Biography Helen Keller | An American Author And Much More

By | September 11, 2021

If you want to know about the biography Helen Keller has written to throw life on important events of her life, then your search might end here. Helen Keller or Helen Adams Keller was an American author, lecturer, political activist, and disability rights activist. She conquered the hindrances of being deaf and blind and became one of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th century. Also, she was the co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union. She was not from a very prosperous family. In this post, you can get to know about some crucial aspects of the biography Helen Keller has written. Let’s read! 

Helen Keller | An Overview

Helen Keller was an American educator, an advocate for the blind and deaf, and co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union. She turned deaf and blind at the age of two due to an illness. Her teacher, Anne Sullivan, helped her make tremendous progress with her communication ability beginning in 1887, and Keller moved to college, graduating in 1904. Throughout her life, she was bestowed with numerous honors.

Family And Early Life

Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, on June 27, 1880. She was the first of Arthur H. Keller and Katherine Adams Keller’s two daughters. During the Civil War, Keller’s father served as an officer in the Confederate Army. She had two older stepbrothers as well.

The family was not particularly prosperous, but they did make a living from their cotton plantation. Arthur later became the editor of the North Alabamian, a weekly local newspaper. She was born with the ability to see and hear, and she began speaking at the age of six months. She started walking when she was one year old. You may get a glimpse of her early life in the biography Helen Keller has used to depict her early days. 

Loss of Sight and Hearing

Helen lost both her sight and hearing at the age of 19. In 1882, she became ill with an illness referred to as “brain fever” by the family doctor, which resulted in a high body temperature. The true nature of the illness is still unknown, though some experts believe it was scarlet fever or meningitis. Keller’s mother noticed that her daughter is not reacting to the dinner bell ring or waving hands in front of her face a few days after the fever broke.

Keller developed a limited mode of communication with her companion, Martha Washington, the young daughter of the family cook, as she grew into childhood. They had invented a form of sign language. By the time Keller was seven, they had created over 60 signs to communicate with one another.

Keller had also become very rough and unruly during this time. When she was angry, she would kick and scream, and when she was happy, she would laugh uncontrollably. She tormented Martha and threw temper tantrums at her parents. Many family members believed she should be institutionalized.

Helen’s Education 

Keller began teaching speech at the Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Boston in 1890. She would work for 25 years to improve her communication skills so that others could understand her. Keller attended the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf in New York City from 1894 to 1896. She worked on her communication skills and studied regular academic subjects while there.

Keller became determined to attend college around this time. In 1896, she enrolled in the Cambridge School for Young Ladies, a female preparatory school. Keller started meeting famous and influential people as her story became more widely known. Mark Twain, a writer, was one of them, and he was very impressed with her. They ended up becoming friends. Twain introduced her to Henry H. Rogers, a friend of his.

The Story of My Life

Keller wrote her first book, The Story of My Life, with the assistance of Sullivan and Macy, Sullivan’s future husband. The biography Helen Keller wrote was published in 1905. It is the memoir that chronicles Keller’s development from a child to a 21-year-old college student.

Social Activism

Keller addressed social and political issues such as women’s suffrage, pacifism, birth control, and socialism during the first half of the twentieth century. Keller set out after college to learn more about the world and how she could help improve the lives of others. Her story was widely publicized outside of Massachusetts and New England. Keller rose to prominence as a celebrity and lecturer by sharing her experiences with audiences and advocating on behalf of others with disabilities. She strongly worked to improve the wellness of blind people. 

In 1915, she co-founded Helen Keller International with renowned city planner George Kessler to combat the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition. She was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920.

Keller’s efforts were given a national outlet when the American Federation for the Blind was founded in 1921. She joined in 1924 and took part in numerous campaigns to raise awareness, funds, and support for the blind. She also became a member of other organizations dedicated to assisting the less fortunate, such as the Permanent Blind War Relief Fund.

Politics

Keller joined the Socialist Party shortly after graduating from college, most likely as a result of her friendship with John Macy. Between 1909 and 1921, she published several articles on socialism and campaigned for Eugene Debs, the Socialist Party’s presidential candidate. Her “Out of the Dark” series of essays on socialism described her views on socialism and world affairs.

It was during this period that Keller first encountered public prejudice regarding her disabilities. The press had been overwhelmingly cooperative of her for the majority of her life, praising her bravery and intelligence. However, after she expressed her socialist views, some criticized her by focusing on her disabilities. A newspaper, the Brooklyn Eagle, stated that her “mistakes sprung out of the manifest limitations of her development.”

Keller was appointed as the American Foundation of Overseas Blind’s counselor of international relations in 1946. She visited 35 countries on five continents between 1946 and 1957. At the age of 75, Keller set out on the longest and most difficult journey of her life: a 40,000-mile, five-month journey across Asia. Moreover, her numerous speeches and appearances were influential for millions of people. 

“The Miracle Worker” Movie

Helen Keller wrote the biography The Story of My Life, which served as the basis for the 1957 television drama The Miracle Worker. The story was adapted into a Broadway play of the same name in 1959, starring Patty Duke as Keller and Anne Bancroft as Sullivan. These two actresses also played those roles in the play’s award-winning film adaptation in 1962.

Awards and Honors

Many honors were bestowed upon her during her lifetime, including the Theodore Roosevelt Distinguished Service Medal in 1936, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964, and induction into the Women’s Hall of Fame in 1965.

Keller also received honorary doctorates from Temple University and Harvard University, as well as Glasgow University in Scotland, Berlin University in Germany, Delhi University in India, and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She was an honorary member of the Educational Institute of Scotland.

Role Of Keller’s Teacher, Anne Sullivan In Her Life

Keller worked for 49 years with her teacher Anne Sullivan, from 1887 until Sullivan’s death in 1936. Sullivan suffered from health problems and lost her sight completely in 1932. When Sullivan died, a young woman named Polly Thomson, who had started working as a secretary for Keller and Sullivan in 1914, became Keller’s constant companion.

In 1886, Keller’s mother was looking for answers and inspiration when she came across Charles Dickens’ travelogue, American Notes. She learned about the successful education of another deaf and blind child, Laura Bridgman, and promptly sent Keller and her father to Baltimore, Maryland, to see specialist Dr. J. Julian Chisolm.

Chisolm recommended Keller see Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone. He was working with deaf children at the time. He met with Keller and her parents and suggested that they travel to Boston to the Perkins Institute for the Blind. Besides, the biography Helen Keller has written clearly demonstrates Anne Sullivan’s influence on her life.

Death

Keller died peacefully in her sleep on June 1, 1968, just weeks before her 88th birthday. She had a series of strokes in 1961 and spent the rest of her life at home in Connecticut.

Keller served as a powerful example of how determination, hard work, and imagination can allow an individual to triumph over adversity throughout her remarkable life. She rose to prominence as a respected and world-renowned activist who worked for the betterment of others by persevering in the face of adversity.

Conclusion

This post elaborates on some crucial life facts of Helen Keller. You may find these incidents of her life in the biography Helen Keller has written to give a glimpse of her struggles, and journey of success. If you love reading the inspirational life stories of great personalities, reach out to our blog section to find more. 

 

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