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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Matilda Ziegler Magazine, once described by Helen Keller as a "godsend," ceases publication

I thought that some of you would want to mark the snuffing-out of a candle for blind culture. I'm very disappointed by this loss of a venue that has published writings by blind people. I'm even more disappointed that it wasn't for lack of funds, but because of the choice to focus on medical research instead.

Letter below.


July 25, 2014

As you are aware the Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind has been suspended for the past several months pending a review by the Board of Directors of The E. Matilda Ziegler Foundation for the Blind. Considerable time was spent evaluating its substance, breadth of distribution, and readers' responses. With heavy heart the directors voted to discontinue the weekly magazine and use the Foundation's resources solely for scientific research through grants to highly innovative medical researchers who are making important advances in vision research.

We've come a long way from when my great grandmother, Electa Matilda Ziegler, founded the magazine in 1907 with the goal of producing reading material for the blind "as much as possible like that published for the seeing." Raised type books of the era were expensive, and the freely circulated magazine helped to fill an information void.

Today's blind and those with visual impairment can obtain books and magazines in Braille, on cassette, and in DVD or CD format from the National Library Service and the American Foundation for the Blind. Radio, television, internet, and commercially produced audio books have all become accessible, and provide resources that could not have been imagined in 1907.

Your emails and letters show that we've touched the lives of thousands of blind and vision impaired people. The Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind was once described by Helen Keller as a "godsend," and Mark Twain described it as "one of the noblest benefactions of his lifetime." We hope to realize a medical breakthrough that will be worthy of the same praise.

On behalf of the E. Matilda Ziegler Foundation Board I sincerely thank you for your loyal readership over our many years.

Cynthia Ziegler Brighton

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