Clovernook has proudly served women, men and children for over 100 years. Our rich history provides the backdrop for today’s progressive and caring campus-like environment, where we remain dedicated to adults and youth who are blind or visually impaired.
Our mission is to empower people who are blind and visually impaired to be self-sufficient and full participants in their communities.
Our history began in the Cary Cottage. Built in 1832 for the Cary family, it still forms the nucleus of Clovernook Center today, once known as Clovernook Farm. It is where daughters Alice and Phoebe Cary shared in the farm’s work but honored their home by embracing a love of nature; planting, gardening, canning and celebrating their beautiful and serene surroundings. Eventually, they developed a passion for school, reading, writing and poetry. Discouraged by their stepmother, they resorted to writing at night in the secrecy of their room, using only a saucer of lard supporting a rag wick they lit in lieu of candles. They hid their manuscripts and poetry in the same cupboard under the stairs that still exists.
But it was the Trader sisters, Georgia and Florence, who later purchased the house and established the first Home for Blind Women in Ohio, in 1903. Although, as a child Georgia suffered from congenital cataracts, her mother was determined that she should not be deprived of education and opportunity, and it is in that spirit that Clovernook Center has emerged. Georgia was in fact, the first blind student ever to be admitted into a Cincinnati School. Following, she and her sister formed the 1st Library for the Blind in Cincinnati. Building on the library’s success, in 1905 they began a school for blind children in the city, only the 2nd school of its kind operated by the public school system, the first originated in Chicago.
Creating a home for a half dozen young blind women, Georgia insisted “Blindness and idleness are not to be endured”, and set out to provide occupation by training the women in handiwork; weaving, knitting, crocheting, beading and basketry. The cash these items brought in translated to a new found independence and esteem. Games and recreation were as valuable to their days as was dedicated prayer time and Bible readings. All of this prepared them to accept a gift of a printing press, and they established the first printing press operated by the blind in 1910. The print house issued more books in braille than any other press in the nation besides the American Printing House for the Blind operated by the Federal Government.
Eventually, due to failing health, Florence Trader could no longer carry out all of her responsibilities at Clovernook. In 1958 it was made a corporation not-for-profit. Today, Clovernook Center is led by an Executive Director, appointed by, and responsible to a Board of Trustees. As more blind and visually impaired now live and function independently at home, we no longer operate as a home for the blind. Multiple facilities and additions have been added to meet the needs of rehabilitative and employment opportunity initiatives. Clovernook Center remains a vibrant and viable resource to the education, occupation and recreation of the blind and visually impaired in the Cincinnati and surrounding community.
For more about Clovernook’s history, click here.
“What touches me especially is the wonderful companionship that united you two women during a lifetime of constructive, intelligent, and amazingly many-sided service to the blind of Cincinnati…The true greatness of your work is not merely in the enterprises you undertook. It is in the genius for friendship and encouragement with which you have achieved them all.”
— Helen Keller, on behalf or The American Foundation for the Blind