Helen Keller

Picture of Helen Keller smelling a rose and reading Braille

Who: Helen Keller, the first deaf-blind person to earn a college degree; a world-renowned activist and author

Why She Dazzles: When you think you can’t achieve the impossible, think of Helen Keller. She learned to write, read, and speak despite being blind and deaf from an early illness—it’s impossible to even imagine, especially in the late 1800s. When she was seven years old, her teacher Anne Sullivan taught her to communicate within only a few weeks. Later in her life, she became a leading humanitarian and ambassador for blind and deaf-blind people.

Why You Need to Know Her Today: She used her skills as a writer for truth. TRUTH: a word we need to hear more often and act upon regularly. Helen championed the rights of deaf-blind individuals, but she was also a feminist who championed women’s rights and took part in the women’s suffrage movement.

What She Would Say Today—Because She Said It Then: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched—they must be felt with the heart.”

Picture of Mikimoto pearl necklace
Pearls of wisdom from Helen: “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”


What She Would Wear to a Fundraiser Tonight: Pearls. Helen traveled extensively to meet with world leaders, literary icons, and those in need, and she often matched strands of delicate pearls with her minimalist elegance.

Picture of a gold feather thank you card by Papyrus
“A letter always seems more truly my own when I can run my fingers over it, and quickly enter into the thoughts and feelings of my friends without an interpreter, even though the interpreter be the dearest and sweetest in the world.”—Helen


What She Would Send to Her Friend: Helen wrote countless speeches, essays, political writings, and personal letters. She corresponded with the likes of Mark Twain, Alexander Graham Bell, and Margaret Sanger—basically the most influential people of her time. Her careful penmanship surpasses your own. No, seriously it does.

Picture of cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.
Japan sent more than 3,000 tall and mature cherry blossoms trees to Washington, D.C., in the early 1900s.


Where Her Secretary Would Instagram Helen: The capital of the United States. Helen met 13 United States presidents in her lifetime, beginning with Grover Cleveland when she was just seven years old. Lyndon Johnson gave Helen the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the most distinguish award a civilian can receive—in her 80s. How many presidents have you met IRL?

Tweet This: #DYK Helen Keller is an honorary Oscar winner. She received it for the documentary about her life, “Helen Keller in Her Story,” in 1955 #anewlady

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