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SU’s Burton Blatt Institute, SU Archives chronicle roots of disability movement with catalogued archive of Blatt’s complete papers; major pieces available online
SU’s Burton Blatt Institute, SU Archives chronicle roots of disability movement with catalogued archive of Blatt’s complete papers; major pieces available onlineNovember 20, 2006Jaime Winne Alvarezjlwinne@syr.edu
The Burton Blatt Institute: Centers of Innovation on Disability at Syracuse University (BBI) has announced the completion of a historic review and archive of the complete papers of its namesake Burton Blatt (right), a pioneer in humanizing services for people with mental retardation, staunch advocate of deinstitutionalization and national leader in special education.
The complete collection was funded by BBI and executed by SU Archives. It includes an online archive of Blatt’s major pieces. A team led by Edward L. Galvin, director of archives and records management, organized and catalogued the collection.
Blatt (1927-1985) helped initiate community living programs and family support services and emphasized the provision of education to children with severe disabilities. A leader in special education, he called for programs to integrate students with disabilities into public schools and worked to promote a more open society. Throughout his distinguished career as a university administrator, Blatt remained a teacher at heart.
“Dr. Blatt was a prolific writer and lecturer whose words continue to inspire and teach,” says Peter Blanck, BBI chair and University Professor at SU. “We are proud to make his vision available to a whole new generation.”
Before SU Archives organized and cataloged the 127 boxes of Blatt’s materials, Charles Hammerman, managing director of BBI’s New York office and Blatt’s nephew, had the opportunity to review the collection.
“These papers cover the professional portion of Burt’s life as a teacher, administrator and advocate for people with disabilities. Now, current and future students, researchers and anyone who is interested will have access to this rich piece of disability history,” says Hammerman.
Papers in the Blatt archive cover the professional portion of his life as teacher, administrator and advocate for the disabled, but also shed much light into Blatt as an individual. The collection consists of 127 boxes — approximately 50 cubic feet. Researchers interested in the Burton Blatt papers should mention the collection’s accession number (4281) when contacting SU Archives. The collection is housed off-site and advance notice is required to allow time to have the materials brought to the Reading Room. Major pieces from Blatt’s papers were also digitally formatted and are available on a dedicated website, http://archives.syr.edu/arch/faculty/blatt. Visitors to the website are invited to share their memories of Blatt. There is also a link to the archive on BBI’s website, http://bbi.syr.edu.
BBI works to advance the civic, economic and social participation of persons with disabilities in a global society by fostering public-private dialogue and building the capacity to transform policy, systems and people through inclusive education, the workforce and communities. For more information, visit http://bbi.syr.edu.
For more information on the Burton Blatt papers, contact SU Archives at 443-3335.