Helen Keller

Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The story of Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan, was made famous by Keller's autobiography, The Story of My Life, and its adaptations for film and stage, The Miracle Worker. Her birthplace in West Tuscumbia, Alabama, is now a museum[1] and sponsors an annual "Helen Keller Day". Her June 27 birthday is commemorated as Helen Keller Day in Pennsylvania and, in the centenary year of her birth, was recognized by a presidential proclamation from Jimmy Carter.

A prolific author, Keller was well-traveled and outspoken in her convictions. A member of the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World, she campaigned for women's suffrage, labor rights, socialism, antimilitarism, and other similar causes. She was inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 1971 and was one of twelve inaugural inductees to the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame on June 8, 2015.[2]

Helen Keller
Helen Keller holding a magnolia, ca. 1920
Helen Keller holding a magnolia, ca. 1920
BornHelen Adams Keller
June 27, 1880
Tuscumbia, Alabama, U.S.
DiedJune 1, 1968 (aged 87)
Arcan Ridge
Easton, Connecticut, U.S.
Resting placeWashington National Cathedral
Washington, D.C.
OccupationAuthor, political activist, lecturer
EducationHarvard University (BA)
Notable worksThe Story of My Life

Helen keller signature

Early childhood and illness

Helen Keller Birthplace House
Helen Keller birthplace in Tuscumbia, Alabama
Helen Keller with Anne Sullivan in July 1888
Keller with Anne Sullivan vacationing on Cape Cod in July 1888

Helen Adams Keller was born on June 27, 1880, in Tuscumbia, Alabama.[3] Her family lived on a homestead, Ivy Green,[1] that Helen's grandfather had built decades earlier.[4] She had four siblings; two full siblings, Mildred Campbell (Keller) Tyson and Phillip Brooks Keller, and two older half-brothers from her father's prior marriage, James McDonald Keller and William Simpson Keller.[5][6]

Her father, Arthur Henley Keller (1836–1896),[7] spent many years as an editor of the Tuscumbia North Alabamian and had served as a captain in the Confederate Army.[3][4] Her mother, Catherine Everett (Adams) Keller (1856–1921), known as "Kate",[8] was the daughter of Charles W. Adams, a Confederate general.[9] Her paternal lineage was traced to Casper Keller, a native of Switzerland.[10][11] One of Helen's Swiss ancestors was the first teacher for the deaf in Zurich. Keller reflected on this coincidence in her first autobiography, stating "that there is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors, and no slave who has not had a king among his."[10]

At 19 months old Keller contracted an unknown illness described by doctors as "an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain",[12] which might have been scarlet fever or meningitis.[3][13] The illness left her both deaf and blind. She lived, as she recalled in her autobiography, "at sea in a dense fog." [14]

At that time, Keller was able to communicate somewhat with Martha Washington, the six-year-old daughter of the family cook, who understood her signs;[15]:11 by the age of seven, Keller had more than 60 home signs to communicate with her family, and could distinguish people by the vibration of their footsteps.[16]

In 1886, Keller's mother, inspired by an account in Charles Dickens' American Notes of the successful education of another deaf and blind woman, Laura Bridgman, dispatched the young Keller, accompanied by her father, to seek out physician J. Julian Chisolm, an eye, ear, nose, and throat specialist in Baltimore, for advice.[17] Chisholm referred the Kellers to Alexander Graham Bell, who was working with deaf children at the time. Bell advised them to contact the Perkins Institute for the Blind, the school where Bridgman had been educated, which was then located in South Boston. Michael Anagnos, the school's director, asked 20-year-old former student Anne Sullivan, herself visually impaired, to become Keller's instructor. It was the beginning of a 49-year-long relationship during which Sullivan evolved into Keller's governess and eventually her companion.[15]

Sullivan arrived at Keller's house on March 5, 1887, a day Keller would forever remember as my soul's birthday.[14] Sullivan immediately began to teach Helen to communicate by spelling words into her hand, beginning with "d-o-l-l" for the doll that she had brought Keller as a present. Keller was frustrated, at first, because she did not understand that every object had a word uniquely identifying it. In fact, when Sullivan was trying to teach Keller the word for "mug", Keller became so frustrated she broke the mug.[18] But soon she began imitating Sullivan’s hand gestures. “I did not know that I was spelling a word or even that words existed,” Keller remembered. “I was simply making my fingers go in monkey-like imitation.” [19]

Keller's breakthrough in communication came the next month, when she realized that the motions her teacher was making on the palm of her hand, while running cool water over her other hand, symbolized the idea of "water". Writing in her autobiography, The Story of My Life, Keller recalled the moment. "I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten — a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that w-a-t-e-r meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. The living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, set it free!" [14] Keller then nearly exhausted Sullivan demanding the names of all the other familiar objects in her world.

