards as those who can see .... In the later chapters--during which, amazingly, we keep forgetting the blindness- we understand how a clever, philosophical mind can, with complete self-confidence, overcome cruel circumstance."

Another tribute to Russell's life story is that of William Hogan, book critic of the San Francisco CHRONICLE, who described the volume in a recent column as "one of the happiest, most hopeful and rewarding personal histories I have read in a long time," Hogan's review continues:

"Humor and intelligence are abundant in it; the author's charm and wit is always in evidence. The fact that he competed on even terms in qualifying as a teacher and scholar, and neither asked for nor took favors from anyone in the process, indicates the fiber and guts of the man.

"Is it strange to be blind? 'We are all oddities,' Russell answers philosophically, "all peculiar, all individuals." He shares this thought: "We all thrill to the same hopes and cower before the same monsters, and, most of all, we are forced to act on insufficient knowledge. We are forced irrevocably to commit ourselves financially, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually without being able to foresee the consequences. As parents, as teachers, as statesmen, we are all the blind leading the blind. . ."

Russell, who married an English scholar while at Oxford and is now the father of four young children, holds an associate professorship in the English department of Franklin and Marshall College.



Promising advances in the continuing battle of medical science against the causes of blindness were reported recently by THE NATIONAL OBSERVER (a weekly publication of Dow Jones & Company, also publishers of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL).

In an extensive front-page review of developments in the prevention and cure of blindness, the newspaper pointed out on May 27 that glaucoma still holds the center of scientific attention as "a major cause of blindness and a major concern of medical researchers." Moreover, due to the difficulty of its detection, scientists were said to estimate that one million Americans have glaucoma who are not aware of it.

On other research fronts, investigators were reported to be accumulating new information on cataracts and various visual disorders. "They report some promise in grafting plactic corneas on eyes of animals; the aim, of course, is to develop artificial corneas for people who suffer injuries," the newpaper said.

Also assertedly on the way to perfection is a technique for painless eye operations making use of a device called the laser, which shoots an intense beam of light into the eye. "This beam of light, among other things, can destroy tumors inside the eye and heal scars at the rear of the eyeball," according to THE OBSERVER.

Noting that two million Americans have partially lost their sight, in addition to the more than 350,000 who are classified as blind, the article warned that the incidence of eye disease is "certain to increase" as more Americans live to advanced ages. Scientists were reported to believe that "nearly everyone who reaches 7 will develop at least a mild form of cataract," producing a cloud on the lens of the eye.

Research on blindness was said to be complicated by the fact that many causes are still unknown, besides those already well-defined. Although dietary deficiency in certain proteins is known to cause cataracts in many younger people, the reason why eye lenses cloud in older men and women is as yet undetermined. "There must be at least 20 agents responsible for cataract in younger people," one scientist was quoted as saying. "Either by giving or withholding these agents, cataracts could be prevented." But he added that "the chief problem is that patients don't come to us early enough."

Increasing awareness was reported among doctors that "eyes are windows to disease" -- that visual ailments are often symptoms of other and larger bodily disorders. Thus some forms of kidney diseases were said to have apparent effects upon the retina, while diabetes frequently causes cataract.

In glaucoma research, scientists assertedly are attempting to solve the still-mysterious mechanism that raises the pressure of the fluid within the eye. Researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness, at Bethesda, Maryland, were said to have made the discovery recently that a certain enzyme or organic substance is involved in the secretion of the nourishing fluid within the eye, which in turn affects the pressure from inside the eye. Experiments are accordingly under way to try to regulate the enzyme and possibly also the accompanying eye pressure, it was stated.

In the course of these tests, scientists were said to be administering various chemicals to sufferers from glaucoma in the effort to control the disease. The new drugs are designed to attack an aspect of the glaucoma mechanism directly and so reach the source of the disease. If the technique should prove to be successful, one researcher was quoted as declaring, "it will provide the first rational approach to treatment of glaucoma."



By Stanley Oliver

(Editor's note: Although many of our readers may not receive the present issue before the July 4 meeting in Detroit of the NFB's annual convention, the following pre-convention bulletin is passed on for its inherent interest as an advance description of this significant event in the affairs of the organized blind. Mr. Oliver is Convention Chairman and a member of the Board of Directors of the host Michigan Council of the Blind.)

