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Sunday, June 2, 1968 (Excerpts)

Helen Keller, 87, Dies

unique to The new York time
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ESTPORT, Conn., June 1 -- Helen Keller, that overcame blindness and also deafness to come to be a price of the indomitable human spirit, passed away this afternoon in her house here. She was 87 year old.

"She drifted off in her sleep," said Mrs. Winifred Corbally, miss out on Keller's companion for the last 11 years, that was at her bedside. "She died gently." death came in ~ 3:35 P.M.

She is survived by a brother, Phillips B. Keller that Dallas, and also a sister, Mrs. Mildred Tyson that Montgomery, Ala.

After private cremation, a funeral business will be held at the national Cathedral in Washington. No date has yet been set.

Triumph the end of Tragedy

by ALDEN WHITMAN

because that the an initial 18 month of she life, Helen Keller was a normal infant who cooed and cried, learned to acknowledge the voices of her father and mother and took pleasure in spring at your faces and also at objects about her home. "Then," together she recalled later, "came the disease which closed mine eyes and also ears and plunged me right into the unconsciousness of a child baby."

The illness, probably scarlet fever, vanished as quickly as it struck, but it erased not just the child's vision and also hearing however also, together a result, she powers that articulate speech.

her life thereafter, together a girl and as a woman, became a triumph end crushing adversity and also shattering affliction. In time, miss Keller learned to circumvent her blindness, deafness and also mutness; she can "see" and also "hear" with outstanding acuity; she also learned to speak passably and also to dance gradually to a fox trot or a waltz. Her remarkable mind unfolded, and also she was in and of the world, a full and happy participant in life.

What collection Miss Keller personally was the no similarly afflicted person prior to had done an ext than gain the simplest skills.

however she was graduated from Radcliffe; she ended up being an artful and also subtle writer; she led a vigorous life; she occurred into a crusading humanitarian who espoused Socialism; and she energized movements that revolutionized assist for the blind and the deaf.

Teacher's Devotion

her tremendous achievements and the force of assertive personality that underlay them to be released with the devotion and also skill of ann Sullivan Macy, her teacher with whom in large degree she to express herself. Mrs. Macy was succeeded, at her fatality in 1938, by Polly Thomson, who passed away in 1960. Since then miss out on Keller's companion had actually been Mrs. Winifred Corbally.

miss Keller's life was so long and also so crowded v improbable feats -- native riding horseback to finding out Greek -- and she to be so peaceful yet so identified in she advocacy of beneficent reasons that she ended up being a an excellent legend. She constantly seemed to be standing before the human being as an example of unquenchable will.

numerous who observed she -- and also to some she to be a curiosity and a publicity-seeker -- discovered it daunting to believe that a human so handicapped might acquire the extensive knowledge and also the perceptible perception and writing talent that she exhibited when she to be mature. However no considerable proof was ever adduced that miss out on Keller was anything much less than she appeared -- a human whose personality impelled she to perform the watch impossible. With the years, the skepticism, when overt, dwindled together her stature as a heroic mrs increased.

miss out on Keller constantly insisted that there was nothing secret or miraculous around her achievements. All the she was and also did, she said, could be explained directly and also without reference to a "sixth sense." she dark and silent people was held in her hand and also shaped v her mind. Concededly, her feeling of odor was exceedingly keen, and also she could orient herself by the aroma from plenty of objects. Top top the various other hand, her sense of touch was less carefully developed 보다 in many other remote people.

Tall, handsome, gracious, poised, miss out on Keller has a sparkling humor and also a warm hand-clasp the won she friends easily. She exuded vitality and optimism. "My life has actually been happy due to the fact that I have had actually wonderful friends and also plenty of interesting work come do," she when remarked, adding:

"I rarely think about my limitations, and they never ever make me sad. Maybe there is just a touch that yearning at times, however it is vague, prefer a breeze amongst flowers. The wind passes, and the flowers room content."

This equanimity to be scarcely foreshadowed in her early years. Helen Adams Keller was born ~ above June, 27, 1880, ~ above a farm near Tuscumbia, Ala. She father to be Arthur Keller, one intermittently prosperous nation gentleman who had served in the Confederate Army. Her mommy was the previous Kate Adams.

after ~ Helen's illness, her infancy and early childhood to be a sequence of days of frustration, manifest by outbursts of anger and fractious behavior. "A wild, unruly child" that kicked, scratched and screamed was just how she afterward defined herself.

her distracted parents were without hope till Mrs. Keller came throughout a i in Charles Dickens's "American Notes" explicate the training of the blind Laura Bridgman, who had actually been teach to it is in a sewing teacher by Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe of the Perkins school in Boston. Dr. Howe, husband of the writer of "The fight Hymn that the Republic," to be a pioneer teacher of the blind and also the mute.

