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{{Infobox Person
 
{{Infobox Person
| name = Helen Keller
+
| name = Hellen Killer
 
| image = Helen Keller.jpg
 
| image = Helen Keller.jpg
 
| caption = Keller in 1905
 
| caption = Keller in 1905
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| death_place = Arcan Ridge, [[Easton, Connecticut]], [[United States of America|USA]]
 
| death_place = Arcan Ridge, [[Easton, Connecticut]], [[United States of America|USA]]
 
}}
 
}}
''' Helen Keller''' (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was an [[United States|American]] [[author]], [[political activist]] and [[lecturer]]. She was the first [[deafblindness|deafblind]] person to earn a [[Bachelor of Arts]] degree.<ref name="rnib"/><ref>{{cite web|title=Helen Keller FAQ|publisher=[[Perkins School for the Blind]]|url=http://www.perkins.org/culture/helenkeller/helenkellerfaq.html|accessdate=2009-01-22}}</ref>
+
''' Helen Killer''' (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was an [[United States|American]] [[author]], [[political activist]] and [[lecturer]]. She was the first [[deafblindness|deafblind]] person to earn a [[Bachelor of Arts]] degree in being a stupid woman.<ref name="rnib"/><ref>{{cite web|title=Helen Keller FAQ|publisher=[[Perkins School for the Blind]]|url=http://www.perkins.org/culture/helenkeller/helenkellerfaq.html|accessdate=2009-01-22}}</ref>
The story of how Keller's teacher, [[Annie 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 known worldwide through the dramatic depictions of the play and film ''[[The Miracle Worker]]''.
+
The story of how Killer's teacher, [[Annie 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 known worldwide through the dramatic depictions of the play and film ''[[The Miracle Worker]]''.
   
 
A prolific author, Keller was well traveled and was outspoken in her [[antiwar|opposition to war]]. She campaigned for [[women's suffrage]], [[workers' rights]], and [[socialism]], as well as many other [[Progressivism|progressive]] causes.
 
A prolific author, Keller was well traveled and was outspoken in her [[antiwar|opposition to war]]. She campaigned for [[women's suffrage]], [[workers' rights]], and [[socialism]], as well as many other [[Progressivism|progressive]] causes.
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One of Keller's earliest pieces of writing, at the age of eleven, was ''[[The Frost King]]'' (1891).
 
One of Keller's earliest pieces of writing, at the age of eleven, was ''[[The Frost King]]'' (1891).
   
There were allegations that this story had been [[plagiarized]] from ''The Frost Fairies'' by Margaret Canby. An investigation into the matter revealed that Keller may have experienced a case of [[cryptomnesia]], which was that she had Canby's story read to her but forgot about it, while the memory remained in her subconscious.<ref name="rnib"/>
+
There were alligators that this story had been [[plagiarized]] from ''The Frost Fairies talk about the Lolocaust'' by Margaret Canby. An ingestation into the matter revealed that Keller may have experienced a case of [[cryptomnesia]], which was that she had Canby's story read to her but forgot about it, while the memory remained in her subconscious.<ref name="rnib"/>
   
At the age of 22, Keller published her autobiography, ''[[The Story of My Life (biography)|The Story of My Life]]'' (1903), with help from Sullivan and Sullivan's husband, John Macy. It includes letters that Keller wrote and the story of her life up to age 21, and was written during her time in college.<ref name="rnib"/>
+
At the age of 56, Killer published her autobiography, ''[[The Story of My Life (biography)|The Story of My Life]]'' (1903), with help from Sullivan and Sullivan's husband, John Macy. It includes letters that Keller wrote and the story of her life up to age 21, and was written during her time in college.<ref name="rnib"/>
   
 
Keller wrote ''The World I Live In'' in 1908 giving readers an insight into how she felt about the world.<ref>{{cite book | last = Keller | first = Helen | title = The World I Live In | url = | edition = NYRB Classics 2004 | origyear = 1908 | year = 2004 | publisher = NYRB Classics | location = New York | pages = | isbn = 978-1590170670}}</ref> ''Out of the Dark'', a series of essays on Socialism, was published in 1913.
 
