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Helen Keller Ephemera | by Archives New Zealand
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Helen Keller Ephemera

Helen Keller (1880 – 1968) ephemera:


Black and white photograph of Helen Keller with the inscription: To the Helen Keller House Girls, with my grateful love Helen Keller, November 1947. Inscription written in pencil by Helen Keller on the photograph.


Typed letter written by Helen Keller and signed by her in pencil, to Kathleen Devonshire. Dated November 4th, 1947 and sent from Arcan Ridge, Westport, Connecticut.


From time to time Archives New Zealand receives odd items of uncertain provenance. It is believed that these items were found hanging in a government department. Most likely, this was a successor agency to Child Welfare. It is not known when Archives New Zealand took custody of these items, however they were processed in 2002 after being removed from a departing staff member's office.


The Child Welfare Act of 1925 provided for the creation of a special branch of the Education Department: the Child Welfare Branch. Among its responsibilities was the administration of institutions for troubled, neglected or delinquent children and teenagers. The Girls Training Centre in Burwood was attended by teenage girls requiring 'a period of reformative detention in an institution' and had a male equivalent in the Boys Training Centre in Levin. One of the boarding facilities at the centre was known as Helen Keller House.


There are three items in this series. The letter and accompanying photograph, written in November 1947, are a response to a letter sent by Kathleen Devonshire and other girls at the Centre to Helen Keller. The third item is a typed, signed copy of the address she made when she visited the Centre the following year on August 7th 1948.


These items are of high informational and evidential value relating as they do to what must have been a highly significant visit by Helen Keller at the time.


Archives New Zealand reference: AAAA 8279 W5318 1/


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Material from Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga

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Taken on August 7, 2013