Florence Nightingale

Celebrated English nurse, writer and statistician Florence Nightingale OM, RRC sadly Passed away on 13th August 1910. She was born on 12 May 1820 and is noted for her pioneering work in nursing during the Crimean War, where she tended to wounded soldiers, and was dubbed “The Lady with the Lamp” after her habit of making rounds at night. Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, the first nursing school in the world, now part of King’s College London. the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on her birthday.

She was born at the Villa Colombaia, near the Porta Romana at Bellosguardo in Florence, Italy, and was named after the city of her birth. Inspired by a call from God she announced her decision to enter nursing in 1844, and rebelled against the expected role for a woman of her status, which was to become a wife and mother. Nightingale worked hard to educate herself in the art and science of nursing, .In Rome she met Sidney Herbert, a brilliant politician who was instrumental in facilitating Nightingale’s nursing work in the Crimea, and she became a key adviser to him in his political career. Later in 1850, she visited a Lutheran religious community where she observed The Pastor and the deaconesses working for the sick and the deprived. , based on this experience She published her first book The Institution of Kaiserswerth on the Rhine, for the Practical Training of Deaconesses, and also received four months of medical training at the institute which formed the basis for her later career.

Florence Nightingale’s most famous contribution came during the Crimean War, which became her central focus in changing the horrific conditions present. On 21 October 1854, she and a staff of 38 women volunteer nurses, were sent to the Ottoman Empire, approx. 546 km (339 miles) across the Black Sea from Balaklava in the Crimea, where the main British camp was based. She arrived early in November 1854 and found wounded soldiers being badly cared for by overworked medical staff in the face of official indifference. Medicines were in short supply, hygiene was neglected, conditions were unsanitory, and there was no equipment to process food for the patients.This prompted Nightingale to send a plea to The Times for the government to produce a solution to the poor conditions, the British Government commissioned Isambard Kingdom Brunel to design a prefabricated hospital, which could be built in England and shipped to the Dardanelles. The result was Renkioi Hospital, a civilian facility which under the management of Dr Edmund Alexander Parkes had a death rate less than 1/10th that of Scutari. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was asserted that Nightingale reduced the death rate from 42% to 2% either by making improvements in hygiene herself or by calling for the Sanitary Commission. .

During her first winter at Scutari, 4,077 soldiers died. Ten times more soldiers died from illnesses such as typhus, typhoid, cholera and dysentery than from battle wounds.Conditions at the temporary barracks hospital were so fatal because of overcrowding, defective sewers and lack of ventilation. A Sanitary Commission had to be sent out by the British government to Scutari in March 1855, and effected flushing out the sewers and improvements to ventilation. Death rates were sharply reduced. During the war she did not recognise hygiene as the predominant cause of death, and she never claimed credit for helping to reduce the death rate. Nightingale continued believing the death rates were due to poor nutrition and supplies and overworking of the soldiers. It was not until after she returned to Britain and began collecting evidence before the Royal Commission on the Health of the Army that she realised most of the soldiers at the hospital were killed by poor living conditions and advocated sanitary living conditions as of great importance. Consequently, she reduced deaths in the army during peacetime and turned attention to the sanitary design of hospitals. During the Crimean war, Florence Nightingale gained the nickname “The Lady with the Lamp”, deriving from a phrase in a report in The Times and The phrase was further popularised by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1857 poem “Santa Filomena”.

While she was in the Crimea, the Nightingale Fund for the training of nurses was established. Nightingale pioneered medical tourism as well, and wrote of spas in the Ottoman Empire, and directed less well off patients there (where treatment was cheaper than in Switzerland). Nightingale also set up the Nightingale Training School at St. Thomas’ Hospital. (Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery at King’s College London.) and campaigned for the Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital in Aylesbury. She also wrote Notes on Nursing, a slim 136-page book that served as the cornerstone of the curriculum at the Nightingale School and other nursing schools,and though written specifically for the education of those nursing at home, it sold well to the general reading public and is considered a classic introduction to nursing.

