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Polly Thompson

A Prezi about Polly Thompson

Matthew Gray

on 11 December 2012

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Transcript of Polly Thompson

The Eyes and Ears of Helen Keller Polly Thompson Early Life The Final Years Born Mary Agnes Thompson in 1885 in Glasgow, Scotland. She became generally know as "Polly". In 1913, she came to the United States to visit an uncle in Swampscott, Massachusetts. In 1914, just one year after she entered the United States, she was brought to the attention of Mrs. Anne Sullivan Macy, also known as Annie Sullivan. At their first meeting, Mrs. Sullivan then hired Polly as a secretary to Helen Keller. A few months later, Polly set out with Anne and Helen on a tour of the continent. Entrance Into Helen's Life In 1921, Anne became so ill as to where she could not speak above a whisper, and so Polly made her first appearance on the lecture stage with Helen in Anne's place. She did so well at interpreting Helen's broken speech to the audience that she assumed the role permanently. Beginning in 1930, the trio toured the world, which included meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 1931. They devoted their travels to helping raise money for blind and deaf people. Anne Falls Ill In October 1936, Anne died. After this, Polly and Helen became inseparable. They moved to Westport, Connecticut, where Helen would live for the rest of her life. In 1937 Polly became a full United States citizen. After World War II, Helen and Polly spent many years traveling all over the world fund raising for The American Foundation for the Blind. They also spent two years visiting blinded war veterans in Army and Navy hospitals. Inseparable Companions During the time when Helen and Polly were touring in Japan, Polly suffered a mild stroke. Doctors advised her to stop the continuous traveling, and so they slowed down their touring, but after Polly's recovery the traveling continued. Then, in 1957, Polly suffered another stroke, of which she never fully recovered. She died on March 21, 1960 in Bridgeport, Connecticut at the age of 75. Polly and Helen were frequent theatre-goers, with Polly interpreting dialogue, stage settings, and action to Helen at the rate of 85 words per minute. Interesting Fact Interesting Fact Polly was cremated and her ashes were deposited at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. next to those of Anne and eventually Helen. Interesting Fact Helen was not told of Polly's passing until breakfast the next day, on advice of Helen's physician. News of Polly's death came as a shock to Helen, even though Polly had been hospitalized for several months and Helen had known Polly could not get better. Helen was deeply grieved over her friend's death, but said that "it warms my heart to know she has been relieved and will suffer no more. It is heartbreaking for me to realize how she has been sacrificed to help my efforts in behalf of the blind."
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