Examined by Bell

quickly thereafter the Kellers heard of a Baltimore eye doctor who to be interested in the blind, and they took your daughter come him. He stated that Helen can be educated and put her parents in touch v Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor that the telephone and also an government on teaching speech come the deaf. After analyzing the child, Bell recommend the Kellers come ask his son-in-law, Michael Anagnos, manager of the Perkins Institution, about obtaining a teacher for Helen.

The teacher Mr. Anagnos selected was 20-year-old ann Mansfield Sullivan, that was dubbed Annie. Partly blind, miss out on Sullivan had actually learned at Perkins how to communicate with the deaf and also blind with a hand alphabet signaled by touching the patient's palm.

"The most vital day i remember in all my life is the one on which my teacher came to me," miss Keller wrote later. "It to be the third of March, 1887, 3 months prior to I to be 7 years old.

"I stood on the porch, dumb, expectant. Ns guessed vaguely from mine mother's signs and also from the hurrying to and also fro in the residence that something inexplicable was about to happen, so I visited the door and waited ~ above the steps."

Helen, her brown hair fumbled, she pinafore soiled, her black color shoes tied through white string, jerked miss out on Sullivan's bag far from her, rummaged in that for liquid and, recognize none, flew right into a rage.

Of she savage pupil, miss Sullivan wrote:

"She has actually a well head, and it is collection on her shoulders just right. Her challenge is difficult to describe. It is intelligent, yet it lacks mobility, or soul, or something. Her mouth is huge and finely shaped. You deserve to see in ~ a glance the she is blind. One eye is bigger than the other and also protrudes noticeably. She hardly ever smiles. "It to be days before Miss Sullivan, whom miss Keller throughout she life called "Teacher," can calm the rages and fears of the child and begin come spell words into her hand. The difficulty was of associating words and objects or actions. What to be a doll, what to be water? miss Sullivan's systems was a punch of genius. Recounting it, miss Keller wrote:

"We walked down the course to the well-house, attracted by the fragrance the the honey-suckle v which it was covered. Who was illustration water and my teacher put my hand under the spout.

"As the cool currently gushed over one hand, she spelled right into the various other the indigenous water, very first slowly, then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention resolved upon the motions of she fingers. Unexpectedly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forget -- a thrill of return thought: and somehow the an enig of language to be revealed to me.

"I knew then that 'w-a-t-e-r' supposed the wonderful cool something that was flowing end my hand. That living word awakened mine soul, provided it light, hope, joy, set it free. There were barriers still, the is true, but barriers that in time can be swept away."

Miss Sullivan had actually been told in ~ Perkins the if she wished to teach Helen she have to not damn her. As a result, she was shortly locked in physics combat with her pupil. This struggle was to thrill theater and also film audiences later on when that was illustrated in "The wonder Worker" by ann Bancroft together Annie Sullivan and Patty duke as Helen.

The play to be by wilhelm Gibson, who based the on "Anne Sullivan Macy: The Story Behind Helen Keller" by Nella Braddy, a friend of miss Keller. Opened in new York in October, 1959, it ran 702 performances.

Miss Keller was arising a largeness of soul on society issues, partly as a an outcome of to walk through commercial slums, partly due to the fact that of her distinct interest in the high incidence the blindness amongst the poor and partly since of she conversations v John Macy, miss Sullivan's husband, a social critic. She was more impelled toward Socialism in 1908 when she check out H.G. Wells's "New human beings for Old."

Joined Socialist Party

this influences, in turn, led her to read Marx and also Engels in German Braille, and in 1909 she joined the Socialist party in Massachusetts. For numerous years she was an energetic member, creating incisive write-ups in defense that Socialism, lecturing because that the party, sustaining trade unions and also strikes and opposing American entrance into human being War I. She was among those Socialists who invited the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1917.

Although miss out on Keller's Socialist activities diminished ~ 1921, as soon as she decided that she chief life work was to raise funds for the American structure for the Blind, she was always responsive come Socialist and Communist appeals for aid in causes involving oppression or exploitation of labor. As late as 1957 she sent a warm greeting come Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, the Communist leader, then in jail on fees of violating the smith Act.

when literary tastes adjusted after human being War I, miss out on Keller's earnings from her works dwindled, and to do money, she ventured into vaudeville. She, with miss out on Sullivan, was astonishingly successful; no Radcliffe graduate ever did far better in range than she. Harry and also Herman Weber, the selection entrepreneurs, presented she in a 20-minute act that toured the country between 1920 and also 1924. (Although several of her friends were scandalized, miss out on Keller took pleasure in herself enormously and also argued the her appearances aided the cause of the blind.)

