Helen Keller Additional Biography

Biography

Helen Adams Keller was born on June 27, 1880, in Tuscumbia, Alabama, the daughter of Captain Arthur Keller, a former Confederate officer, and...

(The entire section is 1190 words.)

Biography

(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Mark Twain characterized Helen Adams Keller as “the greatest woman since Joan of Arc,” a description still fitting more than a hundred years after her remarkable accomplishments began to be publicized throughout the world. She became one of the best-known humanitarians of the twentieth century. The daughter of newspaper editor Arthur H. and Kate (Adams) Keller, Helen developed a fever that left her deaf and blind at nineteen months of age. She lived in a frustrating world of dark silence until 1887, when twenty-year-old Anne Mansfield Sullivan came from the Perkins Institution for the Blind in Boston to be her teacher. Sullivan had been taught by her blind-deaf roommate, Laura Bridgman, to communicate using the manual alphabet,...

(The entire section is 738 words.)

Biography

(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

Helen Keller was born in 1880 in Alabama, the daughter of Arthur Keller, a former captain in the Confederate Army. At the age of nineteen months, Keller was stricken with a disease which has never been clearly identified. It left her blind and deaf. Her education began when Anne Sullivan became her teacher in 1887, after young Helen’s situation had come to the attention of many celebrities of the time.

Keller was a rapid learner, and her earliest letters and school assignments proclaimed her love for literature and her desire to become a professional writer. Her first book, The Story of My Life, was written while she was a student at Radcliffe College, from which she was graduated, with honors, in 1904. The autobiographical work describes in great detail Keller’s education by Anne Sullivan.

Most of Keller’s works have been largely autobiographical; the author often complained that nobody seemed interested in her views about the world at large. When she wrote of politics, religion, and other outside matters, many critics dismissed her writings as the works of others who were merely trying to use Keller’s celebrity status to further their own ends. Those who actually knew the woman, however, have always denied this.

In 1909, Keller joined the Socialist Party, and in 1913, published Out of the Dark, a compilation of essays on her political views. In 1917, she joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a labor organization that advocated radical, often socialist solutions to world problems. Along with her IWW colleagues, Keller opposed United States entry into World War I. During and after the war, she became involved in a series of lecture tours, almost always accompanied by Anne Sullivan.

At one point in her life, her pacifism, based on a religious belief that killing was evil, came into direct conflict with her more general humanitarian impulses. When the Nazis came into power, Keller for the first time advocated war, because she felt that the Nazis must be stopped, at whatever cost. In connection with this, she spoke and wrote widely about the horrors of Fascism.

Keller’s last book, Teacher, a biography of Anne Sullivan, was published in 1955, after a long delay. In 1961, Keller suffered a mild stroke and decided to retire from public life. She died in 1968, in Connecticut.

Biography

(Critical Survey of Ethics and Literature)

Author Profile

At the age of eighteen months, Helen Keller suffered a severe illness that left her blind and deaf. She could not communicate with other people. When Helen was eight years old, her parents hired a teacher, Anne Sullivan, from the Perkins Institution for the Blind. Ms. Sullivan taught Helen a manual alphabet and finger-spelled the names of various objects. Within two years, Helen learned to read and write in Braille. At age ten, Helen learned to speak by feeling the vibrations of Ms. Sullivan’s vocal cords. In 1990, Anne Sullivan accompanied Helen Keller to Radcliffe College. Four years later, Helen graduated cum laude and began writing essays on the rights of the handicapped. Her published articles caused people to become more aware of handicapped people. She lectured worldwide and gained the support of famous people on improving the rights of the disabled. Her publications include The World I Live In (1908), Out of the Dark (1913), Helen Keller’s Journal (1938), and Teacher: Anne Sullivan Macy (1955). Helen Keller was an activist for the rights of the disabled until her death in 1968.

Bibliography

Blatt, Burton. “Friendly Letters.” Exceptional Children 51 (February, 1985). A notable article on Keller’s personal growth.

Brooks, Van Wyck. Helen Keller: Sketch for a Portrait. New York: Dutton, 1956. Worthwhile.

Einhorn, Lois J. Helen Keller, Public Speaker: Sightless but Seen, Deaf but Heard. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998. From the series Great American Orators.

Harrity, Richard, and Ralph G. Martin. The Three Lives of Helen Keller. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1962. Contains scores of photographs.

