Ever heard of Helen Keller? Yes, you would have. she was an unordinary person who wanted to live an ordinary life but lived an extraordinary life. Let’s find out about Helen Keller biography in more detail in this blog.
What you will find here ?
- Who was Helen Keller?
- Early life of Helen Keller and her family
- Anne Sullivan in Helen Keller’s Life
- Education of Helen Keller
- Life Assistants of Helen Keller
- More about Helen Keller
- Death of Helen Keller
Who was Helen Keller?
She was a miraculous person, despite being deaf, blind, and dumb she achieved many degrees and became a successful author. While trying to live a normal person’s life she achieved more than a normal person can think of.
Early life of Helen Keller and her family
Helen Adams Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama on 27th June 1880. her father Arthur H. Keller was a captain in the army and later was an editor of a newspaper. And her mother, Kate Adams was his second wife.
The family used to live in a house named Ivy Green which was built by Helen’s grandfather. That house is now converted into a museum. Helen had four siblings, two of them were her half brothers.
Helen was born as a normal child but when she was nineteen months old a strange fever made her deaf and blind. Doctors called that unknown fever as “acute congestion of stomach and brain”. At that time she was able to talk a little bit with a family cook’s daughter Martha Washington with the help of signs. Helen developed many signs to communicate with her family at the age of seven. Also, she was able to distinguish the footsteps of her family.
Anne Sullivan in Helen Keller’s Life
In 1886 her mother came to knew that Laura Bridgman was a successfully educated blind and deaf woman. So her father took her to a physician in Baltimore and he referred her to Alexander Graham Bell. Alexander advised them to visit Perkins Institute for the blind where Laura Bridgman was Educated.
The school assigned a 20-year-old visually impaired Anne Sullivan who was an alumnus of the institute to be Helen’s instructor. From then on they stayed together for fifty years.
Anne Sullivan went to Helen’s home for the first time on 5th March 1967, Helen remembered that day forever as ‘ my soul’s birthday’.
Anne started teaching Helen by writing spellings on her hand, the first word which she wrote on Helen’s hand was DOLL because it was the first present which she brought for Helen.
Initially Helen was very much irritated in starting that she has to remember so many identities for all objects but later with time she learned.
Anne used to teach her in the way that she gave the object in her one hand and wrote it’s spelling on the other hand.
Helen understood this method after one month of teaching when her one hand was under flowing water and on her other hand, Anne was writing w-a-t-e-r with her fingers.
After this moment Helen became very much keen to learn all names of all things, including animals. Although Helen was deaf but she was so full of life that she can enjoy the music by feeling the beats.
Miss Anne Sullivan taught her every basic information of nature, trees, sun, earth, animals, etc which a normal child should have. They traveled to many places with each other.
Education of Helen Keller
After getting starter training from Anne Sullivan, Helen started going to Perkins Institute for blinds in May 1888 for getting formal education. There also she was accompanied by Miss Sullivan, in fact, she accompanied Helen at every place in her entire life. While studying at institute Helen visited many places for learning and for adventure.
Helen always wanted to speak with her lips as a normal person at that time Helen got to know that a deaf and blind lady was taught to speak. So she and Miss Sullivan went to Miss Sarah Fuller, principal of Horace Mann School and she was so kind that she decided to teach Helen herself on 26th March 1890.
An infographic of Helen Keller’s Life:
Miss Sarah just gave her eleven lessons and Helen spoked her first sentence “it is warm”. After few months and accomplishing her mission she went home, her family was filled with joy. Later in her life, she gave many speeches.
Till October 1893 Helen studied various subjects including histories of various nations and French grammar. She hated arithmetic and termed it as boring.
Helen joined wright Humason school for the deaf in 1894 where she learned vocal culture and got trained in lip reading. She used to hear others by placing her finger on other’s lips.
In October 1896 Helen joined Cambridge school where miss Sullivan used to attend classes with her and spell the instructions on her hand.
1n 1900 Helen joined Radcliffe college of Harvard University, soon Helen discovered that college was not the same place which she imagined. She thought that she would enjoy in college but there was always a lack of time.
According to Helen exams were the most fearful things of her college life. Then Henry Huddleson rogers a businessman and his wife paid for the education of Helen Keller and they were introduced to Helen by her admirer mark twain.
Finally, At the age of 24 in 1904, Helen became the first blind deaf person to get graduated with a bachelor of arts degree. Later she kept learning and became more good in understanding Braille language and sign language.
Life Assistants of Helen Keller
Anne Sullivan was the companion of Helen Keller whom she spent most of the life. she was married in 1905 with john Macy. Anne kept falling ill from 1914 and died in 1936 after falling in a coma, during her last moments she was holding the hand of Helen.
When Anne started falling ill Poly Thomson, a young woman was hired to take care of house and Peter Fagan, a reporter who was hired as a personal secretary of Helen Keller. Helen Keller was fallen in love with peter and almost married him but according to some reports, she left him due to her family.
After the death of Anne, Helen Keller and Polly Thomson moved to Connecticut. they traveled worldwide together to raise funds for blind people. Thomson also got in bed due to a stroke in 1957 and died in 1960.
Then in 1957 Winnie Corbally was hired to take care of Polly Thomson and after her death, she was Helen’s partner for the remaining of life.
More about Helen Keller
Helen became famous in the world as an author and speaker. she traveled to 40 countries with miss Sullivan. Then In 1915, she founded Helen Keller Organisation for research in health, nutrition, and vision. In 1920 she founded the American Civil Liberties Union which provides legal assistance.
Helen Keller met every president of the united states after Grover Cleaveland till Lyndon Johnson. She also met with ever remembered legends such as Alexander Graham Bell, Mark Twain, and Charlie Chaplin.
Also Keller was a member of the socialist party from 1909 to 1921.
she published twelve books. her first writing was a story called ‘ the frost king’ which she wrote at the age of eleven. Helen wrote her autobiography ‘the story of my life’ at the age of 22, miss Sullivan and her husband helped Helen in writing this.
Also check out our blog on another great writer william shakespeare.
Then Helen traveled thirty-five countries between 1946 to 1957. She was awarded the presidential medal of freedom, one of the highest civilian medals of the united states on 14th September 1964.
She mostly spent her later life in raising funds for blinds.
So, Many movies including the Bollywood movie ‘black’ are inspired by Helen Keller.
Death of Helen Keller
Helen Keller was getting strokes since 1961 and she died while sleeping on 1st June 1968 a few weeks before turning eighty-eight.
Then Her ashes were buried next to her life long companions, Polly Thomson and Anne Sullivan. She was buried in Washington D.C.
Helen Keller was a great personality. We must learn from her that despite so much difficulty we must be positive, keep working, and achieve something in life.
She achieved so much in her life which a normal person like us just dreams of, she had written books , she gave speeches, she motivated thousands. None of your excuses can be bigger than hers, so go on achieve something in life.
ALSO READ ABOUT:
Miss Anne Sullivan taught her by method of touching lips
27 June 1880
1 June 1968
National Cathedral ,washington DC