Outlook for the Blind, the original incarnation of the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB), was first published in 1907. The issue you have before you marks the 100th volume year of the journal. As co-editors for the celebration of the 100th volume year of JVIB and its predecessors, Outlook for the Blind and New Outlook for the Blind, each of us was treated to spending time in the American Foundation for the Blind's (AFB) Migel Library in New York City--an experience parallel to discovering treasured photo albums in a grandmother's attic. As we had the opportunity to take the century-old Volume 1 of Outlook for the Blind off the shelf, we felt excitement. As we opened the first volume and read the first page, we soon discovered articles loaded with unique gems. We hope to share with the readers of JVIB throughout this year some of the discoveries we made as we explored its 99 previous volumes.
We enjoyed viewing the old photographs, some with respectful amusement, being treated to our professional ancestors' unique hairdos and very formal, almost stiff, attire. As we continued reading the contents of the journal, rich expressions virtually jumped off the page. Choice of words then, when compared to today's semantic standards, was far from what our modern ears would deem politically correct. However, despite the language choices, the authors' motives were clearly focused, as they are today, on the independence and dignity of those we serve.
As we continued through Volumes 2 and 3, we realized that both literally and figuratively the archival treasure had gathered dust. We realized that most of the older content had been laid aside and forgotten to make room for newer data, theory, methodology, and knowledge. As we dug through the old issues, however, carefully unearthing treasure after treasure, we realized that while much of the content was chronologically dated, it was not in any way theoretically or philosophically obsolete. With the potential in the future to have this archival material available online, we feel that both those preparing to enter our field and seasoned veterans especially would benefit greatly, and enjoy immensely, having access to this wealth of information. After reading the original works, we realized that historical summaries leave out critical detail and, as a result, do not accurately capture events.
We are confident that as readers experience first hand unabridged, original accounts of our field's historical events, such as the War of the Dots, for example, they will have both a clearer understanding and better appreciation of the issues that confront us today. In some cases, we were treated to classic dramatic irony in which the audience knows what the actors in the play do not. One example involved our professional ancestor's mistaken assumption that the cause of retrolental fibroplasia was nutrition. They had not yet discovered that excessive oxygen in incubators was the causal link to this epidemic of visual disability. In another instance, article after article innocently promoted the non-use of vision to save sight.
What struck us perhaps most profoundly, provoking some admitted surprise, was how well focused the field's early professionals were. Reflected in the very first volume of Outlook was a stress on the critical importance of literacy, employment, public attitudes about blindness, social skills, social integration, physical education, and other topics with which we are all still intensely engaged. Within rehabilitation, the discipline of home teaching (the predecessor of vision rehabilitation teaching) was clearly well established in the early 1900s, and what impressed us was the very early and intense work to establish standards, training programs, curriculum, and certification toward the professionalization of this discipline. Within education, we were treated to firsthand, original accounts of residential school leaders such as Samuel Gridley Howe from Perkins and Frank Hall from Illinois, promoting the establishment of local public school programs for blind children nearly seven decades before PL 94-142 mandated that children with disabilities be educated to the maximum extent with their nondisabled peers.
As we celebrate JVIB's 100 years of service to our field, in each issue of the coming year, we will publish excerpts from past volumes along with several special topical essays on how the published works in the journal reflected such themes as the history of the professional literature, communication, rehabilitation, education, the evolution of the language of the blindness field, and the field's professionalization.
We will be celebrating more than the journal itself. As was clearly apparent from the very first issue, the journal is about people. The journal is not merely paper, ink, citations, and statistical data or graphs. The journal was created and nurtured by people with the service of people in mind. There are the authors who unselfishly, without remuneration, displayed courage to have their thoughts documented, potentially facing the risk of public disagreement. There are the volunteer peer reviewers who labored unceremoniously and anonymously behind the scenes. There are the AFB staff editors who for generations have ensured stellar quality by continuously seeking improvement and higher standards--this evolution is readily apparent when viewing the journal over the time frame of an entire century. There are the AFB administrators and board members who for decades have worked diligently to fund a journal whose production costs have never been covered by subscription fees. And, lastly, in celebrating JVIB we are saluting our field as a whole, including our students, clients, their families, and the professionals who instruct, provide therapy, counsel, advocate, administer, research, and develop programs.
The January 2006 issue of JVIB begins volume 100, necessitating that space on shelves everywhere be available for another century of contributions! This month's authors follow in the footsteps of our field's "great" grandparents who recognized the need to amass a body of knowledge as a means for our profession to evolve. Each article in this current issue strengthens our field's theoretical foundation and subsequent best practices, spanning backward through the decades.
As we turned the pages from 1907 to the present, there were times when we experienced goose bumps, lumps in our throats, and swelling pride. We are hopeful that as we honor the literature of our field, this celebration will motivate others to go back to the professional attic and open the treasure chest. As we look to the future, we could not help but visualize JVIB (possibly even with a new name) 100 years from now. Perhaps our editorial counterparts then will be looking back at the second-century installment of our professional literature.
One hundred years from now, will there be continuing lightning-speed technological developments and dramatic changes in both content and format for JVIB? Will the articles in the next 100 years report incisive research, significant advances in practice, and shifting service delivery options in areas such as literacy and employment? Will our journal document welcomed medical treatments? Will the general public better understand and accept people with disabilities, particularly in the area of employment? Will our longstanding shortage of professional personnel be resolved? Will our federal, state, and local governments more fully fund our programs?
The forthcoming answers to these questions and others have motivated us both to continue reading JVIB. Happy 100 years of service, JVIB! We salute all the professionals who have contributed to its success.
Michael J. Bina, Ed.D.
Chair, JVIB Editorial Advisory Board
Duane R. Geruschat, Ph.D.
Editor in Chief
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