1888 photo of Helen Keller and Anne Sullicvan found

From the AP article:

Researchers have uncovered a rare photograph of a young Helen Keller with her teacher Anne Sullivan, nearly 120 years after it was taken on Cape Cod. The photograph, shot in July 1888 in Brewster, shows an 8-year-old Helen sitting outside in a light-colored dress, holding Sullivan’s hand and cradling one of her beloved dolls.

Experts on Keller’s life believe it could be the earliest photo of the two women together and the only one showing the blind and deaf child with a doll — the first word Sullivan spelled for Keller after they met in 1887 — according to the New England Historic Genealogical Society, which now has the photo.

Helen Keller as a child

Simply put, Helen Keller is one of my heroes. The first time I encountered her story, I was in grade school – only eight years old. It was the 1979 made for television version of the Miracle Worker with Patty Duke as Anne Sullivan and Melissa Gilbert as Helen Keller. I recall being inspired by the story, but also horrified. I empathized with Keller’s situation so strongly that it scared me. I remember trying to fall asleep after the movie and feeling physically sick, nauseous, as I tried to comprehend what it would be like to be Helen Keller. Never to have heard nor seen anything – no birds in the Spring, no conversations, no colors, nothing.

At that moment I realized, if not my mortality, then my limitations as a human being. I experienced something which I later realized – as a Philosophy student – was akin to an existential moment. I know, I was eight. That’s awfully deep for an eight year old, right? I guess. Obviously, I didn’t really understand what was happening to me. It was only years later that I was able to put it into some kind of context. Regardless, it affected me deeply.

Helen Keller was born almost completely shut off from the world and yet she learned to talk and more importantly, write. Anne Sullivan was pretty amazing as well. She believed that Helen could be taught and she had both the patience and perseverance to do it. Reading the news about this photo made me think about these events from almost thirty years ago. It captures an amazing moment in the lives of two amazing women.

Read the full article here.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.

Helen Keller

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