The life of Helen Keller Source : http://www.rnib.org.uk/xpedio/groups/public/documents/publicwebsite/public_keller.hcsp#P8_883 : The life of Helen Keller Source : http://www.rnib.org.uk/xpedio/groups/public/documents/publicwebsite/public_keller.hcsp#P8_883 About the life of Helen Keller, the deafblind woman who became a role model for millions of people Dedicated to a very special Greek pupil Slide 4: Helen Adams Keller was born on 27 June 1880 in Tuscumbia, a small rural town in Northwest Alabama, USA. The daughter of Captain Arthur Henley Keller and Kate Adams Keller she was born with full sight and hearing. Helen falls ill : Helen falls ill But Helen’s life was to change dramatically. In February 1882, when Helen was nineteen months old, she fell ill. To this day the nature of her ailment remains a mystery. The doctors of the time called it “brain fever”, whilst modern day doctors think it may have been scarlet fever or meningitis.
Whatever the illness, Helen was, for many days, expected to die. When, eventually, the fever subsided, Helen’s family rejoiced believing their daughter to be well again.
However, Helen’s mother soon noticed how her daughter was failing to respond when the dinner bell was rang or when she passed her hand in front of her daughter’s eyes.
It thus became apparent that Helen’s illness had left her both blind and deaf. Slide 8: By the time Helen was six her family had become desperate.
Kate Keller travelled to a specialist doctor (Alexander Graham Bell) in Baltimore for advice.
They were given confirmation that Helen would never see or hear again.
Kate Keller wrote to Michael Anagnos, director of the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the Blind and request a teacher for Helen.
Michael Anagnos considered Helen’s case and immediately recommended a former pupil of the institution, that woman was Anne Sullivan. HELEN KELLER AND HER TEACHER ANNIE : HELEN KELLER AND HER TEACHER ANNIE Anne Sullivan : Anne Sullivan Anne Sullivan had lost the majority of her sight at the age of five.
One summer during her time at the institute, Anne had two operations on her eyes, which led to her regaining enough sight to be able to read normal print for short periods of time.
she received the offer from Michael Anagnos to work as the teacher of Helen Keller, a deaf-blind mute, although she had no experience in this area, she accepted willingly. Helen meets Anne : Helen meets Anne Anne immediately started teaching Helen to finger spell. Spelling out the word “Doll” to signify a present she had brought with her for Helen. The next word she taught Helen was “Cake”. Although Helen could repeat these finger movements she could not quite understand what they meant.
Then, after a month of Anne’s teaching, what the people of the time called a “miracle” occurred. The “miracle” : The “miracle” Helen had until now not yet fully understood the meaning of words. When Anne led her to the water pump on 5 April 1887, all that was about to change.
As Anne pumped the water over Helen’s hand , Anne spelled out the word water in the girl’s free hand. Something about this explained the meaning of words within Helen, and Anne could immediately see in her face that she finally understood.
Helen immediately asked Anne for the name of the pump to be spelt on her hand and then the name of the trellis. All the way back to the house Helen learned the name of everything she touched and also asked for Anne’s name. Anne spelled the name “Teacher” on Helen’s hand. Within the next few hours Helen learnt the spelling of thirty new words. Helen Keller & Alexander Graham Bell : Helen Keller & Alexander Graham Bell Helen’s progress : Helen’s progress Helen’s progress from then on was astonishing.
Her ability to learn was far in advance of anything that anybody had seen before in someone without sight or hearing.
Michael Anagnos was keen to promote Helen, one of the numerous articles on her that he wrote said of Helen that “she is a phenomenon”.
Helen had become famous, and as well as again visiting Alexander Graham Bell, she visited President Cleveland at the White House. Helen Keller reads the lips : Helen Keller reads the lips The Frost King : The Frost King On 4 November 1891 Helen sent Michael Anagnos a birthday gift of a short story she had written called “The Frost King”. Anagnos was so delighted with the story that he had soon published it in a magazine hailing its importance in literary history.
However, it was soon discovered that Helen’s story was the same as one called “The Frost Fairies” by Margaret Canby.
This was ultimately to be the end of Helen and Anne’s friendship with Michael Anagnos. The Radcliffe College : The Radcliffe College In the Autumn of 1900 entered Radcliffe College, becoming the first deafblind person to have ever enrolled at an institution of higher learning.
During their time at the College Helen began to write about her life. She would write the story both in braille and on a normal typewriter.
“The Story of My Life” was published in 1903 .
On 28 June 1904 Helen graduated from Radcliffe College, becoming the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Slide 22: Helen wrote “The World I Live In”, revealing for the first time her thoughts on her world. It was also during this time that Helen became a member of the Socialist Party of Massachusetts.
In 1913 “Out of the Dark” was published. This was a series of essays on socialism and its impact on Helen’s public image was immense. Helen tours the World : Helen tours the World In 1918 the demand for Helen’s lectures had diminished and they were touring with a more light-hearted vaudeville show, which demonstrated Helen’s first understanding of the word “water”.
In 1931 they met King George and Queen Mary at Buckingham Palace, who were said to be deeply impressed by Helen’s ability to understand what people said through touch.
After World War II, Helen and Polly spent years travelling the world fundraising for the American Foundation for the Overseas Blind.
In 1953 a documentary film “The Unconquered” was made about Helen’s life, this was to win an Academy Award as the best feature length documentary . “The Miracle Worker” : “The Miracle Worker” It was in 1957 that “The Miracle Worker” was first performed. A drama portraying Anne Sullivan’s first success in communicating with Helen as a child, it first appeared as a live television play in the United States.
In 1959 it was re-written as a Broadway play and opened to rave reviews. It became a smash hit and ran for almost two years. In 1962 it was made into a film and the actresses playing Anne and Helen both received Oscars for their performances. Helen Keller holds her Oscar award : Helen Keller holds her Oscar award Helen retires from public life : Helen retires from public life In October 1961 Helen suffered the first of a series of strokes, and her public life was to draw to a close.
In 1964 Helen was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, by President Lyndon Johnson.
On June 1, 1968, at Arcan Ridge, Helen Keller died peacefully in her sleep. Helen was cremated in Bridgeport, Connecticut and a funeral service was held at the National Cathedral in Washington DC where the urn containing her ashes would later be deposited next to those of Anne Sullivan and Polly Thomson. The birthplace of Helen Keller : The birthplace of Helen Keller “Helen Keller and her beloved companion Anne Sullivan Macy are interred in the columbarium behind this chapel.” : “Helen Keller and her beloved companion Anne Sullivan Macy are interred in the columbarium behind this chapel.” Through her writings, lectures and the way she lived her life, she has shown millions of people that disability need not be the end of the world. In Helen’s own words: : In Helen’s own words: “The public must learn that the blind man is neither genius nor a freak nor an idiot. He has a mind that can be educated, a hand which can be trained, ambitions which it is right for him to strive to realise, and it is the duty of the public to help him make the best of himself so that he can win light through work.”