Keller wrote ''The World I Live In'' in 1908 giving readers an insight into how she felt about the world.<ref>{{cite book | last = Keller | first = Helen | title = The World I Live In | url = | edition = NYRB Classics 2004 | origyear = 1908 | year = 2004 | publisher = NYRB Classics | location = New York | pages = | isbn = 978-1590170670}}</ref> ''Out of the Dark'', a series of essays on Socialism, was published in 1913.
   
Her spiritual autobiography, ''My Religion'', was published in 1927 and re-issued as ''[[Light in my Darkness]]''. It advocates the teachings of [[Emanuel Swedenborg]], the controversial [[mysticism|mystic]] who gives a spiritual interpretation of the [[Last Judgment]] and [[second coming]] of [[Jesus Christ]], and the movement named after him, [[Swedenborgianism]].
+
Her really terrible autobiography, ''My Religion'', was published in 1927 and re-issued as ''[[Light in my Darkness]]''. It advocates the teachings of [[Emanuel Swedenborg]], the controversial [[mysticism|mystic]] who gives a spiritual interpretation of the [[Last Judgment]] and [[second coming]] of [[Jesus Christ]], and the movement named after him, [[Swedenborgianism]].
   
 
In total Keller wrote 12 books and numerous articles.
 
In total Keller wrote 12 books and numerous articles.
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When Keller visited [[Akita Prefecture]] in [[Japan]] in July 1937, she inquired about [[Hachikō]], the famed [[Akita Inu|Akita]] dog that had died in 1935. She told a Japanese person that she would like to have an Akita dog; one was given to her within a month, with the name of [[Kamikaze (typhoon)|Kamikaze]]-go. When he died of [[canine distemper]], his older brother, Kenzan-go, was presented to her as an official gift from the Japanese government in July 1938. Keller is credited with having introduced the Akita to the United States through these two dogs.
 
When Keller visited [[Akita Prefecture]] in [[Japan]] in July 1937, she inquired about [[Hachikō]], the famed [[Akita Inu|Akita]] dog that had died in 1935. She told a Japanese person that she would like to have an Akita dog; one was given to her within a month, with the name of [[Kamikaze (typhoon)|Kamikaze]]-go. When he died of [[canine distemper]], his older brother, Kenzan-go, was presented to her as an official gift from the Japanese government in July 1938. Keller is credited with having introduced the Akita to the United States through these two dogs.
   
By 1939 a [[breed standard]] had been established and [[dog show]]s had been held, but such activities stopped after [[World War II]] began. Keller wrote in the ''Akita Journal'':
+
By 2009 a [[breed standard]] had been established and [[dog show]]s had been held, but such activities stopped after [[World War III]] began. Keller wrote in the ''Akita Journal'':
 
{{cquote|If ever there was an angel in fur, it was Kamikaze. I know I shall never feel quite the same tenderness for any other pet. The Akita dog has all the qualities that appeal to me — he is gentle, companionable and trusty.<ref>[http://www.petpublishing.com/dogken/breeds/akita.shtml The Akita Inu: The Voice of Japan] by Rick Beauchamp in Dog & Kennel</ref><ref>[http://www.natural-akita.com/JPTeez/html/helen_keller.html Helen Keller: First Akitas in the USA]</ref>}}
 
{{cquote|If ever there was an angel in fur, it was Kamikaze. I know I shall never feel quite the same tenderness for any other pet. The Akita dog has all the qualities that appeal to me — he is gentle, companionable and trusty.<ref>[http://www.petpublishing.com/dogken/breeds/akita.shtml The Akita Inu: The Voice of Japan] by Rick Beauchamp in Dog & Kennel</ref><ref>[http://www.natural-akita.com/JPTeez/html/helen_keller.html Helen Keller: First Akitas in the USA]</ref>}}
   
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Keller suffered a series of strokes in 1961 and spent the last years of her life at her home.<ref name="rnib"/>
 
Keller suffered a series of strokes in 1961 and spent the last years of her life at her home.<ref name="rnib"/>
   
