1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Keller, Helen Adams

KELLER, HELEN ADAMS (1880–  ), American blind deaf-mute, was born at Tuscumbia, Alabama, in 1880. When barely two years old she was deprived of sight, smell and hearing, by an attack of scarlet fever. At the request of her parents, who were acquainted with the success attained in the case of Laura Bridgman (q.v.), one of the graduates of the Perkins Institution at Boston, Miss Anne M. Sullivan, who was familiar with the teachings of Dr S. G. Howe (q.v.), was sent to instruct her at home. Unfortunately an exact record of the steps in her education was not kept; but from 1888 onwards, at the Perkins Institution, Boston, and under Miss Sarah Fuller at the Horace Mann school in New York, and at the Wright Humason school, she not only learnt to read, write, and talk, but became proficient, to an exceptional degree, in the ordinary educational curriculum. In 1900 she entered Radcliffe College, and successfully passed the examinations in mathematics, &c. for her degree of A.B. in 1904. Miss Sullivan, whose ability as a teacher must be considered almost as marvellous as the talent of her pupil, was throughout her devoted companion. The case of Helen Keller is the most extraordinary ever known in the education of blind deaf-mutes (see Deaf and Dumb ad fin.), her acquirements including several languages and her general culture being exceptionally wide. She wrote The Story of My Life (1902), and volumes on Optimism (1903), and The World I Live in (1908), which both in literary style and in outlook on life are a striking revelation of the results of modern methods of educating those who have been so handicapped by natural disabilities.