Nightingale was an advocate for the improvement of care and conditions in the military and civilian hospitals in Britain. One of her biggest achievements was the introduction of trained nurses into the workhouse system from the 1860s onwards. This meant that sick paupers were now being cared for by properly trained nursing staff and was the forerunner of the National Health Service in Britain. By 1882, Nightingale nurses had a growing and influential presence in the embryonic nursing profession. Some had become matrons at leading hospitals, including, in London, St Mary’s Hospital, Westminster Hospital, St Marylebone Workhouse Infirmary and the Hospital for Incurables at Putney, Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley; Edinburgh Royal Infirmary; Cumberland Infirmary and Liverpool Royal Infirmary, as well as at Sydney Hospital in New South Wales, Australia.

In 1883, Nightingale was awarded the Royal Red Cross by Queen Victoria. In 1904, she was appointed a Lady of Grace of the Order of St John (LGStJ) and in 1907, she became the first woman to be awarded the Order of Merit. In 1908, she was given the Honorary Freedom of the City of London and her contributions to medical science, nursing care and sanitary conditions have improved hospitals the world over and are still in use today. He birthday is now celebrated as International CFS Awareness Day

Alexander Fleming

Scottish biologist, pharmacologist and botanist Alexander Fleming was born on 6 August 1881 at Lochfield, a farm near Darvel, in Ayrshire, Scotland. He was the third of the four children of farmer Hugh Fleming (1816–1888) from his second marriage to Grace Stirling Morton (1848–1928), the daughter of a neighbouring farmer. Hugh Fleming had four surviving children from his first marriage. He was 59 at the time of his second marriage, and died when Alexander (known as Alec) was seven.Fleming went to Loudoun Moor School and Darvel School, and earned a two-year scholarship to Kilmarnock Academy before moving to London, where he attended the Royal Polytechnic Institution. After working in a shipping office for four years, the twenty-year-old Fleming inherited some money from an uncle, John Fleming. His elder brother, Tom, was already a physician and suggested to his younger sibling that he follow the same career.

So in 1903, the younger Alexander enrolled at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School inPaddington; he qualified with an MBBS degree from the school with distinction in 1906. Fleming had been a private in the London Scottish Regiment of the Volunteer Force since 1900, and had been a member of the rifle club at the medical school. The captain of the club, wishing to retain Fleming in the team suggested that he join the research department at St Mary’s, where he became assistant bacteriologist to Sir Almroth Wright, a pioneer in vaccine therapy and immunology. In 1908, he gained a BSc degree with Gold Medal in Bacteriology, and became a lecturer at St Mary’s until 1914. On 23 December 1915, Fleming married a trained nurse, Sarah Marion McElroy of Killala, County Mayo, Ireland. Fleming served throughout World War I as a captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and was Mentioned in Dispatches. He and many of his colleagues worked in battlefield hospitals at the Western Front in France.

Following World War I in 1918 he returned to St Mary’s Hospital, where he actively searched for anti-bacterial agents, having witnessed the death of many soldiers from sepsis resulting from infected wounds. Antiseptics killed the patients’ immunological defences more effectively than they killed the invading bacteria. In an article he submitted for the medical journal The Lancet during World War I, Fleming described an ingenious experiment, which he was able to conduct as a result of his own glass blowing skills, in which he explained why antiseptics were killing more soldiers than infection itself during World War I. Antiseptics worked well on the surface, but deep wounds tended to shelter anaerobic bacteria from the antiseptic agent, and antiseptics seemed to remove beneficial agents produced that protected the patients in these cases at least as well as they removed bacteria, and did nothing to remove the bacteria that were out of reach. Sir Almroth Wrightstrongly supported Fleming’s findings, but despite this, most army physicians over the course of the war continued to use antiseptics even in cases where this worsened the condition of the patients..

By 1927, Fleming was investigating the properties of staphylococci. He was already well-known from his earlier work, and had developed a reputation as a brilliant researcher, but his laboratory was often untidy. On 3 September 1928, Fleming returned to his laboratory having spent August on holiday with his family. Before leaving, he had stacked all his cultures of staphylococci on a bench in a corner of his laboratory. On returning, Fleming noticed that one culture was contaminated with a fungus, and that the colonies of staphylococci that had immediately surrounded it had been destroyed, whereas other colonies farther away were normal. Fleming showed the contaminated culture to his former assistant Merlin Price, who reminded him, “That’s how you discovered lysozyme.”Fleming grew the mould in a pure culture and found that it produced a substance that killed a number of disease-causing bacteria. He identified the mould as being from the Penicillium genus, and, after some months of calling it “mould juice”, named the substance it released penicillin on 7 March 1929. The laboratory in which Fleming discovered and tested penicillin is preserved as the Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum in St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington.

