Conclusion : Overview


Although she faced hardships that ranged from serious physical ailment to near financial ruin Frances Parkinson Keyes asserted herself, and the value of her writing. Her life was a balancing act of meeting commitments to her publishers, colleagues, friends, and family. As she dedicated herself to the research and writing of her books, Keyes continued to work collaboratively with others, and she honored their assistance with gratitude, just compensation, and loyalty. In her own time, Keyes was a renowned and remarkable woman, whose accomplishments won her admiration and respect. However, contemporary critics and readers have largely neglected Keyes’s works. Many have never heard of Frances Parkinson Keyes. Yet her achievements deserve attention, for they speak to the character of a woman who attained success by drawing upon all the skills and resources at her disposal, by deftly navigating her complex environments, and by surmounting those obstacles in her path.

As part of her 1918 pledge to do the very best work she could do, Keyes stated: “I would never let even a scrap of paper leave my hands if what I had written on it was not just as good as I could make it – not as good as I should like to make it, of course; not as good as I hoped to make it some day; not as good as what most other writers were doing; but the very best that was in me.” [1] In an interview with Harvey Breit in 1950 Keyes talked about the continuing importance of the “solemn pledge” she had made to herself. I said, she stated, “‘that I’d never let anything leave my hands that didn’t represent the most sincere and earnest effort of which I am capable. At that time,’ she added. ‘At that time,’ Mrs. Keyes continued, ‘because I look back at the things I did and I wonder how they got published.’” [2]


1) All Flags Flying, 103.
2) Harvey Breit, “Talk with Mrs. Keyes,” New York Times, December 10, 1950.)