Friday, January 21, 2011

In Helen Keller's Hand

A handwritten note, signed by Helen Keller.We recently acquired a first printing of Helen Keller's autobiography, The Story of My Life (New York: Doubleday, Page and Co., 1903).  The first printing is a rarity, but what makes this copy so special is its lengthy inscription in Helen Keller's hand.  She learned to write using a grooved board to hold her lines straight and space the block letters that she had memorized. You can see the board slip on the right hand side as she moved down the page. The block letters are expressive in a very powerful way. They give you a glimpse into the struggle and triumph of her life. Her concentration and determination are physically manifest on the next three leaves of the book by the deep impressions left from the pressure of her pencil.

The back of the note, through which the impressions of the letters are strongly pressed.
A close up of the verso of the inscribed page
We just got this book, so it is not cataloged quite yet, but it should be ready in a week or so!

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