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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

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Browse By Topic: Holidays

Thoughts on Independence Day by Helen Keller

Happy Fourth of July! Helen Keller fought her entire life for social and economic equality for all. During the 1930s she used the platform of the popular Home Magazine to express her ideas and encourage self-reliance, education, and hope, particularly among women. On the occasion of the Fourth of July, 1934, she encouraged readers to reflect on democracy and the work of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt who sought to lift the country out of its economic woes. "Independence Day" by Helen Keller Home Magazine, July 1934 Image and text courtesy of the Helen Keller Archives, American Foundation of the


Giving Thanks

Kirk Adams is president and CEO of the American Foundation for the Blind. Every Thanksgiving, I like to take inventory of everything I have to be grateful for. This year, my list is longer than ever. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet with so many people around the country this year who are working hard to create a better world. People like Caitlin, a blind elementary school teacher in San Francisco. James, a software engineer in Phoenix, who recently became blind and is working hard to learn blindness skills in order to return to work. And Kristin, the mother of two blind teenage boys in Philadelphia, who is passionately


The Gift that Keeps Giving: Reviving an Historic Home in Monroe, N.Y. with Strong Ties to Helen Keller

Helen Selsdon here, the archivist at the American Foundation for the Blind. Back in March 2016 I received an email from a gentleman asking me about a house called Rest Haven in upstate New York. I knew about this house and its connection to AFB and I wondered what he wanted to know. Little did I anticipate the wonderful story that was about to unfold. It is my great pleasure to introduce Timothy Mitts, the man behind an incredible campaign to save an historic building that was once owned by AFB’s President M. C. Migel and enjoyed by Helen Keller. Here is Tim’s story: On March 23,


Gift Ideas for Friends and Family Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

It's that time of year again, when we're all searching for gift-giving ideas. If you have close friends or family members who are blind, visually impaired, or losing their sight, you may want to explore these updated gift guides from the American Foundation for the Blind. From young children to working-age adults to seniors who are gradually losing their vision, AFB has you covered. Before you start shopping, learn how you can help AFB every time you shop online! Would you like to be able to donate to AFB quickly and easily, without increasing the cost


Happy Thanksgiving From the American Foundation for the Blind

Transcript: Thanksgiving dinner at Palawoo, 1918. (Left to right) Elsa Kingsley, Mrs. Mary Kingsley, Polly Thompson, Helen Keller, Myra Kingsley, Maybon Kingsley, Mrs. Macy "Teacher" -- We are doing our best with a 14 lb turkey that Mrs. Kingsley brought in with all the "fixins." How much have we all both as individuals and collectively the [sic] be thankful for this wonderful day with the World War over. The American Foundation for the Blind is grateful for all of you, who share our vision of a world where the millions of people who are blind or visually impaired have equal


Helen Keller: Transformation and Renewal

As holidays and spring time approach it is a good time to reflect on Helen Keller’s love of nature and its possibilities for transformation and renewal. In September 1940 a year after she and her companion Polly Thomson moved into their new home in Westport, CT Keller wrote to her close friend "Uncle Walter." Here is an excerpt from that letter: This place is already amazingly transformed. Between jobs at the desk Polly and I have worked with our faithful Herbert to make our four acres shady in


Valentine's Day Ideas for Friends and Family Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, there's still time to share the love with beautiful Helen Keller-themed gifts that help support the American Foundation for the Blind and its programs. Plus, all jewelry is on sale for a limited time. You can choose from a sterling silver


A Magical Movie Clip for the Holidays: Anne Sullivan Macy and Helen Keller

Enjoy the only known recording of Anne Sullivan Macy’s voice. Here Annie explains how she taught Helen to speak. This is one of a handful of clips recently re-mastered and digitized, and is part of the American Foundation for the Blind’s (AFB) big push to digitize Helen Keller’s entire archival collection and make it fully accessible to both blind and hearing impaired audiences: Happy Holidays from AFB! <script type="text/javascript"


