Anne Sullivan was born on April 14th, 1866. She passed away on October 20th 1936. Anne Sullivan is best known for being the tutor or teacher for Helen Keller. Born in Massachusetts, she learned to be a teacher in the subsection town Feeding Hills, in the town of Agawam. You might have heard Anne Sullivan referred to as Annie in many different settings.
She started out her life with meager means of livelihood, and limited education. However, this was not enough to stop her from finding out what the entire world had to offer. This is just a brief biography to help gain a little further understanding of this fascinating teacher, and human being.
Her family came over from Ireland and worked as impoverished cooks. During the potato famish in 1847 their family made the steps to living in the United States.
Anne Sullivan lost her beloved mother at the early age of nine. She learned what hard times were at a very young age. Her father however, maintained the Irish traditions, which gave her hope.
When Anne Sullivan was ten it was necessary for her and her brother to move in with other family members. This then led to them both being sent to Tewksbury Almshouse. She and her younger brother spent most of their time together. Though, the life of her brother also resulted in tragedy. This was because he had poor health due to tubercular hip. This resulted in his young death.
At a very early age around three years old Anne Sullivan began to have issues with her eyesight. At age 5 she contracted the bacteria infection trachoma. The blindness is caused by the scaring that bacterium will cause to the tissue in the eyes. Though Anne Sullivan underwent a great deal of surgeries for her eyes, the attempts were in vain.
In 1880 Anne Sullivan attended the Perkins School For the Blind. She graduated Valedictorian in the year of 1888. She had regained her eyesight, however had possessed the gained understanding of what the illness and challenge of blindness caused.
This new understanding is what was the starting point for her to begin teaching Helen Keller. She was Helen Keller’s governess. She had begun to teach Helen the sign language alphabet, and then much more.
In 1888 she and Helen Keller went to the Perkins Institute together. Then from there they went to the Wright-Humanson School. Then the two of them went to the Radcliff College. This was the path of learning and great friendship.
The representation for this life story and biography was explained in somewhat great detail in the story of the Miracle Worker, written by William Gibson. It was a beautiful story that created warmth in the learning and growth of vision loss as a challenge all over the world.
In the later parts of Anne Sullivan’s, and Helen Keller’s lives, there was an addition to the friendship, Polly Thompson. She acted as a secretary and assistant. The three women, all with different strengths, began to travel and teach others. They gave lectures, performances, and much more. They began to work for the American Foundation for the blind.