He investigated its positive anti-bacterial effect on many organisms, and noticed that it affected bacteria such as staphylococci and many other Gram-positive pathogens that cause scarlet fever, pneumonia, meningitis and diphtheria, but not typhoid fever orparatyphoid fever, which are caused by Gram-negative bacteria, for which he was seeking a cure at the time. It also affected Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which causes gonorrhoea although this bacterium is Gram-negative. Fleming published his discovery in 1929, in the British Journal of Experimental Pathology, but little attention was paid to his article. Fleming continued his investigations, but found that cultivating penicillium was quite difficult, and that after having grown the mould, it was even more difficult to isolate the antibiotic agent.

Fleming thought that the difficulty in producing Penicillin in quantity, Plus the slow action, Meant it would not be effective in treating infection and it would not last long enough in the human body (in vivo) to kill bacteria effectively. Many clinical tests were inconclusive, probably because it had been used as a surface antiseptic. Diring the 1930s, Fleming’s trials occasionally showed more promise and he continued, until 1940, to try to interest a chemist skilled enough to further refine usable penicillin. Fleming finally abandoned penicillin. However not long after, Howard Florey and Ernst Boris Chain took up researching and mass-producing it at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, using funds from the U.S. and British governments. They discovered how to isolate and concentrate penicillin. Shortly after the team published its first results in 1940, Fleming telephoned Howard Florey, Chain’s head of department, to say that he would be visiting wit him the next few days.

Scientist Norman Heatley suggested transferring the active ingredient of penicillin back into water by changing its acidity. This produced enough of the drug to begin testing on animals. There were many more people involved in the Oxford team, and at one point the entire Dunn School was involved in its production.After the team had developed a method of purifying penicillin to an effective first stable form in 1940, several clinical trials ensued, and their amazing success inspired the team to develop methods for mass production and mass distribution in 1945. Fleming was modest about his part in the development of penicillin, describing his fame as the “Fleming Myth” and he praised Florey and Chain for transforming the laboratory curiosity into a practical drug. Fleming was the first to discover the properties of the active substance, giving him the privilege of naming it: penicillin. He also kept, grew, and distributed the original mould for twelve years, and continued until 1940 to try to get help from any chemist who had enough skill to make penicillin. But Sir Henry Harris said in 1998:”Without Fleming, no Chain; without Chain, no Florey; without Florey, no Heatley; without Heatley, no penicillin.

Fleming also wrote many articles on bacteriology, immunology, and chemotherapy. His best-known discoveries are the enzyme lysozyme in 1923 and the antibiotic substance penicillin from the mould Penicillium notatum in 1928, for which he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945 with Howard Floreyand Ernst Boris Chain. On 1999, Time magazine named Fleming one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, stating:It was a discovery that would change the course of history. The active ingredient in that mould, which Fleming named penicillin, turned out to be an infection-fighting agent of enormous potency. When it was finally recognized for what it was, the most efficacious life-saving drug in the world, penicillin would alter forever the treatment of bacterial infections. By the middle of the century, Fleming’s discovery had spawned a huge pharmaceutical industry, churning out synthetic penicillins to help against diseases like syphilis, gangrene and tuberculosis.

World Hepatitis Day

World Hepatitis Day, is observed on July 28 every year. The aim is to raise global awareness ofhepatitis B and hepatitis C and encourage prevention, diagnosis and treatment and provide an opportunity for education and greater understanding of viral hepatitis as a global public health problem, and to stimulate the strengthening of preventive and control measures of this disease. IT also provides an opportunity to focus on specific actions such as: Strengthening prevention, screening and control of viral hepatitis and its related diseases; Increasing hepatitis B vaccine coverage and integration into national immunization programmes; and coordinating a global response to hepatitis to increase access to treatment.Hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D and E can cause acute and chronic infection and inflammation of the liver leading to cirrhosis and liver cancer. These viruses constitute a major global health risk with an estimated 350 million people being chronically infected with hepatitis B and an estimated 170 million people being chronically infected with hepatitis C, Which If left untreated and unmanaged,can lead to advanced liver scarring (cirrhosis) and other complications, including liver cancer or liver failure.