The 22nd Annual Convention of the National Federation of the Blind--to be held at the Detroit Statler Hilton Hotel from Wednesday, July 4th through Saturday, July 7th--promises to be a rebirth of the inspiring and informative gatherings that graced the first 18 years of our national existence. Extensive provision has been made for topflight program speakers and panel discussions. Numerous displays will be on hand from various agencies for the blind. A number of talented blind singers and instrumentalists will appear (especially on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings) to entertain an anticipated 500 delegates. The convention committee is pleased to find early registration from thirty states.

Detroit's dynamic, thirty-three year old Mayor, Jerome P. Cavanagh, kicks off the Convention at 10:05 A.M. July 4th. Expected political dignitaries include U.S. Senator Pat McNamara, Governor Swainson, State Senator Beadle--all of whom have had significant impact on the welfare of blind people. Bob Mahoney, blind Democrat in the Michigan Legislature, will M.C. the Banquet. We are all jubilant to know that Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, our former president, will deliver the Banquet Address and will be with us throughout the Convention. We are sure every person who gained from inspiring earlier NFB conventions will warmly greet his re-dedication to united constructive work.

Among the outstanding array of program speakers will be top officials from Washington and the states. These will include such subjects as: Mobility Training, by the Director of the Center for Orientation and Mobility of Western Michigan University; Employment Opportunities for the Disabled in Federal Government Service, by Mr. Carl Murr of the U.S. Civil Service Commission; the Disability Insurance Program, by the Chief of the Evaluation Policy Section of the U.S. Bureau of Old Age and Survivors Insurance; The Role of the Federal Government in the Education of Blind Children, by Dr. Romaine Mackie, Chief of Services for Exceptional Children in the U.S. Office of Education. Other topics will include discussions on sheltered workshops and independent living bills. "The Meaning of Rehabilitation Services for the Blind" will be fully dealt with by Kenneth Jernigan, Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind.

A novel feature of the Convention will be the "afternoon away" to be built around a trip to Canada and a visit to Alexander Hall, a facility of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind; and also a trip to the Hiram Walker Historical Museum in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.



The National Federation of the Blind was present, in the person of its Washington Office Chief John F. Nagle, at hearings held May 24 by a subcommittee of the House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service to consider H.R. 11523, a bill providing reader assistance for federal government employees who are blind.

Expectations are that the progressive proposal, which would significantly widen public employment opportunities for blind persons, will obtain early approval both in the House and Senate. Other organizations testifying on behalf of the measure at the subcommittee hearings included the American Council of the Blind, American Association of Instructors of the Blind, and American Association of Workers for the Blind.

In his testimony, Nagle recalled that "since the founding of our organization in 1940, we blind men and women, the members of the National Federation, have worked toward improving the employment opportunities of all blind persons in America."

"We have worked to break down the barriers which have denied them such opportunities--not because they were unqualified or lacked the talents and skills required, but because they were blind, " he said.

"Believing that government service could and should serve as a proving ground for demonstrating the capacities and capabilities of blind workers, we have sought to remove obstacles which barred qualified blind persons from obtaining positions in federal civil service."

Declaring that "just such an obstacle will be removed by adoption" of the pending legislation, the NFB's spokesman asserted that "the impediments to employment which this bill seeks to remove are neither remote nor imaginary." He urged, however, that the bill be amended to avoid precluding the assignment of normal secretarial and clerical assistance to blind individuals in government positions ordinarily calling for such aid.

Major General Melvin J. Maas, Chairman of the President's Committee on Employment of the Physically Handicapped, also appeared before the subcommittee in support of the reader assistance bill.



(Editor's note: The following article, originating in the Santa Ana, California, REGISTER, has come to our attention through its republication in the COUNCIL BULLETIN, journal of the California Council of the Blind.)

The centuries-old abacus may soon be to blind mathematicians what Braille is to blind readers. The ancient device, long used by Orientals for even the most complex arithmetical computations, has been fitted with a new part by a Kentucky state official with the result that the blind will be able to use it.

T. V. Cranmer, director of Service to the Blind in the Kentucky Department of Education, feels his brainchild will permit the blind to do arithmetic problems quickly and accurately.

