DescriptionAlexander Graham Bell Letter to Annie Sullivan, Teacher of Helen Keller
Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, was also an educator of the deaf. This typed letter, dated December 30, 1901 to Annie Sullivan deals with the subject of her search for a suitable student and specifically mentions Helen Keller, whose education under her guidance would redefine the teaching of the deaf and precipitate a reassessment of conventional wisdom concerning the limitations of the physically challenged in general.
The letter reads:
"Dear Miss Sullivan: --
I am glad to hear from Miss Villa J. Curren that you propose to demonstrate to the world that my innocent little statement in Baddeck that the methods pursued by Miss Sullivan in the education of Helen Keller would revolutionize the teaching of the deaf, was NOT incorrect, misleading, and mischievous, as stated by our good friend Mr. Wade!
Seriously, it delights me to know that you propose to direct the education of a young deaf child through Miss Curren, if you can get the proper child. I need hardly tell you that I shall be very glad to be of assistance in this matter. The only question is how to get the proper child. I have a plan that will surely produce the child if you don't object to it, and that is to PUBLISH THE FACT that you and Miss Curren desire a little child. The mere publication of the fact in the columns of the Review will at once lead to the desired result. May the Review allude to the matter?
I have recently been in communication with a lady in Texas about the education of a little girl under seven years of age. This child's education has been begun by an oral teacher at home, but the mother was anxious to get another teacher. The mother has become exceedingly anxious upon the subject of the education of the deaf from the fact that she has discovered that her little boy - almost a baby - is also deaf. I should imagine that this little boy might - if you could get him - prove to be the pupil you, I presume would want - an extremely young deaf child, who has nothing to unlearn,
I hesitate to give you the address until I know more of your plans, and until I have communicated with the mother, but I write this mail to the mother in Texas, giving her your address so she can communicate with you if she desires.
I am very much pleased with the appearance of Miss Curren. What are her capabilities? Do you consider that she has in her the makings of a good teacher of deaf children.
Please give my best love to Helen, and I wish you both a Very Happy New Year, and many of them.
Alexander Graham Bell
This is truly an extraordinary piece of correspondence between Alexander Graham Bell and Annie Sullivan. At the time this was written Helen Keller had left for college and Sullivan had apparently embarked ion a search for a student to replace her famous student. There is some damp staining in the lower right, readily apparent in the photograph. Overall Very Fine.
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