Submitted by evesham on

Every year on August 13, International Left Handers Day celebrates the uniqueness of left-handed individuals. Only about 10 percent of the world is left-handed. Nobody really knows why this figure is so low. No one knows why people are left-handed (or right-handed) either. There is no single left-handed gene, though certain genes are now being tied to left-handedness.

You may have heard that left-handers are more creative or intelligent than their right-handed counterparts. This is usually associated with the fact that the brain’s right hemisphere, which has a reputation as the creative side, controls the left half of the body. While scientific studies differ in their conclusions about whether left-handed people are generally more creative and intelligent, there are certainly a lot of accomplished left-handers!

Some notable left-handed people include:

  • Joan of Arc (c. 1412–1431): In 13th century France, this young peasant woman led the French army to victory over England during the Hundred Years War. While it can’t be confirmed she was a leftie, Joan of Arc is usually depicted holding her sword in her left hand, and handwriting analyses indicate possible left-handedness.
  • Helen Keller (1880–1968): Keller lost her sight and hearing at 19 months old after falling ill. She used her own system of signs to communicate until meeting her teacher and lifelong companion, Anne Sullivan, at the age of 7. From there, she learned sign language, how to understand other people’s speech and much more. She became the first deaf/blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts, then spent her life devoted to campaigning for people with disabilities, women’s suffrage, labor rights and world peace.
  • Paul McCartney (1942–present): McCartney is a musician, most famous for being one of the four members of The Beatles. He plays a left-handed guitar (along with other instruments) and is still rocking out with new music! During his career, both as a Beatle and a solo artist, McCartney created groundbreaking and record-breaking music.
  • Barack Obama (1961–present): Obama served as the 44th president of the United States. He was the first Black person and person of color to serve in this role. Along with his achievement of becoming president, Obama holds degrees from Columbia University and Harvard Law School, served as a U.S. and state senator for Illinois and is a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

Here at BCLS, we have plenty of materials you can check out about these famous left-handers (and others). Whether you want to check out a book from your preferred branch, use Libby to borrow an eBook or place a hold on a DVD, we’ve got you covered.