The inaugural International Hepatitis C Awareness day, coordinated by various European and Middle Eastern Patient Groups, took place October 1, 2004, however many patient groups continued to mark ‘hepatitis day’ on disparate dates. Am I number 12′ was maintained as the theme for the 2009 World Hepatitis Day, with many alliance members also creating a hepatitis themed ’12 asks of government’. During the 63rd World Health Assembly in May 2010, World Hepatitis Day was given global endorsement as the primary focus for national and international awareness-raising efforts and the date was changed to July 28 (in honour of Nobel Laureate Prof. Baruch Samuel Blumberg, discoverer of the hepatitis B virus, who celebrates his birthday on that date). From World Hepatitis Day 2011 until Malaysia 2013 the slogan, ‘This is hepatitis… Know it. Confront it.’ was used to encourage people to recognise how prevalent the condition is. It also challenges people to take steps to increase their own awareness, but also the priority of the disease worldwide and In 2012, a Guinness World Record was created when 12,588 people from 20 countries did the Three Wise Monkeys actions on World Hepatitis Day to signify the willful ignorance of the disease.


  • Buffalo Soldiers Day
  • Waterpark Day
  • Milk Chocolate Day

Marie Curie

Best known for her pioneering research in the field of radioactivity, the World famous Polish–French physicist and chemist Marie Skłodowska Curie died on 4th July 1934 of aplastic anemia,. She was born 7th Novemer in 1867 in Warsaw, Poland. Maria’s paternal grandfather, Józef Skłodowski, had been a respected teacher in Lublin, where he taught the young Bolesław Prus,who became a leading figure in Polish literature.Her father, Władysław Skłodowski, taught mathematics and physics, subjects that Maria was to pursue, and was also director of two Warsaw gymnasia for boys.After Russian authorities eliminated laboratory instruction from the Polish schools, he brought much of the laboratory equipment home, and instructed his children in its use.

The father was eventually fired by his Russian supervisors for pro-Polish sentiments, and forced to take lower-paying posts. the family also lost money on a bad investment, and eventually chose to supplement their income by lodging boys in the house. Maria’s mother Bronisława operated a prestigious Warsaw boarding school for girls; she resigned from the position after Maria was born.She died of tuberculosis in May 1878, when Maria was ten years old. Less than three years earlier, Maria’s oldest sibling, Zofia, had died of typhus contracted from a boarder.

When she was ten years old, Maria began attending the boarding school of J. Sikorska; next she attended a gymnasium for girls, from which she graduated on 12 June 1883 with a gold medal. After an illness she spent the following year in the countryside with relatives of her father, and the next year with her father in Warsaw, where she did some tutoring. Unable to enroll in a regular institution of higher education because she was a woman, she and her sister Bronisława became involved with the clandestine Flying University, a Polish patriotic institution of higher learning that admitted women students.

At a Warsaw laboratory, in 1890–91, Maria Skłodowska did her first scientific work and made an agreement with her sister, Bronisława, that she would give her financial assistance during Bronisława’s medical studies in Paris, in exchange for similar assistance two years later. Maria took a position as governess: first as a home tutor in Warsaw; then for two years as a governess in Szczuki with a landed family, the Żorawskis, who were relatives of her father and fell in love with their son, Kazimierz Żorawski, a future eminent mathematician.Who soon earned a doctorate and pursued an academic career as a mathematician, becoming a professor and rector of Kraków University. Sadly his parent rejected his relationship with Maria.

She lived inWarsaw until the age of 24, when she followed her older sister Bronisława to study in Paris, where she earned her higher degrees and conducted her subsequent scientific work. She was also the first person honored with two Nobel Prizes—in both physics and chemistry, In 1903 she won the Nobel Prize in Physics which She shared with her husband Pierre Curie (and with Henri Becquerel), and In 1911 She became the sole winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry which she shared with Her daughter Irène Joliot-Curie and son-in-law, Frédéric Joliot-Curie, and is the only woman to date to win in two fields, and the only person to win in multiple sciences.

Among her many achievements are the theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined), She also developed techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and discovered two radioactive elements, polonium (Which was named after her native country) and radium. She was also the first female professor at the University of Paris and Under her direction, the world’s first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms, using radioactive isotopes. In 1932, she founded a Radium Institute (now the Maria Skłodowska Curie Institute of Oncology) in her home town, Warsaw. The Institute was headed by her physician-sister Bronisława.

