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Willard E. Mead collection

Identifier: HC.MC-826

Scope and Contents

Letters addressed to Sir Francis Campbell, founder of the Royal Norwood College for the Blind in England. These letters are from personalities and leaders in the cultural, social, and political affairs of the period. Among them are Lyman Abbott, Alexander G. Bell, Robert Browning, Andrew Carnegie, Joseph H. Choate, Dinah Maria Craik, S. Coleridge Taylor, General John Eaton, George Henschel, Helen Keller, Anton Rubinstein, John Ruskin, Clara Schumann, Arthur Sullivan, Brigham Young, and others. Some letters are directed to Sarah Faulkner Campbell, Sir Francis Campbell's wife.

The letters concern the education of the blind and Campbell's efforts to enlist European notables, particularly musicians, in education of the blind.


  • Creation: circa 1852-1914


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical / Historical

Sir Francis Joseph Campbell (1832-1914) was an American-born musician, anti-slavery activist, and educator of the blind. After losing his sight at the age of five, Campbell attended the Tennessee School for the Blind, where he became a music teacher at the age of 16. He then attended the University of Tennessee and subsequently held the position of musical director at the Wisconsin School for the Blind and the Perkins Institution for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts. Campbellā€™s anti-slavery views were discovered by other citizens during his time in Wisconsin, and he was given 24 hours to renounce his views or be hanged. Campbell did not renounce his anti-slavery sentiments, but was saved from hanging due to sympathy for his blindness. In 1872, Cambell co-founded, alongside Thomas Armitage, the Royal Normal College and Academy for the Blind (now the Royal National College for the Blind) in the United Kingdom. Information from the Royal National College for the Blind.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 box)




Letters written by Western cultural and social leaders of the 19th century to Sir Francis Joseph Campbell, a notable educator of the blind.


The Willard E. Mead collection was donated to Special Collections, Haverford College in 1941 by Willard E. Mead.

Processing Information

Original processing information unknown. Revised by Allison Hall; completed May 2020.

Willard E. Mead collection, 1852-1914
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • October, 2021: Reboxed and finding aid updated
  • May 2022: by Nathaniel Rehm-Daly, Harmful Language Revision Project

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting reproductions from Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

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Haverford PA 19041 USA US