Helen Keller was viewed as isolated but was very in touch with the outside world. She was able to enjoy music by feeling the beat and she was able to have a strong connection with animals through touch. She was delayed at picking up language, but that did not stop her from having a voice.[20]

Formal education

In May 1888, Keller started attending the Perkins Institute for the Blind. In 1894, Keller and Sullivan moved to New York to attend the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf, and to learn from Sarah Fuller at the Horace Mann School for the Deaf. In 1896, they returned to Massachusetts, and Keller entered The Cambridge School for Young Ladies before gaining admittance, in 1900, to Radcliffe College of Harvard University[21] where she lived in Briggs Hall, South House. Her admirer, Mark Twain, had introduced her to Standard Oil magnate Henry Huttleston Rogers, who, with his wife Abbie, paid for her education. In 1904, at the age of 24, Keller graduated Phi Beta Kappa[22] from Radcliffe, becoming the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. She maintained a correspondence with the Austrian philosopher and pedagogue Wilhelm Jerusalem, who was one of the first to discover her literary talent.[23]

Determined to communicate with others as conventionally as possible, Keller learned to speak and spent much of her life giving speeches and lectures on aspects of her life. She learned to "hear" people's speech by reading their lips with her hands—her sense of touch had heightened. She became proficient at using braille[24] and reading sign language with her hands as well. Shortly before World War I, with the assistance of the Zoellner Quartet, she determined that by placing her fingertips on a resonant tabletop she could experience music played close by.[25]

Example of her lectures

On January 22, 1916, Keller and Sullivan traveled to the small town of Menomonie in western Wisconsin to deliver a lecture at the Mabel Tainter Memorial Building. Details of her talk were provided in the weekly Dunn County News on January 22, 1916:

A message of optimism, of hope, of good cheer, and of loving service was brought to Menomonie Saturday—a message that will linger long with those fortunate enough to have received it. This message came with the visit of Helen Keller and her teacher, Mrs. John Macy, and both had a hand in imparting it Saturday evening to a splendid audience that filled The Memorial. The wonderful girl who has so brilliantly triumphed over the triple afflictions of blindness, dumbness and deafness, gave a talk with her own lips on "Happiness," and it will be remembered always as a piece of inspired teaching by those who heard it.

When part of the account was reprinted in the January 20, 2016, edition of the paper under the heading "From the Files", the column compiler added

According to those who attended, Helen Keller spoke of the joy that life gave her. She was thankful for the faculties and abilities that she did possess and stated that the most productive pleasures she had were curiosity and imagination. Keller also spoke of the joy of service and the happiness that came from doing things for others ... Keller imparted that "helping your fellow men were one's only excuse for being in this world and in the doing of things to help one's fellows lay the secret of lasting happiness." She also told of the joys of loving work and accomplishment and the happiness of achievement. Although the entire lecture lasted only a little over an hour, the lecture had a profound impact on the audience.[26]


PSM V63 D081 Helen keller and miss sullivan
Helen Keller in 1899 with lifelong companion and teacher Anne Sullivan. Photo taken by Alexander Graham Bell at his School of Vocal Physiology and Mechanics of Speech.

Anne Sullivan stayed as a companion to Helen Keller long after she taught her. Sullivan married John Macy in 1905, and her health started failing around 1914. Polly Thomson (February 20, 1885[27] – March 21, 1960) was hired to keep house. She was a young woman from Scotland who had no experience with deaf or blind people. She progressed to working as a secretary as well, and eventually became a constant companion to Keller.[28]

Keller moved to Forest Hills, Queens, together with Sullivan and Macy, and used the house as a base for her efforts on behalf of the American Foundation for the Blind.[29] "While in her thirties Helen had a love affair, became secretly engaged, and defied her teacher and family by attempting an elopement with the man she loved."[30] He was "Peter Fagan, a young Boston Herald reporter who was sent to Helen's home to act as her private secretary when lifelong companion, Anne, fell ill."[31]

Anne Sullivan died in 1936 after a coma as a result of coronary thrombosis,[32]:266 with Keller holding her hand.[33]:255 Keller and Thomson moved to Connecticut. They traveled worldwide and raised funds for the blind. Thomson had a stroke in 1957 from which she never fully recovered, and died in 1960. Winnie Corbally, a nurse whom they originally hired to care for Thomson in 1957, stayed on after her death and was Keller's companion for the rest of her life.[29]

Political activities

Helen KellerA
Helen Keller portrait, 1904. Due to a protruding left eye, Keller was usually photographed in profile. Both her eyes were replaced in adulthood with glass replicas for "medical and cosmetic reasons".[33]

