The book Bean Pickers, American Immigrant Portraits by Karen Foresti Hempson (Jacobs Press, Inc., 2019) focuses on eight true-life portrayals of Italian immigrants and their families, all beginning their American lives as summer bean pickers in Upstate New York.
The book features over one hundred authentic photos and documents, illustrating personal stories from the early twentieth century immigration wave, Prohibition, the Great Depression, and the Second World War. Each character finds his/her way out of poverty through such avenues as bootlegging, playing baseball, joining the military.
The book’s author, Karen Foresti Hempson, is a retired professor of social studies education at SUNY Cortland whose passion is reading and teaching from personal narratives. An excerpt from her book was awarded first prize in the memoir category in a national competition of the National League of American Pen Women. It was also recognized by the international Wiliam Faulkner-William Wisdom Writing Competition and by the Vinnie Reams Writing Competition.
Dr. Alan Singer, Director of Secondary Social Studies Education at Hofstra University and a regular contributor to the New York Almanack, wrote the book’s Foreword.
Bean Pickers can be purchased on Hempson’s website. Copies are also sold at the Oneida County History Center, the Cortland Historical Society, the Onondaga Library, and the Munson-Williams Proctor Institute.
Books noticed on the New York Almanack have been provided by their publishers.