Sunday, February 28, 2010

Letter of the Day, February 28. Reply to "What can the blind see in their dreams"?

From the personal papers of Royal de Rohan Barondes (b.12/10/1896), of California. A veteran of the US Army Medical Department for both world wars, Barondes researched both surgical instruments and pharmaceuticals in his private practice. His initial query has been previously posted as the February 24th Letter of the Day.

State of California
Department of Education
California School for the Blind
3001 Derby Street
Berkeley, California

February 28, 1938

Dr. R. de R. Barondes
291 Geary Street
San Francisco, California

Dear Dr. Barondes:

In answer to your letter of February 24 I will say first that there is some literature on the imagery of those born totally blind. I do not have it in hand just at present but could secure it for you if you so desire.

Helen Keller has a most interesting book called “The World I Live In.” In it she discusses the senses and touches somewhat on her dream world. It must be remembered, of course, that Helen lost her sight when she was about eighteen months old and, therefore, must have residuary sense impressions on which to draw. This would be largely true of many persons totally blind even where sight was lost very early.

The case of a person born totally blind is very rare. We have, however, at the present time one such authentic case, that of a young woman who is a graduate student in our music department. You might like to question her and I am very sure that she would consent to being questioned.

If your time permits you are perfectly welcome to visit the School and I shall be happy to make arrangements for the carrying out of any investigation you might like to make.

Very truly yours,

R.S. French


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