Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)

Search

Thursday, December 13, 2018

More Than Just a Desk: Helen Keller's Desk Displayed at the APH Museum

by Jessica Minneci

A hand touching the glass top of a wooden desk
     When I touched the smooth glass-topped surface of Helen Keller's desk at the APH museum, I thought of how the texture beneath my fingertips revealed a normal, average desk. It was like something you would find in any office: a large desk with two sets of drawers on either side, a wide surface, and a wooden guard to protect papers from sliding off. Yet, the normalcy of such a piece pales in comparison to what it represents. After all, Helen Keller did some of her finest work while sitting at her desk. She was a writer, pacifist, feminist, and an advocate for women and for the blind and visually impaired community. Touching the desk helped me get closer to Helen Keller and renew my support for everything she has done.

Jess, standing with Helen's desk in the APH museum
     As a college student, I am able to relate most to Helen's piece "To Girls Who Are Going to College." Published in The Youth's Companion  on June 8, 1905, her piece gives emerging college students advice about how to be successful in postsecondary school. A lot of her advice is practical such as studying and working hard. She also discusses being fearless, kind, accepting of diversity, and doing your best. More than that, Helen emphasizes that people should be happy in everything that they do as they throw themselves into activities and be of service to others. She wrote, “Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow. Work without joy shall be as nothing. Resolve to keep happy and your joy and you shall form an invisible host against difficulties." In today's world, people are often told to take a job that will give them the most money so that they can live a good life. In all reality, however, money will not make people happy. Rather, the work that they do that is rewarding to them will yield happiness. Helen knew this and was wise to give students this advice for she believed they deserve to enter into a career that brings them joy.
Helen Keller is admired for her many contributions to social action, peace, the rights of women, and those who are blind or visually impaired. As a writer and a person who thirsts for new knowledge, I especially admire her words of wisdom about happily serving others. For these and numerous other reasons, touching Helen's desk was a surreal experience as I touched one of the possessions of an inspiring deaf-blind woman. At a glance, the desk may just look like a simple piece of furniture, but it is more than that. It stands as a symbol of Helen Keller's life and the work that she did to help others. If you are an admirer of Helen Keller, go visit APH and experience the desk. In doing so, remind yourself of what Helen Keller means to you.

For info on visiting the the Museum at APH click here.

No comments:

Subscribe to receive posts via email

* indicates required

Browse Articles by Subject

Follow us on Twitter

Archives

Write for us

Your input and support in the evolution of Fred's Head are invaluable! Contact us about contributing original writing or for suggestions for updating existing articles. Email us at fredshead@aph.org.

Disclaimers

The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.



The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.





The information and techniques contained in Fred's Head are provided without legal consideration (free-of-charge) and are not warranted by APH to be safe or effective. All users of this service assume the risk of any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information provided.





Information in Fred's Head is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult your physician before utilizing information regarding your health that may be presented on this site. Consult other professionals as appropriate for legal, financial, and related advice.





Fred's Head articles may contain links to other websites. APH is not responsible for the content of these sites.





Fred's Head articles created by APH staff are (C) copyright American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. You must request permission from APH to reprint these articles. Email fredshead@aph.org to request permission.





Any submissions to Fred's Head should be free of copyright restrictions and should be the intellectual property of the submitter. By submitting information to Fred's Head, you are granting APH permission to publish this information.





Fair Use Notice: This website may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright holder(s). This site is operated on the assumption that using this information constitutes 'fair use' of said copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.





Opinions appearing in Fred's Head records are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Printing House for the Blind.