Welcome To My Web Site!
On this Home Page, I will be telling the
Biography of Miss Helen Keller. She is and always has been an Amazing Woman of Courage, Faith, Strength, Will, Determination,
and A Loving Heart That Has Reached Out To Help and Aid Those In Need!
I hope that you enjoy her Biography, and on the follwing Pages, will be Biographies of other Individuals
worthy of Honor and Respect!
GOD BLESS MISS HELEN KELLER AND HER FAMILY AND ALL THOSE INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE SEVERELY HANDICAPPED
GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES AND PLEASE COME BACK OFTEN!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!
HELEN KELLER BIOGRAPHY
By The American Foundation For The Blind
The Story of Helen Keller is the Story of a Child who, at the age of 19 Months, suddenly lost
her Hearing and Vision, and who, against overwhelming odds and with a great deal of persistence, grew into a highly intelligent
and sensitive Woman who Wrote, Spoke, and Labored incessantly for the betterment of others. So powerful a Symbol of Triumph
over adversity did she become that she has a definite place in the History of our Time and of Times to come.
Helen Keller was Born a Healthy Child in Tuscumbia, Alabama, U.S. on June 27, 1880 in a White,
Frame Cottage called "Ivy Green." On her Father's side she was descended from Alexander Spottswood, a Colonial Governor of
Virginia, who was connected with the Lees and other Southern Families. On her Mother's side, she was related to a number of
prominent New England Families, including the Hales, the Everetts, and the Adamses. Her Father, Captain Arthur Keller, was
the Editor of a Newspaper, the North Alabamian. Captain Keller also had a strong interest in Public Life and was an influential
figure in his own Community. In 1885, Under the Cleveland Administration, he was appointed Marshal of North Alabama.
The Illness that struck the Infant Helen Keller, and left her Deaf and Blind before she learned
to Speak, was Diagnosed as Brain Fever at the time; perhaps it was Scarlet Fever. As Helen Keller grew from Infancy into Childhood
she was wild and unruly, and had little real understanding of the World around her.
Helen Keller's new life began on a March day in 1887 when she was a few months short of Seven
Years Old. On that day, which Miss Keller was always to call "The most important day I can remember in my life," Anne Mansfield
Sullivan came to Tuscumbia to be her Teacher. Miss Sullivan, a 20-year-old Graduate of the Perkins School for the Blind, who
had regained useful Sight through a series of Operations, had come to the Kellers through the sympathetic interest of Alexander
Graham Bell. From that fateful day, the tw-Teach and Pupil-were inseperable until the Death of the Former in 1936. How Miss
Sullivan turned the uncontrolled Child into a responsible Human Being and succeeded in awakening and stimulating her marvelous
mind is familiar to Millions, most notably through William Gibson's Play and Film, "The Miracle Worker." Miss Keller's Autobiography
of her early years, "The Story of my Life," and Joseph Lash's Helen and Teacher.
Miss Sullivan began her task with a Doll that the Children at Perkins had made for her to
take to Helen. By Spelling "D-O-L-L" into the Child's hand, she hoped to teach her to connect objects with letters. Helen
quickly learned to form letters correctly and in the correct order, but did not know she was Spelling a Word, or even that
Words existed. In the days that followed she learned to Spell a great many more Words in this uncomprehending way.
One day she and "Teacher" - as Helen always called her-went to the outdoor Pump. Miss Sullivan
started to draw Water and put Helen's hand under the spout. As the cool Water gushed over one hand, she Spelled into the other
hand the Word "W-A-T-E-R" first slowly, then rapidly. Suddenly, the signals had meaning in Helen's mind. She knew that "Water"
meant the wonderful cool substance flowing over her hand. Quickly, she stopped and touched the Earth and demanded its letter
Name and by nightfall she had learned 30 Words.
Thus began Helen Keller's Education. She proceeded quickly to master the Alphabet, both Manual
and in Raised Print for Blind Readers, and gained facility in Reading and Writing. In 1890, when she was 10, she expressed
a desire to learn to Speak. Somehow she had found out that a little Deaf-Blind Girl in Norway had acquired that ability. Miss
Sarah Fuller of the Horace Mann School was her first Speech Teacher.
Even when she was a little Girl, Helen Keller said: "Someday I shall go to College." And go
to College she did. In 1898 she entered the Cambridge School for Young Ladies to prepare for Radcliffe College. She entered
Radcliffe in the Fall of 1900 and received her Bachelor of Arts Degree Cum Laude in 1904. Throughout these years and until
her own jDeath in 1936, Anne Sullivan was always by Helen's side, laboriously Spelling Book after Book and Lecture after Lecture,
into her Pupil's hand.
