HELEN KELLER IN WORDS AND SOUND - PART 1 (Illustration) American History Awesome Radio - Narrated Stories Social Studies Tragedies and Triumphs Biographies Famous People

Helen Keller wanted to study at Harvard, but at the time Harvard did not accept women. Instead, she attended Radcliff College. This image depicts Ms. Keller, in 1904, wearing her Radcliff graduation cap and gown. While attending college, she also wrote her autobiography, The Story of My Life. Image online via the Library of Congress.


Helen Keller wrote the story of her early life while she was still a student at Radcliffe.  Most twenty-two-year-old people are just beginning noteworthy accomplishments, at that age, but Helen's story was different.  She knew that people wanted to know about her life, so she told them ... in her own words.

It seems appropriate to honor Helen by including a sound version of her story.  It follows hereafter, thanks to Librivox.

Chapter 1 - Although her father had been married before, and Helen had two step-brothers, she was the first girl in the family and her mother's first child.  Nineteen months after her birth, Helen's parents were horrified when they realized their baby could no longer see, or hear, following an illness the doctors called "brain fever."

Chapter 2 - Until she was nearly seven, Helen could not communicate with anyone except by her own sign language.  Not everyone understood it, and Helen threw terrible temper tantrums.  In this chapter, she recalls how she even tyrannized her childhood friend.

Chapter 3 - During the summer of 1886, Helen and her parents visited a famous Baltimore physician.  She enjoyed the trip and behaved herself throughout the journey.  The family met Alexander Graham Bell who recommended the Kellers hire a teacher to help their deaf-blind daughter.

Chapter 4 -  Anne Sullivan, a young teacher with her own vision problems, arrived at the Keller home in early March of 1887.  Using a manual alphabet, she finger-spelled words into Helen's palm.  Nothing clicked until a few weeks after her arrival when she tried to teach Helen the difference between "mug" and "water."

Chapter 5 - After Helen understood that things had names - and she could learn those names from her teacher's finger-spelling - her vocabulary grew.  Then, during the summer of 1887, she learned about the power of nature when a storm came upon her while she was outside...on her own.

Chapter 6 - Once she recognized things and actions had names, Helen needed to comprehend abstract subjects.  Trying to solve a problem, she felt her teacher's hand on her forehead while Miss Sullivan emphatically spelled "THINK."   "In a flash," Helen recognized that's what she was doing - thinking.

Chapter 7 - In her early days of learning, Helen worked outside with Anne.  It seemed like play since she had not yet commenced formal lessons.  Helen began to put words together in sentences, like "doll is on bed."  The first book she actually read was "Reader for Beginners." 

Chapter 8 - At the age of seven, Helen Keller experienced her first real Christmas.  She gave, as well as received, presents.  She was even invited to participate with the local school children on Christmas Eve.  Excited about what was to come, she was the first to awake on Christmas morning.

Chapter 9 - Helen visited the Perkins Institute for the Blind in May of 1888.  For the first time in her life, she met other children who used the manual alphabet.  It was, she said, like coming home to her own country.  She toured places around Boston and especially loved Plymouth Rock (because she could touch it).

Chapter 10 - After her visit to Boston, Helen and her teacher took a Cape-Cod holiday during which the child first experienced the ocean.  When a wave pulled her underwater, she was very frightened.  Also puzzled, she asked Anne Sullivan:  "Who put salt in the water?"

Chapter 11 - Vacationing with her family in the mountains near Tuscumbia, Helen experienced the joys of childhood:  riding a pony, hunting for persimmons and exploring in the woods.  Then ... she, her sister Mildred and Miss Sullivan got lost!  How would they find their way back?

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Feb 01, 2009

Updated Last Revision: Sep 29, 2016

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"HELEN KELLER IN WORDS AND SOUND - PART 1" AwesomeStories.com. Feb 01, 2009. Nov 22, 2019.
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