Helen Adams Keller, 1880 - 1968

portrait of Helen Keller
Los Angeles Times photo (ca. 1920)
Helen Keller signature

Born: 27 June 1880, Tuscumbia, Alabama
Died: 1 June 1968, Arcan Ridge, Easton, Connecticut

Keller fell sick at 19 months with "brain fever," now believed to have been meningitis. She wasn't expected to live, after recovering she had lost all vision and hearing. The six-year-old daughter of the family cook developed a set of sixty signs to communicate with Helen. Over the next few years her temper made her difficult to live with, and Keller and her father traveled to Baltimore for medical advice. They were introduced to Alexander Graham Bell, who was working with deaf children at the time, who suggested the Perkins Institute. A former student of the school, Anne Sullivan, became her companion through school and throughout Sullivan's life. Helen learned to communicate several different ways, by age eight she was a celebrity, when she graduated from Radcliffe in 1904 she was the first deaf and blind person to acquire a bachelors degree. She was a founder of Helen Keller International, devoted to research in vision. She was also a founding member of the ACLU, a member of the IWW, and the Socialist Party; her politics are normally not mentioned. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and was depicted on the reverse of Alabama's state quarter in 2003.

Biography from Wikipedia and Spartacus Educational

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