STORIES
Teachers Heroes

Annie Mansfield Sullivan Macy

by Moriah from Hawthorne

Annie Mansfield Sullivan Macy was an Irish-American teacher best known as the instructor and companion of Helen Keller. Sullivan was born on April 14, 1866 in Feeding Hills, Agawam, Massachusetts. Her family was poor her father had a bad temper and her mother was dying from tuberculosis. She had two siblings--Mary, a healthy baby, and Jimmie, who had a tubercular hip. Her two siblings were sent away to relatives because their mother died and Annie stayed home to care for her father. Sullivan had contracted a disease called trachoma, which impaired her eyesight. She traveled to Perkins School for the Blind in Boston where she received many operations to treat her disease. Her sight improved and she became a model student. In order to help other blind children, Annie learned the manual alphabet and worked closely with a blind and deaf girl named Laura Bridgman. This experience would serve her very well in the future.

Sullivan took a train to Tuscumbia, Alabama, where she met her new co- workers. and new pupil Helen. She went straight to work teaching Helen how to read, write, and speak. In order to learn how to write, Sullivan got her student a specially-designed board. Learning to speak, Sullivan would place Helen's hand on her throat so that she could feel the vibrations created while speaking. Even though her speech was unclear she will gradually develop. This lesson was used to teach Helen to speak as a teenager. Eventually, Annie Sullivan's pupil, Helen Keller, went to Radcliffe College and graduated cum laude. Helen Keller published her first book in 1902 entitled, The Story of My Life, which was edited by John Macy. Anne Sullivan married a Harvard University instructor John Albert Macy, who had helped Keller with her publications. Years later they had separated. On October 20, 1936, at the age of seventy, Sullivan died in Forest Hills, New York, with Helen at her side.

Page created on 4/20/2013 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 4/20/2013 12:00:00 AM

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