Thursday, March 6, 2008

Rare Helen Keller picture found

A picture of Helen Keller sitting with a doll in her lap beside her teacher Annie Sullivan was discovered. According to the CNN article,

The photograph, shot in July 1888 in Brewster, shows an 8-year-old Helen sitting outside in a light-colored dress, holding Sullivan's hand and cradling one of her beloved dolls.

Experts on Keller's life believe it could be the earliest photo of the two women together and the only one showing the blind and deaf child with a doll -- the first word Keller spelled for Sullivan after they met in 1887 -- according to the New England Historic Genealogical Society, which now has the photo.

...
For more than a century, though, the photograph was hidden in an album that belonged to the family of Thaxter Spencer, an 87-year-old man in Waltham.

Spencer's mother, Hope Thaxter Parks, often stayed at the Elijah Cobb House on Cape Cod during the summer as a child. In July 1888, she played with Keller, whose family had traveled from Tuscumbia, Alabama, to vacation in Massachusetts.

Spencer, who doesn't know which of his relatives took the picture, told the society that his mother, four years younger than Helen, remembered Helen exploring her face with her hands.

In June, Spencer donated a large collection of photo albums, letters, diaries and other heirlooms to the genealogical society, which preserves artifacts from New England families for future research.
via cnn.com

A copy of the photo can be seen at the link to the article above.