Helen Keller photo rediscovered after 120 years


This video is about Helen Adams Keller, the deafblind American author, activist and lecturer.

Many United States ‘mainstream’ views on Keller omit her ‘inconvenient’ criticism of capitalism, of oppression of women, etc.

From British daily The Independent:

Picture of Helen Keller as a child revealed after 120 years

By David Usborne in New York

Friday, 7 March 2008

Photographs of Helen Keller, the world-renowned advocate for the deaf and the blind who suffered from both handicaps herself, are not hard to come by. After all, she only died in 1968, at the age of 87. However, an image of the pioneer which has surfaced this week is a little bit different. Above all, there is its age.

The image, released by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, was taken 120 years ago and shows an eight-year-old Keller holding the hand of Anne Sullivan, whose legacy is almost as important. She was the teacher who first taught Keller how to understand and articulate language. More important still for Keller scholars, the black and white photograph shows her holding in another hand a doll. The word “doll” was the first Keller ever spoke – the fruit of her lessons from Ms Sullivan, whose technique included spelling out words on the palm of the little girl’s hand.

The picture, apparently taken at Cape Cod in July 1888, was found in an album by Thaxter Spencer, 87, whose mother was a childhood friend of Keller.

Helen Keller was not only an advocate for the deaf and the blind, but also a socialist and a fighter for women’s rights, and against war.

In many representations of her, those aspects are omitted. Like with Katharine Lee Bates, author of “America the Beautiful”: about whom it is often conveniently ‘forgotten’ that she was a feminist, a lesbian, a Christian socialist, and an anti-imperialist. Like with Albert Einstein, whose socialism is neglected … Etc.

12 thoughts on “Helen Keller photo rediscovered after 120 years

  1. Helen Keller statue to be unveiled at Capitol

    Source: CNN (10-6-09)

    It was a moment vividly depicted in the movie about her life: 7-year-old Helen Keller, holding one hand under a water pump as her teacher spelled “W-A-T-E-R” into her other hand.

    On Wednesday, a statue commemorating her 1887 breakthrough will be unveiled in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall, the first statue in the Capitol of a person with a disability, as well as the first of a child, according to the Alabama governor’s office.

    In 1997, a Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorial that opened near the National Mall drew complaints from disability advocates because its statue of the former president, who had polio, did not show Roosevelt in a wheelchair.

    In 2001, former President Clinton unveiled an addition to the memorial including a new statue of the four-term president sitting in a wheelchair.

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