Description

    Helen Keller presentation copy of Midstream to bibliophile A. Edward Newton

    Helen Keller Signed Presentation Copy of Midstream: My Later Life. Garden City: Doubleday, Doran & Co., Inc., 1929. 362 pages. 6" x 9". Index. Portrait frontispiece. Photographs. Inscribed: "Mr. A. Edward Newton whose friends are legion, but who is most, as should be, loved by the ladies. Sincerely, Helen Keller. 21st February, 1931." Newton's bookplate remains on the front pastedown. Together with a typed copy of Newton's presentation speech with annotations in his hand, and a typescript of Helen Keller's acceptance speech with a filing docket by Newton on the verso.

    In October 1930, Temple University attempted to present both Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy with honorary degrees. Although Helen Keller graciously accepted the award, Dr. A. Edward Newton, who served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Temple, was unsuccessful in convincing Anne Sullivan to accept as well.

    Newton's presentation speech (two pages, 8.5" x 13"), a copy of which is included here, at the award ceremony in 1931 began in praise for Keller and morphed into an impromptu address about Sullivan: "I would like to explain to this distinguished audience that it was the wish of Temple University to confer the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters upon another woman... I ask this audience are we not right in our belief that Mrs. Macy is quite as wonderful, quite as unique a personality as Helen Keller herself... I therefore present the name of Anne Sullivan Macy that Mrs. Macy receive, in absentia, the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. And I can imagine no more fitting messenger to carry the good wishes of this great audience to her than Helen Keller herself."

    Governor Pinchot (of Pennsylvania), who was also present as an award recipient, picked up where Newton left off and demanded that the audience vote to give Sullivan an honorary degree. The audience was near unanimous in its praise. Sullivan, who had secretly attended the ceremony, was the only person to abstain from voting. The following year, Sullivan would finally acquiesce to accept the honor.

    A typed transcript of Keller's acceptance speech is also present. Three pages, 8.5" x 13", with small bit of paper loss at top, where remains rust stains from a paper clip.

    Book is bound in blue cloth, which has heavy sunning, corner bumps, front hinge cracked. Also affixed to the front pastedown is a newspaper clipping referencing this event


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    8th-9th Friday-Saturday
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