2 | January 16, 2020 | 22nd century media Hadley at 100 22ndCenturyMedia.com Celebrating Hadley’s Centennial: A Message from Julie Tye We are excited to commemorate Hadley’s centennial in 2020 and proud to share this accomplishment with the North Shore community. We were born here, in the Hadley family living room on Oak Street in Winnetka. And, we grew up here, nurtured by the vision, leadership and support of local residents who have championed Hadley’s important work for 100 years. Today, Hadley continues to benefit from the many local volunteers, staff members and donors who support our mission. For those less familiar with Hadley, we are—and always have been—a distance learning organization. This means our blind and visually impaired learners do not come to us, we go to them using the medium that works best for their individual needs. This could be braille, large print, audio or online. At our headquarters at 700 Elm Street in Winnetka, Hadley staff researches and develops our curriculum, produces and distributes course materials, engages and helps our learners, and raises money to support our programs. In addition to those who work onsite, we have experts offsite who are also helping to create our curriculum and work with learners. Much has changed since William Hadley taught his first “braille by mail” course in 1920. However, Hadley remains strong because we have continuously innovated and adapted to ensure we are providing the greatest assistance to the blind and visually impaired people who need our services. As a result, Hadley is the largest educator of braille and provider of distance education for people who are blind or visually impaired worldwide. In fiscal year 2019, we reached more than 172,000 learners from all 50 states and 65 countries. Our goals remain constant: to Julie Tye, Hadley President empower people who are blind and visually impaired to thrive at home, at work, and in their communities. Following William Hadley’s lead, we take a personalized approach to this mission, so our learners get the help they need, when they need it. People who are blind or visually impaired often feel isolated; at Hadley they are part of a community where they can find assistance from experts and also have the opportunity to connect with others, like themselves, who are living with vision loss. Hadley also remains fully committed to maintaining our 100-year history of providing learning free of charge to blind and visually impaired people and their families. Many people with vision loss are unemployed, underemployed or living on a fixed income. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, cost is not a barrier to Hadley learners. 2020 is a significant year for Hadley for many reasons. In addition to commemorating our rich history, we are also reimagining the organization to best serve the growing population of older individuals with vision loss. I hope you will read on to learn more about Hadley of the past, present and future. William Hadley and The Hadley Correspondence School “When your life’s ambition has failed you, pick up a new thread of endeavor…make your renewal of effort count for other people.” ~ William A. Hadley The Making of an Exceptional Educator William Allen Hadley was born in Mooresville, Indiana, in 1860. He graduated from Earlham College in 1881 earned his master’s degree at the University of Minnesota. Hadley began teaching in Willmar, MN, where he also served as the Superintendent of Schools for a time. He married Jessie Henderson, a fellow schoolteacher and worked in Ohio and Peoria before coming to Chicago’s Lake View High School. Along the way, William and Jessie had two daughters, Margaret and Emily. Seeking more space to accommodate their family of four, the Hadleys moved to 913 Oak Street in Winnetka in 1905. In 1915, Hadley’s life was dramatically altered when a bout of influenza caused his retina to detach. Today this could likely be fixed surgically, but at that time it meant loss of vision in this eye. Because he had lost sight in his other eye in a childhood archery accident, William Hadley became completely blind at the age of 55. This was a difficult adjustment. Hadley found great assistance from his friend and neighbor, Dr. E.V.L. Brown, a renowned ophthalmologist. Dr. Brown not only knew the science of vision loss, but also the psychology. He recognized the importance of vision rehabilitation for recovering selfesteem and encouraged Hadley to stay active and learn braille. However, Hadley was frustrated to find that there were virtually no educational opportunities for blind people. Motivated by his love of reading and learning, he taught himself braille with the help of his wife, Jessie. While he learned to accept his vision loss, he lacked a strong sense of purpose. In 1919, fate again intervened in For the first two years, William Hadley corresponded with his students from his Winnetka home at 913 Oak Street. the form of a Winnetka neighbor. Hadley had struck up a friendship with Reverend Plumer, who was spending the summer in Winnetka with his daughter’s family. Plumer suggested Hadley use his talents to teach his fellow adult blind by correspondence courses. The School is Born Hadley was excited by the possibilities and enlisted the assistance of Dr. Brown. Their research revealed that nothing like this had ever been done, yet the need to educate adults with vision loss was profound. This project also brought William Hadley back to life. He was invigorated by the challenge and got to work