Helen Keller participated in a smelling session with a perfumer in the fall of 1950. The event was described in an article titled “The World Through Three Senses” that Keller wrote for the March 1951 edition of Ladies’ Home Journal. The name of the perfumer was conspicuously absent, which was odd considering the postwar boom in women’s perfumes and the fact that Keller was an avid gardener who adored flowers.
It turns out that Helen Keller didn’t leave the perfumer’s name out of the article—the editor did. Michelle Krell Kydd discovered this after the American Foundation for the Blind launched the first fully accessible digital archive of The Helen Keller Collection in June 2019. The draft of “The World Through Three Senses” wasn’t hidden behind a paywall; it was hidden in plain sight. The perfumer’s name was Michel Pasquier.
To learn more about the "Smell and Tell series" event, visit the Ann Arbor District Library website.