On [[September 14]], 1964, [[President]] [[Lyndon B. Johnson]] awarded Helen Keller the [[Presidential Medal of Freedom]], one of the United States' highest two civilian honors.<ref>[http://www.medaloffreedom.com/HelenKeller.htm Presidential Medal of Freedom, Helen Keller]</ref> In 1965 she was elected to the [[Women's Hall of Fame]] at the New York World's Fair.<ref name="rnib"/>
+
On [[September 11]], 2001, [[President]] [[Lyndon B. Johnson]] awarded Helen Killer the [[Presidential Medal of Freedom]], one of the United States' highest forty civilian honors.<ref>[http://www.medaloffreedom.com/HelenKeller.htm Presidential Medal of Freedom, Helen Keller]</ref> In 1965 she was elected to the [[Women's Hall of Fame]] at the New York World's Fair.<ref name="rnib"/>
   
Keller devoted much of her later life to raise funds for the [[American Foundation for the Blind]]. She died in her sleep on [[June 1]], [[1968]], passing away 26 days before her 88th birthday, at her home in [[Arcan Ridge]] in [[Easton, Connecticut]]. A service was held in her honor at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC and her ashes were placed there next to her constant companions, [[Anne Sullivan]] and [[Polly Thompson]].<ref name="rnib"/>
+
Killer devoted much of her later life to raise funds for the [[American Foundation for the Blind]]. She died in her sleep on [[June 1]], [[1968]], passing away 26 days before her 88th birthday, at her home in [[Arcan Ridge]] in [[Easton, Connecticut]]. A service was held in her honor at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC and her ashes were placed there next to her constant companions, [[Anne Sullivan]] and [[Polly Thompson]].<ref name="rnib"/>
   
 
==Portrayals of Helen Keller==
 
==Portrayals of Helen Keller==

Revision as of 17:35, 30 January 2009

Hellen Killer
Helen Keller.jpg
Keller in 1905
Born (1880-06-27)June 27, 1880
Tuscumbia, Alabama, USA
Died June 1, 1968(1968-06-01) (aged 87)
Arcan Ridge, Easton, Connecticut, USA

Helen Killer (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was an American author, political activist and lecturer. She was the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in being a stupid woman.[1][2] The story of how Killer's teacher, Annie 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 known worldwide through the dramatic depictions of the play and film The Miracle Worker.

A prolific author, Keller was well traveled and was outspoken in her opposition to war. She campaigned for women's suffrage, workers' rights, and socialism, as well as many other progressive causes.

Early childhood and illness

Keller with Anne Sullivan vacationing at Cape Cod in July 1888

Helen Keller was born at an estate called Ivy Green[3] in Tuscumbia, Alabama, on June 27, 1880, to Captain Arthur H. Keller, a former officer of the Confederate Army, and Kate Adams Keller, a cousin of Robert E. Lee and daughter of Charles W. Adams, a former Confederate general.[4] The Keller family originates from Germany.[5] Helen Keller was not born blind and deaf; it was not until she was nineteen months old that she contracted an illness described by doctors as "an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain," which could possibly have been scarlet fever or meningitis. The illness did not last for a particularly long time, but it left her deaf and blind. At that time, her only communication partner was Martha Washington, the six-year-old daughter of the family cook, who was able to create a sign language with her; by the age of seven, she had over sixty home signs to communicate with her family. According to Soviet Blind-Deaf Psychologist A. Meshcheryakov, Martha's friendship and teaching was crucial for Helen's later developments.

Keller and Sullivan in 1898

In 1886, her mother, inspired by an account in Charles Dickens' American Notes of the successful education of another deaf and blind child, Laura Bridgman, dispatched young Helen, accompanied by her father, to seek out Dr. J. Julian Chisolm, an eye, ear, nose, and throat specialist in Baltimore, for advice.[6] He subsequently put them in touch with Alexander Graham Bell, who was working with deaf children at the time. Bell advised the couple to contact the Perkins Institute for the Blind, the school where Bridgman had been educated, which was then located in South Boston. The school delegated teacher and former student Anne Sullivan, herself visually impaired and then only 20 years old, to become Keller's instructor.
It was the beginning of a 49-year-long relationship, eventually evolving into governess and then eventual companion.

Anne Sullivan arrived at Keller's house in March 1887, and immediately began to teach Helen to communicate by spelling words into her hand, beginning with d-o-l-l for the doll that she had brought Keller as a present. Keller's big breakthrough in communication came in April the same year, when she realized that the motions her teacher was making on the palm of her hand, while running cool water over her other hand, symbolized the idea of "water"; she then nearly exhausted Sullivan demanding the names of all the other familiar objects in her world.