In the Keller-Sullivan act, the rising curtain confirmed a drawing room with a garden seen through French windows. Miss Sullivan came on stage to the strains of Mendelssohn's "Spring Song" and also told a small about miss Keller's life. Climate the star parted a curtain, entered and spoke for a few minutes. The Times evaluation of she debut at the royal residence said:

"Helen Keller has conquered again, and the Monday afternoon audience at the Palace, among the most an important and cynical in the world, to be hers."

top top the vaudeville tour, miss Keller, who had currently met scores of renowned people, created friendships through such celebrities together Sophie Tucker, Charlie Chaplin, Enrico Caruso, Jascha Heifetz and also Harpo Marx.

In the twenties, miss Keller, miss out on Sullivan and her husband and Miss Thomson (who had joined the family in 1914) moved from Wrentham, Mass., to woodland Hills, Queens, in new York. Miss Keller supplied this house as a base for her considerable fund-raising tours for the American structure for the Blind, of i m sorry she was counselor until her death. In this effort she talked in churches, synagogues and town halls. She no only built up money, but also sought to mitigate the living and also working problems of the blind. In those year the blind were generally ill-educated and also maintained in asylums; her endeavors to be a significant factor in an altering these conditions.

A tireless traveler, miss Keller toured the people with miss out on Sullivan and also Miss Thomson in the years before World war II. All over she went she lectured in behalf of the blind and also the deaf; and, inevitably, she met anyone of consequence. She additionally found time for writing: "My Religion" in 1927; "Midstream - My later Life" in 1930; "Peace at Eventide" in 1932; "Helen Keller's Journal" in 1938; and also "Teacher" in 1955.

The "Journal," among her most luminous books, discloses the acuity and selection of miss Keller's psychic in the thirties. In she comments on political, social and also literary matters, she condemned Hitlerism, cheered the sit-down strikes of john L. Lewis's Committee for industrial Organization and also criticized Margaret Mitchell's "Gone through the Wind" as overlooking the brutalities of southern slavery.

although she walk not refer to it conspicuously miss Keller to be religious, yet not a church-goer. While fairly young she was converted to the mystic new Church doctrines of Emanuel Swedenborg. The object of his doctrine to be to do Christianity a living truth on planet through magnificent love, a theology that fitted miss Keller's sense of society mission.

Frustrated Romance

Although miss out on Keller's serenity to be buttressed through her spiritual faith, she was subjected in adulthood to criticism and crises that periodically unsettled her. Various other people, she discovered, to be attempting to run her life, and also she was helpless to counter them. The most frustrating together episode arisen in 1916 during disease of miss out on Sullivan.

miss out on Keller, then 36, fell in love with Peter Fagan, a 29-year-old Socialist and also newspaperman who was her short-lived secretary. The pair took the end a marital relationship license, intended a secret wedding. But a Boston reporter discovered out around the license, and his witless write-up on the romantic horrified the stern Mrs. Keller, that ordered Mr. Fagan the end of the house and also broke increase the love affair.

"The love which had actually come, unseen and unexpected, departed with tempest top top his wings," miss Keller composed in sadness, adding that the love remained with her as "a little island of pleasure surrounded by dark waters."

because that years she spinsterhood was a chief disappointment. "If I can see," she claimed bitterly, "I would certainly marry first of all."

With miss Sullivan's fatality in 1936, miss Keller and also Miss Thomson relocated from brand-new York to Westport, Conn., miss Keller's house for the remainder of her life. At Westport she made friends through its artists (Jo Davidson enforcement a sculpture that her) and its authors (Van Wyck Brooks composed a biographical sketch).

through Mr. And Mrs. Davidson, miss out on Keller and Miss Thomson toured France and also Italy in 1950, where miss out on Keller saw great sculptures with her finger under Mr. Davidson's tutelage. "What a privilege it has been," Mrs. Davidson remarked to a friend, "to live through Helen and also Polly. Every job Helen delights us an ext and more -- her noble simplicity, her capability to drink in the feel of things, and also that feather of joyousness the bubbles approximately the surface at the little pressure."

Royalties and also Stipend

In her middle and late years miss Keller's earnings was acquired from her book royalties and a stipend indigenous the foundation for the Blind. After miss out on Thomson's fatality in 1960, a trustee carried out most of her affairs.

for her work in behalf of the blind and also the deaf, in i m sorry she was proactively engaged as much as 1962, miss Keller to be honored by universities and also institutions transparent the civilization -- the colleges of Harvard, Glasgow, Berlin and Delhi, amongst them. She was got in the White residence by every chairman from Grover Cleveland to john F. Kennedy.

In 1964 she was among 30 american on who President Johnson conferred the nation's highest possible civilian recognition, the Presidential Medal that Freedom.


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in spite of the celebrity that accrued come her and the air of awesomeness with which she was surrounded in her later years, miss out on Keller preserved an unaffected personality and a certainty the her optimistic mindset toward life was justified.

"I believe that all with these dark and also silent years, God has been utilizing my life for a purpose I carry out not know," she claimed recently, adding:

"But someday I shall understand and also then I will certainly be satisfied."

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