Rare early 20th Century map of Africa prepared for use by the Blind under the direction of the Marburger Blindenstudienanstall (Marburg Institut for the Blind).
Printed and made on thick paper, the map employs raised or embossed topographical features, using various symbols incuding:
- striated embossed lines for the ocean
- raised, dotted lines representing political borders
- raised lines for rivers
- embossed braille letters for toponyms.
The map is also hand-annotated to identify toponyms and other features for sighted users and instructors.
The Marburger Blindenstudienanstall has continued to operate and is now German's national institute for the blind. It was created in the wake of World War I, when many of Germany's youth returned from the War with impaired vision or total blindness. The director of the Marburg University Eye Clinic, Alfred Bielschowsky, began the project by settomg up courses in 1915 to help these returning soldiers learn to live with impaired sight. He commissioned the then student Carl Strehl to lead the courses. Together they founded the Association of Blind Academics of Germany and raised funding from wealthy individuals, etc. The intial goal was to help the sight impaired re-integrate into work and social life. By 1921, a grammar school was established. With the advent of Braille printing, programs flourished and the Insitute became a thriving success for educating German's sight impaired youth.