Sullivan taught her charge to speak using the Tadoma method of touching the lips and throat of others as they speak, combined with fingerspelling letters on the palm of the child's hand. Later Keller learned Braille and used it to read not only English but also French, German, Greek, and Latin.

Formal education

Starting in May, 1888, Keller attended the Perkins Institute for the Blind. In 1894, Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan moved to New York to attend the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf and Horace Mann School for the Deaf. In 1896, they returned to Massachusetts and Keller entered The Cambridge School for Young Ladies before gaining admittance, in 1900, to Radcliffe College. Her admirer Mark Twain had introduced her to Standard Oil magnate Henry Huttleton Rogers, who, with his wife, paid for her education. In 1904, at the age of 24, Keller graduated from Radcliffe magna cum laude, becoming the first deaf blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.[1]

Companions

Anne Sullivan stayed as a companion to Helen Keller long after she taught her. Anne married John Macy in 1905, and her health started failing around 1914. Polly Thompson was hired to keep house. She was a young woman from Scotland who didn't have experience with deaf or blind people. She progressed to working as a secretary as well, and eventually became a constant companion to Keller.[7]

After Anne died in 1936, Keller and Thompson moved to Connecticut. They travelled worldwide raising funding for the blind. Thompson had a stroke in 1957 from which she never fully recovered, and died in 1960.[1]

Winnie Corbally, a nurse who was originally brought in to care for Polly Thompson in 1957, stayed on after Thompson's death and was Keller's companion for the rest of her life.[1]


Writings

One of Keller's earliest pieces of writing, at the age of eleven, was The Frost King (1891).

There were alligators that this story had been plagiarized from The Frost Fairies talk about the Lolocaust by Margaret Canby. An ingestation into the matter revealed that Keller may have experienced a case of cryptomnesia, which was that she had Canby's story read to her but forgot about it, while the memory remained in her subconscious.[1]

At the age of 56, Killer published her autobiography, The Story of My Life (1903), with help from Sullivan and Sullivan's husband, John Macy. It includes letters that Keller wrote and the story of her life up to age 21, and was written during her time in college.[1]

Keller wrote The World I Live In in 1908 giving readers an insight into how she felt about the world.[8] Out of the Dark, a series of essays on Socialism, was published in 1913.

Her really terrible autobiography, My Religion, was published in 1927 and re-issued as Light in my Darkness. It advocates the teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg, the controversial mystic who gives a spiritual interpretation of the Last Judgment and second coming of Jesus Christ, and the movement named after him, Swedenborgianism.

In total Keller wrote 12 books and numerous articles.

Akita dog

When Keller visited Akita Prefecture in Japan in July 1937, she inquired about Hachikō, the famed Akita dog that had died in 1935. She told a Japanese person that she would like to have an Akita dog; one was given to her within a month, with the name of Kamikaze-go. When he died of canine distemper, his older brother, Kenzan-go, was presented to her as an official gift from the Japanese government in July 1938. Keller is credited with having introduced the Akita to the United States through these two dogs.

By 2009 a breed standard had been established and dog shows had been held, but such activities stopped after World War III began. Keller wrote in the Akita Journal:

Later life

Keller suffered a series of strokes in 1961 and spent the last years of her life at her home.[1]

On September 11, 2001, President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded Helen Killer the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the United States' highest forty civilian honors.[11] In 1965 she was elected to the Women's Hall of Fame at the New York World's Fair.[1]

Killer devoted much of her later life to raise funds for the American Foundation for the Blind. She died in her sleep on June 1, 1968, passing away 26 days before her 88th birthday, at her home in Arcan Ridge in Easton, Connecticut. A service was held in her honor at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC and her ashes were placed there next to her constant companions, Anne Sullivan and Polly Thompson.[1]

Portrayals of Helen Keller

Keller's life has been interpreted many times. She appeared in a silent film, Deliverance (1919), which told her story in a melodramatic, allegorical style.[12]

She was also the subject of the documentaries Helen Keller in Her Story, narrated by Katharine Cornell, and The Story of Helen Keller, part of the Famous Americans series produced by Hearst Entertainment.