making it a reality. By 1920, word of his idea was spreading. A farmer’s wife in Kansas wrote to him desperate to learn braille so she could read again, and “braille by mail” was born. She mailed her exercises to Mr. Hadley who corrected and returned them along with notes of help and encouragement. This was the beginning of the close instructor-student relationships that is a hallmark of Hadley learning. After this first success, Mr. Hadley was ready to take on more students. He advertised in a braille periodical and received over 100 replies from all 48 states, Canada and China. This reinforced the significant need for the services he was offering and provided direction for the type of courses to offer. For the first year, Hadley ran the school out of his living room, with the help of his wife Jessie, and the support and encouragement of Dr. Brown. Using only the modest means of his teaching pension, Hadley provided education to more than 60 students free of charge. This policy of tuition-free education that Mr. Hadley established a century ago continues to underpin Hadley learning today. As the years went on, enrollment and staff grew but Mr. Hadley continued to develop, braille and teach many of the courses himself as well as writing personal letters to accompany each lesson he sent to students. A Life Well Lived William Hadley remained actively involved in the School he created until 1936 when, at the age of 76, he underwent an operation that took much of his vigor and required him to scale back his teaching. The year before his death, Hadley reflected upon his life in an interview with the Chicago Tribune, remarking: “I had been a teacher all my life and my work was not done. I was idle several years, adjusting myself, but eventually, I decided that my ability to teach had not left with my sight. Now I know that my most valuable work has been done in the last 20 years. I am not sorry that I was made blind.” William Hadley passed away at the age of 81 on October 2, 1941.
22ndCenturyMedia.com Hadley at 100 22nd century media | January 16, 2020 | 3 “Prevention of blindness if possible, if not, then the Hadley School.” ~Dr. E.V.L. Brown Fulfilling the Vision: Dr. E.V.L. Brown Dr. E.V.L. Brown, with his wife Frieda, was critical to the launch and success of Hadley Edward Vail Lapham (E.V.L.) Brown was an important presence in the life of William Hadley. When Hadley first went blind, it was Dr. Brown—an ophthalmologist and Hadley’s friend and neighbor—who encouraged him to stay active and learn braille. Dr. Brown was also critical to the founding and success of the Hadley School. From the time William Hadley first approached him with the idea of starting a correspondence school, he provided essential leadership and counsel to the organization. While William Hadley developed and brailled the courses and taught students, Dr. Brown built and managed an organizational structure that could provide tuition-free learning to students. In 1922 he was appointed to be Hadley’s first President of the Board of Trustees and he would serve in this role until his death in 1953. Born in Morrison, IL, in 1896, Brown studied at Hahneman Medical School. There, he grew fascinated by the wonders of the human eye and continued his studies in this area at Rush Medical College and the University of Chicago. Later, his research would take him to the University of Berlin and Vienna. He also applied his German-language skills to translate scholarly texts, including The Human Eyeball and The Diseases of the Eye, into English. Dr. Brown was an eminent Chicago ophthalmologist and a dedicated educator. In addition to private practice, he taught at Rush Medical College, the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois, and served as President of the Board of Trustees of the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness in Chicago. He also received many honors throughout his career, including the highest honor in his field, the Howe Medal of the American Ophthalmological Society. An extremely accomplished man, Dr. Brown was a dedicated educator, renowned ophthalmologist and great humanitarian. His providential friendship with William Hadley launched The Hadley Correspondence School and his exceptional leadership was critical to its success. Dr. Brown’s Family Inherits a Passion for Hadley Dr. Brown’s enthusiasm for Hadley was shared with his family. His daughter, Nancy, and her husband Clarence Boyd (Bud) Jones also became involved with the school in the early 1940s. A few months after Dr. Brown died, Bud Jones took over as the President of the Board of Trustees. When Jones took the reins, the school was in a precarious financial position, at risk of not meeting the month’s payroll. He got to work inspiring people about Hadley, getting support from his friends and neighbors and securing new contributors. An accomplished lawyer and Secretary of the Diversey Corporation, Bud was devoted to Hadley. He is remembered for his “wealth of wisdom and practical know-how” and for working tirelessly to raise Hadley’s profile, spearhead the building campaign and put the school on firm financial footing. In the 16 years that he served as board president, Hadley’s services, manpower and income more than quadrupled. He accomplished much of this in partnership with his wife, Nancy, who brought great creativity and energy to help the School. She played a pivotal role in fundraising, effectively rallying the support of the Board of Trustees and founding the Hadley Woman’s Board.