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Helen Keller Archive

A fully accessible digital collection from
the American Foundation for the Blind

About the Archive

The Helen Keller Archive at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is the world’s largest repository of materials about and by Helen Keller. Materials include correspondence, speeches, press clippings, scrapbooks, photographs, photograph albums, architectural drawings, audio recordings, audio-visual materials and artifacts.

The collection contains detailed biographical information about Helen Keller (1880-1968), as well as a fascinating record of over 80 years of social and political change worldwide. Keller was a feminist, a suffragist, a social activist, and a pacifist, as well as a prolific writer and published author.

Her impact reached far beyond the United States. She traveled to 39 countries as an advocate and global goodwill ambassador and met and corresponded with many of the leading figures of her time, including nine U.S. presidents, and prominent social activists, philanthropists, industrialists, writers, artists, and actors. The collection contains information on all these subjects and individuals as well as the countless ordinary men, women, and children who corresponded with her.

Thanks to the enormous generosity of the National Endowment for the Humanities, this digital archive is being made accessible to blind, deaf, deafblind, sighted and hearing audiences alike. Please note that this is a beta version of this site and additional accessibility features are being constantly added. The entire digitized collection will contain more than 160,000 images.

How Do I Begin My Research?

Start by using the “Browse” function to understand what the collection contains. Here are listed the types of materials in the collection e.g. correspondence, photographs etc., as well as the box and folder list for the collection. The Browse function also includes a comprehensive list of the subjects in the digital archive, providing a rapid and easy way of discovering the collection’s scope and content.

For archivists and historians, please know that the collection adheres to best archival practices for arrangement and description of historical collections. A traditional hierarchical structure for series and subseries underpins both the physical archive and intellectual arrangement of the collection.

This collection contains 52,692 items comprising 163,878 images.
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