Helen Keller Facts

Helen Keller Facts
Helen Adams Keller was born on June 27th, 1880, to Arthur H. Keller and Kate Adams. She was born with both her sight and hearing, but when she was approximately one and a half years old she became very ill and lost both her sight and hearing. Doctors described her illness as ‘an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain'. It is unclear as to whether it was meningitis or scarlet fever. When Helen Keller was six her mother sought help and was referred to Alexander Graham Bell, who then referred them to the Perkins Institute for the Blind. There Helen met Anne Sullivan, who became Helen's instructor, governess and eventually her companion. Helen Keller was able to attend school because of Anne Sullivan's assistance and in 1904 she became the first deaf and blind person to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She graduated from Radcliffe.
Interesting Helen Keller Facts:
Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama.
Helen had one younger sister and two older stepbrothers.
Helen began speaking when she was only six months old and she began to walk when she was one.
Helen and her family's cook's daughter Martha Washington developed a type of sign language. By the time Helen was seven they had more than 60 signs to help them communicate.
Anne Sullivan moved to Alabama in 1887 to help Helen learn finger spelling. Helen threw a lot of temper tantrums and Anne insisted they be left alone at a cottage on the family plantation so that Helen could learn uninterrupted.
The first word Helen learned was ‘water'. By the end of that day she had learned 30 words in total.
Helen Keller began speech classes in Boston at the Horace Mann School for the Deaf in 1890.
Helen attended the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf in New York City from 1894 to 1896 where she improved her communication skills and was able to study regular school subjects.
Helen attended the Cambridge School for Young Ladies in 1896. It was a prep school. During this time she met Mark Twain and became friends with him.
Mark Twain introduced Helen to Henry H. Rogers, an executive at Standard Oil. He was so impressed by Helen that he agreed to pay for her education at Radcliffe College.
Anne Sullivan accompanied Helen at Radcliffe to help her interpret the texts and lectures.
Helen learned how to communicate with finger-spelling, Typing, Speech, Braille and touch-lip reading.
Helen wrote a book called The Story of My Life in 1902. She was the first person who was deaf and blind to write a book.
Helen graduated from Radcliffe when she was 24, in 1904 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Helen Keller was a founding member of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. This was the first agency to provide services to the blind.
Helen began working with the American Foundation for the Blind in 1924. This association lasted the rest of her life.
In the 1940s and 50s Helen traveled to 39 countries to encourage the establishment of schools for the blind and deaf.
Helen visited veteran's hospitals during World War II to provide encouragement to those who were blinded during the war.
Helen Keller was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964 for her work on behalf of those with disabilities.
Beginning with President Grover Cleveland, Helen met every president until JFK.
Helen loved dogs and was the first person in the U.S. to have an Akita.
The movie Helen Keller in Her Story, a documentary about her life, won her an Oscar in 1955. The movie was originally titled The Unconquered.
Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller remained close for the rest of Anne's life, until she died in 1936.
Helen died in 1968 at the age of 87.

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