A Collection in
Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell
Collection Number M 12
James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth UniversityContact Information:
James Branch Cabell Library
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2003
Phone: (804) 828-1108
Fax: (804) 828-0151
Processed by: Special Collections and Archives Staff
Funding: Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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Collection is open for use without restrictions.
Box/folder, Lucian Louis Watt Papers, M 12, Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth University
The collection was donated to the Department by Mrs. L.L. Watts on October 3 and October 29, 1975, through Dr. Thelma Biddle of the Department of History and Geography (VCU). Additional materials were given in March and April 1977. Newspaper clippings relating to the Virginia Commission for the Blind were merged in August 1980.
Collection processed in 1980 and revised in 1987.
Lucian Louis Watts (1888-19) was born in Albemarle County, Virginia in November 1888. Son of the Albemarle County Sheriff, he graduated from public high school and attended Fork Union Military Academy for one year. His youth was an active one, and he participated in local sports and served as a deputy sheriff.
Watts was employed at railroad construction work at age eighteen. Within the next three years he became Superintendent of seven miles of railroad construction work. He continued in this profession until a dynamite explosion caused him to lose his sight, May 27, 1913.
Following a recuperation of more than a year, Watts enrolled in the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind in Staunton, October 1914. He graduated from the school in June 1917, and he returned there the following fall to be a supervisor of blind boys. By June 1918, he had became an instructor of industrial work. At the same time he made plans to organize an association for the adult blind. With the help of H. Randolph Latimer of Maryland, and of H.M. McManaway, Superintendent of the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, Watts organized the Virginia Association of Workers for the Blind, June 9, 1919.
The legislative survey led to the creation of a three-member Commission to study these problems in depth; Watt served as secretary of this temporary commission. The commission was enlarged and made permanent in 1922, and Watt was appointed its Executive Secretary. He was also elected as the first president of the Virginia Association of Workers for the Blind, a position he held continuously throughout his affiliation with the Association.
Watts, through the Association of Workers for the Blind, initiated a financial campaign to establish a workshop for the blind at Charlottesville. Begun in 1925, the Workshop for the Blind was completed by 1930. It was transferred to the Virginia Commission for the Blind in 1936.
Watts served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from January 1, 1926 to January 1, 1934. In 1934 he was elected President of the American Association of Workers for the Blind, and after his term ended in 1936 he remained active in the Association, serving on the Board of Directors and as Chairman of the Legislative Committee. He was also a Board member for the National Industries of the Blind. Lucian Watts died....
The Lucian Louis Watts Papers, 1921-1960, comprising ca 300 items, consists primarily of correspondence relating to Watts' work with the blind through the Virginia Association of Workers for the Blind, the Virginia Commission for the Visually Handicapped, and the House of Delegates. The collection also includes speeches and articles by Watts and others relating to loss of vision and education of the visually handicapped.
The correspondence is arranged chronologically.