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Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian, by Steven Lubar and Kathleen M. Kendrick
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Helen Keller's watch, 1890sHelen Keller's watch, 1890s

The story of Keller, the American author and lecturer who was deaf and blind and learned to communicate through touch, has inspired people around the world. One of her admirers was John Hitz, consul general of the Netherlands, who met Keller in Washington, D.C., when she was a young girl and gave her his gold Swiss pocket watch, specially made with tactile features to enable a person to “feel” the time. Keller treasured the watch and carried it with her for the rest of her life. After her death in 1968, her niece and nephew inherited the watch. In 1975 they donated it to the Smithsonian, believing that their aunt would have wanted the watch to be "placed where it would make the maximum impact" in raising public awareness about the blind.

See also: Clocks and Watches, Disability, artifacts relating to, Women's History

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