a plain, black well-pump in the small southern town of
Tuscumbia, Alabama, one of the world's great miracles took
place. It began one bright, spring day in 1887. Puffy white
clouds floated overhead on a background of blue, while birds
fluttered through oaks and maples and flowers burst forth from
the fertile soil in an array of colors—all unheard and unseen by
a pretty girl of seven.
Standing at the totally blind and deaf
Helen Keller's side was a young woman, Anne Sullivan. Miss
Sullivan was steadily pumping cool water into one of the girl's
hands while repeatedly tapping out an alphabet code of five
letters in the other—first slowly, then rapidly. The scene was
repeated again and again as young Helen painstakingly struggled
to break her world of silence.
Suddenly the signals crossed Helen's
consciousness with a meaning. She knew that "w-a-t-e-r" meant
the cool something flowing over her hand. Darkness began to melt
from her mind like so much ice left out on the sunny March day.
By nightfall, Helen had learned 30
Helen Adams Keller was born a healthy
child on June 27, 1880, to Captain Arthur H. and Kate Adams
Keller of Tuscumbia. At the tender age of 19 months, she was
stricken with a severe illness which left her blind and deaf.
At the age of six, the half-wild, deaf and
blind girl was taken by her parents to see Dr. Alexander Graham
of her visit, Helen was united with her teacher Anne Mansfield
Sullivan on March 3, 1887. After Helen's miraculous
break-through at the simple well-pump, she proved so gifted that
she soon learned the fingertip alphabet and shortly afterward to
write. By the end of August, in six short months, she knew 625
By age 10, Helen had mastered Braille as
well as the manual alphabet and even learned to use the
typewriter. By the time she was 16, Helen could speak well
enough to go to preparatory school and to college. In 1904 she
was graduated "cum laude" from Radcliffe College. The teacher
stayed with her through those years, interpreting lectures and
class discussions to her.
Helen Keller, the little girl, became one
of history's remarkable women. She dedicated her life to
improving the conditions of blind and the deaf-blind around the
world, lecturing in more than 25 countries on the five major
continents. Wherever she appeared, she brought new courage to
millions of blind
Her teacher, Anne Sullivan is remembered
as "the Miracle Worker" for her lifetime dedication, patience
and love to a half-wild southern child trapped in a world of
11.New Zealand Gate
in 1820 only one year after Alabama became the 22ndState
of the Union, Ivy Green is a simple, white clapboard
home design in typical Southern architecture. The main
house is of Virginia cottage construction, with four
large rooms on the first floor bisected by a wide hall.
Each room boasts an individual fireplace. Upstairs are
three rooms connected by a hall. Having survived
untouched through the ravages of the Civil War, Ivy
Green is maintained to the smallest detail in its
Since 1954 Helen
Keller's birthplace has been a permanent shrine to the
"miracle" that occurred in a blind and deaf seven-year
old girl's life. At that time Ivy Green was placed on
the National Register of Historic Places.
We welcome you to
walk the grounds of
one of America's true historical treasures and
experience the miracle where it actually took place.