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Oral History Interview: Tom Bickford

Identifier: 05-C2011.6

Scope and Contents

1 audio recording,  1:50:34 in length. An interview log with time stamps has been created, but the recording has not been transcribed. 0:00  Disclaimer/Introductory Statements. 0:40 Childhood in China and the states. 4:45 Story of his blindness. 5:43 How was your father brought back through the exchange of prisoners? 8:36 Do you think that living in a foreign country and a religious area had a long lasting impact on you? 10:03 Have your parent’s religious views still impact you? 12:00 By the time you were seventeen, you were pretty much totally blind? 15:20 How did you finish high school, unable to read anymore? 18:20 What did you do? (No blindness skills). 20:02 Proceeding college like that. 20:50 Did you learn braille after freshman year of college? 22:55 Did you take notes in braille after you learned to read and write? 25:55 When did you graduate college? What did you do after that? 27:42 The NFB, Kenneth Jernigan, and Allen Jenkins. 29:33 Larry Lewis. 33:10 Long white cane. 37:10 Kenneth Jernigan roles in California. 40:28 How many months were you there after you graduated college? 41:08 First jobs. 42:05 Did your parents come to terms with your blindness? 42:50 Missed opportunity with tenBroek. 43:33 1956 Convention in San Francisco. 44:20 How did you first know Jernigan? 46:00 Iowa. 53:50 Was the program center different from California? 55:10 What was the innovation at the Iowa Center? 56:47 California to New Orleans for Convention. 1:01:00 What did you do after you got your degree in rehab? 1:01:33 Learning Russian. 1:05:46 How were you supported, who was paying for the program? 1:06:44 Ramona (one of his students). 1:09:26 Trip to Russia. 1:16:52 What did you do after this trip? 1:19:18 Explosion in 1971 (Convention). 1:26:50 How did you know what matched in the books? 1:27:40 Tom’s wife. 1:30:13 Federation Pin. 1:36:23 Book snippets/ examples. 1:39:51 Micro braille. 1:41:00 Writing about cane traveling. 1:44:15 How do you know when to get off the bus? 1:46:05 Closing remarks from Tom. 1:48:48 Experience with tenBroek.


  • Created: 2011
  • Other: Majority of material found in 2011
  • Other: Date acquired: 08/31/2011


Conditions Governing Access

Access to these papers is governed by the rules and regulations of the Jacobus tenBroek Library. Consult the Archives staff for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Jacobus tenBroek Library holds copyright on some, but not all, of the material in our collections. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be directed to the Archives staff. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Jacobus tenBroek Library are also responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations who hold copyright.

Biographical or Historical Information

[url=]What I Have Given and Received from the Federation[/url], Braille Monitor, January 2015

Note written by Tom Bickford


1.00 items

1 digital audio recording, 103MB other_unmapped

Language of Materials



Oral history interview with Tom Bickford collected by Ed Morman on August 31, 2011, in the Recording Studio at the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute.

Source of Acquisition

Edward Morman

Method of Acquisition

Collected as part of the NFB Oral History Program.

Other Descriptive Information

Interview Log prepared by Gina Coticchio, May 2017

Archon Finding Aid Title
Anna Kresmer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Jacobus tenBroek Library, National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute Repository

200 East Wells Street
at Jernigan Place
Baltimore MD 21230 US
(410) 659-9314