Helen Keller: What You Didn't Know About The Outspoken Socialist

By | June 24, 2020

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Helen Keller on her four-acre estate near Westport, Conn. (David McLane/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Today, Helen Keller's name is synonymous with overcoming obstacles. The story of the blind and deaf child's struggle to learn to communicate with the help of a dedicated teacher is a famous one, but there was much more to Helen Keller than her disabilities. She was, among other things, an Oscar-winning socialist world traveler and dog lover who hobnobbed with celebrities, cofounded the American Civil Liberties Union, and inspired a Bollywood movie.

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Helen Keller was a student at the Perkins Institute for the Blind, where she learned to read Braille. (perkins.org)

She Wasn't Born Disabled

When Helen Keller was born on June 27, 1880, she was a healthy, thriving infant who could hear and see. When she was just over a year and a half old, however, Keller contracted an unknown illness that robbed her of her sight and hearing. This was not unheard of during that time. Many children suffered vision or hearing impairments following severe illnesses, most likely due to uncontrolled fevers.