Sullivan Anne 1866 - 1936 (70)

Children require guidance and sympathy far more than instruction.


The story of my life

Anne Sullivan (April 14, 1866 - October 20, 1936) was an American educator. She was born in Massachusetts to a poor Irish immigrant parents and lost her mother of tuberculosis at the age of eight. Her father was an alcoholic and left her - together with her brother - in a poorhouse. There her brother died of tuberculosis and she fell ill with trachoma that left her blind. At the age of 14 she was admitted to the famous Perkins School for the Blind where she studied mathematics and history. She graduated at the age of 20, having partially regained her light after a series of surgeries. In 1867 the Keller family was looking for a tutor for their 7-year-old daughter Ellen, who had been blind and deaf since the age of 19 months and was unable to communicate. Anne was nominated by the Perkins Foundation; she began teaching Ellen with great success, the two women became inseparable for the rest of their lives.

Ellen learned to speak and read using the Braille method and became the first deaf and blind person to graduate from a university in 1904. In the same year, with Sullivan's help, she wrote the autobiographical book "The Story of My Life" and lived a full life, writing and touring around the world giving lectures to raise public awareness of the problems of people with disabilities.

Anne Sullivan married but never lived away from Keller, she was her friend and teacher until her death in 1936. She was then 70 years old and quite depressed, having lost, in her last years, her sight once again.