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ADAMS, ALMEDA C.

ADAMS, ALMEDA C. (February 26, 1865-September 8, 1949) overcame sightlessness to help found the CLEVELAND MUSIC SCHOOL SETTLEMENT and achieved a long career as a teacher, author, and lecturer. Born in Cohernton, Pennsylvania, to James and Katherine (Ketchum) Adams, Almeda lost her sight at the age of six months and was educated at the State School for the Blind in Columbus. Her father's calling as an itinerant preacher led her to homes in Tiffin, Toledo, and Columbus. As a reward in a contest in which she sold 2,000 subscriptions to the Ladies' Home Journal, Adams completed her education with two years at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, which had to be pressured by the magazine into accepting a blind pupil. She then taught piano and voice at the University of Nebraska.

Returning to Cleveland in 1901, Adams taught music in local social settlements such as Hiram House, where she directed an annual operetta for ten years. A suggestion from her father led her to secure the assistance of ADELLA PRENTISS HUGHES and the FORTNIGHTLY MUSICAL CLUB to establish the Cleveland Music School Settlement in 1912. She made the first of three European tours in 1926 as chaperone for a voice student. As a result she wrote a book in the form of letters to friends at home, Seeing Europe Through Sightless Eyes (1929). In it she described her reactions to the continent's great art, much of which she had been allowed to touch by such museums as that of the Vatican. From 1918 to 1931, Adams organized and directed the Schumann Society, a choral group for working girls. Never married and survived by only a cousin, she continued teaching and lecturing until the year before her death. Adams was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.