The year 1853 marked the inception of the first professional society for the education of the blind in the United States -The American Association of Instructors of the Blind, Inc. The principal of the NY Institute William Bell Wait was one of the founders in establishing the organization. This association for over century was the only organization whose interest has been devoted solely to the education of the blind child and the only professional organization devoted to this one cause. Over the years, the organization morphed into what was eventually to become the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and
Visually Impaired, or AER as it is known today, The Proceedings of over a century of national and international conferences of the organization are available in at the NYI Museum and Archives.