Application for Scholarship:

Since 1978, The Philomatheon Society of the Blind has made a scholarship grant available each year for a qualified visually impaired Stark County high school senior or qualified former student.

The grant is for one thousand two-hundred and fifty dollars ($1,250.00) for each of two years of college or advance training. Any visually impaired high school senior or former student who qualifies for such a grant, may apply to The Philomatheon Society of the Blind @ 2701 W. Tuscarawas St., Canton, Ohio 44708.  Applications may be obtained by calling The Philomatheon Society of the Blind office at (330)-453-9157.

We would appreciate it if the school principal or counselor could assist the student in completing and returning the application.

If you are interested in more information regarding the Ann Black Scholarship, please contact our office (330)453-9157 for information or an application.

**VISUALLY IMPAIRED/LEGALLY BLIND: The term "Blind Individual" means an individual whose central visual acuity does not exceed 20/200 in the better eye, with correcting lenses, or whose visual acuity is greater than 20/200 but is accompanied by a limitation in the fields of vision, such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees. (Section 23 (y) of the Revenue Act of 1944).

Braille Book

The Philomatheon Society offers an activity group to all visually impaired persons, family & friends. Activities is a group of people sharing friendships, stories and time spent together. The Activity group meets on  Thursday's, from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. (During winter months they usually meet every other week.  Please contact the office for dates)

The group offers fellowship, games such as bingo and horse races. For more information, call the society office @ (330) 453-9157.

Braille Classes: The Philomatheon Society offers Braille classes, free for members and a minimul charge for non members.  These are set up individually for each client.  For more information, call the Society office @ (330)453-9157.

How To Become A Member

Members at a Meeting

The Philomatheon Society of the Blind offers memberships to all activities of the organization for a fee of $15.00 per year.  We offer beneficiary membership for the legally blind, social membership (limited number of sighted members), associate memberships for sighted persons, and youth membership for legally blind and sighted youths under the age of 16.

­Rules of Procedure for becoming a member

  An applicant for beneficiary membership must be legally blind and must either give as authority:

  1. State agency for the blind, or
  2. A statement from a reputable eye physician.

All potential members must attend one meeting before making application for membership. Membership meetings are held the third Saturday of each month (excluding July and August) @ 4:00 P.M.

There are several types of Membership:

BENEFICIARY:  Available to anyone who is 16 years of age and older and legally blind according to the laws of the State of Ohio.  A beneficiary member may vote and hold office.

ASSOCIATE:  Offered to anyone 16 and over, who desires to be associated with the Philomatheon Society.  Although the Associate Member may not vote or hold office, they may serve on the various committees, with voting rights on such committees.

SOCIAL:  Available to an Associate Member, who has served the Society in an active roll.  The Social Member may vote and hold office as set forth in the Society's "Code of Regulations."

YOUTH:  Open to those under the age of 16.  The same guidelines apply as previously for Associate Members.  All youth members must be accompanied by an adult.

HONORARY:  An individual who has served the Society in an outstanding way, above and beyond normal service.   An Honorary Membership is voted on by the Board and Membership, this is a Life long membership.

SUSTAINING:  Defined as any person or organization making a financial contribution to the Society.  Sustaining Members may not vote or hold office.


There is no where in the world you can get more out a $15.00 membership than at the Philomatheon Society of the Blind

  • Assisted Daily Living Skills, support, education and adaptation to persons who are losing or have lost their sight.
  • Supportive counseling on the concerns of vision loss and types of available adaptive low & no vision aids, as well as referral services.
  • Braille Lessons
  • Talking Book Services - free to anyone who is blind, visually or physically handicapped.  Through the Library of Congress
  • CCTV (closed circuit television) Home Loan Program
  • Members received free SARTA Curb to Curb transportation to events or sponsored by the Society.
  • Personal assistance with filling out forms.
  • Quarterly Secondary Health Insurance subsidy is available to eligible Beneficiary Members.
  • No interest Revolving Loan Fund Program for eligible Beneficiary members.

BUT, AS A MEMBER, ONE CAN EXPERIENCE SO MUCH MORE.  Active involvement in the community, through attendance at monthly membership meetings, attending public events, sponsored fund raisers, chairing the various committees of our organization, thereby maintaining the visually impaired person's independence and self confidence.

Members at a Meeting

1924 - 2020

The Philomatheon Society of the Blind was founded in 1924 by a blind teacher, Mrs. Emma Wernet. Her idea was to "relieve the terrible loneliness of the blind by getting them together". A few friends would gather and the sighted would read-aloud to the visually-impaired. From there the club grew.

The Society was formed with 18 charter members as a social club. There were originally 8 sightless and 10 sighted members. They formed "for the purpose of establishing social, educational, and economic contacts for the men and women whose handicap prevented them form leading the normal lives enjoyed by their seeing neighbors". The Society met in various locations, including the Canton Area YMCA and First Christian Church. It eventually grew from a social club to a rehabilitation agency run by the blind for the blind.

The term "philomatheon" is derived from ancient Greek, and means "lover of learning". Harry Stiller, one of the charter members, and an early Society president said, "We adopted that name because, when one loses his sight he has to learn to live differently and he has to learn to work differently. We are still learning."

In 1941, The Society was incorporated by the State to become The Philomatheon Society of the Blind of Canton, Ohio, Inc.

This is also the year the Society obtained their first Home for the Blind, located at 716 Cleveland Ave. SW. The former nursery was donated to the group by the Junior League and the Children's Mission Society. The cream-colored home contained 16 rooms and was used as a residence for 11 members and a housekeeper. The home served as the primary meeting location for the Philomatheon Society from November 1941 until 1951.

The Society was formed originally with 18 charter members. Today, the Society has more than 60 members and a 9 member Board of Directors, the majority of whom must be blind or visually impaired. 

Ten years later, in April of 1951, the Society purchased the Hartung Home at 2810 West Tuscarawas Street.  The Lela Fawcett addition was built in 1960. 

The Home served as a complete residence for up to 16 blind people and  as part of the complex, there was a retail sales outlet and workshop.

The Philomatheon had a network of vending stands in industrial plants and public building throughout the community.  Blind operators from the community successfully maned these stands throughout the years. 

The Philomatheon Society engaged in retail sales of a wide variety of household articles made by blind people.  Members participated and supervised the sales of towels, brooms, ironing board covers and a host of other useful household items.

After almost 50 years in the Hartung House, discussion began regarding closing the Home for the Blind.  In May, 2000 a meeting was held to change the Constitution of the Society and by a unanimous vote by members, it was decided to close the home. 

The Canton Preservation Society heard about the razing of the Hartung House and following many meetings and letters, the home was offered to them at no charge and they chose to move the house in April, 2001 to the current location of 131 Wertz Ave NW.

The  Philomatheon Society retained the land and workshop, but negotiations started with The Aultman Health Foundation regarding the purchase of the land and relocation of the  Philomatheon Society of the Blind.

March, 2003 the ground was broken for the new office building of the Philomatheon Society of the Blind at 2701 West Tuscarawas Street, Canton, OH   An Open House was held on November 15, 2003. 

The  Philomatheon Society continues to assist residents of Stark County who are blind or visually impaired to remain an active member of our community.