Herrmann, Dorothy. Helen Keller: A Life. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998. A comprehensive, candid biography that describes Keller’s turbulent relationship with Annie Sullivan, her doomed love affair, her struggles to earn a living, her triumphs at Radcliffe College, and her work as an advocate for the disabled.

Houston, Jean. Public Like a Frog: Entering the Lives of Three Great Americans. Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Publishing, 1993. Concise biographical sketches of Emily Dickinson, Thomas Jefferson, and Helen Keller, highlighting their spirituality. This work is unique in that the biographies are interspersed with personal growth exercises that invite the reader’s imaginative participation in crucial moments of the subjects’ lives.

Lash, Joseph P. Helen and Teacher: The Story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy. 1980. Reprint. New York: Addison-Wesley, 1997. An excellent biography and literary examination, for which the Keller archives were first opened.

Biography

Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, on June 27, 1880. She suffered a serious illness at the age of nineteen months that left her...

(The entire section is 458 words.)

Biography

(Masterpieces of Women's Literature, Critical Edition)

Author Profile

Although scarlet fever left Helen Keller blind and deaf at the age of nineteen months, with the help of her mentor, Anne Sullivan, Keller learned to read braille and to lip-read by placing her thumb and forefingers on the speaker’s face. She graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College, specializing in languages and philosophy. Keller was an early advocate for the American Foundation for the Blind and wrote several influential books, including The Story of My Life (1902), The World I Live In (1908), Helen Keller’s Journal (1938), and Teacher (1955).

Bibliography

Blatt, Burton. “Friendly Letters.” Exceptional Children 51 (February, 1985). A notable article on Keller’s personal growth.

Brooks, Van Wyck. Helen Keller: Sketch for a Portrait. New York: Dutton, 1956. Worthwhile.

Einhorn, Lois J. Helen Keller, Public Speaker: Sightless but Seen, Deaf but Heard. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998. From the series Great American Orators.

Harrity, Richard, and Ralph G. Martin. The Three Lives of Helen Keller. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1962. Contains scores of photographs.

Herrmann, Dorothy. Helen Keller: A Life. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998. A comprehensive, candid biography that describes Keller’s turbulent relationship with Annie Sullivan, her doomed love affair, her struggles to earn a living, her triumphs at Radcliffe College, and her work as an advocate for the disabled.

Houston, Jean. Public Like a Frog: Entering the Lives of Three Great Americans. Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Publishing, 1993. Concise biographical sketches of Emily Dickinson, Thomas Jefferson, and Helen Keller, highlighting their spirituality. This work is unique in that the biographies are interspersed with personal growth exercises that invite the reader’s imaginative participation in crucial moments of the subjects’ lives.

Lash, Joseph P. Helen and Teacher: The Story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy. 1980. Reprint. New York: Addison-Wesley, 1997. An excellent biography and literary examination, for which the Keller archives were first opened.

Bibliography

Blatt, Burton. “Friendly Letters.” Exceptional Children 51 (February, 1985). A notable article on Keller’s personal growth.

Brooks, Van Wyck. Helen Keller: Sketch for a Portrait. New York: Dutton, 1956. Worthwhile.

Einhorn, Lois J. Helen Keller, Public Speaker: Sightless but Seen, Deaf but Heard. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998. From the series Great American Orators.

Harrity, Richard, and Ralph G. Martin. The Three Lives of Helen Keller. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1962. Contains scores of photographs.

Herrmann, Dorothy. Helen Keller: A Life. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998. A comprehensive, candid biography that describes Keller’s turbulent relationship with Annie Sullivan, her doomed love affair, her struggles to earn a living, her triumphs at Radcliffe College, and her work as an advocate for the disabled.

Houston, Jean. Public Like a Frog: Entering the Lives of Three Great Americans. Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Publishing, 1993. Concise biographical sketches of Emily Dickinson, Thomas Jefferson, and Helen Keller, highlighting their spirituality. This work is unique in that the biographies are interspersed with personal growth exercises that invite the reader’s imaginative participation in crucial moments of the subjects’ lives.

Lash, Joseph P. Helen and Teacher: The Story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy. 1980. Reprint. New York: Addison-Wesley, 1997. An excellent biography and literary examination, for which the Keller archives were first opened.