Helen Keller (1880-1968)

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Helen Keller holding a magnolia flower.
Helen Keller sitting while holding a magnolia flower. Photo taken in c. 1920.

An American author and advocate for people with disabilities, Helen Keller was the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Her life tells the story of overcoming great disadvantage.

Left without sight or vision by illness in her infancy, Helen’s family hired a tutor when she was seven to help her learn to communicate as a deafblind person.

An 8-year-old Helen Keller with her tutor, Anne Sullivan, in July 1888.

In her twenties, she wrote her autobiography and graduated from Radcliffe College, Massachusetts. At the age of 35, she co-founded an organization to help veterans blinded in combat. Campaigning on behalf of many socially disadvantaged groups, she helped found the American Civil Liberties Union.  

President John F. Kennedy meeting with Helen Keller on the 8th April 1961 at the Oval Office.

Helen retired from public life in 1961, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964 and died in 1968 at the age of 87.

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