Playing Santa at the Atlanta Center for the Visually Impaired's Early Intervention Program

Ike Claus I was delighted to join the staff at the Atlanta Center for the Visually Impaired BEGIN Program (Babies Early Growth Intervention Network) for their infants and toddlers holiday program last Saturday. We sang songs, ate way too many cookies, and I was honored to don the big guy’s red suit (the beard is my own!). Each child had the opportunity to have their photos taken with Santa. Children this young and some with additional disabilities often do not receive a friendly welcome at many of the commercial locations where Santa


On Thanksgiving, Enjoy This Newly Digitized Movie Clip of Helen Keller

The American Foundation for the Blind is delighted to share this movie clip of Helen Keller in her home in Westport, Connecticut. Filmed in the 1950s, it beautifully captures Helen’s instinctive appreciation of the world around her and her wholehearted joy of living. This is one of 10 clips that will be uploaded to the newly digitized Helen Keller Archival Collection. These clips, newly cleaned, are now also described and captioned for blind and hearing impaired viewers. <script


Helen Keller in Paris: Tourism, Nostalgia and Memory

Image: Helen Keller holds baguettes and stands next to Polly Thomson, 1952 This week’s blog for Inside the Helen Keller Digitization Project is a wonderful piece by David Serlin, associate professor of communication and science studies at the University of California, San Diego. Enjoy! One of my favorite objects in the


Helen Keller: A Champion Among Presidents

"Only people count. Only people who think and feel and work together make civilization. Only governments that keep every door of opportunity wide open are civilized governments...Civilization means a fair chance to live. It means an equitable share of the resources of the earth for every one. It means health and freedom and education for all men." <div


Jewelry, Braille-Labeled Gifts, and Accessible Cards for Valentine's Day!

"What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us." -Helen Keller With Valentine's Day right around the corner, there's still time to share the love with beautiful Helen Keller-themed jewelry that helps


Helen Keller: A Christmas Tale

In The Approach of Christmas Helen Keller vividly describes an early childhood memory of Christmas. It was December 1887, a momentous year for Helen Keller. In March of that year Anne Sullivan came to Tuscumbia, Alabama to teach Helen. Just a few weeks later, Anne successfully taught her young pupil to communicate using the manual sign language. Helen was just six years old. Many years later, Helen described the joy of her "first" Christmas in December of that year, as well as her subsequent bewilderment and outrage as she discovered inequality in the world. "Tell us about your happiest Christmas." Do


Gift Ideas for Friends and Family Members Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

It's that time of year again, when we're all searching for gift-giving ideas. If you have close friends or family members who are blind, visually impaired, or losing their sight, here are some gift-giving guides you might want to check out. From young children to working-age adults to seniors who are gradually losing their vision, the American Foundation for the Blind has you covered. AccessWorld(r) brings you some high- and low-tech gift ideas that are completely accessible to people who are blind or who have low visionand they are all priced under $100. Check out the


Happy Halloween! Tips and Articles from the American Foundation for the Blind

It's almost Halloween night! But what if your child is visually impaired, and not a big fan of dressing up in costumes? Whether you're excited or filled with Halloween dread, here are some ways to have fun with the holiday: Get tactile: NAPVI mom Maria Dibernardo shared some great pumpkin activities for children who are blind or visually impaired. Get creative: Emily Coleman a teacher of students who are visually impaired who is also the mom to Eddie,


This Valentine’s Day, Send a Helen Keller eCard... and Other Gift Ideas for People with Vision Loss

Perhaps AFB's most famous advocate said it best: "Cultivate love for love is the light that gives the eye to see great and noble things." With Valentine's Day right around the corner, Helen's wise words have never rung truer. In light of this upcoming special day, why not share the love with a Helen Keller eCard? Our Helen Keller eCards are high contrast and large-print, featuring beautiful photos, with quotes from Helen. These electronic cards are accessible for people who are blind or have low vision, and allow you to type in