Hadley's History: A Dream Realized

When he lost his sight at age 55, William A. Hadley faced many challenges. A former high school teacher, Mr. Hadley taught himself braille so that he could continue to enjoy reading, but was frustrated to find that there were few educational opportunities for blind individuals.

Mr. Hadley's dream was to help others acquire communication skills that foster independence. Together with Dr. E.V.L. Brown, an ophthalmologist and neighbor, Mr. Hadley conceived the idea of teaching braille by mail. In 1920, the school opened to its first student. When Mr. Hadley mailed the braille course to this Kansas woman desperate to continue reading, one wonders if he ever imagined the eventual result: a school that would become the single largest worldwide educator of blind people.

When Mr. Hadley died in 1941, the school had 800 students enrolled. Today, Hadley has an annual enrollment of more than 10,000 students from all 50 states and in 100 countries.

We at Hadley remain committed to realizing our founder's dream for decades to come.