A Lady of Letters : Overview

Frances Parkinson Keyes is potentially the most prolific and simultaneously least remembered woman writer of the early-twentieth century. Keyes’ early career as a magazine writer lasted over twenty years, from 1918 to 1939, during which time she published hundreds of articles for numerous magazines, including Good Housekeeping, the Delineator, Ladies’ Home Journal, and the National Historical Magazine. Throughout her writing career, Keyes maintained strong relationships with her publishers and editors and made a point to assist colleagues. Keyes became a national magazine writer when she penned her column “Letters from a Senator’s Wife” for Good Housekeeping. Her most prominent editorial position was with the official magazine of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), which she renamed the American Historical Magazine. However, following the Marian Anderson controversy, in which the DAR refused to allow this African-American singer to perform at the Constitution Hall, Keyes resigned as editor of the organization’s magazine. Frances Parkinson Keyes’ body of magazine work is significant because many of her writings focused on the variety of social and political issues important to women of her day.


By: Jacob Cuddihy