Helen Keller’s Visit to El Paso

“Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourse of my book-friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness.”- Helen Keller

On March 10,1925, well-known author, political activist and lecturer, Helen Keller came to El Paso. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a  Bachelor of Arts Degree. Keller may be best known for her autobiography, “The Story of My Life.” Keller arrived in El Paso with her teacher, Anne Sulivan, who help Keller to communicate. Keller campaigned for women’s suffrage, unions rights, and was an outspoken socialist. Keller was an ambassador for the American Foundation for the Blind, traveling the world raising money to help others .

When Keller got off the train in El Paso, she was welcome by  Mayor R.M. Dudley and R.E. Thomason. Keller and Sullivan stayed at Hotel Paso Del Norte and  a car was provided by Watkins Motor Company to drive her and her party around El Paso.  Keller spoke to an audience of 2,500 at the old Liberty Hall. She came to raise money for an endowment fund for the American Foundation for the Blind. In El Paso, Keller raised  $1,620 for the fund. At the meeting, El Paso’s very own, Kate Moore Brown played “Dixie” on a piano at the request of Keller. There were also violinists and a choral group taking part in the meeting. Keller had planned to come to El Paso in 1915 but canceled because of health issues. Keller continued her work until her death in 1968.

Thanks to Bob Chessey for his help  he gave me on this entry.

Joseph Longo,

EPCHS Volunteer

Since 1954 the El Paso County Historical Society has been a driving force in the historic scene of El Paso. EPCHS strives to foster research into the history of the El Paso area; acquire and make available to the public historic materials; publish and encourage historical writing pertaining to the area; and to develop public consciousness of our rich heritage.