The Deaf and Blind Girl Who Found Light and Happiness Through Knowledge
On June 27, 1880, Helen Keller was born in the little Alabama town of Tuscumbia. For nineteen months she was just like any other happy, healthy baby girl. Then a severe illness took away her sight and hearing, and, because she was unable to hear her baby words, she soon forgot how to talk.
One day when Helen was nearly seven years old, a new doll was put into her arms. Then, in her hand a lady made the letters d-o-l-l in the deaf alphabet. Helen did not know that things had names, but she was amused with this new game and imitated the letters for her mother. Helen’s new friend and teacher was Miss Anne Sullivan. She had come from the Perkins Institution for the Blind, in Boston, to teach this little girl.
This little girl was Alice Cunningham Fletcher. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1845. As she grew older, the thought came to her that if she felt so happy out in the open, how must the Indians feel who had lived a free out-of-door life for generations.
Gradually she began to think that these people, whom the world called savages, must have learned something about how to live happily. Alice Fletcher resolved that, if ever there came a time when it was possible, she would go to the home of the Indians and try to discover their secrets.
Meanwhile she studied all that books and museums could teach her of the story of the Red Men. At last, there did come a day when she decided to go and live among them. It meant leaving behind her, beloved libraries, fine concerts, beautiful pictures, and even a comfortable bed and easy chair. Miss Fletcher felt, however, that there was something that meant more than comfort to her. It was the doing of a definite piece of work that she believed would be useful to the world.
Therefore, she left the friends with whom she could talk of books, pictures, and music, and went to live among the Dakota and Omaha Indians. From the door of her rude wigwam of buffalo skins, she could watch the little Indian children at play and see the everyday life of the older members of the tribe.
The Girl Who Guided College Girls
When she grew up, Alice Freeman could still forget herself and enter into the moods of others. She seemed to know exactly how the other person felt. That was one of the reasons why, when she became the president of Wellesley College, she was able to help the students make the very best of their lives.
At the age of four Amy was finally allowed to play on the piano. Often when her aunt was seated at the instrument, little Amy would stand on a hassock and play with her, making up an accompaniment as she went along.
Just as other little girls plan how to arrange their playhouses or how to make new dresses for their dolls, this little girl used to think out tunes. Once, when she was visiting at a house where there was no piano, she composed a little piece of music. She remembered it and three months later was able to play it correctly on the piano at home. She had composed three other little pieces before she was seven years old.
Whose Paint Brush Has Brought Her Fame
Cecilia’s gray eyes grew thoughtful as she considered the drawing that she was copying. She held it at arm’s length, scrutinizing it critically.
“Ah, this is much more fun than practicing scales,” she reflected.
When the family examined these drawings, they said, “Cecilia would never be a success at music, but she draws very well.”
This little girl was Cecilia Beaux, whose portraits have won many medals. She was born in Philadelphia in 1863. Her father came from Provence, France, where the people have ever been famed for their enjoyment of beauty. Her mother was of New England descent and had inherited from her ancestors the ability to do things and to do them conscientiously and well.
From each parent the little girl received a golden gift: from her father, his joy in the beautiful; from her mother, the love of doing things. Her good use of these two gifts has made Cecilia Beaux a famous artist.
The Girl Who Unfurled The First American Red Cross Flag.
It was Big Brother David who taught the little sister many things that were to make her a very practical “Angel of the Battlefield.” At five years of age, thanks to his training, she rode wild horses like a young Mexican. This skill in managing any horse meant the saving of countless lives when she had to gallop all night in a trooper’s saddle to reach the wounded men. David taught her, also, to drive a nail straight, to tie a knot that would hold, and to think and act quickly.
The Girl Who Lived The Meaning of Her Name
Many a passerby on the crowded London street paused to glance at the earnest, thoughtful face of a slender, golden-haired flower girl and to buy a nosegay from her basket. When her stock was sold this girl, as fair and fragile as one of her own flowers, picked her way through the throng. She presently disappeared into one of the dirty alleyways, where only the poorest of Londoners lived.
Children ran to meet her and rough men touched their caps as she passed. The sick woman whose wretched room she entered fell asleep peacefully after receiving a bowl of soup from her hands and a cheery word.
For weeks this sweet-faced young girl, who sold flowers or worked at making matches, had been winning the hearts of the poor, discouraged people of this district. She tended their babies and prayed with the lonely old women. These people felt that they had found a friend who was sorry for them and who was always ready to give them aid. They called her the “White Angel.”
The Girl Who Loved Stories And Wrote Them
The Girl Who Worked For Working Girls
A group of prominent men and women were sitting in the drawing room of a beautiful home in New York City, talking earnestly. Close by them sat a young girl, the eldest daughter of the house. She shyly added only an occasional word to the conversation, but she gave very careful attention to everything that her elders said.
One member of this group was Dwight L. Moody, the famous preacher. The girl listened to him with particular interest, and was deeply impressed by all he had to say.
There were often such gatherings in this home. No matter with what subject the conversation started, sooner or later came the question of how to help men and women lead the best kind of lives. It was not strange, then, that one day this young girl went to her mother and said, “I have found out what there is for me to do. I am going to help people.”
