Letter from Helen Keller to George Ellis, 17 April 1891
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Between 1888 and 1892, Helen Keller was a student at the Perkins School for the Blind in South Boston. (The school moved to Watertown, Mass. in 1912.) The subject of this letter is four-year-old Tommy Stringer, another student at Perkins, who was also both blind and deaf. Stringer’s family was unable to support him, so he had been brought up from an almshouse in Pennsylvania to the Perkins kindergarten. Keller became his energetic advocate and wrote to friends and strangers alike, as well as newspapers, to solicit donations for his education. George E. Ellis was one of the many who contributed.
Ellis was the president of the Massachusetts Historical Society at the time, an historian, and a former minister of the Harvard Church in Charlestown, Mass. Thomas Stringer graduated from Perkins in 1913 and became a woodworker in Pennsylvania, dying in 1945.