Nella Braddy Henney Collection

Samuel P. Hayes Research Library
Perkins School for the Blind
175 N. Beacon Street
Watertown, MA 02472

Creator: 

Nella Braddy Henney, Keith Henney

Date Range: 
1903-1976
Call number: 
AG151
Abstract: 

The Nella Braddy Henney Collection is comprised of correspondence, notes, photographs, articles, clippings, publications and other materials related to the lives of Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan Macy, Polly Thomson and Nella Braddy Henney. The extensive correspondence collection contains Keller correspondence with other people, including Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain; copies), Perkins Directors Edward E. Allen and Gabriel Farrell, Charles F. F. Campbell, actress Katherine Cornell, and other notable people forwarded to Nella Braddy Henney for use while working on her book Anne Sullivan Macy: The story behind Helen Keller (1933). 

Braddy Henney was married to Keith Henney, a photographer who is responsible for many of the photographs in the collection. The photograph collection includes portraits, publicity photographs with prominent individuals, materials related to film projects in Hollywood, advocacy for blinded veterans, many casual images from visits to Helen Keller’s Arcan Ridge and Forest Hills homes, and trips to Martha’s Vineyard with Eleanor Roosevelt.

Extent: 
About 15 linear feet.
Language: 
English
Biographical/Historical notes: 

Nella Braddy Henney first met Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller, and Polly Thomson in 1924, when she came to the Sullivan-Keller-Thomson household to write Sullivan’s biography Anne Sullivan Macy: The story behind Helen Keller (1933). Quickly mastering the manual finger language, she kept Keller in touch with the political, literary, and scientific world around her.  She remained in Keller’s life, as a friend, and also as Keller’s power of attorney, acting agent for all Keller’s literary matters, until 1963. She was married to Keith Henney, also a writer and editor, as well as a photographer who took many photographs of Helen Keller. She died in 1973.

Restrictions: 
None
Credit line/Citation: 
Nella Braddy Henney Collection. Perkins School for the Blind.
Arrangement: 

4 series, one appendix, 20 boxes and 36 binders. Note: Nella Braddy Henney is abbreviated NBH

Series 1: Original Correspondence

Series 2: Photocopies of Correspondence

Series 3: Photograph Collection

Series 4: Publications

Appendix A: Index to Correspondence/Item level descriptions

Container List: 

Series 1: Original Correspondence

Some boxes link to item level description and full text digital collections.

Box 1: Folder 1-6: Correspondence to NBH, 1926-1939

Box 2: Folder 1-5: Correspondence to NBH, 1940-1949

Box 3: Folder 1-5: Correspondence to NBH, 1950-1954

Box 4: Folder 1-5: Correspondence to NBH, 1955-1958

Box 5: Folder 1-8: Correspondence to NBH, 1962-1969

Box 6: Folder 1-7: Correspondence from NBH, 1927-1954

Box 7: Folder 1-6: Correspondence from NBH, 1955-1958

Box 8: Folder 1-4: Correspondence from NBH, 1959-1969

Box 9: Folder 1-6: Correspondence to and from NBH, 1959-1961

Box 10: Folder 1-4: Correspondence from others to Keller, Sullivan, Thomson forwarded to NBH, 1903-1957

Box 11: Folder 1-5: NBH Journal, 1938-1962

Box 12: Folder 1-14: NBH Miscellaneous correspondence and clippings

Box 13: Folder 1-25: Correspondence from Keller, articles and notes, 1914-1960

Box 14: Folder 1-10: Correspondence Index created by Ken Stuckey and correspondence photocopies. Notes and reviews index

Box 15: Folder 1-14: Miscellaneous writings, prints, negatives and clippings

Series 2: Photocopied Correspondence in Binders, Numbered 1-36 (37 total)

1: NBH Journal Vol. 1, 1938-1951

2: NBH Journal Vol. 2, 1952-1955

3: NBH Journal Vol. 3, 1956-1962

4: Notes for book about Anne Sullivan Macy, 1934

5: Notes for book about Anne Sullivan Macy, 1934

6: Notes for book about Anne Sullivan Macy, 1934

7: Notes for book about Anne Sullivan Macy, 1934

8: Notes and Reviews, NBH book about Anne Sullivan Macy

9: Clippings, 1932

10: Correspondence from others to Keller, Sullivan Macy, Thomson forwarded to NBH (includes letters from Samuel Clemens, and Dir. Anagnos, 1903-1952 

10A: Correspondence and Writings, many from Helen Keller to John Macy, 1914, 1933-1954

