Preservation and Access: Humanities Collections and Reference Resources

Period of Performance

5/1/2015 - 12/31/2017

Funding Totals (outright + matching)

$337,506.00 (approved)
$337,506.00 (awarded)

Digitization of the Helen Keller Archival Collection

FAIN: PW-226844-15

American Foundation for the Blind Inc. (New York, NY 10121-0101)
Helen J. Selsdon (Project Director: July 2014 to April 2018)

The digitization of the Helen Keller papers, comprising 80,000 items (150,000 page images), enabling free online access to the collection.

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) seeks funding to digitize the Helen Keller Archival Collection comprising over 80,000 items bequeathed to AFB by Keller upon her death in 1968. It is the single largest repository of materials by and about Helen Keller in the world and includes correspondence, speeches, press clippings, scrapbooks, photographs, architectural drawings, and artifacts that span from the late 19th century to the mid-20th. The archive includes materials from or by nine U.S. presidents, as well as leading figures such as Mark Twain, Pearl S. Buck, Margaret Sanger and Albert Einstein. It also contains voluminous correspondence from men, women, and children, sighted and non-sighted, who corresponded with Keller from around the globe and whose stories have never been told. It is an extraordinary source of information on 19th and 20th century American social, political, and cultural history, as well as the history of disability and feminism.