jump to article
AFB American Foundation
for the Blind
TM  
   
  Anne Sullivan Macy: Miracle Worker

The Manual Alphabet

View Larger Image and Description

Anne's Formative Years (1866-1886)
The Manual Alphabet

One of the most important skills that Anne learned at the Perkins School for the Blind was the manual alphabet developed for deaf people. Each letter of the alphabet is formed with a different hand sign. For a person who is deaf-blind, words are signed into the palm of the hand. The person feels the movement of the fingers, which are surrounded by the listener's hand. The ability to sign into another's palm was a key part of Anne's later success in communicating with Helen Keller.

At Perkins Anne's hard work and keen mind resulted in her being chosen as the valedictorian of her class in 1886. She gave the following speech at the commencement ceremony:

All the wondrous physical, intellectual and moral endowments, with which man is blessed, will, by inevitable law, become useless, unless he uses and improves them...If a love for truth and beauty and goodness is not cultivated, the mind loses the strength which comes from truth, the refinement which comes from beauty, and the happiness which comes from goodness.

Read full speech


Left-Arrow Go To Previous Frame

Right-Arrow Next Gallery: Anne as Teacher (1886-1904)
Irish Immigrants
Entering Tewksbury Almshouse
Tewksbury Almshouse
The Death of Her Brother Jimmie
A Brief Exit from Tewksbury
Perkins School for the Blind
Anne's Education
The Manual Alphabet


ASM Galleries:
Introduction
Introduction
Formative Years
Formative Years
Teacher
Teacher
Wrentham
Wrentham
Trouble
Trouble
Legacy
Legacy

View All Media Galleries    Right-Arrow Go To Next Gallery   Left-Arrow Go To Previous Gallery


Change Colors | Biography | Chronology | Recommended Reading | Home
Introduction | Formative Years | Teacher | Wrentham | Trouble | Legacy

This site is dedicated to the memory of our friend and coworker, Regina Genwright.

Images and content are copyright © 2009, American Foundation for the Blind.
For information on reproducing material from our web site, please contact afbinfo@afb.net.