Why were blind South Dakota students sent to Iowa?
In 1879 the Territory of Dakota recognized a need to provide educational opportunities for students who were blind. They entered into contracts with the Iowa College for the Blind in Vinton, Iowa.
In 1893, the legislature made a $1,000 appropriation to cover the tuition and in 1895 passed legislation to provide for the education of “all such as may be too blind to acquire an education in the common schools of suitable capacity, between the ages of 10 and 30 years.”
If it wasn’t for the government help, Mary’s family likely would not have been able to afford to send Mary to college for the blind, and it was Laura’s money she earned that helped pay for the extra expenses of sending Mary to school that were not covered.
The College for the Blind offered a unique opportunity for blind students, as they learned how to be independent and learned to read braille.
For more about the college, read Vinton School for the Blind – Mary Ingalls Era 1877 – 1889.