The Helen Keller Archive: 176,000 Digital Images and Counting!

June 25, 2019
Cake covered in flowers and a quotation celebrating Helen Keller's birthday
Birthday cake inscribed with "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." ~Helen Keller
Helen Keller was born 139 years ago today! Keller worked for AFB for 44 years. Within that time, and after her death in 1968, AFB amassed an enormous trove of materials by and about her. This extraordinary collection is a goldmine of social, political, and cultural history. It also presents a unique opportunity to teach and learn about Keller’s life, the times in which she lived, the history of disabilities, and the importance of universal accessibility. As a result of generous funding from…

Happy 20th Birthday to the Olmstead Decision!

June 20, 2019
Stacy Cervenka, Director Public Policy, American Foundation for the Blind
Stacy Cervenka, Director Public Policy, AFB
On June 22, 1999, the Supreme Court ruled in Olmstead v. L.C. that unjustified segregation of people with disabilities constitutes discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Often hailed by the disability rights community as the most important civil rights decision for people with disabilities in US history, the Olmstead decision flung open the doors of institutions and gave previously segregated people the right to live in their communities. Subsequent court decisions…

Helen Keller and Disability History: Taking It to the Classroom

June 19, 2019
Photograph of students playing and learning in a kindergarten class at a school for students who are blind, Australia. 1948
Photograph of students playing and learning in a kindergarten class at a school for students who are blind, Australia. 1948
AFB’s mission to bring Helen Keller’s inspiring legacy to a global audience took a massive step forward with the Helen Keller Archive digitization project. Begun in 2015, over 176,000 digital images are now available at one’s fingertips. One of the project’s goals is to make the digital archive a stellar educational tool. Last summer, at a party celebrating the launch of the archive, our archivist introduced the digital archive to visually impaired 5th graders at the New York Institute for…
Author Helen Selsdon
Blog Topics Helen Keller

Emma Goldman on Helen Keller: "A Big, Brave American Woman"

June 14, 2019
Letter from Emma Goldman to Helen Keller from prison about the political climate and home and in Russia.
Letter from Emma Goldman to Helen Keller from prison about the political climate and home and in Russia.
On June 15, 1917, the US Congress passed the Espionage Act, and that same day anarchists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman were arrested and sent to prison. The following year, Goldman wrote to Helen Keller from prison. Her penciled letter begins as if she were writing to Helen Keller from her home: “Beloved Comrade I am terribly sorry I did not get the chance to see you again. I wanted so much to know you more intimately and have you know me.” Emma thanks Helen for her support during her…
Author AFB Staff
Blog Topics Helen Keller Archives

AFB Staff Find Special Treasures in the Helen Keller Archive

June 4, 2019
Last week, we asked you to join us in exploring the Helen Keller Archive and sharing the treasures you found during your online journey. Thanks to all of you who participated in the event! Of course, AFB staff was excited to dig into the digital archive and show a few of the fascinating artifacts their searches uncovered. We hope you enjoy these letters, gifts, and photographs from the fascinating life of Helen Keller. Elizabeth: I love this photo of Helen Keller sitting and reading braille…
Author AFB Staff
Blog Topics Helen Keller Archives

Today Is the Day to Be a Digital Archivist!

May 29, 2019
Helen Keller and Polly Thomson, seated outside on the grass with German Shepherd dog nearby, circa 1955
Helen Keller and Polly Thomson, seated outside on the grass with German Shepherd dog nearby, circa 1955
Please visit the Helen Keller Archive today between 12:00 and 12:30pm U.S. Eastern time. Our goal is to have a large number of visitors test the site’s ability to handle heavy traffic. So we need as many of you out there as possible to take a few minutes and enjoy the treasure trove that is the Helen Keller digital archive! Learn something new! Check out her correspondence with Mark Twain and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Or read a letter she wrote to her good friend Nella Braddy Henney, describing…

Be a Digital Archivist for a Day!

May 21, 2019
Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, and Polly Thomson at a banquet before Helen and Polly's trip to the Far East. Waldorf Astoria Hotel, NYC, 1955
Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, and Polly Thomson
On Wednesday May 29 at 12pm U.S. Eastern, we encourage you to explore all of the great things the archive has to offer, and help to test how well the archive handles heavy traffic. There are thousands of letters, photographs, maps, artifacts, and more just waiting to be discovered in the Helen Keller Archive. Here’s how you can help: Please visit the Helen Keller Facebook page for more information about this event (and give it a follow if you haven’t already!). Always been a fan of Eleanor…

Seven (7) Accessibility Tips for Web and Mobile Developers

May 16, 2019
John Lilly
John Lilly, AFB Senior Accessibility Engineer
Use robust, valid code and keep it simple. Remember that there are many different types of disabilities and many different types of assistive technologies to help these users. Developers mostly need to worry about proper programming and keeping things simple. Is your website coded correctly to stand the test of time and meet compatibility requirements with many different devices? Native HTML controls should always be your first choice. These controls are robust and have concrete standards that…

A Look Back at AFB’s Long History in Assistive Technology: Talking Books

May 15, 2019
Image Description: In the shipping department at the Library for the Blind, New York Public Library, Talking Book records are being mailed in their containers. In the foreground, a man pushes two trolleys full of Talking Book records. In the background a man stands on a ladder in front of one of the many large metal shelves housing the containers. Partnerships are powerful! Since its inception in 1921, the American Foundation for the Blind has worked with blindness organizations, government…
Author AFB Staff

AccessWorld List of the 5 Must-Attend Assistive Technology Conferences

May 13, 2019
The pace of both mainstream and assistive technology is rapid, and keeping up with the latest advances can be daunting. There are several technology-focused conferences where attendees can learn about the latest updates and explore the technology available to people with vision loss. In recognition of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we have gathered the top five conferences in North America that we believe provide the most value in this space. Conferences are listed in the calendar order…