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For Hempson's CV, click on red icon:

Karen Foresti Hempson 
Author, Historian, Educator
Karen Hempson, a retired college professor of social studies education, combined her love of history with her passion for twentieth-century immigration by writing Bean Pickers, American Immigrant Portraits. She integrated memoirs into her teachings of American History to provide empathy and more depth of understanding.

Focusing on first and second-generation Italian American immigrants in upstate New York, Hempson recreates their journeys from hamlets in Italy to the hard times of the Great Depression and World War II. Each character begins American life in oppressive bean fields, eventually finding his/her way out of poverty. 

The lives of eight family members are portrayed using Hempson's research and travel. Through oral history and primary sources, Hempson puts a personal face on our nation's historic events by creating true-to-life stories. Authentic photos and documents are dispersed throughout the chapters. Actual words and descriptions were captured by recorded audio tapes and transcribed interviews.


Bean Pickers, American Immigrant Portraits:

  • Won first place for memoir in the National League of American Pen Women Biennial Competition in 2020

  • Was internationally recognized in 2017 as a finalist in the non-fiction category in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition

  • An excerpt from Bean Pickers received Honorable Mention in 2018 in the non-fiction category of the NLAPW Vinnie Ream Competition.

For excerpts from Bean Pickers, click on red icons:
Testimonial on Bean Pickers:


Hempson’s creative non-fiction Bean Pickers would be an important book in any time in our social, cultural, and political life, but now is the perfect time for this book to appear on the national scene. Hempson’s beautiful narrative of her Italian American family who came as immigrants is the recipe for understanding our new wave of immigrants and the critical importance of looking beyond prejudices to the mighty contributions of those who have come and will continue to come from other shores. 


Nancy Dafoe, Dafoe Writing and Consulting,                                                   Author of seven published books                          

For more testimonials, click on red icon:

Review of Bean Pickers by Utica Observer-Dispatch's Sunday Magazine,  Accent

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  Photo Collection from Bean Pickers


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Pignole cobblestone street
Foresti Ruggiero extended family witih J
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Grandma Grandpa Buono, Newport beach, 19
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