The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is an American non-for-profit corporation in Louisville, Kentucky promoting independent living for people who are blind and visually impaired. For over 150 years APH has created unique products and services to support all aspects of daily life without sight.
== History ==
The first United States schools for blind children opened in the 1830s. There were very few books and educational materials for the students. Teachers made their own tactile teaching aids and acquired embossed books from Europe. The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) was established in 1858 in response to the growing need for books and educational aids for blind students.
Dempsey Sherrod, a blind man from Mississippi, promoted the idea of a central printing house for books for blind people. He raised funds for the enterprise, which he named the American Printing House for the Blind. In 1857, Sherrod obtained a charter in Mississippi to establish a publishing house to print books in raised letters, and because of its central location, named Louisville as the proposed location. In 1858, the General Assembly of Kentucky passed An Act To Establish The American Printing House For The Blind.
Two years later, in 1860, APH received its first operating funds from private citizens in Mississippi and Kentucky. A press was purchased and APH was set up in the basement of the Kentucky School for the Blind.
Legislatures in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee had appropriated funds for APH, and private donations had been collected in these states, but before the institution could begin its work of embossing books, the Civil War broke out. This wiped out any possibility of the southern states making good on their promises of funding. It was not until 1865 that a state allocation from Kentucky, along with donations from individuals in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois, allowed APH to begin the work for which it was founded.
The first book produced by APH was ''Fables and Tales for Children''. It was embossed in 1866 in a raised Roman letter type called Boston line letter. It would be many years before Braille was the standard reading system for blind people.
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