|The Gospel of Saint Marc printed in embossed Moon type for the blind.
William Moon, born in 1818, contracted smallpox as a young child and by age 21 had lost his
sight completely. Frustrated by the quality of the embossed reading systems he tried,
he developed his own system based on roman lettering, with portions of the letters omitted
in order to make the characters more discernible to the touch. Moon’s system was easy to
master, particularly for those who had learned to read before losing their sight, and it became
The present printing of the Gospel of St. Mark, which is entirely in Moon type, is here
preceded by a leaf headed ‘A Simplified System of Embossed Reading for the Use of the Blind”,
which is printed only partly in Moon type and in which the alphabet is explained.
Various editions of books of the Bible were published in Moon type, in both England and
America, as early as the mid-19th century. The present edition of the Gospel according to
St. Mark was published in about 1915 by the National Institute for the Blind (whose name
changed in 1914 from ‘The British and Foreign Blind Association for Improving the Embossed
Literature of the Blind and Promoting their Employment’), perhaps in part to fulfil the needs
of the high number of blind veterans returning from World War I.
This tactile edition is very rare and is not recorded in the library of the American
Printing House for the Blind.