While she had been editor of the National Historical Magazine, Frances was still working on her novels. Her resignation gave her the opportunity to resume writing full time, and to begin traveling again as she had in the 1920s. Her novels spanned the whole globe, and many of them became best sellers. In 1952 she migrated to Louisiana, moving into and restoring a plantation in Baton Rouge while working on a novel that would become Crescent Carnival. She later established herself in New Orleans, purchasing and restoring the Beauregard-Keyes House in the French Quarter. She would spend her winters in New Orleans while summering in Vermont, and continued to be a hard working writer.
In 1969 her health, which was always fragile, had begun to deteriorate, and she passed away in New Orleans on July 3, 1970. Over the course of her career she had written numerous magazine articles, over 50 books, restored many homes to their former glory, and made friends across the globe that would last her whole life.
Although Marian Anderson would eventually get to perform at Constitution Hall in 1942 and 1964, even being honored by the DAR in the 1990s, the DAR did not officially change their whites only performers policy until 1952. In 1977, Karen Batchelor was the first known African American woman to join the DAR, tracing her ancestry to Pennyslvania patriot William Hood. This is not to say that inclusion was equal across the board for in 1984, Lena Ferguson was initially denied membership to the Washington D.C. chapter of the DAR despite meeting all other qualifications for membership. There was a great uproar in the community, and Ferguson was admitted where she became an active member, even becoming chairwoman of the DAR scholarship comittee.
This perhaps sparked an initiative in the 1980s by the DAR to recognize and record the contributions of African Americans, Native Americans, and mixed race individuals to the Revolutionary War. The research was eventually compiled into an 874 page book titled Forgotten Patriots: African American and American Indian Patriots in the Revolutionary War. This project is unfinished, and research is being conducted by the DAR to discover all who had been excluded from the Revolutionary narrative.
The DAR now has over 180,000 members across the globe, and is dedicated to education, preservation, and patriotism – actively involved in community service to help children, veterans, and those in need.
All Flags Flying – Frances Keyes