Perkins School for the Blind
circa 1880-2005, bulk date range 1930-1969
A collection containing newspaper clippings and newspaper articles that span Helen Keller’s public life and legacy. Clippings related to various productions of The Miracle Worker from 1950 through the 1970s are included as well as articles about the 1919 documentary film, Deliverance. Other topics include the Frost King plagiarism controversy (1892), Keller’s travels and advocacy, and extensive coverage of her death in 1968. Includes articles written by Keller in her adolescence.
5 linear feet
English, some Dutch, German, Swedish
Rachel Onuf (Roving Archivist), Jen Hale, and Molly Stothert-Maurer. ; Finding aid written by Jen Hale, 2015. ; Biography and abstract updated by Susanna Coit, 2022. ;
This collection was processed thanks to a Roving Archivist grant provided by the Massachusetts State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB).
Helen Keller (1880-1968) was born on June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama to retired army Captain Arthur Keller and his second wife, Kate. Helen had a younger brother (Phillips Brooks) and sister (Mildred), and two older half brothers. When she was nineteen months old, she became ill with a very high fever that ultimately left her deaf and blind. Doctors at the time diagnosed this as “brain fever” or “brain congestion,” but experts today believe that she most likely suffered from scarlet fever or meningitis.
Helen Keller developed her own system of hand gestures to communicate with her family and by the time she was seven she had nearly 60 such gestures. Nonetheless, she was frequently frustrated by the inability to express herself. When Anne Sullivan arrived to teach her in 1887, Keller quickly learned to fingerspell, as well as to read braille and raised type, and to write in block letters.
After a year and a half of homeschooling, Sullivan decided that Keller would benefit from the resources of a school. In 1888, Sullivan brought Keller to study at Perkins Institution and Massachusetts School for the Blind (now Perkins School for the Blind). She became a student at the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf in New York in 1894 before attending the Cambridge School for Young Ladies in 1896 to prepare for Radcliffe College. In 1904 she graduated cum laude from Radcliffe and became the first person with deafblindness to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Helen Keller was a prolific writer, publishing 14 books and numerous articles. She traveled across the globe, advocating for social issues, such as women’s suffrage and rights for people who are blind or deafblind. She received numerous awards throughout her life for her humanitarian efforts.
It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Perkins School for the Blind, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.
AG39 Helen Keller Clippings and Poster Collection. Perkins School for the Blind Archives, Watertown, MA.
Collection primarily contains newspaper clippings and magazine articles that span her public life and her legacy after death. There are a handful of pamphlets and newsletters included as well. Most clippings highlight the achievements of Helen Keller. A large part of the collection includes clippings related to various productions of the Miracle Worker, including theatrical, film, and television adaptations that span the 1950s through the 1970s. There are also many clippings and articles authored by Keller, including a few she wrote as an adolescent. Topics found in this collection include the 1892 plagiarism controversy over The Frost King, clippings reporting on Keller’s travels and advocacy, the 1919 production of the documentary film, Deliverance, and extensive coverage of her death in 1968.
15 Boxes, 3 Series
- Series 1: Clippings authored by Helen Keller
- Series 2: Clippings about Helen Keller, circa 1880-1999
- Subseries 1: Clippings organized by year
- Subseries 2: Unarranged clippings
- Series 3: Helen Keller Posters and Broadsides, circa 1950-1990
List of digital collections related to Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan that are available online.
Series 1: Clippings authored by Helen Keller, circa 1880-1968
Clippings with some text or completely authored by Helen Keller. Arranged chronologically.
- Box 1: Clippings authored by HK, 1899-1958
- Box 2: The Century article by HK, 1905
- Box 3: Clippings authored by HK, 1894
- Box 4: Clippings authored by H.K, 1892-1953
Series 2: Clippings about Helen Keller, 1880-1990
Clippings about Helen Keller. Arranged chronologically except for subseries 2, box 14 which is arranged by size.
Subseries 1: Clippings arranged by year
- Box 5: Clippings about HK, 1888-1929
- Box 6: Clippings about HK, 1930-1999
- Box 7: Clippings about HK, 1893-1899
- Box 8: Clippings about HK, 1900-1919
- Box 9: Clippings about HK, 1900-1956
- Box 10: Clippings about HK, 1930-1949
- Box 11: Clippings about HK, 1950-1959
- Box 12: Clippings about HK, 1980-1999
- Box 13: Clippings about HK, 1900-1989
Subseries 2: Unarranged clippings, circa 1880-1999
- Box 14: Unarranged clippings, circa 1880-1999
Series 3: Helen Keller Posters and Broadsides, circa 1950-2005
- Posters that feature Helen Keller or her legacy. Includes Helen Keller Centennial, and 75th Anniversary posters. There are several posters from different productions of The Miracle Worker.
- Arranged by size.
- Box 15: Helen Keller Posters and Broadsides, circa 1950-2005
- Keller, Helen, 1880-1968
- Gibson, William, 1914-2008. Miracle worker
- Perkins School for the Blind
- Perkins School for the Blind–History
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Learn more about our collections, including digitized materials, and resources related to the history of Perkins School for the Blind and the history of education for people with blindness or deafblindness.