Keller went on to become a world-famous speaker and author. She is remembered as an advocate for people with disabilities, amid numerous other causes. The deaf community was widely impacted by her. She traveled to twenty-five different countries giving motivational speeches about Deaf people's conditions.[35] She was a suffragette, pacifist, radical socialist, birth control supporter, and opponent of Woodrow Wilson. In 1915 she and George A. Kessler founded the Helen Keller International (HKI) organization. This organization is devoted to research in vision, health and nutrition. In 1920, she helped to found the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Keller traveled to over 40 countries with Sullivan, making several trips to Japan and becoming a favorite of the Japanese people. Keller met every U.S. President from Grover Cleveland to Lyndon B. Johnson and was friends with many famous figures, including Alexander Graham Bell, Charlie Chaplin and Mark Twain. Keller and Twain were both considered radicals at the beginning of the 20th century, and as a consequence, their political views have been forgotten or glossed over in the popular mind.[36]

Keller was a member of the Socialist Party and actively campaigned and wrote in support of the working class from 1909 to 1921. Many of her speeches and writings were about women's right to vote and the impacts of war; in addition, she supported causes that opposed military intervention.[37] She had speech therapy in order to have her voice heard better by the public. When the Rockefeller-owned press refused to print her articles, she protested until her work was finally published.[32] She supported Socialist Party candidate Eugene V. Debs in each of his campaigns for the presidency. Before reading Progress and Poverty, Helen Keller was already a socialist who believed that Georgism was a good step in the right direction.[38] She later wrote of finding "in Henry George's philosophy a rare beauty and power of inspiration, and a splendid faith in the essential nobility of human nature."[39]

Keller claimed that newspaper columnists who had praised her courage and intelligence before she expressed her socialist views now called attention to her disabilities. The editor of the Brooklyn Eagle wrote that her "mistakes sprung out of the manifest limitations of her development." Keller responded to that editor, referring to having met him before he knew of her political views:

At that time the compliments he paid me were so generous that I blush to remember them. But now that I have come out for socialism he reminds me and the public that I am blind and deaf and especially liable to error. I must have shrunk in intelligence during the years since I met him. ... Oh, ridiculous Brooklyn Eagle! Socially blind and deaf, it defends an intolerable system, a system that is the cause of much of the physical blindness and deafness which we are trying to prevent.[40]

Keller joined the Industrial Workers of the World (the IWW, known as the Wobblies) in 1912,[36] saying that parliamentary socialism was "sinking in the political bog". She wrote for the IWW between 1916 and 1918. In Why I Became an IWW,[41] Keller explained that her motivation for activism came in part from her concern about blindness and other disabilities:

I was appointed on a commission to investigate the conditions of the blind. For the first time I, who had thought blindness a misfortune beyond human control, found that too much of it was traceable to wrong industrial conditions, often caused by the selfishness and greed of employers. And the social evil contributed its share. I found that poverty drove women to a life of shame that ended in blindness.

The last sentence refers to prostitution and syphilis, the former a frequent cause of the latter, and the latter a leading cause of blindness. In the same interview, Keller also cited the 1912 strike of textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts for instigating her support of socialism.

Keller supported eugenics. In 1915 she wrote in favor of refusing life-saving medical procedures to infants with severe mental impairments or physical deformities, stating that their lives were not worthwhile and they would likely become criminals.[42][43] Keller also expressed concerns about human overpopulation.[44][45]


Helen Keller13 (cropped)
Helen Keller, c. 1912

Keller wrote a total of 12 published books and several articles.

One of her earliest pieces of writing, at age 11, was The Frost King (1891). There were allegations that this story had been plagiarized from The Frost Fairies by Margaret Canby. An investigation into the matter revealed that Keller may have experienced a case of cryptomnesia, which was that she had Canby's story read to her but forgot about it, while the memory remained in her subconscious.[29]

At age 22, Keller published her autobiography, The Story of My Life (1903), with help from Sullivan and Sullivan's husband, John Macy. It recounts the story of her life up to age 21 and was written during her time in college.

Keller wrote The World I Live In in 1908, giving readers an insight into how she felt about the world.[46] Out of the Dark, a series of essays on socialism, was published in 1913.

When Keller was young, Anne Sullivan introduced her to Phillips Brooks, who introduced her to Christianity, Keller famously saying: "I always knew He was there, but I didn't know His name!"[47][48][49]

Her spiritual autobiography, My Religion,[50] was published in 1927 and then in 1994 extensively revised and re-issued under the title Light in My Darkness. It advocates the teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg, the Christian revelator and theologian who gives a spiritual interpretation of the teachings of the Bible and who claims that the second coming of Jesus Christ has already taken place. Adherents use several names to describe themselves, including Second Advent Christian, Swedenborgian, and New Church.

