Helen Keller Net Worth at Death – Salary, Income, Earnings

Helen Keller Net Worth

Helen Keller has an estimated net worth of $5 million. American educator Helen Keller overcame the adversity of being blind and deaf to become one of the 20th century’s leading humanitarians, as well as co-founder of the ACLU. She earned most of her income from book royalties and speaking fees.  

Helen Keller became blind and deaf at the age of two due to an illness. Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, helped her make tremendous progress with her communication ability beginning in 1887, and Keller went on to college, graduating in 1904. Throughout her life, she received numerous honors in recognition of her achievements.

To calculate the net worth of Helen Keller, subtract all her liabilities from her total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity she has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of her net worth:

Name: Helen Keller
Net Worth: $5 Million
Monthly Salary: $20 Thousand
Annual Income: $1 Million
Source of Wealth: Lecturer, Author, Public Speaker

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Early Life and Family

Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, on June 27, 1880. Keller was the first of Arthur H. Keller and Katherine Adams Keller’s two daughters. During the Civil War, Keller’s father was an officer in the Confederate Army. She had two older stepbrothers as well.

The family was not particularly wealthy, but they did make a living from their cotton plantation. Arthur later became the editor of the North Alabamian, a weekly local newspaper.

Keller was born with the ability to see and hear, and she began speaking at the age of six months. She began walking at the age of one.

Loss of Sight and Hearing

Keller was 19 months old when she lost both her sight and hearing. In 1882, she became ill with an illness called “brain fever” by the family doctor, which resulted in a high body temperature. The true nature of the illness is still unknown, though some experts believe it was scarlet fever or meningitis.

Keller’s mother noticed that her daughter didn’t react when the dinner bell rang or when a hand was waved in front of her face a few days after the fever broke.

Keller developed a limited mode of communication with her companion, Martha Washington, the young daughter of the family cook, as she grew into childhood. They had invented a form of sign language. They had invented over 60 signs to communicate with each other by the time Keller was seven.

Keller had also become very wild and unruly during this time. When she was angry, she would kick and scream, and when she was happy, she would laugh uncontrollably. She tormented Martha and threw temper tantrums on her parents. Many family members believed she should be institutionalized.

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Keller’s Teacher, Anne Sullivan

Keller worked for 49 years with her teacher Anne Sullivan, from 1887 until Sullivan’s death in 1936. Sullivan suffered from health problems and lost her sight completely in 1932. When Sullivan died, a young woman named Polly Thomson, who had started working as a secretary for Keller and Sullivan in 1914, became Keller’s constant companion.

In 1886, Keller’s mother was looking for answers and inspiration when she came across Charles Dickens’ travelogue, American Notes. She learned about the successful education of another deaf and blind child, Laura Bridgman, and quickly sent Keller and her father to Baltimore, Maryland, to see specialist Dr. J. Julian Chisolm.

Chisolm recommended Keller see Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, who was working with deaf children at the time. Bell met with Keller and her parents and suggested that they travel to Boston to the Perkins Institute for the Blind.

The family met with the school’s director, Michael Anaganos, there. He suggested Keller work with Sullivan, one of the institute’s most recent graduates.

On March 3, 1887, Sullivan arrived at Keller’s home in Alabama and began working immediately. She began by teaching six-year-old Keller finger spelling, beginning with “doll,” to help Keller understand the gift of a doll she had brought with her. Other words would come after that.

Keller was initially intrigued, then defiant, refusing to comply with Sullivan’s instructions. Sullivan could tell Keller wasn’t making the connection between the objects and the letters spelled out in her hand when she did cooperate. Sullivan persisted in his efforts, forcing Keller to follow the regimen.

Keller’s tantrums became more frequent as his frustration grew. Finally, Sullivan insisted on isolating her and Keller from the rest of the family for a period of time so that Keller could focus solely on Sullivan’s instructions. They relocated to a plantation cottage.

Sullivan taught Keller the word “water” in a dramatic struggle; she assisted her in making the connection between the object and the letters by taking Keller out to the water pump and placing Keller’s hand under the spout. Sullivan spelled out the word w-a-t-e-r on Keller’s other hand as she moved the lever to flush cool water over Keller’s hand. Keller recognized the word in Sullivan’s hand and repeated it. She then pounded the ground, demanding to know what the “letter name” of the ground was. Sullivan trailed behind her, spelling the word into her hand. Keller followed Sullivan to other objects. She had learned 30 words by the end of the day.

