PRESENTING A VERY IMPORTANT Helen Keller Letter to William Wade dated 20 Feb 1910.
This is a fully typed letter from Helen Keller and unfortunately is not personally signed BUT it is the content that is simply great.
The letter is not fully dated, namely, the year it was written, is not noted.
It is a double folio typed on the front side of both pages.
We are 100% certain that this letter is fully authentic. It was given by William Wade to Eliza Calvert Hall Obenchain (noted author, women’s rights advocate and suffragist), together with another HUGELY IMPORTANT letter from Helen Keller to him dated 18 December 1901 (listed separately Link: https://rockwellantiquesdallas.com/helen-keller-letter-to-william-wade-dated-18-dec-1901/). This letter references Eliza’s book, ‘The Land of Long Ago’, with a personal hand-written inscription thereon, from William Wade to Eliza stating “You may keep this if you wish. WW”.
Helen Keller and William Wade were good friends and Helen considered him a ‘father figure’ and ‘mentor’. In 1899 they had a ‘falling out’ which is recorded in a letter from Helen to him in 1899 (contained in the Library of Congress) where she accuses him of betrayal of her trust. When William died, in 1913, Helen gave his Tribute in his Obituary and referenced their falling out as: “Circumstances and a grave misunderstanding brought about by meddlesome persons whom he trusted had separated us for about four years. But at last he understood what had happened, and he came back to me, and that was a happy day for us both. I still feel the warm pressure of his hand when he bade me goodbye, saying: “Never forget me, Helen. Always write to me when I can help you.” He was truly one of the best friends I ever had, and one of the best men that ever lived.”
‘The Land of Long Ago’ was published in 1909 and having regard to the content of this letter it is easy to deduce that this letter must have been written in 1910.
The letter clearly shows the affection that Helen has for William and their ongoing correspondence. It also give a ‘rave’ review of Eliza’s book, which obviously led to William giving it to Eliza.
AS AN ADDED BONUS – We are including a signed First Edition of ‘The Land of Long Ago’ by Eliza Calvert Hall, personally inscribed by her (1) on the inside first page “To Tom from Mother 10/5/09.” The “St Louis, MO” is by Tom, AND (2) on the Title Page: “May all great gifts come to my boy. From Mother”. “Tom” is Thomas Obenchain, Eliza’s second son, who went on to become a successful stockbroker and moved back to Dallas.
William Wade (1883-1913) was a philanthropist living in his estate in Hulton, PA. He was an advocate for blind/deaf people, women’s rights and the suffrage movements. He authored and wrote the significant book ‘The Deaf-Blind’ in 1904. He met Helen Keller as a young girl in 1888 when Helen and her teacher Annie Sullivan travelled to visit him at his estate in PA. This meeting led to a lifelong friendship between the pair (with one minor disagreement) referred to above.
Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was an American author, disability rights advocate, political activist and lecturer. Born in West Tuscumbia, Alabama, she lost her sight and her hearing after a bout of illness when she was 19 months old. She then communicated primarily using home signs until the age of seven, when she met her first teacher and life-long companion Anne Sullivan. Sullivan taught Keller language, including reading and writing. After an education at both specialist and mainstream schools, Keller attended Radcliffe College of Harvard University and became the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Keller worked for the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) from 1924 until 1968. During this time, she toured the United States and traveled to 35 countries around the globe advocating for those with vision loss.
Keller was also a prolific author, writing 14 books and hundreds of speeches and essays on topics ranging from animals to Mahatma Gandhi. Keller campaigned for those with disabilities, for women’s suffrage, labor rights, and world peace. In 1909, she joined the Socialist Party of America. She was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Keller’s autobiography, The Story of My Life (1903), publicized her education and life with Sullivan. It was adapted as a play by William Gibson, and this was also adapted as a film under the same title, The Miracle Worker. Her birthplace has been designated and preserved as a National Historic Landmark. Since 1954 it has been operated as a house museum and sponsors an annual “Helen Keller Day”.
Keller was inducted into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame in 1971. She was one of twelve inaugural inductees to the newly founded Alabama Writers Hall of Fame on June 8, 2015
Helen Keller Letter to William Wade dated 20 Feb 1910
Provenance: From the Estate of Eliza Calvert Hall
Condition: Very good. Some fold lines. Some yellowing and fading of paper and type but not significant. Stored in plastic acid free bag. The book has some water damage/water marks and crayon marks on the inside of the back cover but otherwise is good to fair and great to have with the letter.
Letter: 10″x 8″
Book: 8″ x 5.5″ x 1.25″