Time Travel: Helen Keller’s Doll


For those of you who don’t know who Helen Keller is, stay tuned. Helen Keller was one of the few girls who was deaf and blind, but learned how to become an amazing leader.

The photo below was just found, and is currently the first picture of Helen and her doll. By that time, age eight, Helen had collected many dolls, but never had a picture taken with them. The young lady next to her is Anne Sullivan, her teacher. It’s possible the doll was given to her by her teacher, but it could be another one of her dolls.


You’re probably wondering what this has to do with American Girl. Well, Helen loved her doll just like a normal girl loves her American girl doll. Doesn’t the doll in the picture look a bit like an American girl?

The doll has a wig with no center part. The more expensive dolls of bisque usually had wigs with a side part and usually had longer hair. So it is probably not bisque. The short hair-do may have been due to a re-styling with scissors by a young girl!

The doll seems to be well-loved so may have been a metal (tin) head Minerva (or Minerva type) doll. The Sears catalog of 1902 shows a similar wig on their “indestuctible” metal head doll – these dolls had been available as much as 15 years before the catalog. The hands on Helen’s doll also match the Sears illustration.


This doll is a close up of what Helen’s dolls could’ve looked like. It’s a minerva doll, which means it has a head made out of a sheet of metal! Not the kind of doll we would want to be hugging today!

I’d like to thank Millie’s Doll Closet for the wonderful picture of Helen and her doll!


March 23, 2008. Time Travel. 9 comments.