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Canadian, born Armenia,
Helen Keller and Polly Thompson
15 7/8 in. x 18 1/2 in. (40.32 cm x 46.99 cm)
Medium and Support:
Gelatin silver print on paper
Gifted to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts by the artist in honor of Museum Director, Mark M. Johnson
© Estate of Yousuf Karsh
Helen Keller (1880–1968)
Keller became blind and deaf due to illness before she was two. At seven she began learning language through an alphabet spelled into her hand by her teacher, Anne Sullivan. Keller became the first deaf and blind person to earn a college degree. The pacifist and advocate for the blind and deaf, women’s rights, workers’ rights, and socialism wrote twelve books and numerous articles.
Keller is shown with Polly Thompson, her assistant after the death of Sullivan. Karsh said the picture includes “not only that luminous, serene, yet vivid face, but those sensitive hands, together with the devoted concentration of her companion.”