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COLLECTION Identifier: SC 11

Papers of Helen Keller, 1898-2003


Correspondence, clippings, photographs, etc., of Helen Keller, a humanitarian, activist, author, and a member of Radcliffe College Class of 1904, who was deafblind.


  • Creation: 1898-2003


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Helen Keller as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


1.67 linear feet ((4 file boxes) plus 2 folio+ folders, 1 folio folder)

The papers of Helen Keller consist of Helen Keller's correspondence with Radcliffe College, correspondence about Keller from the Alumnae Office, clippings collected by the Publicity Office, photographs taken at Radcliffe College functions, and printed material.


At the age of nineteen months, due to an attack of scarlet fever, Helen Keller lost her senses of sight and hearing. Keller's parents requested that a teacher from the Perkins Institution in Boston, Massachusetts, be sent to instruct the child soon thereafter. Anne M. Sullivan was sent to Helen's home in Tuscumbia, Alabama, to train her according to the methods of Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe. From 1888 onwards, at the Perkins Institution, and under Sarah Fuller at the Horace Mann School in New York, she learned to read, write, and talk, and became proficient to some degree in the ordinary education curriculum, several languages, and mathematics.

In 1900, Keller entered Radcliffe College. With the aid of Anne Sullivan and other tutors, she took a full program of 17 1/2 courses including Mathematics, Latin, French, German, English and History, and graduated cum laude in 1904. After her college education, Keller began working extensively in causes for people who are blind in the United States and internationally. She made many tours and held fund-raising benefits for the American Foundation for the Blind. During and after World War II she focused her efforts on aiding veterans, orphans, and refugees. Various honors, awards, and honorary degrees and citations were conferred upon Keller by foreign governments and civic, educational, and welfare organizations throughout the United States. Keller's writings include: Optimism (1903), "The Song of the Stone Wall" (1910), Helen Keller's Journal (1938), Teacher (1955), and others.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: R75-47

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Records of the Radcliffe College Alumnae Association (Series 1-6), 1887-1990 (RG IX); Records of the Radcliffe College Office of the Registrar, 1874-1966 RG XII, Series 6, Box 8; Papers of Helen Keller, 1900-1969 (176); Papers of Helen Keller, 1903 (RA.A/K24); Papers of Helen Keller, 1930-1957 (A/K29h); Letter from Helen Keller to Mrs. H.L. Beach, 1936 December 31 (A/K29h1); Papers of Helen Keller, 1933-1971 (A/K29h2); Papers of Helen Keller, 1932-1939 (A/K29h3); Papers about the dedication of the Helen Keller Garden, 1954 (A/K29h4); Letter of Helen Keller, 1900 November 5 (A/K29h5) .


  1. Box 1: 1-35
  2. Box 2: 36-43
  3. Box 3: 47-50
  4. Box 4: 51-52

Processing Information

Processed: September 1979

By: Isabelle Bland Dry '35

Updated with additional description: June 2020

By: Paula Aloisio

Keller, Helen, 1880-1968. Papers of Helen Keller, 1898-2003: A Finding Aid
Radcliffe College Archives, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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