Keller described the core of her belief in these words:

But in Swedenborg's teaching it [Divine Providence] is shown to be the government of God's Love and Wisdom and the creation of uses. Since His Life cannot be less in one being than another, or His Love manifested less fully in one thing than another, His Providence must needs be universal ... He has provided religion of some kind everywhere, and it does not matter to what race or creed anyone belongs if he is faithful to his ideals of right living.[50]

Overseas visits

Keller visited 35 countries from 1946 to 1957.[51]

In 1948 she went to New Zealand and visited deaf schools in Christchurch and Auckland. She met Deaf Society of Canterbury Life Member Patty Still in Christchurch.[52]

Later life

Keller suffered a series of strokes in 1961 and spent the last years of her life at her home.[29]

On September 14, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the United States' two highest civilian honors. In 1965 she was elected to the National Women's Hall of Fame at the New York World's Fair.[29]

Keller devoted much of her later life to raising funds for the American Foundation for the Blind. She died in her sleep on June 1, 1968, at her home, Arcan Ridge, located in Easton, Connecticut, a few weeks short of her eighty-eighth birthday. A service was held in her honor at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., her body was cremated and her ashes were placed there next to her constant companions, Anne Sullivan and Polly Thomson. She was buried at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.[53]


Anne Sullivan - Helen Keller memorial - Tewksbury, Massachusetts - DSC00072
"Anne Sullivan – Helen Keller Memorial"—a bronze sculpture in Tewksbury, Massachusetts

Keller's life has been interpreted many times. She appeared in a silent film, Deliverance (1919), which told her story in a melodramatic, allegorical style.[54]

She was also the subject of the documentaries Helen Keller in Her Story, narrated by her friend and noted theatrical actress Katharine Cornell, and The Story of Helen Keller, part of the Famous Americans series produced by Hearst Entertainment.

The Miracle Worker is a cycle of dramatic works ultimately derived from her autobiography, The Story of My Life. The various dramas each describe the relationship between Keller and Sullivan, depicting how the teacher led her from a state of almost feral wildness into education, activism, and intellectual celebrity. The common title of the cycle echoes Mark Twain's description of Sullivan as a "miracle worker." Its first realization was the 1957 Playhouse 90 teleplay of that title by William Gibson. He adapted it for a Broadway production in 1959 and an Oscar-winning feature film in 1962, starring Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke. It was remade for television in 1979 and 2000.

Helen keller patty duke
Helen Keller with Patty Duke, who portrayed Keller in both the play and film The Miracle Worker (1962). In a 1979 remake, Patty Duke played Anne Sullivan.

In 1984, Keller's life story was made into a TV movie called The Miracle Continues.[55] This film, a semi-sequel to The Miracle Worker, recounts her college years and her early adult life. None of the early movies hint at the social activism that would become the hallmark of Keller's later life, although a Disney version produced in 2000 states in the credits that she became an activist for social equality.

The Bollywood movie Black (2005) was largely based on Keller's story, from her childhood to her graduation.[56]

A documentary called Shining Soul: Helen Keller's Spiritual Life and Legacy was produced by the Swedenborg Foundation in the same year. The film focuses on the role played by Emanuel Swedenborg's spiritual theology in her life and how it inspired Keller's triumph over her triple disabilities of blindness, deafness and a severe speech impediment.

On March 6, 2008, the New England Historic Genealogical Society announced that a staff member had discovered a rare 1888 photograph showing Helen and Anne, which, although previously published, had escaped widespread attention.[57] Depicting Helen holding one of her many dolls, it is believed to be the earliest surviving photograph of Anne Sullivan Macy.[58]

Video footage showing Helen Keller learning to mimic speech sounds also exists.[59]

A biography of Helen Keller was written by the German Jewish author H.J.Kaeser.

A 10-by-7-foot (3.0 by 2.1 m) painting titled The Advocate: Tribute to Helen Keller was created by three artists from Kerala as a tribute to Helen Keller. The Painting was created in association with a non-profit organization Art d'Hope Foundation, artists groups Palette People and XakBoX Design & Art Studio.[60] This painting was created for a fundraising event to help blind students in India [61] and was inaugurated by M. G. Rajamanikyam, IAS (District Collector Ernakulam) on Helen Keller day (June 27, 2016).[62] The painting depicts the major events of Helen Keller's life and is one of the biggest paintings done based on Helen Keller's life.

Posthumous honors

Alabama quarter, reverse side, 2003
Helen Keller as depicted on the Alabama state quarter

A preschool for the deaf and hard of hearing in Mysore, India, was originally named after Helen Keller by its founder, K. K. Srinivasan. In 1999, Keller was listed in Gallup's Most Widely Admired People of the 20th century.

In 2003, Alabama honored its native daughter on its state quarter.[63] The Alabama state quarter is the only circulating U.S. coin to feature braille.[64]

The Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield, Alabama, is dedicated to her.[65]

Streets are named after Helen Keller in Zürich, Switzerland, in the US, in Getafe, Spain, in Lod, Israel,[66] in Lisbon, Portugal,[67] and in Caen, France.

In 1973, Helen Keller was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.[68]

A stamp was issued in 1980 by the United States Postal Service depicting Keller and Sullivan, to mark the centennial of Keller's birth.

