The World I Live in

1908118 x 193 mm

Beautiful provenance

1 300 

1 in stock


FIRST EDITION Helen Keller's second autobiographical work, a collection of 15 essays and a poem that first appeared in the magazine Century Magazine between 1904 and 1908. Illustrated with 4 photographic reproductions of portraits of the author.

The author, who is blind and deaf, recounts how she learned to speak with the teacher Anne Mansfield Sullivan. By the age of one and a half, Helen Keller had lost her sight and hearing: for 6 years, she was only able to communicate with those around her using around sixty signs, an experience she described in her first book as the experience of a lifetime. "at sea in a thick fog [...] The great ship seems to worry you, while the probe gropes to find its way and you feel your heart clench with anguish. Like that ship, I was making my way through life before my education began". Anne Sullivan, hired by her parents, succeeded in developing a communication strategy with the little girl based on touch. Building on this initial foundation, Helen Keller taught her Braille and sign language.

AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED to Mary Rogers Coe, daughter of Henry Huttleston Rogers, dedicatee of the book that funded Helen Keller's university education. To write, Helen Keller used a grooved board to keep the lines straight and to space out the blocks of letters; her particularly strong handwriting allowed her to read "with her fingertips".

To Mrs Coe
who has made me happy with many books
Helen Keller

It was in 1896 that oil tycoon Henry Rogers met Helen Keller, then aged 16. Encouraged by his friend Mark Twain, Rogers decided to finance the young woman's studies at Harvard's Radcliffe College and paid her a monthly allowance. Helen Keller became the first deaf-blind person to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree.

The collection opens with a preface in which Helen Keller regrets that she only writes about her personal experience, and vows to commit herself to a social cause:

"The editors are so kind that they are no doubt right in thinking that nothing I have to say about the affairs of the universe would be interesting. But until they give me opportunity to write about matters that are not-me, the world must go on uninstructed and unreformed, and I can only do my best with the one small subject upon which I am allowed to discourse." (p. xii)

A year after the book was published, the author joined the Socialist Party. In particular, she campaigned for women's suffrage and the right to contraception, and joined the Industrial Workers of the Worldand will be one of the founding members of theAmerican Civil Union. Her philanthropic activities took her to 35 countries, and she published 14 books, in addition to numerous articles.

Nice provenance.

New York,The Century co,1908.In-12, Bound,118 x 193 mm,xiii pp. - 195 pp. - 4] plates.

Bound in publisher's green cloth, title and gilt decoration on upper cover, title and gilt decoration on spine.

Without dust jacket. Rubbing to binding.


Helen Keller

(Tuscumbia: 27 June 1880 - Easton: 1 June 1968)

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