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Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan talking
April 8, 2008 6:27 PM   Subscribe

Helen Keller speaks. As an elementary school student of the 60's, I was schooled in Helen Keller's amazing accomplishments. I had no idea that there were video records and great stills. I am humbled. At least for today. Anne Sullivan rocks, she should have been the first woman president.
posted by Rafaelloello (34 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
amazing...thanks for this...
posted by HuronBob at 6:51 PM on April 8, 2008


This is awesome. I loved the part where she went from patiently sitting to putting her hand on Anne's face; when she feels Anne speak, her face lights up with a pure joy that's almost contagious.
posted by stefanie at 6:54 PM on April 8, 2008


This is as good a place for a weird, embarrassing confession as any:

My mental image of Helen Keller is that she's black. I have no idea how I got this idea in my head, but at some point in my childhood I acquired this piece of misinformation, and no amount of reality or screenings of The Miracle Worker seems to be able to fix it. I have to remind myself every time.
posted by dismas at 6:55 PM on April 8, 2008


Wow, great. I had no idea....
posted by pjern at 6:56 PM on April 8, 2008


Awesome! I need to stop bitching about writing my dissertation.
posted by inconsequentialist at 7:04 PM on April 8, 2008


Great post, thanks!
posted by amyms at 7:10 PM on April 8, 2008


Wonderful. And so timely for me! I just finished reading her book, "The Story of My Life." I am amazed again and again at her tenacity and the sheer joy she found in learning everything she could. She wrote the book in her third year of university, at which point she had not only learned to sign, read Braille, and speak in English, but also was able to read German and French. What an amazing pair of women!

I had no idea there was video, either . . . mind-blowing, and awesome to see and hear these things now.

Thank you, Rafaelloello!
posted by po at 7:11 PM on April 8, 2008


You're not alone, dismas. Somehow her name always gives me a mental image of Harriet Tubman, even though I know that isn't right.
posted by H-Bar at 7:17 PM on April 8, 2008


There's a joke about Comic Sans and blind people in here somewhere, but I liked the pictures too much to make it. I especially love this one.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 7:29 PM on April 8, 2008


This really is amazing. All that I heard about Helen Keller, and this is the first video I've seen.

I really like that photo too, the littlest brussels sprout.
posted by Eekacat at 7:33 PM on April 8, 2008


Definitely worth extending my kid's bedtime for 3-4 minutes--he'd learned about her in school a couple weeks ago, and we were both wondering how she'd learned to talk--neither of us really knew! (I'd missed the famous movie with Sara Melissa Gilbert somehow.) And then along comes MetaFilter.

Nice find, thanks!
posted by not_on_display at 7:39 PM on April 8, 2008


Wow. Thanks for posting this. I had had no idea that there was film of her. At the very end of the video in the first link, when she finishes her sentence, she has the most amazing smile.
posted by Forktine at 7:47 PM on April 8, 2008


In related news -- last month the New England Historic Genealogical Society discovered what could be the earliest known photograph of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan together, vacationing in Brewster, MA on Cape Cod.
posted by ericb at 7:49 PM on April 8, 2008 [1 favorite]




...I was schooled in Helen Keller's amazing accomplishments.

But does anybody know what Hellen Keller's accomplishments actually were, beyond learning to speak?

Turns out that she was a radical socialist, among other things. But they don't teach you that in school. Or at least, I heard nothing about it. Anybody else learn differently?
posted by number9dream at 8:16 PM on April 8, 2008


My mental image of Helen Keller is that she's black.

I'm sure hers was, too. Hey-o!

Seriously though, I love this. I've always been so interested in Helen and in Anne. Somewhere I've even got a paperback Scholastic biography of Helen Keller where the back page is the Braille alphabet. I used to practice, just in case my nearsightedness kept on getting worse.
posted by padraigin at 9:08 PM on April 8, 2008


Whoa. She helped found the ACLU? Badass! Thanks, Helen, you rock.

Oh, and we have Akitas in the US because of her, too.
posted by bettafish at 10:04 PM on April 8, 2008


Helen Keller was a superstar in her time. Everyone who was anyone met her.

Her leftist convictions have evaporated in the textbooks, unfortunately. She was hard-core.
posted by kozad at 10:06 PM on April 8, 2008


number9dream, the way I learned was through either the People's Almanac or The Book of Lists...they ESPECIALLY don't tell one this at the Tuscumbia house.
posted by brujita at 10:07 PM on April 8, 2008


There was also a Scholastic bio of Anne Sullivan.
posted by brujita at 10:22 PM on April 8, 2008


Alabama's most beloved commie!
posted by Clay201 at 11:58 PM on April 8, 2008


Wow, this is really amazing. Truly Best of the Web. Thank you for posting this!
posted by Locative at 2:34 AM on April 9, 2008


But does anybody know what Hellen Keller's accomplishments actually were, beyond learning to speak?

She sure played a mean pinball.
posted by biffa at 2:43 AM on April 9, 2008


What wonderful footage!
posted by jack_mo at 3:42 AM on April 9, 2008


That must've been weird, to be a victim of Hiroshima and then have Helen Keller come to pay an Ooops America call.
posted by DenOfSizer at 4:11 AM on April 9, 2008


One of the more revolting things about the treatment of Keller is that, as of 2001 anyway, the curators who maintain her Ivy Green home as a museum not only took down the red flag she put over her writing desk, but replaced it with a Confederate battle flag. Not only silencing her actual socalist position, but also giving the false impression that Keller, an early supporter of the NAACP, was a racist.

Of especial note is that Keller was drawn to Socialism due to her own condition, and the fact that she realized that as a (relatively) wealthy blind person she was unusual. In her time blindness was most often found among poor children due to a variety of causes (bad nutrition, compounding illness coupled with pollution) directly related to the terrible conditions of poverty. But you won't find anything mentioning that at the "museum" they've turned her home into. The real Helen Keller is silenced there by the liars who excised all mentiuon of the causes she worked for in her adult life than she was by her physical condition.
posted by sotonohito at 4:16 AM on April 9, 2008 [4 favorites]


Great Post! I was pleased to see that the site mentions, albeit briefly, Keller's left wing politics. As mentioned above she was a socialist, founder of the ACLU, and suffragette. She also supported the NAACP, was a member of the IWW, and spoke in favor of contraception when those were all radical ideas (some still are). I learned about much of this through her entry in Lies My Teacher Told Me; more about her politics can be found here and here. It is a pity that most accounts don't give an accurate or complete account of her life; it is an excellent example of how politics warps the media in this country.
posted by TedW at 4:58 AM on April 9, 2008


Helen Keller archive at marxists.org
posted by wobh at 6:53 AM on April 9, 2008


Also, a devout satanist!
posted by wobh at 7:04 AM on April 9, 2008


sweet post, thanks!
posted by spinturtle at 9:58 AM on April 9, 2008


Why does helen keller play the piano with one hand?
posted by tylerfulltilt at 1:45 PM on April 9, 2008


The Miracle Worker is a brilliant film.
posted by bauermaster at 9:03 PM on April 9, 2008


Wobh, theosophy is hardly Satanism. If you look at more of the come and hear site, you'll see that they think everything's satanic!
posted by Sukiari at 7:49 PM on April 10, 2008


Why does helen keller play the piano with one hand?

Because "she has to sing with the other?"

I, too, went through a stage of telling "Helen Keller" jokes, as well as "Dead Baby" jokes when in my teen years. They were funny then. Some still are.

To be honest I am now conflicted as to the propriety of telling them now.
posted by ericb at 8:40 PM on April 10, 2008


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