He said most blind persons now either ask someone to work their problems or use mental arithmetic. For Cranmer, who is blind himself, neither of the methods was acceptable.

Cranmer first became interested in the abacus when he visited the Japanese section of Los Angeles and listened to the rapidity which shop girls were running their fingers across the beads on the device and coming up with accurate answers.

A friend told him what it looked like: 13 wires with five beads on each wire.

When he got back to Kentucky, Cranmer did some research on the abacus. He found the Japanese had tried at least twice to adapt the device for the blind. But neither attempt was successful because the beads slipped out of place easily and the blind didn't notice them.

To solve that problem, Cranmer fitted the back of the abacus with a piece of felt. And the beads stayed in place.

The only other method of computation for the blind used to any extent in this country, utilized Braille and required 5 or 10 minutes to solve the simplest problem. As the problems got tougher the task became all but impossible.

Cranmer is planning a pilot study with about fifty persons to determine if the blind can adapt to the device, which has been named "Cramer's Computer."

The volunteers for the program will be tested on their present knowledge of arithmetic and permitted to use any method of calculation. Then they will be given a Cranmer Computer and an instruction manual in Braille. After also receiving some personal instruction, they will be given the test over and will use the computer.

If the results are what Cranmer hopes they will be, he wants to put the computer in the hands of every blind Kentuckian. The devices are being manufactured by the American Printing House for the Blind of Louisville, a non-profit organization. The computers could be mass- produced within about a year.

He estimates that the cost of the pocket- sized calculator being used for the pilot tests will be between $1.50 and $3.00.



Blind Girl Friday. The following article was featured in the May issue of INSIDE ALLIED, an employee news periodical published by the Allied Insurance Group of Des Moines, Iowa;

"Aldeane S. Williams, blind since April 1959, joined our transcription department on March 21. Aldeane was raised on a farm near Sioux Center, Iowa, and attended Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.

"She was Assistant City Clerk in Sioux Center from 1952 until her sight failed. The failure was an indirect result of diabetes. In November, 1961, she came to Des Moines for training at the Iowa Commission for the Blind at their location in the old Y.M.C.A. building. She learned to read and write Braille, to cook, and to travel (get around by herself with the aid of a long fibre glass cane). Also, she learned typing and to work with transcription equipment. Odeal Carpenter, Supervisor of the Transcription Department, has worked closely with Aldeane to solve the problems that arose in the early stages of training. The two girls found ways of handling each situation as quickly as problems arose. Odeal reports that her progress is excellent.

"We understand that Aldeane is probably the first blind girl in Iowa to work as a typist in a transcription department where letters, as opposed to narrative reports, are the bulk of the work load. She is married to Lyle Williams, a masseur at the Des Moines Y.M.C.A. Lyle, who also is blind, and Aldeane met a year ago at a square dancing lesson class sponsored by the Student Body of the Iowa Blind Commission. Although she is totally blind today, she and Lyle enjoy many normal activities, such as playing cards, square dancing, music, and many television shows to which, of course, they listen.

"Aldeane has an excellent outlook on life, asks no favors, and prefers to be treated as a normal person. She is learning more each day about traveling in our building to and from the bus. She has a message for people with sight. Blind people are no different than those of us who can see and they enjoy conversing and communicating with everyone."

Bernard Krebs, librarian at the Jewish Guild for the Blind, member of the Braille Authority and a teacher of braille, was the recipient recently of the award of the Philadelphia Week for the Blind as "the most outstanding blind man of the year in the United States."

ADC Liberalization Succeeds. In its first 10 months, aid to dependent children of unemployed parents (ADC-UP) clearly filled a need for assistance among families not eligible for other forms of financial help, Abraham Ribicoff, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, said recently. Ribicoff announced the results of a statistical review of the new program's operation from May 1961 through February 1962 in 14 states which adopted this extension of the aid to dependent children program.

The law authorizing the broader ADC coverage was one of the Kennedy administration's first measures to alleviate the effects of unemployment. The administration has recommended to the Congress that ADC-UP be made permanent. The present law expires June 30. The public welfare amendments bill which passed the House March 15 would extend ADC-UP for five years.

The federally supported aid to dependent children program previously was limited to children in financial need because of the death, prolonged absence or incapacity of a parent.