11: Letters from Helen Keller to NBH, late 1920s

12: Correspondence to and from NBH, 1926-1932

13: Correspondence to and from NBH, 1933

14: Correspondence to and from NBH, 1934-1936

15: Correspondence to and from NBH, 1937

16: Correspondence to and from NBH, 1940-1943

17: Correspondence to and from NBH, 1944-1947

18: Correspondence to and from NBH, 1948

19: Correspondence to and from NBH, 1949-1950

20: Correspondence to and from NBH, 1951-1952

21: Correspondence to and from NBH, July 1952-1953

22: Correspondence to and from NBH, 1953-1957

23: Correspondence to and from NBH, 1954

24: Correspondence to and from NBH, January 1955- July 1955

25: Correspondence to and from NBH, August 1955- December 1956

26: Correspondence to and from NBH, January 1957- June 1957

27: Correspondence to and from NBH, July 1957-December 1957

28: Correspondence to and from NBH, January 1958- June 1958

29: Correspondence to and from NBH, July 1958- December 1959

30: Correspondence to and from NBH, January 1959- July 1959

31: Correspondence to and from NBH, August 1959- December 1959

32: Correspondence to and from NBH, 1960

33: Correspondence to and from NBH, 1961

34: Correspondence to and from NBH, 1962-1963

35: Correspondence to and from NBH, 1964- 1966

36: Correspondence to and from NBH, 1967-1969

Series 3: Photograph Collection

Box 16: Folder 1In the hospital [late 1960s], 21 photographs, some duplicates. Helen Keller, in her last years of life

Folder 2Polly Thomson [1937], 1 photograph. Studio portrait of Polly Thomson, with a handwritten note to NBH thanking her for advice given during a trying time, most likely Anne Sullivan Macy’s death.

Folder 3 Hands [1960s], 16 photographs, with duplicates. Keller’s hands reading Braille.  

Folder 4:  At Forest Hills home [n. d. (1930s-1950s)], 24 photographs and contact sheets, some duplicates.  Features several group photos of Helen Keller, Polly Thomson, and Nella Braddy Henney.  Has at least two photographs of Helen with Herbert Haas, the live-in handyman, as well as photographs of Katherine Cornell, the actress.  Many photographs taken by Nella’s husband, Keith Henney.

Folder 5At Home in Forest Hills [ca. 1919, n. d., 1930s-1950s], 8 photographs, some duplicates.  Features one photo of Polly alone, and several of Polly and Helen working on Helen’s various work or projects. One of Helen, Anne Sullivan Macy and Rebecca Mack (ca. 1919), many taken by Nella’s husband, Keith Henney.

Folder 6: Helen Keller, at home, alone or with her dog. [n.d., ca. 1930s-1950s], 30 photographs, some duplicates.  Features several of Helen working at her desk.  Also has photograph with her dog just after Anne Sullivan Macy’s death.  Many photographs by Keith Henney.

Folder 7:Various [1930s-1960s], 14 photographs. Features photographs from Arcan Ridge, the Easton, Connecticut house purchased after Anne Sullivan Macy’s death, as well photographs of Helen Keller and Polly Thomson at the American Foundation for the Blind offices.  Includes one photograph of Helen and Polly visiting their long-time hat maker.  Includes one photograph a few years before her death, with Winnie Corbally, her nurse and companion after Polly’s death.  Some photographs by Keith Henney.

Folder 8:Advocate and traveler [n.d., 1920s-1960s], 18 photographs. Includes photographs of Helen and others in California, possibly around the time of the film, Deliverance, Helen and Polly Thomson’s travels, Helen with Chan Poh Lin (later Theresa Chan), Helen with Commander R.E. Braddy, Nella Braddy Henney’s brother.

Folder 9: Martha Graham’s dance studio [ca. 1954], 5 photographs. Of Martha Graham, Robert Helpman, Guthrie McClintic and other dancers with Helen Keller at her studio, at the time Helen was filming Helen Keller in Her Story (1954).

Folder 10: Visiting Durban, South Africa and Madras, India [ca. 1955, the early 1950s] 6 photographs, some duplicates. Polly Thomson, Helen Keller and unidentified men. Several photographs also features a man in elaborate headdress.

Folder 11: Martha’s Vineyard [1954], 8 photographs and 1 letter. Includes: Joseph P.

Appendix A: Index to Correspondence

Provenance: 
Donated by Keith Henney, Nella Braddy Henney's spouse, circa 1975.
Subject Headings: 

Keller, Helen, 1880-1968.

Macy, Anne Sullivan, 1866-1936

Henney, Nella Braddy, 1894-

Perkins School for the Blind

Thomson, Polly