Annie Sullivan

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by JulieNelson
Last updated 6 years ago

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Social Studies
Historical biographies

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Annie Sullivan

Annie Sullivan was born to poor Irish immigrants as Johanna Mansfield Sullivan and suffered with her own vision impairment from a very early age. Annie, along with her younger brother Jimmie, were orphaned and sent to live a Tewksbury Almshouse until Jimmie died and Annie fell into deep despair. A benevelent director of charities takes pity on Annie and her limited vision and makes arrangements to send her to Perkins School for the Blind. Upon graduation, Annie finds herself with limited options for her future and takes a position as a teacher to young Helen Keller, a blind, deaf, and mute six year old girl. This began the life-long teaching adventure and later friendship between the two women.

1866 Born in Feeding Hills, MA1873 Develops Trachoma1876 Goes to live at Tewksbury1880 Starts at Perkins 1886 Graduates from Perkins1887 Begins work for the Keller family1890 Anne and Helen attend Perkins1900 Anne and Helen attend Radcliffe1905 Marries John Macy1920 Anne and Helen make vaudeville debut1924 Joins AFB1927 Anne's vision deteriorates significantly1936 Anne dies

Lasting Impact

Sullivan is best know as Helen Keller's teacher. She rejects the idea of being a "Miracle Worker" and instead sees herself as a more than capable individual who provided an opportunity for a young disabled girl and her family to live a capable and productive life. Sullivan's work with Keller became the foundation of a pedagogical approach to teaching and instructing blind and deaf children. The work she and Keller did as they traveled and spoke created awareness for education of children with disabilities that has lasted even today.

Anne Sullivan Macy 1866-1936



Helen's 1st Lesson

Anne Sullivan Macy Act of 2013 Law enacted to improve the education of visually impaired children.Provisions for increasing collaboration amongst organizations that serve visually impaired children, provides resources for educators and parents, and increased research for improving education for visually impaired students.

Keep on beginning and failing...until you have accomplished a purpose--not the one you began with perhaps but one you'll be glad to remember. -Annie Sullivan Macy


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