Summer Camps for the Blind. Two large-scale camping opportunities for blind children and adults have been announced for the coming summer. The first is the annual three-week camping session for blind children held at Beacon Lodge-Camp for the Blind (Pennsylvania) beginning June 23 to be followed by a three-week program for blind adults slated for the period July 14- August 25. Additional details may be obtained from Beacon Lodge-Camp for the Blind, Box 22, Lewiston, Pennsylvania.

The second camping program is one sponsored by The Seeing Hand, Inc., of West Virginia, scheduled for a week-long period starting July 29. For further information, interested persons may write Miss Ethel Clare Elikan, The Seeing Hand Association, Inc., 737 Market Street, Wheeling, West Virginia.

New Research on Aging. Recommendations calling for stepped up research, services and product development to meet the needs of the aged and aging culminated a three-day National Workshop on Aging sponsored recently by the 28, 000-member American Home Economics Association at Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana. Over 130 leading home economists from 43 states attended the Workshop, which was an outgrowth of AHEA's participation in the 1961 White House Conference on Aging.

Calling on the nation's home economists to "give top priority to professional programs that will help to bridge the gap between the needs of a large, aging population and the trained personnel and services available to meet these needs, the Workshop defined a variety of areas in which home economists can make a major contribution."

Golden Record for New York Times. A symbolic gold copy of the 100,000 recording of the New York Times's "News of the Week in Review" was presented recently to Lester Markel, editor of the famous newspaper, in ceremonies marking the second anniversary of the special undertaking by Recording for the Blind, Inc.

According to a report in the RFB BULLETIN, others participating in the event included Walter Cronkite, veteran CBS newscaster, William Rafael, an executive of the ABC network, and Robert Mauer of the NBC "Monitor" staff. They took part in a special recording session of "The News of the Week in Review," which was filmed by CBS-TV for use on its Sunday evening TV newscast.

In a recent survey of agencies and individuals receiving the recordings, it was found that over 6,000 blind people listen regularly to the News of the Week program, the BULLETIN stated.


Ribicoff Urges Medical Aid. In April, the number of people in the country receiving monthly social security checks passed the 17 million mark, Abraham Ribicoff, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, announced early in May. "For the aged among these 17 million, these benefit payments provide an assured income for the rest of their days. Together with whatever they have been able to save, most of them are able to keep themselves housed, clothed and fed unless—or until--serious illness overtakes them," he said.

Secretary Ribicoff said that nearly 12 million social security beneficiaries are 65 or over. Of those under 65, 1 million are disabled workers and their dependents; 2.5 million are widowed mothers and children and the remainder are beneficiaries between 62 and 65. Benefit payments during 1962 are expected to total more than $14 billion, the Secretary said, and these payments—over $1 billion a month—are put into circulation right away.

"Most of these social security benefits are spent at local grocery stores and other businesses, so long as the recipients remain in good health," said Secretary Ribicoff. "In all too many instances, however, social security checks are endorsed and handed over as payment of past due hospital and medical bills. And what is even worse, many older people go without the medical care they need because they refuse to run up bills they cannot pay."

He urged that support be given for immediate congressional action on President Kennedy's proposal for financing health insurance for the aged through the Social Security program.


Rehab Program in Luck. Appointment of Dr. James Vernon of Los Angeles, California, to the National Advisory Council on Vocational Rehabilitation was announced recently by Health, Education, and Welfare Secretary Abraham Ribicoff. Dr. Luck succeeds Dr. Robert L. Bennett, Jr., Director of the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation, and will serve a four-year term.

The new appointee is Medical Director of Los Angeles Orthopedic Hospital and an associate professor at the University of Southern California. He is also a staff member of Los Angeles County Hospital, Children's Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, and Presbyterian Hospital—all in Los Angeles.

The 12-member National Advisory Council reviews applications for grants submitted by private non-profit groups and public organizations to help finance research and demonstration projects designed to solve vocational rehabilitation problems of nation-wide significance. Chairman is Miss Mary E. Switzer, Director of HEW's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Homemaking Instruction. Joint action by State education and welfare agencies to provide instruction in homemaking skills to low-income families was called for recently by the Federal Bureau of Family Services.

