Helen Keller

Salerno, Abigail

Helen Keller’s brief career in silent film began when she was approached by historian and author of the popular Photographic History of the Civil War Francis Trevelyan Miller, who hoped to write a motion picture script based on Keller’s life and work. Miller, in a January 1918 letter to Keller, argued that the motion pictures were “a universal language” and an opportunity for the deaf-blind author and activist to share her political and social message with the world. Keller, who was often frustrated by the limitations of biographical interest in her life, responded to the broader vision of the project and wrote, typing in her distinctive typing style, back to him in April: “So according to your conception, the interest of our life-drama will not be confined to the events of my life, but will be spread out all round the world [… ] and bring many vital truths home to the hearts of the people, truths that shall hasten the deliverance of the human race.” This rhetoric becomes more pointed in the context of Keller’s public life; she had been a politically active Socialist since 1912.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Women Film Pioneers Project
Published Here
October 15, 2019