Frances Parkinson Wheeler Keyes

Frances Parkinson Keyes
Frances Parkinson Keyes

Time Period

1940 to Today

Subject Categories

Writers

Notable Facts

Wrote the column "Letters From a Senator's Wife," for Good Housekeeping Magazine for fifteen years and published more than fifty books, including "The Old Gray Homestead." Owner of The Oxbow, an historic house in Newbury, Vermont, and the historic Beauregard-Keyes House in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Personal Information

Date of Birth

07/21/1885

Date of Death

07/03/1970

Primary Residence

Newbury

Religion

Catholic

Ethnicity

Caucasian

Historical Significance

Frances Parkinson Wheeler Keyes wrote the column "Letters From a Senator's Wife," for Good Housekeeping Magazine for fifteen years and published more than fifty books, including "The Old Gray Homestead." Keyes was the owner of The Oxbow in Newbury, Vermont, and the historic Beauregard-Keyes House in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Keyes was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, but her family had ties to Newbury, Vermont. She was a descendant of Thomas Johnson, one of Newbury's earliest settlers, and spent summers at The Oxbow, the Johnson homestead. Upon the death of her mother, Keyes became the owner of The Oxbow. Frances Wheeler married Henry Wilder Keyes in 1904. Henry Keyes served as Governor of New Hampshire from 1917-1919 and was a United States Senator from 1919-1938. Keyes began writing in Washington, D.C. as a means to bring in some extra income, and her first novel, "The Old Gray Homestead," was published in 1919. For fifteen years, Keyes was a feature writer for Good Housekeeping Magazine and wrote the column "Letters From a Senator's Wife." She also served as a foreign correspondent for Good Housekeeping and wrote articles for various other women's magazines. In 1937, she became editor of the National Historical Magazine, but resigned when Senator Keyes died in 1938. Keyes began writing full-time to support her family and published more than fifty books that included novels, poetry, memoirs, cookbooks and biographies of saints. She bought the historic Beauregard House in New Orleans and spent her winters there writing. Many of her novels are set in Louisiana, including her best seller, "Dinner at Antoines" (1948). The Beauregard House has been renamed the Beauregard-Keyes House and is open to the public. Visitors can see Keyes' collection of antique dolls and tea pots and can purchase copies of her books in the gift store. Frances Keyes founded the Keyes Foundation to preserve historic homes, including her own in New Orleans, and to support writers. Keyes died in 1970 and is buried in Newbury, Vermont.

Organizations or Movements

  • Keyes Foundation

Occupations

  • Author
  • Feature writer for Good Housekeeping Magazine
  • Editor, National Historical Magazine.

Additional Information (Bibliography)

  • Frances Parkinson Keyes Correspondance Link

  • The Old Gray Homestead by Frances Keyes Link

  • Beauregard-Keyes House Link

  • Frances Parkinson Keyes Link

  • Beauregard-Keyes House Link

  • Campbell, Karen. "Frances Parkinson Keyes." In The Vermont Encyclopedia. Edited by John Duffy. The University of New England Press, 2003.

  • Frances Keyes Link

Additional Images

The Beauregard-Keyes House
The Beauregard-Keyes House