In a publication called "Improving Home and Family Living Among Low-Income Families," the Bureau proposes that State welfare departments in cooperation with education agencies begin pilot projects in localities where the need is most acute. It suggests that teachers, if not available from school staffs, may be recruited among homemakers who are qualified home economics teachers willing to work part or full time.

It is anticipated, according to the Bureau of Family Services, that the booklet will be used in connection with efforts of a task force recently named by Abraham Ribicoff, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, and Robert C. Weaver, Administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency. The task force will promote health and welfare services in public housing projects.

Women Organize for Handicapped. The following is reprinted from PERFORMANCE, the journal of the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped;

"Maj. Gen. Melvin J. Maas, USMCR Ret., Chairman of the President's Committee, has announced the appointment of Dr. Dorothy C. Stratton, of New York City, as Chairman of a new Women's Committee to promote employment opportunities for the handicapped.

"Dr. Stratton has been an active member of the President's Committee for some time. She was formerly National Executive Director of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. and was Director of the U.S. Coast Guard's Women's Reserve during World War II.

"General Maas has also named Miss Chloe Gifford, Director of Special Activities of the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, and Past President of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, as Vice Chairman.

"The objective of this new committee will be to utilize the talents of women and women's organizations to carry out programs and projects which help handicapped to get jobs and to gain employer acceptance of these workers.

"Dr. Stratton and Miss Gifford will work with Community and Governors' Committees; Federal, State, municipal, and private agencies, and other organizations concerned with the handicapped.

"General Maas said: 'Creating an employment climate for handicapped people requires the cooperation of professionals and volunteers in every community of the country. I feel that Dr. Stratton, with her unique experience in working with national organizations as a professional, and Miss Gifford's experience as president of the largest women's organization in the country will bring together the best talents of women's groups in combating this problem.'"

State Launches Rehab. Project. (The following item is reprinted from the bulletin From the State Capitals.)

Connecticut: A program of rehabilitation and general re-education of families on relief is being launched by the Connecticut State Welfare Department.

Although scheduled to start in the department's Central Connecticut District No. 7, the project is expected to spread so that the entire welfare system will be oriented to rehabilitation and prevention by 1965.

The project "promises to be the most dramatic and exciting program in the history of public welfare in Connecticut," State Welfare Commissioner Bernard Shapiro told a meeting in Meriden of public and private welfare workers. He explained it will work this way:

During the next year, officials of Community Research Associates, hired by the department to set up the new program, will retrain a core group of state welfare social workers in the rehabilitation and problem prevention system. These workers then will go to district welfare offices to train others.

In the same period, case records and welfare histories of every welfare family in the 29 towns served by the District 7 office will be studied. Each family will be classified according to the nature of its problem and the degree of help needed to put it back on its own economic feet. The district has 4,500 case records.

After classification, a rehabilitation plan suited to the family's needs will be developed and carried out by cooperating private and public agencies.

Shapiro said the federal government will pay at least 50 percent of the $32,000 to be paid Community Research Associates for setting up the changeover from "relief" to "rehabilitation" in the State Welfare Department. The federal share may increase to 75 per cent if pending

If other pending federal legislation is enacted, the new rehabilitation concept may allow welfare officials to keep close track of welfare families when their cases are considered closed.

"Under this system," Shapiro said, "public welfare becomes as accountable for its social service obligations as it has been accountable for the administration of financial assistance to eligible needy persons.

The state is interested in doing more than giving dependent public assistance families cash assistance. When marital discord, ill health (physical or emotional), delinquency, crime, alcohol, illegitimacy, or other behavior problems have caused a breakdown in the family's financial and social conditions, we want to help the family find the reasons which have caused this breakdown and wherever possible, to find a solution."

Grants Aid Social Security. Nine grants amounting to $256,206 were awarded during April and May for research in the field of social security, Commissioner of Social Security Robert M. Ball announced recently. The grants were made under the Cooperative Research and Demonstration Grant Program of the Social Security Administration. Four of the awards are in support of new projects. Five are for the continuation of projects begun in 1961.

Eight States are represented by these grants which are the final awards from the 1962 budget of $700,000 for the program.

"We are gratified at the response which the Cooperative Research Program enjoyed during its first two years," said Commissioner Ball. "The twelve new grants and eleven continuation grants made this year to educational and non-profit institutions will give us new leads in finding more effective ways to deal with dependency and poverty."