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The Maryland School for the Blind (MSB)

The Maryland School for the Blind (MSB)

Over the years, the OCA has established valuable ties to this historical institution. Overlea is fortunate to have this world-renowned school in our community. For those who are not familiar with its services, MSB is a statewide resource center, providing outreach, education and residential services for students to reach their fullest potential by preparing them to be a successful, independent, and well-rounded contributing members of their communities.

In 1853 the school first known as the Maryland Institution for the Instruction of the Blind, opened its doors in downtown Baltimore. The first superintendent David E. Loughery was a blind graduate of the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind.

Though the first eleven years saw several changes in leadership, the school settled into a period of tremendous growth under the direction of Frederick Douglas Morrison, superintendent from 1864 to 1904. Mr. Morrison was a national leader in his profession, who was instrumental in the founding of the American Association of Instructors of the Blind and an early proponent of a controversial new system called “braille”.

In 1868 Mr. Morrison moved the campus to much larger quarters on North Avenue and changed the name to The Maryland School for the Blind. In 1872, when segregation was still common practice, he was a founder of The Maryland School for the Colored Blind and Deaf serving as the superintendent of both schools.

In 1908 superintendent John Frances Bledsoe, moved the school to its present location in Northeast Baltimore City.

The leadership at MSB reads like a Who’s Who in Education for the Blind in America. Francis M. Andrews, Herbert Joseph Wolfe, Richard L. Welsh, and Louis M. Tutt were all internationally recognized innovators who moved the school forward into the 21st century.

In 2018 W. Robert Hair became Superintendent, the 13th leader of the school. 2023 will mark the 170th year anniversary for Maryland School for the Blind.

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