Helen Keller's Formal Schooling ended when she received her B.A. Degree, but throughout her
life she continued to Study and stay informed on all matters of importance to Modern People. In recognition of her wide knowledge
and many Scholary Achievements, she received Honorary Doctoral Degrees from Temple University and Harvard University and from
the Universities of Glasgow, Scotland; Berlin, Germany; Delhi, India; and Witwatersand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She
was also an Honorary Fellow of the Educational INstitute of Scotland.
Anne Sullivan's Marriage, in 1905, to Hohn Macy, an Eminent Critic and Prominent Socialist,
caused no change in the Teacher-Pupil Relationship. Helen went to live with the Macys and both Husband and Wife unstitingly
gave their time to help her with her Studies and other Activities.
While still a Student at Radcliffe, Helen Keller began a Writing Career that was to continue
on and off for 50 years. In 1903, "The Story of My Life," which had first appeared in Serial Form in the Ladies Home Journal,
appeared in Book Form. This was always to be the most popular of her Works and today is available in more than 50 Languages,
including Marathi, Pushtu, Tagalog, and Vedu. It is also available in several Paperback Editions in the United States.
Mill Keller's other Published Works include Potimism, an Essay; The World I Live In; The Song
of the Stone Wall; Out of the Dark; My Religion; Midstream-My Later Life; Peace at Eventide; Helen Keller in Scotland; Helen
Keller's Journal; Let Us Have Faith; Teacher, Anne Sullivan Macy; and The Open Door.
In addition, she was a frequent contributor to Magazines and Newspapers, Writing most frequently
on Blindness, Deafness, Socialism, Social Issues, and Women's rights. She used a Braille Typewriter to prepare her Manuscripts
and then copied them on a Regular Typewriter.
Durin her lifetime, Helen Keller received Awards of great distinction too numerous to recount
fully here. An entire room, called the Helen Keller Archives at the American Foundation for the Blind in New York City, is
devoted to their preservation. These Awards include Brazil's Order of the Southern Cross; Japan's Sacred Treasure; the Philippine's
Golden Heart; Lebanon's Gold Medal of Merit; and her own Country's Highest Honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Most
of these Awards were bestowed on her in recognition of the stimulation her example and presence gave to Work for the Blind
in those Countries. In 1933 she was Elected to Membership in the National Institlute of Arts and Letters. During the
Luis Braille Centennial Commemoration in 1952, Miss Keller was made a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor at a Ceremony
in the Sorbonne.
On the 50th Anniversary of her Graduation, Radcliffe College Granted her its Alumnae Achievement
Award. Her Alma Mater also showed its pride in her by Dedicating the Helen Keller Garden in her Honor and by Naming a Fountain
in the Garden for Anne Sullivan Macy.
Miss Keller also received the Americas Award for Inter-American Unity, the Gold Medal Award
from the National Institute of Social Sciences, the National Humanitarian Award from Variety Clubs International, and
many others. She held Honorary Memberships in Scientific Societies and Philanthropic Organizations throughout the World.
Yet another Honor came to helen Keller in 1954 when her Birthplace, "Ivy Green," in Tuscumbia,
was made a Permanent Shrine. It was Dedicated on may 7, 1954 with Officials of the American Foundation For the Blind and many
other Agencies and Oganizations present. In conjunction with this Event, the Premiere of Miss Keller's Film Biography, "The
Unconquered," Produced by Nancy Hamilton and Narrated by Katharine Cornell, was held in the nearby City of Birmingham. the
Film was later Renamed "Helen Keller in Her Story" and in 1955 won an "Oscar" - the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Award as the Best Feature-Length Documentary Film of the Year.
Miss Keller was indirectly responsible for Two other "Oscars" a few years later when Anne
Bancroft and Patty Duke won them for their Portrayals of Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller in the Film Version of "The Miracle
More rewarding to her than the many Honors she received were the Acquaintances and Friendships
Helen Keller made with most of the Leading Personatlities of her Tiime. She met many World Figures, from Grover Cleveland
to Charlie Chaplin,Nehru, and John F. Kennedy. Among those she met, she counted many Personal Friends including Katharine
Cornell, Van Wyck Brooks, Alexander Graham Bell, and Jo davidson. Two Friends from her early youth, Mark Twain and William
James, expressed beautifully what most of her Friends felt about her. Mark Twain said, "The Two most interesting Characters
of the 19th Century are Napoleon and Helen Keller." William James Wrote, "But whatever you were or are, you're a Blessing!"
