American author and educator Helen Keller.

Helen Keller

(1880 - 1968)

Rendered deaf and blind by a virus as an infant, Helen Keller at the age of six was examined by Alexander Graham Bell, who helped arrange for her to study under the twenty-year-old Anne Sullivan. She published her autobiography in 1903, graduated from Radcliffe College in 1904, and began lecturing on blindness around the world in 1913. Beginning in 1919 and into the 1920s, she and Sullivan toured America in a vaudeville show, during which time she befriended Harpo Marx and Charlie Chaplin. Mark Twain deemed Keller to be “the most marvelous person of her sex…since Joan of Arc.”

All Writing

Health in all lands is among the indispensable guarantees of human progress.

—Helen Keller, 1936

There is no blindness more insidious, more fatal, than this race for profit.

—Helen Keller, 1928


In 1903, Mark Twain comforted Helen Keller, who had been accused of plagiarizing her story “The Frost King,” telling her in a letter, “All ideas are secondhand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources.” He took a harder line on his own intellectual property, however, campaigning so vigorously for stringent copyright laws that the American Bar Association later recognized him for his efforts.

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c. 1887 | Tuscumbia, AL

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