On October 7, 2009, a bronze statue of Keller was added to the National Statuary Hall Collection, as a replacement for the State of Alabama's former 1908 statue of the education reformer Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry.[69]

Archival material

Archival material of Helen Keller stored in New York was lost when the Twin Towers were destroyed in the September 11 attacks.[70][71][72]

The Helen Keller Archives are owned by the American Foundation for the Blind.[73]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Helen Keller Birthplace". Helen Keller Birthplace Foundation, Inc.
  2. ^ "Harper Lee Among Inaugural Inductees Into Alabama Writers Hall of Fame". The Huffington Post. June 8, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Helen Keller FAQ". Perkins School for the Blind. Retrieved December 25, 2010.
  4. ^ a b Nielsen, Kim E. (2007). "The Southern Ties of Helen Keller". Journal of Southern History. 73 (4). (Registration required (help)).
  5. ^ "Ask Keller". American Foundation for the Blind. October 2006. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  6. ^ "Ask Keller". American Foundation for the Blind. November 2005. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  7. ^ "Arthur H. Keller". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  8. ^ "Kate Adams Keller". American Foundation for the Blind. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  9. ^ "Charles W. Adams (1817–1878) profile". Findagrave.com. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  10. ^ a b Herrmann, Dorothy; Keller, Helen; Shattuck, Roger (2003). The Story of my Life: The Restored Classic. pp. 12–14. ISBN 978-0-393-32568-3. Retrieved May 14, 2010.
  11. ^ "Ask Keller". American Foundation for the Blind. November 2005. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  12. ^ "Ask Keller". American Foundation for the Blind. February 2005. Retrieved June 13, 2017. Helen's illness was diagnosed by her doctor as "acute congestion of the stomach and the brain"
  13. ^ "Helen Keller Biography". American Foundation for the Blind. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  14. ^ a b c "Helen Keller's Moment". The Attic. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  15. ^ a b Keller, Helen (1905). "The Story of My Life". New York: Doubleday, Page & Company. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  16. ^ Shattuck, Roger (1904). "The World I Live In".
  17. ^ Worthington, W. Curtis (March 1990). A Family Album: Men Who Made the Medical Center. Reprint Co. ISBN 978-0-87152-444-7.
  18. ^ Wilkie, Katherine E. (January 1969). Helen Keller: Handicapped Girl. Atheneum. ISBN 978-0-672-50076-3.
  19. ^ "Helen Keller's Moment". The Attic. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  20. ^ Dahl, Hartvig. "Observation on a Natural Experiment".
  21. ^ "HELEN KELLER IN COLLEGE – Blind, Dumb and Deaf Girl Now Studying at Radcliffe". Chicago Tribune: 16. October 13, 1900.
  22. ^ https://www.facebook.com/phibetakappa/photos/a.172980888836/10154674211843837/?type=1&theater
  23. ^ Herbert Gantschacher "Back from History! – The correspondence of letters between the Austrian-Jewish philosopher Wilhelm Jerusalem and the American deafblind writer Helen Keller", Gebärdensache, Vienna 2009, p. 35ff.
  24. ^ Specifically, the reordered alphabet known as American Braille
  25. ^ "First Number Citizens Lecture Course Monday, November Fifth", The Weekly Spectrum, North Dakota Agricultural College, Volume XXXVI no. 3, November 7, 1917.
  26. ^ Koser, Jessica (January 19, 2016). "From the files: New library is now open to the public". Dunn County News. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  27. ^ Herrmann, Dorothy (December 15, 1999). Helen Keller: A Life. University of Chicago Press. pp. 266–. ISBN 9780226327631. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  28. ^ "Tragedy to Triumph: An Adventure with Helen Keller". Graceproducts.com. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  29. ^ a b c d e "The life of Helen Keller". Royal National Institute of Blind People. November 20, 2008. Archived from the original on June 7, 2007. Retrieved January 22, 2009.
  30. ^ Sultan, Rosie (May 14, 2012). "Helen Keller's Secret Love Life". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  31. ^ Wellman, Victoria (May 8, 2012). "Helen Keller's forbidden love: New book inspired by the author's clandestine engagement tells of thwarted romance and broken hearts". Daily Mail.
  32. ^ a b Nielsen, Kim. "The Radical Lives of Helen Keller".
  33. ^ a b Herrmann, Dorothy. Helen Keller: A Life. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-32763-1.
  34. ^ Helen Keller: Rebel Lives, by Helen Keller & John Davis, Ocean Press, 2003 ISBN 978-1-876175-60-3, pg 57
  35. ^ McGinnity, B.L. "Helen Keller".
  36. ^ a b Loewen, James W. (1996) [1995]. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong (Touchstone ed.). New York, NY: Touchstone Books. pp. 20–22. ISBN 978-0-684-81886-3.
  37. ^ Davis, Mark J. "Examining the American peace movement prior to World War I", America Magazine, April 17, 2017
  38. ^ "Wonder Woman at Massey Hall". Toronto Star Weekly. January 1914. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  39. ^ George, Henry (1998). Progress & Poverty. Robert Schalkenbach Foundation. ISBN 978-0-911312-10-2.
