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In the Realm of the Senses

Helen Keller in Martha's Vineyard, 1961

"I can tell music from other vibrations by its rhythm and--I have no touch-word for its velvety singing through me. I detect loud and soft tones, swelling chords and dance measures. Each musical instrument has its own quality of vibration. A violin sings or sobs into my hand like the human voice. The music of the organ rolls, thunders, sinks as if into the sea, mounts upward and sweeps out into space carrying my soul on its majestic wings. The wild call of the bugle is unlike the insistent beat of the drum or the sweetness of the harp."

Helen powerfully related to the world around her with her three remaining senses of touch, smell and taste. Her archival collection is full of wonderful descriptions illustrating her sensory connection to places, people and experiences; she always encouraged others to enjoy and value the physical world around them.

Touch: she could recognize a person through their handshake, decades after she had first met them.

Smell: she loved her garden. Following a rope with her hand, she strolled outdoors enjoying the smells and tactile sensations around her. Famously, she could identify an amazing array of flowers by their scent.

Taste: she loved her food and drink, hot dogs and martinis in particular!

Please help us bring this unique collection to a global audience. Donate now and donate generously. Like the Helen Keller: The Official Fan Page on Facebook for more inspirational photos, quotes, and letters, and use the #beamiracleworker hashtag on Twitter to raise awareness of our efforts to save the Helen Keller Archives.

Image: Helen Keller on the beach in Martha’s Vineyard, 1961.