Restless : Overview

FPK, studio image, 1923.
Frances Parkinson Keyes, 1923.

In 1933, Keyes was designated as the “first woman sent around the world” as a correspondent for a national magazine. [1] Wanting to share her experiences with others, Keyes submitted a proposal to Good Housekeeping to launch a Travel Department, which she would both editorially direct and write. Americans, Keyes argued, were becoming increasingly “travel conscious,” yet women’s magazines had failed to adapt to the broadened horizons of their consumers. Keyes aimed to bring the rich experiences of global cultural and social life to an audience of women who were intelligent and ambitious, but who were also of limited financial means and opportunity.

Like her intended audience, Keyes was engaged, determined, and frequently financially strapped. However, her status as a noted writer, political figure, and Senator’s wife afforded her access to international travel and influential persons. As this essay demonstrates, this status was not merely bestowed on Keyes but was an achievement she earned and maintained through hard work and by the finessing of her many talents, which included networking, interpersonal diplomacy, and pragmatic decision-making. The essay also provides more information about her further international travels and discusses her editorial work with the Daughters of the American Revolution. It shows how her approach to her work sometimes increased her proximity to controversial parties and how she then distanced herself from these groups.


1) “First Woman Sent Around World To Represent Magazine,” Lewiston (Maine) Evening Journal, September, 2, 1933.