Who said: "The only real blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not Christmas in his heart."

BookBrowse's Favorite Quotes

"The only real blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not Christmas in his heart." - Helen Keller

Helen Keller was born in June 1880 in Alabama. At about 19 months she contracted a disease that was probably scarlet fever or meningitis which left her totally deaf and blind. By the time she was almost seven she had grown into an unruly child with very little understanding of her world (she had a limited repetoire of about 60 non-standard signs that she was able to use to communicate with her family to a limited degree). Her mother, inspired by American Notes, a travelogue written by Charles Dickens which includes an account of the successful education of Laura Bridgman (born fifty years earlier who was struck deaf and blind by illness at two years old), was put in touch with Alexander Graham Bell, who worked with deaf children at the time. Bell advised her to contact the Perkins Institute for the Blind, where Bridgman had been educated. Shortly after, Anne Sullivan, 20 years old and visually impaired, arrived to teach Helen.

Within two months, Anne achieved a breakthrough, successfully making the connection in Helen's mind between the sign for "water" and the cool liquid running over the young girl's hand. After this, Helen was inexhaustible in her demands to learn. At eight years old she attended the Perkins Institute for the Blind, then moved through three more schools before, at the age of 20, being admitted to Radcliffe College. She graduated at the age of 24, the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Not content with simply learning to read Braille and sign language (with her hands) and to be able to sign herself, Helen learned to write (publishing 12 books and several articles), and to speak - giving many speeches and lectures. She also learned to "hear" speach by reading people's lips with her hands. She travelled prolifically and was an outspoken opponent of war, and proponent of women's suffrage and workers' rights.

Anne stayed with Helen until Anne's death 49 years later, gradually changing from governess to companion. When Anne's health started to fail in 1914, Polly Thompson was hired to keep house. Over the years, Polly transitioned from housekeeper to secretary, becoming a constant companion to Keller.

In 1964, President Johnson awarded Helen the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the United States' two highest civilian honors. In 1965 she was elected to the National Women's Hall of Fame at the New York World's Fair. She died in her sleep at home in 1968. Her ashes were placed next to those of Anne and Polly.

More Quotes

This quote & biography originally ran in an issue of BookBrowse's membership magazine. Full Membership Features & Benefits.

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: I Contain Multitudes
    I Contain Multitudes
    by Ed Yong
    If a stranger were to accost you on the street and tell you that, from birth, you have never been ...
  • Book Jacket: Night of the Animals
    Night of the Animals
    by Bill Broun
    Debut novelist Bill Broun is a gentle, exquisite literary surgeon. His protagonist, 90-year-old ...
  • Book Jacket: My Name Is Leon
    My Name Is Leon
    by Kit De Waal
    Kit de Waal's striking debut, My Name is Leon, has inspired this big, long, complicated question: ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Under the Udala Trees
by Chinelo Okparanta

Raw, emotionally intelligent and unflinchingly honest--a triumph.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.