Helen Keller works at her desk in 1954. | Courtesy of the American Foundation for the Blind, Helen Keller Archive

Throughout her adult years in the 1900s, Helen Keller wrote 12 books and published numerous articles advocating for the rights of the disabled, disadvantaged and underdogs. From behind her desk, Keller served as an advocate for those without a voice.

The very desk where she sat all those years ago has now landed at the American Printing House for the Blind (APH), located at 1839 Frankfort Ave. On Tuesday, the desk was unveiled during a news conference. It’s on loan from the American Foundation for the Blind, where Keller worked for 44 years.

Gary Mudd, an employee at APH who also is blind, shared his respect for Keller and how she inspired him.

“Today, as we unveil Helen Keller’s desk, we are celebrating more than history — we’re celebrating Helen Keller’s spirit,” he said. “It continues to give a lot of people with disabilities or without the hope to have a future as big and as bold as Helen Keller’s.”

A look at Keller’s desk now | Courtesy of American Printing House for the Blind

A historic photo also displayed at APH shows Keller busy at work in 1954, using a braille machine on the desk. Michael Hudson, museum director of the APH, described how a simple photograph shows so much.

“In the center of all this work is this magnificent woman, sitting at her braille writer, and the look on her face is incredible,” he said. “It’s the look of a working woman — one of the most influential American women of the 20th century, without a doubt.”

The desk will be on display Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A special event will be held on Saturday, Nov. 24, starting at 10 a.m. It’ll be at APH through the summer.

Admission to the APH’s museum is free to the public.

Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."