In 1905, Sullivan married John Macy, a Harvard University instructor, social critic, and prominent socialist. Sullivan remained Keller’s guide and mentor after the marriage. When Keller first moved in with the Macys, they both gave him their undivided attention. However, as Anne’s devotion to Keller continued unabated, Anne and John gradually grew apart. The couple separated after several years, but they never divorced.

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Keller began teaching speech at the Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Boston in 1890. She would work for 25 years to improve her communication skills so that others could understand her.

Keller attended the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf in New York City from 1894 to 1896. She worked on her communication skills and studied regular academic subjects while there.

Keller became determined to attend college around this time. In 1896, she enrolled in the Cambridge School for Young Ladies, a female preparatory school.

Keller began to meet famous and influential people as her story became more widely known. Mark Twain, a writer, was one of them, and he was very impressed with her. They became close. Twain introduced her to his friend, Standard Oil executive Henry H. Rogers.

Rogers was so impressed with Keller’s talent, drive, and determination that he agreed to pay for her Radcliffe College education. She was accompanied there by Sullivan, who sat by her side to translate lectures and texts. Keller had mastered several modes of communication by this point, including touch-lip reading, Braille, speech, typing, and finger-spelling.

Keller graduated from Radcliffe College with honors in 1904, at the age of 24.

‘The Story of My Life’

With the help of Sullivan and Macy, Sullivan’s future husband, Keller wrote her first book, The Story of My Life. Published in 1905, the memoir chronicles Keller’s development from childhood to 21-year-old college student.

Social Activism

Keller addressed social and political issues such as women’s suffrage, pacifism, birth control, and socialism during the first half of the twentieth century.

Keller set out after college to learn more about the world and how she could help others. Her story was widely publicized outside of Massachusetts and New England. Keller rose to fame as a celebrity and lecturer by sharing her experiences with audiences and advocating for others with disabilities. She testified before Congress, emphasizing the importance of improving the welfare of blind people.

In 1915, she co-founded Helen Keller International with renowned city planner George Kessler to combat the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition. She was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920.

Keller’s efforts found a national outlet when the American Federation for the Blind was founded in 1921. She joined in 1924 and took part in numerous campaigns to raise awareness, funds, and support for the blind. She also became a member of other charitable organizations, such as the Permanent Blind War Relief Fund (later called the American Braille Press).

Keller joined the Socialist Party shortly after graduating from college, most likely as a result of her friendship with John Macy. She wrote several articles about socialism and supported Eugene Debs, the Socialist Party’s presidential candidate, between 1909 and 1921. Her “Out of the Dark” series of essays on socialism described her views on socialism and world affairs.

Keller first encountered public prejudice about her disabilities during this period. The press had been overwhelmingly supportive of her for the majority of her life, praising her bravery and intelligence. However, after she expressed her socialist views, some criticized her by focusing on her disabilities. Her “mistakes sprung out of the manifest limitations of her development,” according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

Keller was appointed as the American Foundation of Overseas Blind’s counselor of international relations in 1946. She visited 35 countries on five continents between 1946 and 1957.

At the age of 75, Keller set out on the longest and most difficult journey of her life: a 40,000-mile, five-month journey across Asia. Millions of people were inspired and encouraged by her numerous speeches and appearances.

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‘The Miracle Worker’ Movie

Keller’s autobiography The Story of My Life served as the basis for the 1957 television drama The Miracle Worker.

In 1959, the story was developed into a Broadway play of the same title, starring Patty Duke as Keller and Anne Bancroft as Sullivan. The two actresses also played these roles in the award-winning 1962 film adaptation of the play.

Awards and Honors

Many honors were bestowed upon her during her lifetime, including the Theodore Roosevelt Distinguished Service Medal in 1936, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964, and induction into the Women’s Hall of Fame in 1965.

Keller was also awarded honorary doctorates from Temple University and Harvard University, as well as universities in Glasgow, Scotland, Berlin, Germany, Delhi, India, and Johannesburg, South Africa. She was appointed as an Honorary Fellow of the Educational Institute of Scotland.


Keller died peacefully in her sleep on June 1, 1968, just a few weeks before turning 88. Keller had a series of strokes in 1961 and spent the rest of her life at home in Connecticut.

Keller served as a powerful example of how determination, hard work, and imagination can allow an individual to triumph over adversity throughout her remarkable life. She rose to prominence as a respected and world-renowned activist who worked for the betterment of others by persevering in the face of adversity.

Further Reading

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