The story of Helen Keller and her teacher/companion Anne Sullivan is fascinating and truly moving. Sullivan was blind herself, but had surgery to restore partial vision. After graduating from Perkins School for the Blind in Boston, she was sent to the home of the blind-deaf Keller, who was only six years old. Their friendship would last a lifetime. Sullivan died while holding Keller's hand, and the two women are buried next to each other.
Keller's disabilities left her isolated from the world, unable to communicate due to a childhood illness contracted at just 19 months. She learned to hear people by placing her hands and fingers along their nose, lips and throat, tuning into the vibrations of words, letters and sounds. This is demonstrated in a rare newsreel from 1930, uncovered by our own Erik Davis via Open Culture. Today is Keller's birthday. She was the subject of the 1962 film The Miracle Worker, starring Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke. Both women won Academy Awards for their roles.