The Overbrook School for the Blind, established in 1832, is in Philadelphia. Its present site, in the city's Overbrook neighborhood, was acquired in 1890. The school produced the first embossed book in America (the Gospel of Mark) and the first magazine for the blind. It is one of four approved charter schools—along with the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children, and the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf—in Pennsylvania for blind and deaf children.
The school was established in March 1832, as The Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind, by Julius Reinhold Friedlander (1803–1839), a German who had recently come to Philadelphia.
On 27 October 1836, a new building was dedicated on the northwest corner of Schuylkill Third (now Twentieth) and Sassafras (now Race) Streets on what is today the site of the Franklin Institute in the Logan Square neighborhood of Philadelphia.
Friedlander died on 17 March 1837, after years of poor health. At the time of his death, he was not quite 36 years old.: 122
In the 1890s a larger building was needed. The new building was designed by Cope and Stewardson and was built in the Overbrook section of Philadelphia. A swimming pool was built in 1906. In 1946 the school changed its name to the Overbrook School for the Blind. In 1960 the school had a fire.
Anne V. Ward (1877–1971) was both an alumna and a faculty member of Overbrook.
Elisabeth Freund (1898–1982) developed a Touch and Learn Center for the school that was a model for other blind centers internationally.
Their efforts resulted in providing reading material for the blind and Overbrooks production of the first embossed book in America, the Gospel of Mark, and the publication of the first magazine for the blind, Lux en Tenebrae.
Blind 17-year-old Hayes, insert at left, was acclaimed heroine of a fire which swept the Overbrook School for the Blind near Philadelphia last night. ...