Born in Alabama in 1880, Helen Keller contracted an illness which might have been scarlet fever or meningitis which left her both deaf and blind at 19 months old.
When she was six years old, her mother was referred to Perkins Institute for the Blind where a 20-year-old former student Anne Sullivan, herself visually impaired, was engaged as Helen’s instructor. It was the beginning of a 49-year-long relationship during which Sullivan evolved into Keller’s governess and eventually her companion.
Helen Keller went on to become a world-famous speaker travelling with Anne to over 40 countries giving motivational speeches about deaf people’s conditions. Helen was a suffragette, pacifist, radical socialist, birth control supporter and a prolific author, publishing 12 books.