  40. ^ Keller, Helen (November 3, 1912). "How I Became a Socialist". The New York Call. Helen Keller Reference Archive. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  41. ^ "Why I Became an IWW" in Helen Keller Reference Archive from An interview written by Barbara Bindley, published in the New York Tribune, January 16, 1916
  42. ^ Nielsen, Kim E. (April 1, 2009). The Radical Lives of Helen Keller. New York City, NY: New York University Press. pp. 36–37. ISBN 0814758142. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  43. ^ Pernick, M S (November 1997). "Eugenics and public health in American history". American Journal of Public Health. 87 (11): 1767–1772. doi:10.2105/ajph.87.11.1767. PMC 1381159. PMID 9366633. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  44. ^ "Quotes". Population Matters. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
  45. ^ "Quotes". World Population Balance. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
  46. ^ Keller, Helen (1910). The World I Live In. New York: The Century Co. ISBN 978-1-59017-067-0.
  47. ^ Willmington, H. L. Willmington's Guide to the Bible. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers. ISBN 978-0-8423-8804-7. Retrieved March 15, 2016. Sometime after she had progressed to the point that she could engage in conversation, she was told of God and his love in sending Christ to die on the cross. She is said to have responded with joy, "I always knew he was there, but I didn't know his name!"
  48. ^ Helms, Harold E. (April 30, 2004). God's Final Answer. Xulon Press. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-59467-410-5. Retrieved March 15, 2016. A favorite story about Helen Keller concerns her first introduction to the gospel. When Helen, who was both blind and deaf, learned to communicate, Anne Sullivan, her teacher, decided that it was time for her to hear about Jesus Christ. Anne called for Phillips Brooks, the most famous preacher in Boston. With Sullivan interpreting for him, he talked to Helen Keller about Christ. It wasn't long until a smile lighted up her face. Through her teacher she said, "Mr. Brooks, I have always known about God, but until now I didn't know His name."
  49. ^ Dickinson, Mary Lowe; Avary, Myrta Lockett (1901). Heaven, Home And Happiness. The Christian Herald. p. 216. Retrieved March 15, 2016. Phillips Brooks began to tell her about God, who God was, what he had done, how he loved me, and what he was to us. The child listened very intently. Then she looked up and said, "Mr. Brooks, I knew all that before, but I didn't know His name."
  50. ^ a b Keller, Helen (March 17, 2007). My Religion. The Book Tree. pp. 177–178. ISBN 978-1-58509-284-0.
  51. ^ http://www.afb.org/info/about-us/helen-keller/biography-and-chronology/biography/1235
  52. ^ http://deafsocietyofcanterbury.co.nz/who-we-are/history/
  53. ^ Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Locations 24973-24974). McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition.
  54. ^ "Deliverance (1919)". Retrieved June 15, 2006.
  55. ^ "Helen Keller: The Miracle Continues (1984) (TV)". Retrieved June 15, 2006.
  56. ^ Güler, Emrah (October 28, 2013). "Helen Keller story inspires Turkish film". Hürriyet Daily News. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  57. ^ "Picture of Helen Keller as a child revealed after 120 years". The Independent. London. March 7, 2008. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
  58. ^ "Newly Discovered Photograph Features Never Before Seen Image Of Young Helen Keller" (PDF). New England Genealogical Society. Retrieved March 6, 2008.
  59. ^ Post to Wall. "Helen Keller learning to mimic speech". Wimp.com. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  60. ^ "A tribute to Helen Keller". The New Indian Express.
  61. ^ "'Tribute to Helen Keller': Art for raising funds for blind students". www.artdhope.org. July 25, 2016.
  62. ^ "Tribute to Helen Keller". The Hindu.
  63. ^ "A likeness of Helen Keller is featured on Alabama's quarter". United States Mint. March 23, 2010. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  64. ^ "The Official Alabama State Quarter". The US50. March 17, 2003. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  65. ^ "Helen Keller Hospital website". Helenkeller.com. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  66. ^ "רחוב הלן קלר, לוד" [Helen Keller Street, Lod] (in Hebrew). Google Maps. January 1, 1970. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  67. ^ "Toponomy section of the Lisbon Municipality website". Toponimia.cm-lisboa.pt. January 6, 1968. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  68. ^ National Women's Hall of Fame, Helen Keller
  69. ^ "Helen Keller". Architect of the Capitol. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
  70. ^ "Helen Keller Archive Lost in World Trade Center Attack". Poets & Writers. October 3, 2001. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  71. ^ Urschel, Donna (November 2002). "Lives and Treasures Taken". Library of Congress Information Bulletin. Library of Congress. 61 (11).
  72. ^ Bridge, Sarah; Stastna, Kazi (August 21, 2011). "9/11 anniversary: What was lost in the damage". CBC News. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  73. ^ "Helen Keller – Our Champion". American Foundation for the Blind. 2015. Retrieved November 7, 2015.