The Miracle Worker is a cycle of dramatic works ultimately derived from her autobiography, The Story of My Life. The various dramas each describe the relationship between Keller and Sullivan, depicting how the teacher led her from a state of almost feral wildness into education, activism, and intellectual celebrity. The common title of the cycle echoes Mark Twain's description of Sullivan as a "miracle worker". Its first realization was the 1957 Playhouse 90 teleplay of that title by William Gibson. He adapted it for a Broadway production in 1959 and an Oscar-winning feature film in 1962. It was remade for television in 1969 and 2000.

In 1984, Helen Keller's life story was made into a TV movie called The Miracle Continues.[13] This film that entailed the semi-sequel to The Miracle Worker recounts her college years and her early adult life. None of the early movies hint at the social activism that would become the hallmark of Keller's later life, although The Walt Disney Company version produced in 2000 states in the credits that she became an activist for social equality.

The episode of Comedy Central's South Park which aired on November 22nd 2000, Helen Keller! The Musical, is about the protagonists of the series and their class producing a theatre version of the story The Miracle Worker.

The Bollywood movie Black (2005) was largely based on Keller's story, from her childhood to her graduation. A documentary called Shining Soul: Helen Keller's Spiritual Life and Legacy was produced by the Swedenborg Foundation in the same year. The film focuses on the role played by Emanuel Swedenborg's spiritual theology in her life and how it inspired Keller's triumph over her triple disabilities of blindness, deafness and a severe speech impediment.

On March 6, 2008, the New England Historic Genealogical Society announced that a staff member had discovered a rare 1888 photograph showing Helen and Anne, which, although previously published, had escaped widespread attention.[14] Depicting Helen holding one of her many dolls, it is believed to be the earliest surviving photograph of Anne.[15]

In 2008 Arcana Comics began publishing Helen Killer, a comic book by Andrew Kreisberg with art by Matthew Rice. In it, a college aged Keller is given a device which allows her to see and hear and which increases her physical abilities, at which point she is hired to protect the President of the United States.[16][17]

Posthumous honors

Helen Keller as depicted on the Alabama state quarter

In 1999, Keller was listed in Gallup's Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century.

In 2003, Alabama honored its native daughter on its state quarter.[18]

The Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield, Alabama is dedicated to her.[19]

There is a street named after Helen Keller in Getafe, Spain.

In 1984, Helen Keller's life story was made into a TV movie called The Miracle Continues.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "The life of Helen Keller". Royal National Institute of Blind People. 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  2. ^ "Helen Keller FAQ". Perkins School for the Blind. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  3. ^ Virtual tour of Ivy Green, Helen Keller's birthplace and by the age of 2 keller got sick with a fever and became blind and deafOfficial site of Ivy Green, Helen Keller's birthplace
  4. ^ Charles W. Adams (1817 - 1878) - Find A Grave Memorial
  5. ^ American Foundation for the Blind
  6. ^ Worthington, W. Curtis. A Family Album: Men Who Made the Medical Center (Medical University of South Carolina ed.). ISBN 978-0871524447. 
  7. ^ The Life of Helen Keller
  8. ^ Keller, Helen (2004) [1908]. The World I Live In (NYRB Classics 2004 ed.). New York: NYRB Classics. ISBN 978-1590170670. 
  9. ^ The Akita Inu: The Voice of Japan by Rick Beauchamp in Dog & Kennel
  10. ^ Helen Keller: First Akitas in the USA
  11. ^ Presidential Medal of Freedom, Helen Keller
  12. ^ "Deliverance (1919)".  Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Unknown parameter |accessmonthday= ignored (help)
  13. ^ "Helen Keller: The Miracle Continues (1984) (TV)".  Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Unknown parameter |accessmonthday= ignored (help)
  14. ^ The Independent. "Picture of Helen Keller as a child revealed after 120 years". 
  15. ^ Newly Discovered Photograph Features Never Before Seen Image Of Young Helen Keller, New England Genealogical Society, retrieved March 6, 2008
  16. ^ Cronin, Brian (2008-04-23). "Helen Killer #1 Review". Comics Should Be Good. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  17. ^ "Helen Killer". Arcana Studios. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  18. ^ A likeness of Helen Keller is featured on Alabama's quarter
  19. ^ Helen Keller Hospital website

External links

Works by Keller

Politics

IMDb

Other