A Celebration of Our History
April 22 -- October 29, 2000
Social Activist and Visionary
"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.
They must be felt with the heart."
At the tender age of 19 months, Helen Keller suffered an illness that left her profoundly deaf and blind. She overcame these disabilities with the assistance of a devoted teacher, Anne Sullivan, who taught Helen how to read and write in Braille. She would later learn to speak in a primitive fashion.
After graduation from Radcliffe College in 1904, Keller devoted herself to a range of social causes. Between 1909 and 1924, she was active in the radical politics of the Socialist Party and the Industrial Workers of the World. She also campaigned against U.S. entry into World War I and in favor of women's suffrage.
Beginning in 1924, however, Keller was an articulate spokesman for the American Foundation for the Blind and a national symbol of personal courage in the face of adversity. Her many books and William Gibson's popular play, The Miracle Worker helped to convince the American people that physical limitations need not compromise a person's intellectual potential.
TYPEWRITER used by Helen Keller
-- On loan from Ivy Green, Birthplace of Helen Keller, Tuscumbia AL
from Helen Keller to President Eisenhower, 8-12-60
-- On loan from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library-Museum, Abilene KS
from Helen Keller to President Hoover regarding the American Foundation for
the Blind, 2-5-33
LETTER typed on a Braille typewriter from a student at Murphy Ranch Elementary School, Whittier CA
-- From the collections of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum, West Branch IA
|Return to "11 Unforgettable American Women" page|
|Continue the virtual tour of the entire exhibit or choose a time period from the exhibit:|
|From Colony to Country, 1600-1800||From Jazz to War, 1920-1950|
|From Growth to Civil War, 1800-1870||From Fifties to Feminism, 1950-1990|
|From Prairie to Polls, 1870-1920||Into the 21st Century, 1990 onward|
|View an alphabetical list of all 106 women included in American Women! with links to photos and biographies for selected women|
|View a Thank You to over 100 lenders to Ameican Women!|
|Return to American Women! index page|
|Return to Hoover Library-Museum virtual exhibits page|
|Return to Hoover Library-Museum main index page|