Eleanor Gertrude Brown

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Eleanor Gertrude Brown, from a 1916 publication.

Eleanor Gertrude Brown (August 28, 1887 — July 21, 1964) was an American Milton scholar and educator.

Early life[edit]

Eleanor Gertrude Brown was from Dayton, Ohio.[1] She was blind from infancy, and educated at the Ohio State School for the Blind, graduating in the class of 1908. She completed undergraduate studies at Ohio State University in 1914,[2] the school's first blind graduate.[3] She earned a master's degree from Columbia University in 1924, and a doctoral degree from the same institution in 1934.[4][5]


For forty years, until her retirement in 1952,[3] Brown taught English, German, Latin, and history to sighted students, at Steele High School in Dayton.[6] In 1960, she was honored by the Dayton Federation of Women's Clubs as Outstanding Woman of the Year.[7]

Books by Eleanor Gertrude Brown include Milton's Blindness (1934), a work of literary scholarship based on her doctoral dissertation about John Milton; Into the Light (1946), a book of poetry; and Corridors of Light (1958), a memoir of her own education, with an introduction by Harry Emerson Fosdick.[8] "To my interpretation of Milton's life and writing after the loss of sight, I add my knowledge of blindness," she explained of her scholarship. "By similarity of experience alone, I am rendered a more able critic."[9]

Personal life[edit]

Eleanor Gertrude Brown died in 1964, from stomach cancer, aged 76 years.[3][10] Her Milton's Blindness was reissued by Columbia University Press in 2011, as an important work in Milton studies.[9]


  1. ^ Clifford E. Olstrom, Undaunted by Blindness (eBookIt.com 2012): 64. ISBN 9780982272190
  2. ^ "Eleanor Gertrude Brown" Outlook for the Blind (Winter 1916): 99-100.
  3. ^ a b c "Dr. Eleanor Brown, a Blind Teacher, 76" New York Times (July 22, 1964): 33.
  4. ^ "Blind Woman, 46, Wins Ph.D. at Columbia; She Disputes Academic Theories on Milton" New York Times (May 3, 1934): 21.
  5. ^ "Two Blind Students Get Columbia Degrees Today" New York Times (June 5, 1934): 20.
  6. ^ "Blind Teacher Gives Credit to 'Sixth Sense' for Success" Washington Post (March 21, 1937): F2.
  7. ^ "Educator, Author Dies at Dayton" Daily Times (July 22, 1964): 2. via Newspapers.comopen access
  8. ^ Online Books by Eleanor Gertrude Brown, The Online Books Page.
  9. ^ a b David T. Mitchell, Sharon L. Snyder, Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse (University of Michigan Press 2000): 31. ISBN 9780472067480
  10. ^ Mary Ellen Wolfe, "Dr. Brown Found 'Light' in Blindness" Dayton Journal Herald (July 22, 1964).

External links[edit]