March 19, 2015
The Climax of Happiness: Helen Keller Visits the Bronx Zoo
- as seen by -Madeleine Thompson
In celebration of Women’s History Month, I’m sharing an image of one of the Bronx Zoo’s most distinguished visitors, Helen Keller.
Accompanied by her young nieces on a 1922 visit, Keller delighted in all aspects of the zoo and met orangutans, giraffes, and snakes. But for Keller, the “climax of happiness” came from meeting Alice, one of the Zoo’s Indian elephants.
As she wrote of Alice in the New York Zoological Society Bulletin, “She seemed to realize that I was different from the others. Elephants are very intelligent. I suppose Alice observed the uncertain movement of my hands. At any rate, she scrutinized me intently, and caressed my face, my shoulder, and even my foot lightly with her trunk! Everyone was surprised at her affectionate manner towards me, although they knew she was kindly disposed and trustworthy.”