Helen Keller’s Lineage

In the early middle of the nineteenth century the brilliant, driven, and sometimes monstrous Samuel Gridley Howe, while Director of Perkins School for the Blind, building upon earlier work, particularly the theoretical musings of the philosopher Denis Diderot, and making it his own, discovered the secret of educating the deafblind. His first success was Laura Bridgman, a girl from New Hampshire. She, and with her, Dr Howe and Perkins became world famous. For a time Laura was second only to Queen Victoria in her fame. Charles Dickens visited the school and befriended it and Laura, writing of them in his book American Notes.

In later years she would become one of Anne Sullivan’s teachers.

This all comes to mind because Helen Keller was born on this day in 1880.

After her tragic illness, her mother desperate for help, read the American Notes.

She wrote to Perkins.

They sent her Anne.

The rest, as they say, is history…