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OFFICERS AND TEACHERS.
HON. ELIJAH SELLS, PRESIDENT,
N. C. ROBINSON,
MISS AMELIA BUTLER.
TEACHER OF MUSIC,
S. HARDIN PRICE.
MATRON AND TEACHER OF HANDICRAFT, MRS. H. L. CLARKE.
TEACHER OF MECHANICS,
REPORT OF THE PRINCIPAL.
To the Trustees:
GENTLEMEN:-Your personal watchcare and frequent examination of the affairs of the Institution for the past two years have so familiarized you with its growth, attainments, necessities, finances, and other affairs as to render any details from me unnecessary. Accept my heartfelt gratitude for that assistance and co-operation which has aided and sustained me in my arduous, yet delightful
IOWA INSTITUTION FOR THE BLIND,
VINTON, JAN. 1st, 1864.
REPORT OF THE PRINCIPAL.
To the Honorable the General Assembly of the State of Iowa:
GENTLEMEN: The Iowa Institution for the Education of the Blind has had a marked prosperity during the past two years. Rapid advancements have been made in all the various branches of the literary, musical and industrial departments. The standard of deportment and attainments has been elevated. The aim of Trustees and teachers has been to give a practical education to all the blind of Iowa capable of education.
In compliance with the law, tables are annexed exhibiting "the whole number of students, and the time actually in attendance in each year;" with name, age, sex, place of nativity, and cause of blindness of each pupil. Also an account of the studies pursued and trades taught. The whole number of pupils enrolled is sixtyAbout one-half of that number had never enjoyed the privileges of the institution before; and there are yet scores of blind youth in this State, enduring the long and cheerless night of physical and mental darkness, who ought speedily to be gathered into the school. There may be found sitting by the fireside of scanty homes, and within the walls of your poor-houses, many such, whose physical natures are being dwarfed; whose faculties and energies are wasting for want of action, and their "immortal minds " starving for the light of truth and knowledge; who might be speedily transformed and their faces made to beam with joyous animation and intelligence by a proper education. There are also many adult blind, now helpless dependents, dragging out a listless, hopeless, inactive existence, who by proper training in handicraft might become industrious, self-sustaining, and independent citizens. The census returns for 1863 show 295 blind in Iowa. And one of the effects of the present war will be rapidly to increase the number. Already several soldiers have returned rendered blind in the service of our country. There is also reason to be
lieve that some local cause productive of blindness exists in our midst. Perhaps it may be the prevalence of the violent and almost constant prairie winds, bearing with them dust and sand, which produces so many cases of opthalmia. The causes of blindness of the inmates for the last two years are as follows:
By direction of the board of trustees the goods and furniture belonging to the institution were removed from Iowa City to Vinton in August, 1862, and by the kindness of the contractors of the new building, Messrs. Finkbine and Lovelace, such rooms as were necessary for occupancy were speedily finished, and we were enabled to furnish the same and open the school with 24 pupils early in October, although the building was not completed until late in November. The new edifice is upon a sightly elevation of a piece of land containing 40 acres, which belongs to the institution, and is situated one-half mile south-west of the village of Vinton. It is of hewn limestone, easily chiseled, but which hardens by exposure. Fronting to the east, it is one hundred feet long, and seventy feet wide, four stories high including the basement, and capable of accommodating about 80 pupils. The roof is of pine, and the building being warmed by stoves, there is a fearful liability to fire from the chimneys. At the time of removal the grounds were an unbroken prairie. The water from the roof of the building in times of heavy rain, for want of sewers, ran into the basement. The amount of earth, and stone, and rubbish, which had accumulated with the erection of the building was immense. Such improvements therefore as were absolutely requisite in order to its occupancy were made under the direction of the Board of Trustees. A