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HELEN KELLER - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 03/24/1947 - HFSID 285187

HELEN KELLER Signed Typed Letter to Katharine Cornell (1947), full of lavish praise for the stage actress Typed Letter signed: "Helen Keller", 3 pages, 7¼x10½. Harvard House, Westport, Connecticut, 1947 March 25. To "Dear Katharine" [Cornell].

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HELEN KELLER

Signed Typed Letter to Katharine Cornell (1947), full of lavish praise for the stage actress

Typed Letter signed: "Helen Keller", 3 pages, 7¼x10½. Harvard House, Westport, Connecticut, 1947 March 25. To "Dear Katharine" [Cornell]. In full:  "This is just to embrace you by post, and to say how adorably good you always are to us both. The glow of Polly's and my several visits with you since Christmas-time has warmed us through a tiresomely cold winter. Gratefully I remember meeting you on the train years ago and how our hearts flew open to you. Of course we had known of your ennobling work in the drama as a way to foster idealism in the people, and we had admired you with an almost reverential affection, and O, what a happiness it was when your sweet human love encircled us! That made you a real person, and while it does not dim to us your achievements, it is as dearest Katharine that we feel most close to you. Yet it is because you are such a beautiful inspirer of your fellowmen that you are so precious, and your loving interest in our endeavors and responsibilities for others has steadied our morale in many situations. At last the tea to launch the campaign for the blind of Europe has been arranged at the Cosmopolitan Club, April 17th, and Mr. Myron C. Taylor will introduce me. How sorry Polly and I will be not to have you with us then! It was a delightful hour we had with you and Miss Wylie at the Gripsholm. You did spoil us shamelessly with those marvelous delicacies! But we enjoyed still more hearing about Miss Wylie's projected work in Switzerland for little war orphans and your adventures in coast-to-coast tours. It is poetic justice on the spot that you are to appear in 'Anthony and Cleopatra.' For you will impart, I know, a rich human interpretation to a play which is too easily rendered pompous by the dazzle of Roman grandeur and Egyptian ceremony. Eagerly we shall await your triumph in the premiere performance and our own chance to see you in the play. We are planning to go to Chicago in June, as our new home will not be ready at that time, and if things are good to us, we shall see you. Meanwhile you have our goodbye and loving thoughts on the way. Devotedly your friend."  Inspirational lecturer and author Helen Keller (1880-1968) had entered her dark, silent world as a result of illness while still a toddler. When she was about six years old, her parents sought help from Alexander Graham Bell, who had demonstrated his father's Visible Speech system at the Boston School for Deaf Mutes in 1871. Bell was instrumental in having instructor Anne Mansfield Sullivan (1866-1936) sent to teach Helen how to read, write and speak. With Sullivan's help, Helen learned the manual alphabet and graduated cum laude from Radcliffe in 1904. Devoting the rest of her life to the blind and deaf, Keller lectured and campaigned for improved services for the handicapped. In 1932, she and Sullivan helped make English Braille the standard. Keller, who wrote several books, including the inspirational The Story of My Life (1903), was awarded membership in the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Keller's life was later the basis for William Gibson's Tony Award-winning Broadway play (1959-1961) and the Academy Award-winning feature film (1962), The Miracle Worker. Mary Agnes "Polly" Thompson was Keller's secretary (from 1914) and nurse and companion from 1922 until her death in 1960. Thompson accompanied Keller on both her goodwill trips and vacations. Cornell was an acclaimed stage actress who refused on principle to appear in films, the only exception being her narration of The Unconquered (1954), a documentary about Keller's life. Cornell's performance in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra (1947-1948), was - as Keller predicted here - a great success, running for 251 performances and gaining Cornell a Tony nomination. 2 horizontal fold creases. Fine condition. 

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