Keller, Helen

Keller, Helen

▪ American author and educator
in full  Helen Adams Keller 
born June 27, 1880, Tuscumbia, Ala., U.S.
died June 1, 1968, Westport, Conn.
 American author and educator who was blind and deaf. Her education and training represent an extraordinary accomplishment in the education of persons with these disabilities.

  Keller was afflicted at the age of 19 months with an illness (possibly scarlet fever) that left her blind, deaf, and mute. She was examined by Alexander Graham Bell at the age of six; as a result he sent to her a 20-year-old teacher, Anne Sullivan (Macy) (Macy, Anne Sullivan) from the Perkins Institution for the Blind in Boston, which Bell's son-in-law directed. Sullivan, a remarkable teacher, remained with Keller from March 1887 until her own death in October 1936.

      Within months Keller had learned to feel objects and associate them with words spelled out by finger signals on her palm, to read sentences by feeling raised words on cardboard, and to make her own sentences by arranging words in a frame. During 1888–90 she spent winters at the Perkins Institution learning braille. Then she began a slow process of learning to speak under Sarah Fuller (Fuller, Sarah) of the Horace Mann School for the Deaf, also in Boston. She also learned to lip-read by placing her fingers on the lips and throat of the speaker while the words were simultaneously spelled out for her. At age 14 she enrolled in the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf in New York City, and at 16 she entered the Cambridge School for Young Ladies in Massachusetts. She won admission to Radcliffe College in 1900 and graduated cum laude in 1904.

      Having developed skills never approached by any similarly disabled person, Keller began to write of blindness, a subject then taboo in women's magazines because of the relationship of many cases to venereal disease. Edward W. Bok accepted her articles for the Ladies' Home Journal, and other major magazines—The Century, McClure's, and The Atlantic Monthly—followed suit.

      She wrote of her life in several books, including The Story of My Life (1903), Optimism (1903), The World I Live In (1908), My Religion (1927), Helen Keller's Journal (1938), and The Open Door (1957). In 1913 she began lecturing (with the aid of an interpreter), primarily on behalf of the American Foundation for the Blind, for which she later established a $2 million endowment fund, and her lecture tours took her several times around the world. Her efforts to improve treatment of the deaf and the blind were influential in removing the disabled from asylums. She also prompted the organization of commissions for the blind in 30 states by 1937. Keller's childhood training with Anne Sullivan was depicted in William Gibson's play The Miracle Worker (New York opening, October 19, 1959), which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1960 and was subsequently made into a motion picture (1962) that won two Academy Awards.

Additional Reading
Richard Harrity and Ralph G. Martin, The Three Lives of Helen Keller (1962); and Joseph P. Lash, Helen and Teacher: The Story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy (1980, reissued 1997), chronicle Keller's life.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Keller, Helen (Adams) — born June 27, 1880, Tuscumbia, Ala., U.S. died June 1, 1968, Westport, Conn. U.S. author and educator who was blind and deaf. Deprived by illness of sight and hearing at the age of 19 months, Keller soon became mute as well. Five years later she… …   Universalium

  • Keller, Helen (Adams) — (27 jun. 1880, Tuscumbia, Ala., EE.UU.–1 jun. 1968, Westport, Conn.). Autora y educadora estadounidense que era sorda y ciega. A causa de una enfermedad perdió la vista y la audición a la edad de 19 meses, y posteriormente, también el habla.… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Keller,Helen Adams — Kel·ler (kĕlʹər), Helen Adams. 1880 1968. American memoirist and lecturer. Blind and deaf since infancy, she learned to read, write, and speak from her teacher Anne Sullivan, was graduated from Radcliffe (1904), and lectured widely on behalf of… …   Universalium

  • Helen Keller — en 1905. Nombre …   Wikipedia Español

  • Helen Keller — Helen Adams Keller (27 juin 1880 à Tuscumbia, Alabama 1er juin 1968) était une écrivaine, activiste et conférencière américaine. Bien qu elle fût sourde et aveugle, elle parvint à obtenir un dip …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Helen Keller Junior High School (Schaumburg, Illinois) — Helen Keller Junior High School (or Keller Junior High) is an American middle school in Schaumburg, Cook County, Illinois; which educates children in grades seven and eight. The school was named in honor of Helen Keller, a deaf blind American… …   Wikipedia

  • Helen — puede referirse a: Nombre Helen, nombre propio de mujer, traducción de Elena. Personajes con el nombre Elena Helen Atkinson Wood Helen Chadwick Helen Clark Helen Frankenthaler Helen Gandy Helen Garner Helen Hayes Helen Hunt Helen Keller Helen… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Helen Keller — Infobox Person name = Helen Keller caption = Keller in 1905 birth date = birth date|1880|6|27|mf=y birth place = Tuscumbia, Alabama, USA death date = death date and age|1968|6|1|1880|6|27 death place = Arcan Ridge, Westport, Connecticut, USA… …   Wikipedia

  • Helen Adams Keller — Porträt von Helen Keller, 1905 Helen Adams Keller (* 27. Juni 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama; † 1. Juni 1968 in Easton, Connecticut) war eine taubblinde US amerikanische Schriftstellerin. Inhaltsverz …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Helen Keller — noun United States lecturer and writer who was blind and deaf from the age of 19 months; Anne Sullivan taught her to read and write and speak; Helen Keller graduated from college and went on to champion the cause of blind and deaf people (1880… …   Useful english dictionary

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