As broad and wide ranging as her Interests were, Helen Keller never lost Sight of the Needs
of other Blind and Deaf-Blind Individuals. From her youth, she was always willing to help them by appearing before Legislatures,
Giving Lectures, Writing Articles, and above all by her own example of what a Severe Disabled Person could accomplish. When
the American Foundation for the Blind, the National Clearing House for Information on blindness, was established in 1921,
she at last had an effective National Outlet for her efforts. From 1934 until her Death she was a Member of teh Foundation
Staff, Serving as Counselor on National and International Relations. It was also in 1924 that Miss Keller began her Campaign
to raise the "Helen Keller Endowment Fund" for the Foundation. Until her retirement from Public Life, she was tireless in
her efforts to make the Fund adequate for the Foundation's Needs.
Of all her Contributions to the Foundation Miss Keller was perhaps most proud of her assistance
in the formation in 1946 of its Special Service for Deaf-Blind Persons. She was, of course, deeply concerned for this group
of People and was always searching for ways to help those "less fortunate than myself."
Helen Keller was as interested in the Welfare of Blind Persons in other Countries as she was
for those in her own Country; Conditions in the Underdeveloped and War-Ravaged Nations were of particular concern. Her active
participation in this area of Work for the Blind began as early as 1915. When the Permanent Blind War Relief Fund, later called
the American Braille Press, was Founded, she was a Member of its First Board of Directors.
When the American Braille press became the American Foundation for Overseas Blind(now Helen
Keller International) in 1946, Miss Keller was appointed Counselor on International Relations. It was then that she began
the Globe-Circling Tours on behalf of the Blind for which she was so well known during her later years.
During Seven Trips between 1946 and 1957 she visited 35 Countries on Five Continents. In 1955,
when she was 75 years old, she embarked on one of her longest and most grueling Journeys, a 40,000-Mile, Five-Month-Long Tour
through Asia. Wherever she traveled, she brought encouragement to Millions of Blind People, and mane of the efforts to improve
Conditions among Blind People outside the U.S. can be traced directly to her visits.
During her lifetime, Helen Keller lived in many different places-Tuscumbia, Alabama; Cambridge
and Wrentham, Massachusetts; Forest Hills, New York, but perhaps her favorite Residence was her last, the House in Easton,
Connecticut she called, "Arcan Ridge." She moved to this White, Frame House surrounded by Momentos of her Rich and Busy life
after her Beloved "Teacher's" Death in 1936. And it was Arcan Ridge she called Hoome for the rest of her life. "Teacher's"
Death, although it left her with a heavy heart, did not leave Helen alone. Polly Thomson, a Scotswoman who joined the Keller
Household in 1914, assumed the task of assisting Helen with her Work. After Miss Thomson's death in 1960, a devoted Nurse-Companion,
Mrs. Winifred Corally, assisted her until her last day.
Helen Keller made her last major Public Appearance in 1961 at a Washington, DC, Lions Club
Meeting. At that Meeting she received the Lion's Humanitarian Award for her Lifetime of Service to Humanity and for providing
the Inspiration for the adoption by Lions International of their Sight Conversation and Aid to Blind Programs. During that
visit to Washington, she also called on President Kennedy at the White House. After that White House visit, a Reporter asked
her how many of our Presidents she had met. She replied that she did not know how many, but that she had met all of them since
After 1961, Helen Keller lived quietly at Arcan Ridge. She saw her Family, Close Friends,
and Associates from the American Foundation for the Blind and teh American Foundation for Overseas Blind, and spent much time
Reading. Her favorite Books were the Bible and Volumes of Poetry and philosophy.
Despite her retirement from Public Life, Helen Keller was not forgotten. In 1964 she received
the previously mentioned Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1965, she was one of 20 Elected to the Women's Hall of Fame at
the New York World's Fair. Miss Keller and Eleanor Roosevelt received the most Votes among the 100 Mominees. Helen Keller
is now Honored in The Hall of Fame For Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field.
Helen Keller died on June 1, 1968, at Arcan Ridge, a few weeks short of her 88th Birthday.
her Ashes were placed next to her Beloved Companions, Anne Sullivan Macy and Polly thomson, in the St. Joseph's Chapel of
Washington Cathedral. On that Occasion a Public Memorial Service was held in the Cathedral. It was attended by her Family
and Friends, Government Officials, Prominent Persons from all Walks of Life, and Delegations from most of the Organizations
for the Blind and Deaf.
In his Eulogy, Senator Lister Hill of Alabama expressed the feelings of the Whole World when
he said of Helen Keller, "She will live on, one of the few, the Immortal Names not Born to die. Her Spirit will endure as
long as Man can Read and Stories can be told of the Woman who showed the World there are no Boundaries to Courage and Faith."