Unfortunately though Marie Curie died on 4th July 1934 of aplastic anemia,  Curie’s tragic death at the age of 67 was undoubtedly brought on by her lifelong exposure to radiation, however her pioneering research has led the way for many improvements in the fields of Science, Chemistry and Medicine and in 1995 she became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Paris Panthéon.

National Sunglasses day

National Sunglasses Day takes place annually on 27 June. National Sunglasses Day was launched by the Vision Council on 27 June 2011 to educate people concerning the importance of protecting your eyes from too much Ultraviolet Exposure which can severely damage them. Ultraviolet (UV) designates a band of the electromagnetic spectrum with wavelength from 10 nm to 400 nm, shorter than that of visible light but longer than X-rays. UV radiation is present in sunlight, and contributes about 10% of the total output of the Sun. It is also produced by electric arcs and specialized lights, such as mercury-vapor lamps, tanning lamps, and black lights. Although long-wavelength ultraviolet is not considered an ionizing radiation because its photons lack the energy to ionize atoms, it can cause chemical reactions and causes many substances to glow or fluoresce. Consequently, the chemical and biological effects of UV are greater than simple heating effects, and many practical applications of UV radiation derive from its interactions with organic molecules.

Suntan and sunburn are familiar effects of over-exposure of the skin to UV, along with higher risk of skin cancer. Living things on dry land would be severely damaged by ultraviolet radiation from the Sun if most of it were not filtered out by the Earth’s atmosphere. More energetic, shorter-wavelength “extreme” UV below 121 nm ionizes air so strongly that it is absorbed before it reaches the ground. Ultraviolet is also responsible for the formation of bone-strengthening vitamin D in most land vertebrates, including humans (specifically, UVB). The UV spectrum thus has effects both beneficial and harmful to human health. The lower wavelength limit of human vision is conventionally taken as 400 nm, so ultraviolet rays are invisible to humans, although some people can perceive light at slightly shorter wavelengths than this (see below). Insects, birds, and some mammals can see near-UV (i.e. slightly lower wavelengths than humans can see).


Industrial Workers of the World Day

Industrial Workers of the World Day commemorates the founding of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), whose members are nicknamed the ‘Wobblies,’ in Chicago Illinois, on 27 June 1905. The Industrial Workers of the World was the first union in the U.S. open to women and men of all races. Some of the union’s better-known members were “Big Bill” Haywood, James Connolly, Eugene V. Debs, Daniel De Leon, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Thomas Hagerty, William Trautmann, Lucy Parsons, Frank Bohn, “Mother” Jones, Vincent Saint John, and Ralph Chaplin


National HIV TESTING day

National HIV Testing Day takes place annually on 27 June. The first National HIV Testing Day was initiated by HIV.gov ON the date of 27 June 1995.

National Post Traumatic Stress disorder awareness day

National PTSD Awareness Day takes place annually on the 27th of June to create awareness regarding PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). It started in 2010. The PTSD Awareness Camp runs for the whole month of June, also known as PTSD Awareness Month.

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to a traumatic event, such as sexual assault, warfare, traffic collisions, or other threats on a person’s life. Symptoms may include disturbing thoughts, feelings, or dreams related to the events, mental or physical distress to trauma-related cues, attempts to avoid trauma-related cues, alterations in how a person thinks and feels, and an increase in the fight-or-flight response. These symptoms last for more than a month after the event. Young children are less likely to show distress but instead may express their memories through play. A person with PTSD is at a higher risk for suicide and intentional self-harm. Most people who have experienced a traumatic event will not develop PTSD. People who experience interpersonal trauma (for example rape or child abuse) are more likely to develop PTSD, as compared to people who experience non-assault based trauma such as accidents and natural disasters. About half of people develop PTSD following rape. Children are less likely than adults to develop PTSD after trauma, especially if they are under ten years of age. Diagnosis is based on the presence of specific symptoms following traumatic events.

Prevention may be possible when therapy is targeted at those with early symptoms but is not effective when carried out among all people following trauma. The main treatments for people with PTSD are counselling and medication. A number of different types of therapy may be useful This may occur one-on-one or in a group. Antidepressants of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor type are the first-line medications for PTSD and result in benefit in about half of people. These benefits are less than those seen with therapy. It is unclear if using medications and therapy together has greater benefit. Other medications do not have enough evidence to support their use and in the case of benzodiazepines may worsen outcomes.

