On this date in 1889, Laura Bridgman died
About 20 years before Helen Keller’s education, Laura Bridgman became first deaf-blind American to gain a significant education in the English language. The two were connected through Bridgman's friend Anne Sullivan who became Helen Keller's teacher and aide.
Born in New Hampshire on Dec. 21, 1829, Bridgman lost her sight and hearing at two years of age to scarlet fever. She had limited communication skills until the director of the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Mass. reached out to her family, offering to try to educate her. She arrived at the school in Oct., 1837 at the age of seven. Perkins was successful and once he was able to teach her language, Bridgman joined other students and excelled. His reports of her education made them both famous. Charles Dickens met Bridgman in 1842 and then wrote about her, adding to her notoriety. Bridgman temporarily returned home but came back to the Perkins School for the Blind where she lived for the rest of her life. She died at the age of 59 after a brief illness on May 24, 1889. The first deaf-blind person to be formally educated was Victorine Morriseau (1789-1832) in Paris.