March 17, 1999 was observed by Overbrook School for the Blind as the 160th Anniversary of the founderís death. Mr. Julius Friedlander died March 17, 1839 at the school, then called Pennsylvania Institute for the Instruction of the Blind, after being principal for only six years. In honor of his memory, the following is being added to the web site.


In the evening of March 20, 1839, the students of The Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind gathered in the exhibition room of the school to express their sorrow at the death of Julius R. Friedlander on March 17. They sang the chorus from Spohnís Oratorio from the Last Judgement which began "Blest are the departed who in the Lord are sleeping, from henceforth for evermore". The company was then addressed by students, Messrs. Martindale and Gray. The remarks of Mr. Martindale have not survived, however the address of Mr. Gray remains because it was copied into the diary of Michael Snider, the printer for the school. The student magazine, Lux in Tenebris, published the eulogy in embossed print in the issue of April 1839.

There is a delight, an inexpressible pleasure in Hope, when the mind looks forward to futurityís golden hours with an eye of joy but there is a deep awful gloom cast over the soul, when we reflect upon the past with sad and melancholy regret. There is a charm in the calm summer evening when the last ray of the setting sun paints the horizon when the warblers of the groves seek some breezy height to sing their farewell songs to the departing day and there is a charm to the eye when the blue vault of heaven is bespangled with myriads of twinkling stars. But when the irreligious man is in the twilight of life, and the shades of that evening gather thick and heavy around him when he is just on the confines of an eternal world, unknown, untrodden by living man there is a fear, a horror, a feeling which he alone knows: but the good Christian, whose evening of life is unloaded and undimmed none, there is a bliss, though pain in dying: and the consciousness of well spent days gone by, makes his dying pillow easy. Thus it was with our friend and tutor, Julius R. Friedlander, whose memory will ever be cherished by us, and whose name in after years, will shine with undimed brightness and lustre in the history of benevolent institutions. The orator, the statesman, and the hero all seek for fame; but in the names of those whom blind ambition has lead through seas of blood, there is left an indellible stigma, a tarnish which time can never ware away: not so with our Friend, our muchlamented Friend!

Six years have not yet elapsed, since this good man, influenced by the most humane and noble feelings that ever warmed and animated the bosom of man bade his kindred and "his own his native land" adieu and sought a home in this a land of strangers not in pursuit of fame not in pursuit of honors; not in pursuits of wealth; but in pursuit of the more laudable e and praiseworthy object, the alleviation of our afflictions; we, whose brows, misfortune with her cruel hand has marked with sadness and with sorrow - it was alone, to pluck the thorns from the blind manís dark and rugged path through life, that he sought our shores and by his long and unwearied exertions, the dark gloom which once surrounded us, has been dispelled, the bright mantle of education partly thrown around us. But alas! He is no more that kind, that generous heart has ceased to beat his feeble pulse has sunk to sleep, his mild and gentle voice is hushed, and his bright beaming eyes are closed in death; but there is left no crime, no unmanly action to cast a shade over his name. He is gone, yet, all thatís bright must fade, the brightest still the fleetest". The fairest flower of the garden is too often the first to be pluckíd by the rude hand of the destroyer. He is gone our friend is gone, and gone forever; thoí his corpse lies low with the dead, a tenant of the silent tomb, his pure soul has winged its way to that bright land of bliss, the hallowed home of God.

Henry Jewett Gray of Virginia

Henry Jewett Gray was born in Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, Virginia in 1823. He was admitted to the school in March of 1834 and his tuition paid by his family. He had become blind when struck by an arrow. In 1839 Mr. Jewett returned to the home of his parents but later became an instructor in the Virginia Institution for the Blind which had been founded in 1839 as a school for both the blind and deaf at Staunton, Virginia.