100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

Helen Keller To Sing At Harvard

Helen Adams Keller was born in June 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. At 19 months she contracted an illness that may have been scarlet fever or meningitis that left her deaf and blind. She commun

icated with the daughter of a cook and by age 7 had over 60 “home” signs to communicate with her family. On the advice of Alexander Graham Bell, who was working with deaf children at the time, Keller’s parents contacted the Perkins Institute for the Blind who sent 20 year old former student Anne Sullivan, herself visually impaired to teach Keller. Sullivan broke through the imprisonment of the disabilities and taught Keller to spell out words.

In 1888 Keller attended the Perkins Institute for the Blind. In 1894 Keller attend the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf and the Horace Mann School for the Deaf. In 1896 Keller entered The Cambridge School for Young Ladies. She started attending Radcliffe College in 1900. In 1904, at the age of 24, Keller graduated from Radcliffe, becoming the first deaf blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. To communicate with others as conventionally as possible, Keller learned to speak. She read lips with her hands and became proficient at using Braille and reading sign language.

On August 16, 1912 Helen Keller sang a song at a performance at the Otological Congress at Harvard School of Medicine to an audience of some of the mot noted ear and speech specialists in the world. She had made the announcement of the performance to the press last night by herself over the phone. Her speech was so clear the reporters hardly believed that it was Miss Keller on the phone.

Helen Keller
1912

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