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Helen Keller's Schooling

Creator: n/a
Date: January 14, 1898
Publication: The New York Times
Source: Available at selected libraries

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Blind Girl Taken from Gilman's School in Cambridge Because of Her Wounded Feelings.


BOSTON, Jan. 13. -- Helen Keller, the deaf, dumb, and blind girl from Alabama, who spent many years of her young life in the Perkins Institution for the Blind, and whose brilliant mind has given to scientists a wonderfully interesting study, has been removed by her mother from Gilman's School in Cambridge, where she has been preparing herself for entrance into Radcliff College. The reasons for this step are now for the first time made public.


It appears that Mr. Gilman deduced from his pupil's indisposition one day last Fall the idea that she was overworking herself and so changed her programme by omitting geometry and astronomy and advancing her time of college matriculation from 1899 to 1902. This broke the girl's heart, and she wrote to a friend, "I could scarcely endure my bitter humiliation. It seemed to me as if I had been cheated out of my proper share in the school work. I knew that Miss Sullivan's judgment had been flung aside as of no value, and I knew, too, that she had lived near and taken the best care of me for nearly eleven years, and that no harm had come to me while I was with her. She had worked all those long years to make my life sweet and happy. I had never overworked in my whole life and she had."


Nevertheless, matters would have gone on as they had been settled by the master if Miss Sullivan had not learned that a plan was under consideration to separate her from Helen -- to send her away from the school and make the schoolmaster Helen's guardian. Under these alarming circumstances, which were communicated to Helen, causing great agitation in the poor girl's mind, Miss Sullivan could do no less than appeal to Helen's mother, her father being no longer living. Mrs. Keller came to Boston at once from Alabama, and Helen was definitely withdrawn from the school.