In the United States about 3.5% of adults have PTSD in a given year, and 9% of people develop it at some point in their life. In much of the rest of the world, rates during a given year are between 0.5% and 1%. Higher rates may occur in regions of armed conflict. It is more common in women than me. Symptoms of trauma-related mental disorders have been documented since at least the time of the ancient Greeks. During the World Wars study increased and it was known under various terms including “shell shock” and “combat neurosis”. The term “posttraumatic stress disorder” came into use in the 1970s in large part due to the diagnoses of U.S. military veterans of the Vietnam War. It was officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association in 1980 in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III)

There are organizations that helps patients with PTSD and to diagnose PTSD as soon as possible. War veterans or soldiers are at higher risk of PTSD. More than just War veterans or soldiers can get PTSD, and although June is full of back to back military related days, PTSD affects more people other than veterans.

Helen Keller

Helen Keller Day, is held yearly on 27 June to commemorate inspiring deaf-blind American author, political activist, and lecturer Helen Adams Keller, who was born June 27, 1880 and overcame her disability to make a huge impact on the quality of life of deafblind people the world over.

Helen Keller was born with the ability to see and hear. However At age 19 months she contracted an illness described by doctors as “an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain”, which might have been scarlet fever or meningitis. The illness left her both deaf and blind. At that time, she was able to communicate somewhat with Martha Washington, the six-year-old daughter of the family cook, who understood her signs; by the age of seven, Keller had more than 60 home signs to communicate with her family. In 1886, Keller’s mother, inspired by an account in Charles Dickens’ American Notes of the successful education of another deaf and blind woman, Laura Bridgman, dispatched young Helen, accompanied by her father, to seek out physician J. Julian Chisolm, an eye, ear, nose, and throat specialist in Baltimore, for advice. Chisholm referred the Kellers to Alexander Graham Bell, who was working with deaf children at the time.

Bell advised them to contact the Perkins Institute for the Blind, the school where Bridgman had been educated, which was then located in South Boston. Michael Anagnos, the school’s director, asked former student 20-year-old Anne Sullivan, herself visually impaired, to become Keller’s instructor. It was the beginning of a 49-year-long relationship during which Sullivan evolved into governess and then eventual compaion.Anne Sullivan arrived at Keller’s house in March 1887, and immediately began to teach Helen to communicate by spelling words into her hand, beginning with “d-o-l-l” for the doll that she had brought Keller as a present. Keller was frustrated, at first, because she did not understand that every object had a word uniquely identifying it. In fact, when Sullivan was trying to teach Keller the word for “mug”, Keller became so frustrated she broke the doll. Keller’s big breakthrough in communication came the next month, when she realized that the motions her teacher was making on the palm of her hand, while running cool water over her other hand, symbolized the idea of “water”; she then nearly exhausted Sullivan demanding the names of all the other familiar objects in her world. Due to a protruding left eye, Keller was usually photographed in profile. Both her eyes were replaced in adulthood with glass replicas for “medical and cosmetic reasons”.

In 1888, Keller attended the Perkins Institute for the Blind. In 1894, Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan moved to New York to attend the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf, and to learn from Sarah Fuller at the Horace Mann School for the Deaf. In 1896, they returned to Massachusetts and Keller entered The Cambridge School for Young Ladies before gaining admittance, in 1900, to Radcliffe College, where she lived in Briggs Hall, South House. Her admirer, Mark Twain, had introduced her to Standard Oil magnate Henry Huttleston Rogers, who, with his wife Abbie, paid for her education. In 1904, at the age of 24, Keller graduated from Radcliffe, becoming the first deaf blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. She maintained a correspondence with the Austrian philosopher andpedagogue Wilhelm Jerusalem, who was one of the first to discover her literary talent. Determined to communicate with others as conventionally as possible, Keller learned to speak, and spent much of her life giving speeches and lectures. She learned to “hear” people’s speech by reading their lips with her hands—her sense of touch had become extremely subtle. She became proficient at using Braille and reading sign language with her hands as well Shortly before World War I, with the assistance of the Zoellner Quartet she determined that by placing her fingertips on a resonant tabletop she could experience music played close by

