Unity started offering its materials in braille as early as 1935, when it started publishing Daily Word® in braille.
Throughout the years, Unity continued to offer and expand its service to people with visual impairments with its braille publications. The first braille Wee Wisdom®, the monthly magazine started by Myrtle Fillmore in 1894, was printed in 1938.
Today, Message of Hope®, a Daily Word outreach program, continues that Unity commitment to serving the blind with an extensive and ongoing resource of spiritual resources in braille, including on CD, in digital format, and an online braille library.
Message of Hope has also given its historic collection of braille publications to Unity Archives, including two early braille editions of Science and Health, by Mary Baker Eddy. They were published in 1924 and 1925, respectively, by the organization now known as Braille Institute of America in Los Angeles, California. Both editions are published in Grade 1 & 1/2 Braille, which was first replaced by Braille Grade 2, and then by the current Unified English Braille.
Unity Archives has an early braille “writer” circa 1938 on display at its physical location in Unity Village, as well as the last braille edition of Unity Magazine®, which ceased publication in braille in 2000.
A recent edition of Daily Word in braille can always be found at Unity Archives. It’s embossed by the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, Kentucky, and distributed free of charge to braille readers in the United States and Canada.
Also featured in the historical collection are the “Prayer of Faith” by Hannah More Kohaus, and the “Prayer for Protection” by James Dillet Freeman. Both are interlined in print and featured in Grade 1 (longhand) and Unified English (short form) Braille (UEB).
A handmade braille Unity Calendar rounds out the donated Message of Hope publications. Each of the approximately 900 braille calendars distributed annually by Message of Hope is individually embossed and features a tactile graphic created on a thermoform machine utilizing special plastic paper designed specifically for this purpose.
Braille, a system of raised dots that can be read with the fingers by people who are blind or who have low vision, was created by the French teacher and musician Louis Braille. Braille, who lost his eyesight at the age of 3, started attending the National Institute for Blind Children in Paris in 1819 and began teaching there in 1826. He was 15 when he created the writing and printing system for the blind.