Helen Keller worked for the American Foundation for the Blind for more than 40 years. She was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, on June 27, 1880, and became deaf and blind at 19 months. Few could have imagined the leading role she would go on to play in many of the significant political, social, and cultural movements of the 20th century. Until her passing in 1968, she worked unceasingly to improve the lives of people with disabilities. As caretakers of Helen Keller's archival collection and legacy, we are honored to share her history with you. Learn more about Helen Keller by exploring her letters, speeches, artifacts, and photographs in the Helen Keller Archive.

Helen Keller gave a speech to the faculty and students of the Sorbonne in Paris, June 21, 1952. Helen was in France for the reinternment of Louis Braille's body to the Pantheon in Paris from his village in Coupvray. In the following film clip, hear Helen deliver part of her speech in French honoring Louis Braille. Regarding the importance of braille, Helen states:

Helen Keller loved animals! April 2021 is #NationalPetMonth, and as we post images from the Helen Keller Archive of some of the 16 pet dogs that Helen treasured during her long life, we invite you to submit images of your pets! Tell us how your animal friends have enriched your lives!

In November of 1967, fifth grader Robin Gates wrote to Helen Keller to ask of Helen's dog Lioness and shares how she enjoys reading of Helen's life:

top row from left to right: Janni Lehrer-Stein, Kathy Martinez, Stephanae McCoy. Bottom row from left to right: Sam Latif, Neva Fairchild, and the AFB100 logo

In recognition of Women’s History Month and the incredible leadership of Helen Keller, our most famous advocate, AFB is hosting a panel discussion on “Women in Leadership: A Conversation About the Intersection of Gender and Visual Impairment," featuring a diverse group of visually impaired women in leadership roles—from corporations to politics, nonprofits, and small businesses.

The 20th century was tumultuous. As a fierce champion of civil rights, Helen Keller would applaud the nation’s demand for equal justice for all its citizens, and would be thrilled by the active engagement of so many young people to improve the world we live in.