Katherine Keenum

A blog about how paintings, photographs, and prints have helped me visualize my fiction—both Where the Light Falls and works-in-progress—with a hope that they will stimulate other writers and readers, too.

A small sample of the images that inspired me appears below. Click on these or any images in the posts to see enlargements. In the text, click on colored words to activate links.

Selected Works

An American woman art student meets a Civil War veteran in Belle Époque Paris.


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Picturing a World

Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving Dinner

November 23, 2016

Tags: caricature, magazine, suffrage

How marvelous to see Asians, African-Americans, a native of the First Nation, and women among those invited to Uncle Sam’s 1869 Thanksgiving Dinner—with universal suffrage as centerpiece! Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

My thanks to It’s About Time for bringing this image to my attention. For the Library of Congress file on the cartoon, click here. For a sobering essay on how it fits into the 19th C discussion of immigration, click here.


  1. November 23, 2016 3:43 PM EST
    Times haven't changed. Ethnic groups and different religions are still feared and seen in sterotypical ways and not necessarily assimilated into the American culture. Since Trump became President-elect, it's now become easier to voice hatred of race and antisemitic remarks.

    The Italians were treated negatively, too. They must have come into the US in the late 19th-century, later than this drawing by Nash, but when they did, it wasn't easy.

    My people came here in 1898 (paternal grandparents) and 1900 (maternal grandparents). Both sets immediately lived on the Upper East Side straight from landing at Ellis Island. They had friends who helped them get apartments away from the slums. I happen to live a couple of blocks from the apartment building where my father was born.

    I've had conversations with people who, upon hearing my ancestry, ask me if my grandparents automatically lived in Little Italy. There is complete silence when I say the Upper East Side. They assume immigrant equals squalor.

    Very rarely, but even now, I sometimes get some idiot who expresses a stupid Italian accent in front of me after hearing my last name. Some people still associate an Italian name with the Mafia.

    I hope your Thanksgiving is lovely and that you're feeling great and fully recovered.

    - Patricia Franzino