James Wilson’s Biography of the Blind (1835) was one of, if not the first, book devoted to celebrating the accomplishments of blind individuals. Wilson’s life speaks to the fate of families that ended up “on the wrong side” of the American Revolution, since Wilson’s parents lost their plantation in Virginia when James’ father sided with the Royalists. Also, it touches on the issue of small pox inoculation. Inoculation, using small amounts of live small pox, was known by the 1770’s (Abigail Adams had her family inoculated), but James was not so treated, and he lost his sight from small pox at the age of four.
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