Michael Anagnos was a Greek Orthodox Christian who immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1860s. Before this, in the process of supporting the revolutionary cause in Crete, he met Dr. Samuel Howe, founder of the Perkins Institute for the Blind. In America, he fell in love with and married Dr. Howe’s daughter Julia. Anagnos became increasingly involved in the Perkins Institute, and when Dr. Howe died, he became its head. He gave himself energetically to this work. Among his many accomplishments there, such as raising large sums for publishing books in Braille and putting them in all the libraries in Massachusetts, as well as beginning kindergartens and vocational schools for persons with visual disabilities, he is known for connecting Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller!
Here is a quote by a student after Anagnos went home to the Lord:
His strength comforted our weakness, his firmness overcame our wavering ideas, his power smoothed away our obstacles, his noble unselfishness put to shame our petty differences of opinion, and his untiring devotion led us all to do our little as well as we could… Better than all, he taught us to the best of our ability to be men and women in our own homes.
from, according to the website listed above, Annie S. Beard’s Foreign Born Citizens (1922).
Zervanos, Nikitas J., Greek Immigration to America (PAHH, 2005) available at http://www.pahh.com/zervanos/p12.html
I discovered this story at Dr. Zervanos’ site.
A letter from 13 year old Helen Keller to Mr. Michael Anagnos: http://www.afb.org/mylife/book.asp?ch=P2Let15
A Google e-book on Michael Anagnos, by Franklin Benjamin Sanborn, written in 1906: http://books.google.com/books/about/Michael_Anagnos_1837_1906.html?id=54ADAAAAYAAJ
Helen Keller and Ann Sullivan on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv1uLfF35Uw&feature=player_embedded