Further reading

Primary sources

  • Keller, Helen with Anne Sullivan and John A. Macy (1903) The Story of My Life. New York, NY: Doubleday, Page & Co.


  • Amico, Eleanor B., ed. Reader's Guide to Women's Studies (Fitzroy Dearborn, 1998) pp328–29

External links

External video
Booknotes interview with Dorothy Herrmann on Helen Keller: A Life October 25, 1998], C-SPAN
American Braille

American Braille was a popular braille alphabet used in the United States before the adoption of standardized English braille in 1918. It was the alphabet used by Helen Keller. Rather than ordering the letters numerically, as was done in French Braille and the (reordered) English Braille also used in the US at the time, in American Braille the letters were partially reassigned by frequency, with the most-common letters being written with the fewest dots. This significantly improved writing speed with the slate and stylus, which wrote one dot at a time, but lost its advantage with the braille typewriters that became practical after 1950.

American Foundation for the Blind

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is an American non-profit organization for people with vision loss. AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology, elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss, and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. Kirk Adams, formerly the first blind president and CEO of The Lighthouse for the Blind, has been AFB's president and CEO since May 2016.

Anne Sullivan

Johanna Mansfield Sullivan Macy (April 14, 1866 – October 20, 1936), better known as Anne Sullivan , was an American teacher best known for being the instructor and lifelong companion of Helen Keller.At the age of five, Sullivan contracted trachoma, an eye disease, which left her blind and without reading or writing skills. She received her education as a student of the Perkins School for the Blind, where upon graduation she became a teacher to Keller when she was 20.

Community Consolidated School District 54

Schaumburg Community Consolidated School District 54 operates 21 elementary schools, five junior high schools and one combined K-8 school based in Schaumburg, Cook County, Illinois, USA, a suburb of Chicago. It serves Schaumburg and portions of Hoffman Estates, Hanover Park, Elk Grove Village and Roselle. The district has 1,420 teachers (FTEs) serving 15,647 students.

Note: Based on 2019-20 school year data

Deliverance (1919 film)

Deliverance is a 1919 silent film which tells the story of the life of Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan. It stars Etna Ross, Tula Belle, Edith Lyle, Betty Schade, Sarah Lind, Ann Mason and Jenny Lind. The film also features appearances by Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan, Kate Adams Keller and Phillips Brooks Keller as themselves. The movie was directed by George Foster Platt and written by Francis Trevelyan Miller.

Easton, Connecticut

Easton is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 7,490 at the 2010 census. Easton contains the historic district of Aspetuck.

The town is situated amongst Redding, Monroe, Trumbull, Fairfield, Weston, and Newtown.

Helen Keller! The Musical

"Helen Keller! The Musical" is the thirteenth episode of the fourth season of the animated television series South Park and the 61st episode of the series overall. "Helen Keller! The Musical" originally aired in the United States on November 22, 2000 on Comedy Central. In the episode, the boys have to put on a "Thanksgiving Extravaganza" that is better than the kindergarteners'.

Helen Keller (Hlavka)

Helen Keller is a bronze sculpture depicting the American author and political activist of the same name by Edward Hlavka, installed in the United States Capitol Visitor Center's Emancipation Hall, in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. The statue was gifted by the U.S. state of Alabama in 2009, and replaced one depicting Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry, which had been donated in 1908.

Helen Keller Day

Helen Keller Day is a commemorative holiday to celebrate the birth of Helen Keller, observed on June 27 annually. The holiday observance was created by presidential proclamation in 1980, as well as by international organizations, particularly those helping the blind and the deaf. The holiday is generally known for its fashion show held on June 27 annually for fundraising purposes.

Helen Keller International

Helen Keller International (HKI) combats the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition by establishing programs based on evidence and research in vision, health and nutrition. Founded in 1915 by Helen Keller and George A. Kessler, the organization's mission is to save the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

George A. Kessler, also known as the "Champagne King," was a passenger on the RMS Lusitania in 1915 when it was torpedoed by a German U-boat. When he was fighting for his life in the cold waters of the Atlantic off the coast of Ireland, he vowed that if he survived, he would devote much of his time and substantial financial resources to a worthwhile cause. The cause he chose was assisting Allied soldiers blinded in the service. He later befriended Helen Keller and helped found the organization that became Helen Keller International.

HKI's two major areas of expertise are Eye Health and Nutrition. Its Eye Health programs address the major causes of blindness in the world, including cataract, trachoma and onchocerciasis, and treating refractive error. Its nutrition programs include vitamin A, iron/folate, and multi-micronutrient supplementation, fortification of commonly used foods, dietary diversification, community- and school-gardening as well as school health activities, the promotion of breastfeeding and complementary feeding, and nutritional surveillance to provide critical data to governments and other development partners. Each year, HKI's programs benefit millions of people.