Harriet went to school in Watertown, and later attended a private school at Lenox, Massachusetts. After three years at Lenox, Harriet returned home. She then began to study drawing and modeling in Boston. Often she walked both to and from her lessons, a distance of fourteen miles. By this time, Harriet Hosmer realized that nothing made her happier than to turn formless bits of clay into beautiful objects. She felt that she would like to go still further in her work; she wanted to see some of her ideas take shape in marble.
Whose Stories of Real Life Are A Delight to Girls and Boy
Little Women, her first great success, is the story of the Alcott family. It tells of their jolly times and their hard times at the Orchard House at Concord, Massachusetts. The lively outspoken “Jo” of the story, writing in the attic, is Louisa herself; the other “March” girls are her own dear sisters, Anna, Elizabeth, and Abba May. “Marmee,” of course, is the beloved mother, and Mr. March, the father.
Who Believes That Hard Work Is The Secret of Her Success as a Singer
Louise paid no attention to the calls of the children. What were a few hours’ lost play compared with the treat in store for her! To-night after the regular prayer meeting, a song service was to be held to study hymns. Louise had begged so hard to be allowed to attend that her father had consented, provided that her lessons were thoroughly prepared in the afternoon.
These midweek song services were held at the Minneapolis church of which her father was pastor. There, Louise Beatty sang for the first time outside her own home. Little did this girl realize that her rich, deep voice would later make her famous throughout the world.
Louise Dilworth Beatty was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1872, into a family where playing and singing were as much a part of the daily program as eating or sleeping. Every one of the eight Beatty children loved music. They were always singing in duets, trios, quartets, or choruses.
The Girl Who Studied the Stars
It was an eventful day in the Mitchell home. The parlor window had been taken out and the telescope mounted in front of it. Twelve-year-old Maria, at her father’s side, counted the seconds while he observed a total eclipse of the sun.
Not every twelve-year-old girl could be trusted to use the chronometer, an instrument which measures the time even more accurately than a watch. Maria, however, had been helping her father in his study of the stars ever since she could count. Before many years this little girl beside the telescope became America’s best-known woman astronomer.
The Girl Whose Violin Spread Afar The Message of Music
The sweet strains of one of Mozart’s violin sonatas filled the room. One of the players was a bright-eyed little girl. The other, it was easy to guess from the proud and tender look that she gave her little companion, was the child’s mother. Both mother and daughter loved these hours together with their violins.
Music meant much to this mother. She enjoyed composing as well as playing. She was very happy to know that music gave pleasure to her little daughter also. The hope was in this mother’s heart that some day little Maud would be a great musician. It was a hope that was realized, for, in later years, Maud Powell became known as the foremost American violinist.
Who Worked for Sixty Years to Secure Rights for Women
Young Susan vigorously attacked, with her broom, the cobweb in the corner of the schoolroom ceiling. It was a stubborn cobweb and Susan had to step upon the teacher’s desk to reach it. No girl trained by so good a housekeeper as Susan’s mother could be happy in the same room with a cobweb.
Susan B. Anthony kept on pleading for women, no matter how much people laughed at her. Gradually, the world began to see some reason in what she said. To-day, all women who cast their vote, control their property, and send their daughters to college, can thank the determined Quaker girl who had such a large share in giving women their rights.
The Girl Who Became a Neighbor To the Needy
“Why do people live in such horrid little houses so close together, Father?” asked seven-year-old Jane on a trip to the city.
Miss Addams believed that it is better to show people how to help themselves than to give them gifts of money. “It is hard to help people one does not know,” she reasoned, “and how can one really know people without seeing them very often?” True to the decision she had made as a child, she resolved to live among the poor and be a real neighbor to them.
With the help of some friends, Miss Addams opened Hull-House, which is located in a tenement section of Chicago. Here, she established a day nursery where mothers who had to go out to work could leave their babies in good care. A kindergarten was organized for the young children in the neighborhood.
Whose Battle Hymn Sang Itself Into the Hearts of a Nation
In the days when New York was not the big city that it is now, there was a fashionable section called the Bowling Green. The people who lived there often used to see a great yellow coach roll by. Within, three little girls sat stiffly against the bright blue cushions. These children were dressed in blue coats and yellow satin bonnets to match the chariot and its lining. They were the three little Ward children, one of them, Julia, to be known later throughout the land as Julia Ward Howe. She is the author of the famous patriotic hymn which you sing so often at school, the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
The villain had received his just deserts, but he, or rather she, was smiling with satisfaction. Her play, for Katharine was the author as well as a principal actor, had been a great success. Nobody had forgotten a line, and, in addition, the scenery had added a realistic setting. Who would ever have dreamed that the deep forest and bold cliffs were only boughs cut from the shrubbery, and boxes covered with mother’s old gray shawl?
The back parlor of the Davis home was crowded with a friendly audience of girls and boys and a few mothers and fathers. This attendance was very gratifying to Katharine, for it assured her that the receipts would be large. With them she intended to provide a bountiful Thanksgiving dinner for a good woman who was having difficulty in supporting her crippled grandson.
Little did this merry eleven-year-old girl think that the work of helping others, begun in such a small way that night, was the work that she was to choose for her own later on. When she grew up she became a sociologist. This is simply a long word for a person who thinks, studies, plans, and works to help people lead happier, healthier, and better lives.