Why Was Helen Keller In Rochester?
I so wanted the reason for Helen Keller's arrival in Rochester to have something to do with Apple To Apples, but it doesn't. If you don't know Helen's story, she overcame a hard life. At eighteen months old she lost her vision and hearing due to an unknown illness. Anne Sullivan gave her some tools to overcome that. Then Helen became an author, political activist, and lecturer. In fact, she's the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor's degree in the US.
It was while Helen was conquering the world that she made a stop in Rochester.
The History Center of Olmsted County explained, "She spoke to classes at Central School and attended musical concerts at Dr. Donald and Carrie Balfour’s home. To enjoy the music, Keller held her hands against the music room’s pipe organ chamber screens to feel the beat. In 1937, Keller had gallbladder surgery. An infection delayed her recovery and she stayed for over a month at the Kahler Hotel; a nurse was assigned to her full-time. To show her appreciation for the nurse’s dedication, Keller gifted a book about Ann Sullivan’s life and personally addressed it: “To: Miss Hall whose tender care made my nights restful. Helen Keller. Oct. 11, 1937.” She was also close with Dr. Chuck Mayo.
After that, Helen would continue to visit Rochester into the 1940s for speaking engagements.