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  AFB Talking Book Exhibit

Letter from Helen Keller to President Franklin D. Roosevelt thanking him for funding Talking Books, November 2, 1935.

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Helen Keller and Talking Books
A Change of Mind

Helen Keller's powers of persuasion were notable, and she knew that her opposition to any campaign could seriously stymie any project. Keller was clear about her reasons for opposing the Talking Book program. Less clear is why she changed her mind. On March 31, 1935, she wrote a letter to AFB's President M. C. Migel withdrawing her opposition to Talking Books and pledging her future support.

Helen wrote and solicited the support of well-known personalities of her day to ensure success of the project, including figures such as Alexander Woollcott, the well-known commentator and radio personality; Louise Carnegie, the wife of industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie; and Mrs. Felix Fuld, sister of businessman and philanthropist Louis Bamberger. (These letters are located in the American Foundation for the Blind Helen Keller Archives).

It was Helen Keller's ability to charm influential people in Congress, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt in particular, that clinched the funding necessary to make the Talking Book program a reality. On September 19, 1935, President Roosevelt signed an executive order allocating $211,500 to the Library of Congress for the manufacture of Talking Book machines as a Works Progress Administration project. The Library hired AFB to run the project. On November 2, 1935, Keller wrote the letter displayed on this page to the President, thanking him for that funding.


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Helen's Initial Opposition to Talking Books
Mutual Admiration
A Change of Mind


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Early History
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Partnerships
Helen Keller
Helen Keller
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Operations Begin
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Technology
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75 Years of AFB and Talking Books

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