Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World - Ann Shen (2016)
Born into an affluent Southern family in Alabama, Helen Keller (1880-1968) contracted an illness as a baby that rendered her deafblind. Through a series of fortunate meetings, her parents secured her a governess named Anne Sullivan, who would turn Keller’s life around. Sullivan was also visually impaired and had attended the Perkins Institution for the Blind in Boston, where she also trained as a teacher. Her no-nonsense approach and patience with teaching Keller forged a forty-nine-year-long relationship that ultimately changed the world. Keller went from a wild and unruly child to becoming the first deafblind person to earn a bachelor’s degree. After working on learning to speak for twenty-five years, Keller became a prolific author and professional speaker. She published over twelve books in her lifetime, including autobiographies that continue to inspire readers to this day. Keller advocated tirelessly for people with disabilities and for socialist causes like women’s suffrage, pacifism, and birth control, even though her socialist leanings garnered harsh criticisms, with some suggesting that her disabilities limited her perspective. Her influence was broad—Keller was one of the cofounders of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and she introduced the Akita dog breed to America when she was gifted one by the Japanese government. Her miraculous life gave vision to the rest of the world.