Keller went on to become a world-famous speaker and author. She is remembered as anadvocate for people with disabilities, amid numerous other causes. She was a suffragist, apacifist, an opponent of Woodrow Wilson, a radical socialist and a birth control supporter. In 1915 she and George Kessler founded the Helen Keller International (HKI) organization. This organization is devoted to research in vision, health and nutrition. In 1920 she helped to found the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Keller traveled to 40 some-odd countries with Sullivan, making several trips to Japan and becoming a favorite of the Japanese people. Keller met every U.S. President from Grover Cleveland to Lyndon B. Johnson and was friends with many famous figures, including Alexander Graham Bell, Charlie Chaplin and Mark Twain. Keller and Twain were both considered radicals at the beginning of the 20th century, and as a consequence, their political views have been forgotten or glossed over in popular perception. Keller was a member of the Socialist Party and actively campaigned and wrote in support of the working class from 1909 to 1921.

she supported Socialist Party candidate Eugene V. Debs in each of his campaigns for the presidency. Newspaper columnists who had praised her courage and intelligence before she expressed her socialist views now called attention to her disabilities. Keller joined the Industrial Workers of the World (known as the IWW or the Wobblies) in 1912, saying that parliamentary socialism was “sinking in the political bog”. She wrote for the IWW between 1916 and 1918. In Why I Became an IWW, Keller explained that her motivation for activism came in part from her concern about blindness and other disabilities:I was appointed on a commission to investigate the conditions of the blind. For the first time I, who had thought blindness a misfortune beyond human control, found that too much of it was traceable to wrong industrial conditions, often caused by the selfishness and greed of employers. And the social evil contributed its share. I found that poverty drove women to a life of shame that ended in blindness.The last sentence refers to prostitution and syphilis, the former a frequent cause of the latter, and the latter a leading cause of blindness. In the same interview, Keller also cited the 1912 strike of textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts for instigating her support of socialism.

Keller was a prolific author, and wrote a total of 12 published books and several articles. One of her earliest pieces of writing, at age 11, was The Frost King (1891). There were allegations that this story had been plagiarized from The Frost Fairies by Margaret Canby. An investigation into the matter revealed that Keller may have experienced a case ofcryptomnesia, which was that she had Canby’s story read to her but forgot about it, while the memory remained in her subconscious. At age 22, Keller published her autobiography, The Story of My Life (1903), with help from Sullivan and Sullivan’s husband, John Macy. It recounts the story of her life up to age 21 and was written during her time in college. Keller wrote The World I Live In in 1908, giving readers an insight into how she felt about the world. Keller was well-travelled and outspoken in her convictions. A member of the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World, she campaigned for women’s suffrage, labor rights, socialism, and other radical left causes. She also wrote Out of the Dark, a series of essays on socialism, which was published in 1913.

When Keller was young, Anne Sullivan introduced her to Phillips Brooks, who introduced her to Christianity, Keller famously saying: “I always knew He was there, but I didn’t know His name!” Her spiritual autobiography, My Religion, was published in 1927 and then in 1994 extensively revised and re-issued under the title Light in My Darkness. It advocates the teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg, the Christian revelator and theologian who gives a spiritual interpretation of the teachings of the Bible and who claims that the second comingof Jesus Christ has already taken place. Adherents use several names to describe themselves, including Second Advent Christian, Swedenborgian, and New Church. The story of how Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, broke through the isolation imposed by a near complete lack of language, allowing the girl to blossom as she learned to communicate, has become widely known through the dramatic depictions of the play and film The Miracle Worker.

Sadly Keller suffered a series of strokes in 1961 and spent the last years of her life at her home. On September 14, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the United States’ two highest civilian honors. In 1965 she was elected to the National Women’s Hall of Fame at the New York World’s Fair. Keller devoted much of her later life to raising funds for the American Foundation for the Blind. She died in her sleep on June 1, 1968, at her home, Arcan Ridge, located in Easton, Connecticut, a few weeks short of her eighty-eighth birthday. A service was held in her honor at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and her ashes were placed there next to her constant companions, Anne Sullivan and Polly Thompson. She was inducted into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame in 1971 and Helen Keller Day was authorized in her honour at the federal level by presidential proclamation by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, her 100th birthday.