Fun Facts Friday: Frances Parkinson Keyes

July 21, 2023

Frances Parkinson Keyes (21 July, 1885 – 3 July, 1970) was a novelist who wrote about her life as the wife of a U.S. Senator. Many of her novels are sent in Europe, New England, and Louisiana.

Fun Facts Friday: Frances Parkinson Keyes
Books by Frances Parkinson Keyes*

Fun Facts about Frances Parkinson Keyes:

  1. Born as Frances Parkinson Wheeler in Charlottesville, VA to Louise and John Henry Wheeler. Mr. Wheeler, a Harvard graduate, was a professor at the University of Virginia. Young Ms. Wheeler was their only child, but she has a half-brother from her mother’s previous marriage, that ended in widowhood.
  2. Louise was widowed once again when John Henry Wheeler died of an illness, by that time the family was living in Newbury, Vermont. She married and divorced a Boston lawyer, and, at the age of 67, Louise married William Taisey, a 22 year old dairy farmer.
  3. The future author received her formal education in Boston, but didn’t get admitted to college. When she was 18, she married Henry “Harry” Wilder Keyes, 40 at the time.
  4. Mr. Keyes (rhymes with “eyes) was a Vermont native, who was raised in New Hampshire. He owned a family farm, but worked as a banker. Before being elected to the Senate, he served as the Governor of New Hampshire for one term.
  5. Before they got married, she had her future husband promise here that if they were to have a daughter, she’d have the opportunity to go to college.
  6. Mrs. Keyes started out writing articles while still in New Hampshire. When she moved to Washington D.C., she wrote articles for Good Housekeeping magazine named “Letters from a Senator’s Wife”. The articles were later collected to a book by the same name.
  7. When Mr. Keyes passed away in 1938, Frances Parkinson Keyes started writing some of her most successful novels.
  8. Mrs. Keyes research for her books was key to their success. She researched the history, geography, and even the way people speak among other things. However, she received criticism for her simplistic portrayal of African-Americans, as well as pre World War II antisemitism.
  9. Mrs. Keyes converted to Catholicism after the death of her husband. Her fervor for her new religion is found in her fiction and nonfiction books alike.
  10. Frances Parkinson Keyes died at her home in New Orleans. The Frances Parkinson Keyes house, as it is known, is now a museum.

Books by Frances Parkinson Keyes*

Zohar – Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books


Frances Parkinson Keyes (1885–1970) | Encyclopedia Virginia

Frances Parkinson Keyes | Wikipedia

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Fun Facts Friday: Frances Parkinson Keyes
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Fun Facts Friday: Frances Parkinson Keyes
Frances Parkinson Keyes (21 July, 1885 – 3 July, 1970) was a novelist who wrote about her life as the wife of a U.S. Senator.
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Man of la Book - A Bookish Blog
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