19 June 2007
KELLER, Helen Adams (1880-1968), and Anne SULLIVAN MACY (1866-1936). Large photograph inscribed and signed by Keller ("Helen Keller") and by Sullivan ("Anne Sullivan Macy") by Nicholas Muray of New York (signed in pencil, with embossed stamp), 1928.
15¾ x 11 3/8 in., including mount. Boldly inscribed in pencil, in Keller's square-upright hand in lower part of mount: "To Dr. McConnico with the glow of his poinsettas in my thoughts and every good wish for his happiness in my heart Helen Keller Jan. 1929." Signed at bottom in ink by Sullivan.
HELLEN KELLER AND THE "MIRACLE WORKER": ANNE SULLIVAN MACY. A VERY RARE JOINTLY SIGNED PORTRAIT
An excellent, soft-focus joint portrait of Keller and her teacher Sullivan, who devoted much of her life to Keller's education and advancement. In this image the famous deaf-mute is seated, her hand touching a book lying on a table; Sullivan stands behind her; Keller's right hand is held in Sullivan's left, demonstrating the technique of "finger-spelling." Dr. McConnico, to whom the photo is inscribed, was evidently the Keller family physician. A very severe fever when she was nineteen months old had left Keller blind, deaf and mute. Alexander Graham Bell referred her in 1887 to Perkins School for the blind in Boston, where a dedicated young tutor, Anne Sullivan, was assigned to the case. After days of difficult efforts to penetrate Helen's silent world, they achieved a miraculous breakthrough: utilizing finger spelling, Helen was able to comprehend that the words that she spelled identified actual objects. Her vocabulary expanded rapidly and she quickly learned to use a writing board to put her words to paper, in the square letter forms seen here. She ultimately graduated from Radcliffe College and dedicated a lifetime to lecturing and advocacy for the blind.
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