This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (December 2018)
|Born||17 November 1870|
New York, New York, United States
|Died||14 June 1945 (aged 74)|
Winifred Holt was born in New York on 17 November 1870, the daughter of Henry Holt, a publisher. She was educated at the Brearley School in New York. With her father's encouragement, she assisted in welfare work in the poor Bowery district of New York for several years, while also attending plays, concerts and opera performances. She also started to take lessons in sculpture during a visit to Italy in 1894. On a later visit to Italy in 1901 with her sister Edith the two young women observed a group of blind students at a concert, engrossed by the music. In 1903 they started the Ticket Bureau for the Blind, and Winifred was to devote the rest of her life to assisting the blind. The New York Association for the Blind was founded at the Holt's home in 1905. The organization is today known as Lighthouse International.
In 1913 the first "Lighthouse" center opened in New York City, dedicated by President William Howard Taft, helping the blind in education, employment and recreation. Similar centers were later opened in many other cities in the United States, and then in other countries. In 1921 Winifred Holt was made a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour. Winifred's sister Edith, wife of the surgeon Joseph Colt Bloodgood, assisted with the Lighthouse. Winifred married Rufus Graves Mather on 16 November 1922, and the couple continued with the work for the blind association and other charities. She died in Pittsfield, Massachusetts in 1945 of hypertensive heart disease.
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- Bloodgood, Edith Holt, ed. (1952). First lady of the Lighthouse: a biography of Winifred Holt Mather. The Lighthouse, New York Association for the Blind.
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