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Helen Keller

Helen Keller
A woman with full dark hair and wearing a long dark dress, her face in partial profile, sits in a simple wooden chair. A locket hangs from a slender chain around her neck; in her hands is a magnolia, its large white flower surrounded by dark leaves.
Helen Keller holding a magnolia, ca. 1920.
Born Helen Adams Keller
(1880-06-27)June 27, 1880
Tuscumbia, Alabama, U.S.
Died June 1, 1968(1968-06-01) (aged 87)
Arcan Ridge
Easton, Connecticut, U.S.
Occupation Author, political activist, lecturer
Alma mater Radcliffe College

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Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. The story of how Keller's teacher, Anne Sullivan, broke through the isolation imposed by a near complete lack of language, allowing the girl to blossom as she learned to communicate, has become widely known through the dramatic depictions of the play and film The Miracle Worker. Her birthplace in West Tuscumbia, Alabama, is now a museum and sponsors an annual "Helen Keller Day". Her birthday on June 27 is commemorated as Helen Keller Day in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania and was authorized at the federal level by presidential proclamation by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, the 100th anniversary of her birth.

A prolific author, Keller was well-traveled and outspoken in her convictions. A member of the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World, she campaigned for women's suffrage, labor rights, socialism, antimilitarism, and other similar causes. She was inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 1971 and was one of twelve inaugural inductees to the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame on June 8, 2015. Helen proved to the world that deaf people could all learn to communicate and that they could survive in the hearing world. She also taught that deaf people are capable of doing things that hearing people can do. She is one of the most famous deaf people in history and she is an idol to many deaf people in the world.

Helen Adams Keller was born on June 27, 1880, in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Her family lived on a homestead, Ivy Green, that Helen's grandfather had built decades earlier. She had two younger siblings, Mildred Campbell and Phillip Brooks Keller, and two older half-brothers from her father's prior marriage, James and William Simpson Keller.



  • Keller, Helen with Anne Sullivan and John A. Macy (1903) The Story of My Life. New York, NY: Doubleday, Page & Co.
  • Amico, Eleanor B., ed. Reader's Guide to Women's Studies (Fitzroy Dearborn, 1998) pp328–29
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