Currently, HKI works in 21 countries around the world in Africa, Asia and the United States. Global headquarters are located in New York City, and programs are also developed and administered through regional offices, currently located in Senegal and Phnom Penh, as well as through 19 country offices and an additional development office in Paris. HKI has country offices in Burkina Faso, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Cambodia, Côte d'Ivoire, China, Guinea, Indonesia, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Vietnam.

Helen Keller International has received the 2014 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Development Cooperation category for agricultural programs that help families and villages to raise their own nutritious foods. "Hunger and low dietary diversity reduce cognitive function, physical capacity, resistance to disease and quality of life and lifetime earnings. Heller Keller International champions Homestead Food Production, an innovative, interdisciplinary program that promotes improved agricultural and nutritional practices in a synergistic fashion. This approach is mostly applied to communities that have difficult access to labor and food markets," in the words of the jury's citation.

Helen Keller Services for the Blind

Helen Keller Services for the Blind is an American organization that helps the blind develop independence.

Helen Keller in Her Story

Helen Keller in Her Story (also known as The Unconquered) is an American biographical documentary about Helen Keller made in 1954.

It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1955. It starred Helen Keller and used extensive footage of her visits/remembrances of Dwight Eisenhower, Martha Graham and others. The film was produced and directed by Nancy Hamilton and narrated by her friend, actress Katharine Cornell, and was shot mostly in Pittsburgh.

The Academy Film Archive preserved Helen Keller in Her Story in 2006.

Ivy Green

Ivy Green is the name for the childhood home of Helen Keller. It is located in Tuscumbia, Alabama. The house was built in 1820 and is a simple white clapboard house. The actual well pump where Helen Keller first communicated with Anne Sullivan is located at Ivy Green. The property includes the cottage where Keller was born and the house where she spent her early childhood.

The Miracle Continues

Helen Keller: The Miracle Continues is a 1984 American made-for-television biographical film and a semi-sequel to the 1979 television version of The Miracle Worker. It is a drama based on the life of Helen Keller and premiered in syndication on April 23, 1984 as part of Operation Prime Time syndicated programming.

The Miracle Worker

The Miracle Worker is a cycle of 20th-century dramatic works derived from Helen Keller's

autobiography The Story of My Life. Each of the various dramas describes the relationship between Helen, a deafblind and initially almost feral child, and Anne Sullivan, the teacher who introduced her to education, activism, and international stardom. Its first realization was a 1957 Playhouse 90 broadcast written by William Gibson and starring Teresa Wright as Sullivan and Patricia McCormack as Keller. Gibson adapted his teleplay for a 1959 Broadway production with Anne Bancroft as Sullivan and Patty Duke as Keller. The first movie, also starring Bancroft and Duke, was released in 1962. Subsequent made-for-television movies were released in 1979 and 2000.

The Miracle Worker (1962 film)

The Miracle Worker is a 1962 American biographical film about Anne Sullivan, blind tutor to Helen Keller, directed by Arthur Penn. The screenplay by William Gibson is based on his 1959 play of the same title, which originated as a 1957 broadcast of the television anthology series Playhouse 90. Gibson's original source material was The Story of My Life, the 1902 autobiography of Helen Keller.

The film went on to be an instant critical success and a moderate commercial success. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Director for Arthur Penn, and won two awards, Best Actress for Anne Bancroft and Best Supporting Actress for Patty Duke. The Miracle Worker also holds a perfect 100% score from the movie critics site Rotten Tomatoes.

The Miracle Worker (1979 film)

The Miracle Worker is a 1979 American made-for-television biographical film based on the 1959 play of the same title by William Gibson, which originated as a 1957 broadcast of the television anthology series Playhouse 90. Gibson's original source material was The Story of My Life, the 1902 autobiography of Helen Keller. The play was adapted for the screen before, in 1962.

The film is based on the life of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan's struggles to teach her. It starred Patty Duke (who played Helen Keller in the original 1962 film, for which she won the Oscar) as Annie Sullivan and Melissa Gilbert as Helen Keller. It produced a TV sequel, Helen Keller: The Miracle Continues in 1984.

The Miracle Worker (2000 film)

The Miracle Worker is a 2000 biographical television film based on the 1959 play of the same title by William Gibson, which originated as a 1957 broadcast of the television anthology series Playhouse 90. Gibson's original source material was The Story of My Life, the 1902 autobiography of Helen Keller. The play was adapted for the screen twice before, in 1962 and 1979. The film is based on the life of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan's struggles to teach her.

The Story of My Life (biography)

The Story of My Life, first published in 1903, is Helen Keller's autobiography detailing her early life, especially her experiences with Anne Sullivan. Portions of it were adapted by William Gibson for a 1957 Playhouse 90 production, a 1959 Broadway play, a 1962 Hollywood feature film, and the Indian film Black. The book is dedicated to inventor Alexander Graham Bell. The dedication reads, "To ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL Who has taught the deaf to speak and enabled the listening ear to hear speech from the Atlantic to the Rockies, I dedicate this Story of My Life."

Helen Keller
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Helen Keller's The Story of My Life (1903)

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