Helen Adams Keller
Helen Keller was born at Tuscumbia, Alabama in 1880. She became both blind and deaf due to an illness at the age of nineteen months.
She was taken at the age of six to see Alexander Graham Bell. At this time she was unable to communicate and was described as “half wild”. At this time her teacher, Anne Sullivan, came to live with her and began teaching her the manual alphabet. A famous breakthrough occurred in which Helen realized that the letters tapped by her teacher stood for the things and objects in her world. Helen was so brilliant that she learned Braille, and typing, and eventually to speak.
She attended Radcliffe College and graduated with honors. She was one of the most famous people of her day and traveled the world, lecturing in more than twenty-five countries on behalf of the blind and deaf. She visited the White House and met every president from Grover Cleveland through John F. Kennedy.
She received a special Oscar for the 1954 documentary about her life and a Presidential Medal of Freedom. The award winning play and movie, The Miracle Worker, is based on her story. She died in 1968. Her home at Ivy Green is a museum in her honor.