Essai sur l'instruction des aveugles Paris Imprimée par les Aveugles 1817
8vo. 224 pp. With an elaborate frontispiece and 21 remarkable engravings, many done by Julie Ribault (1789-ca. 1839). Contemporary green boards with manuscript title on spine; light damp stains and a few spots. Overall a very good uncut copy. $1,200.00
First edition of Guillié's classic work explaining his system of teaching reading and writing, as well as occupations, to the blind, which he developed while he was director of the Institut des Jeunes Aveugles, the first school for the blind. The first part of the book details a history of the Institut, and offers short biographies of famous blind people. The finely illustrated plates depict idealized, smartly dressed blind students weaving, knitting, playing musical instruments, caning chairs, and in an especially exquisite engraving, printing & possibly the same blind craftsmen who printed this copy!
Guillié (1780-1865) devoted his life to the study of the blind, discovering ways to use their sensorial abilities to learn various occupations and pastimes. He succeeded founder Valentin Hauy as director of the Institut des Jeunes Aveugles, the home of Louis Braille starting in 1819. Before this school was founded, blind children were abandoned on the street to beg, or kept hidden by their families.