Helen Keller Captured on Video

You’ve all heard about Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan. Now, thanks to this vintage footage from the 1930s, you can see Keller in the flesh and discover how she learned to talk (then  eventually became an author, lecturer, and champion of many progressive causes). It’s worth watching, particularly through the stirring finish. We’ve added this clip to our YouTube Favorites.

via Boing Boing


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  1. Fritz Meinel Cheesman says . . . | August 25, 2009 / 3:43 pm

    I am so impressed. This is heroical and more than a wonder for Helen and Annie Sullivan who dedicated the whole life making this wonder. May you rest in the highest heaven. The humanity is living in you both. Thanks for this lesson of perseverance.

  2. Christine Cacciari says . . . | August 26, 2009 / 2:35 pm

    Annie Sullivan loves Helen unconditionally, and Helen’s face reflects this joy. This film clip has to be one of the most touching I have ever seen.

    Thank you.

  3. Gary Davis says . . . | January 4, 2011 / 4:54 pm

    This is a wonderful clip, but I don’t understand how she would know what what she said meant? Isn’t she just repeating sounds? How does that become knowledge?

  4. Cierraskillern says . . . | May 22, 2011 / 9:41 pm

     Helen Keller wasnt realy dom.She was smart all her life.This is by Cierra.

  5. ima says . . . | September 4, 2011 / 12:24 pm

    “dumb” meaning unable to speak. She learned to use her voice long after she had mastered braille etc. and had a storehouse of knowledge – this was a final step of her education.

  6. Lairsa says . . . | September 7, 2011 / 11:03 am

    I love the video but why isn’t it Captioned?

  7. Dawn Moneyhan says . . . | January 22, 2012 / 3:49 am

    I first learned of Helen Keller when I was 7 yrs old and throughout my life she has remained a constant inspiration. She is my hero. While I am too young to have known her in person I have always admired and respected this woman I felt so connected to. Although I can see and hear, Helen inspired me to learn sign language at the age of 8 through the use of books, and by age 9 I taught myself to read braille. I am now 42 and this is the first time I have ever heard her voice. Thank you for putting this online, it only adds to the inspiration she continues to be in my life. Because of Helen Keller I grew up believing that anything is possible if a person simply invests their heart and soul. While Annie Sullivan is accredited as her teacher, it was Helen’s own heart and soul that made her many achievements possible. God Bless you Helen, you will never be forgotten.

  8. eric says . . . | January 22, 2012 / 12:34 pm

    annie sullivan knew exactly how people heard “dumb” — she made that point again and again throughout her life, as did keller. so when she says ‘I am not dumb now’, it has multiple levels of meaning. that word (“dumb”) was a gauntlet to generations of deaf people.

    people still used that word when I was a kid in the ’70s. most people under 40 today haven’t ever even heard that usage. which I would say is progress.

  9. M. says . . . | October 2, 2012 / 8:46 pm

    This is amazing

  10. janiek says . . . | October 7, 2012 / 2:46 pm

    Absolutely amazing video. And what amazing women. This made me cry. To think that Ann Sullivan remained so devoted – and was so brilliant in the way she taught. And that Helen became such a brilliant thinker, writer and speaker. All I can say to anyone, struggling with any challenge, whether it be a lack of patience or something much graver, is never give up. Never give up.

  11. Red Cell says . . . | October 7, 2012 / 11:32 pm

    Technically, she was captured on film, not video.

  12. Timmmii says . . . | October 8, 2012 / 12:34 pm

    wow. dumbfounded by this. How have we never seen this before??

  13. autocad kursu says . . . | December 30, 2012 / 12:56 pm

    I love the video.She was smart all her life

  14. deaf says . . . | January 13, 2013 / 12:39 pm

    Auto captions are not acceptable – they should be cleaned up.

  15. destanie young says . . . | March 3, 2013 / 8:05 am

    yall should really check the video out “teaching helen to speak” it is amiazing and funny thanks

  16. Deep Dale West says . . . | May 20, 2013 / 6:34 pm

    It’s good to see the iron didn’t leave any permanent scars. Is there a Braille version of this video?

  17. Victoria says . . . | May 20, 2013 / 9:43 pm

    Brilliant women. Never truly appreciated for their exquisite inventiveness. Particularly Annie Sullivan. Absolutely formidable intellects.

  18. r.ayling says . . . | May 22, 2013 / 8:52 pm

    Gary Davis, she learned words by association. The first word she understood was water. Annie taught her by pumping water into her hand, then spelled it in sign language in her hands

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