Helen Keller wrote her autobiography, The Story of My Life, when she was in her twenties. In it, she wrote about her family. Her father was Captain Arthur Keller. He had fought for the Confederate Army as a captain during the Civil War. He was a newspaper editor who enjoyed hunting, playing with his dogs, and gardening. He grew different kinds of fruits in his garden, and he had a special appreciation for nature. He passed this love of nature down to Helen. Helen described her father as being "most loving and indulgent, devoted to his home, seldom leaving [them], except in the hunting season" (Chapter II).
He was married to his first wife, with whom he had two sons. His second wife was Kate Adams. Together, they had Helen. They later had two more children. When Helen was a toddler, she became very ill. The illness left her deaf and blind.
Captain Keller was determined to help his daughter. He contacted many experts until he was able to find help for Helen. It was through his determination that Miss Sullivan came to teach Helen.
When Helen was sixteen, her father passed away after an illness. She described his death as her "first great sorrow-[her] first personal experience with death" (Chapter II).