Biography of Helen Keller / Биография Хелен Келлер

Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was a deaf and blind American author, activist, and lecturer. Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, on June 27, 1880. Her disabilities were caused by a fever in February, 1882 when she was 19 months old. Her loss of ability to communicate at such an early developmental age was very traumatic for her and her family, and she became quite unmanageable because of it.

Keller did not have the illness for a long time, but the illness left her blind, deaf, and unable to speak. By age seven she had invented over sixty different signs that she could use to communicate with her family.

In 1887, her parents, Captain Arthur H. Keller and Kate Adams Keller, finally contacted Alexander Graham Bell, who worked with deaf children. He advised them to contact the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts. They delegated the teacher Anne Sullivan, who was then only 20 years old, to try to open up Helen’s mind. It was the beginning of a 49-year period of working together.

Sullivan demanded and got permission from Helen’s father to isolate the girl from the rest of the family, in a little house in their garden. Her first task was to instill discipline in the spoiled girl. Helen’s big breakthrough in communication came one day when she realized that the motions her teacher was making on her palm symbolized the idea of «water» and nearly exhausted Sullivan demanding the names of all the other familiar objects in her world (including her prized doll).

Anne was able to teach Helen to think intelligibly and to speak, using the Tadoma method. She also learned to read English, French, German, Greek, and Latin in braille. When Helen was 24 in 1904, she graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College, where Anne Sullivan had translated every word in her hand, and became the first deaf and blind person to graduate from a college.

With tremendous willpower Helen went on to become a world-famous speaker and author. She made it her own life’s mission to fight for the sensorially handicapped in the world. In 1915 she founded Helen Keller International, a non-profit organization for preventing blindness. Helen and Anne Sullivan traveled all over the world to over 39 countries, and made several trips to Japan, becoming a favorite of the Japanese people. Helen Keller met every U.S. President from Grover Cleveland to John F. Kennedy and was friends with many famous figures including Alexander Graham Bell, Charlie Chaplin and Mark Twain.

In 1960 her book Light in my Darkness was published. She also wrote a lengthy autobiography. She wrote a total of eleven books, and authored numerous articles. Keller devoted much of her later life to raising funds for the American Foundation for the Blind. On September 14, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor.

Helen Keller died on June 1, 1968 at the age of 87, more than thirty years after the death of Anne Sullivan. She was cremated and her remains were placed in the Chapel of St. Joseph of Arimathea in Washington National Cathedral.


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 3,67 out of 5)

Loading...