Blog Tour: Hidden in Plain Sight by Jane Allen Petrick (spotlight, interview, giveaway)

Hidden In Plain SightHidden in Plain Sight: The Other People in Norman Rockwell’s America
written by Jane Allen Petrick
published by Informed Decisions Publishing

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Check out Belinda’s review here.

About the book: Norman Rockwell’s America was not all white. As early as 1936, Rockwell was portraying people of color with empathy and a dignity often denied them at the time. And he created these portraits from live models.

Hidden in Plain Sight: The Other People in Norman Rockwell’s America unfolds, for the first time, the stories of the Asian, African, and Native Americans who modeled for Norman Rockwell. These people of color, though often hidden in plain sight, are present throughout Rockwell’s more than 4000 illustrations. People like the John Lane family, Navajos poignantly depicted in the virtually unknown Norman Rockwell painting, “Glen Canyon Dam.” People like Isaac Crawford, a ten year old African-American Boy Scout who helped Norman Rockwell finally integrate the Boy Scout calendar.

In this engrossing and often humorous narrative, Jane Allen Petrick explores what motivated Norman Rockwell to slip people of color “into the picture” in the first place. And in so doing, she persuasively documents the famous illustrator’s deep commitment to and pointed portrayals of ethnic tolerance, portrayals that up to now have been, as Norman Rockwell biographer Laura Claridge so clearly put it, “bizarrely neglected”.

Hidden in Plain Sight: The Other People in Norman Rockwell’s America is an eye opener for everyone who loves Norman Rockwell, everyone who hates Norman Rockwell and for all those people in between who never thought much about Norman Rockwell because they believed Norman Rockwell never thought much about them. This book will expand the way you think about Norman Rockwell. And it will deepen the way you think about Norman Rockwell’s America.


Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. Discover a Norman Rockwell, and a Norman Rockwell’s America, that has been hidden since 1936.

Why did you did you decide to write Hidden in Plain Sight? The “decision” emerged over time. I said, “OK, nobody has written about Anita and Lynda Gunn” (the little girls who modeled for Rockwell’s famous painting, The Problem We All Live With). “I’ll do some research and write an article about them.” But then I found out that neither had the stories been told about the Adams, Olff, Kip and other families of color who had modeled for The Golden Rule. Then I stumbled upon a photo of Norman Rockwell with a Navajo family and “discovered” Glen Canyon Dam. At this point I was nearly a year deep into the saga and the article had morphed into a book.

Did you have a specific audience in mind? Was the book meant as a textbook, educational supplement, an inspiration guide, or something else completely? It is my hope that Hidden in Plain Sight will serve as an inspiration and an eye-opener for all the people who love Norman Rockwell, all the people who hate him (think he’s trivial, or a racist, for example) and for all the people in between who never thought much about Rockwell at all, because they didn’t think Rockwell’s America had much to say about them. I think all will be surprised, and pleasantly so.

I loved how you included so many different ethnic groups in the discussion. How has the topic of equality evolved in art during your lifetime? I think the subject of racial/ethnic harmony/disharmony has been a running theme in Judeo/Christian and Western art since way back. Explicit, “civil rights” art was a thing in the ’60’s and ’70’s. Today there are schools of ethnic art.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? A biography of Otis Redding, focusing on his childhood and teenage years in Macon, GA.: Otis Redding: Singing His Dream. And the third edition of my book on avoiding stealthy time management pitfalls: Beyond Time Management – Why To Do Lists Don’t Work. Ah, and in the spirit of full disclosure: I’m a little behind on my writing schedule! Look for Beyond Time Management no later than April Fool’s Day, 2014 (I mean it!) My Otis Redding book should be out by the fall.

What is your favorite genre to read? Nonfiction, historical narrative.

Who is your favorite author? Sorry, no one answer for this one. Those I re-read, (my personal classics’ authors) run from Thomas Merton, C.S. Lewis, and Zora Neale Hurston to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, John Steinbeck and St. Paul.

In your opinion, what is one book that everyone should read? The Bible, specifically the gospel according to Mark.

Tell us three things about yourself that cannot be found on the internet … at least not found easily.

  1. I am a kettle-cooked, sea salt & vinegar potato chip addict. I allocate myself one large bag per month, usually devoured while …
  2. Watching pre-code and 1940’s films whose social themes (including the portrayal of ethnic and racial minorities) I follow with keen interest eg “Our Man Godfrey”. Any film with William Powell, Myrna Loy or The Marx Brothers gets a retrospective at least every 18 months!
  3. I am the fourth in a line of five “Jane’s”, named after my great-grandmother Jane who lived to the age of 103. My niece and namesake is the fifth in our line.

Thank you, Chrissy, for this opportunity to talk with you and your readers.

Jane PR Elegant Black and WhiteAbout the author: Jane Allen Petrick is the author of several books on topics ranging from biography to workplace issues. She was a bi-weekly columnist for the Knight Ridder Newswire, and her articles have appeared in numerous publications including theNew York Times, the Denver Post and the Washington Post.  Kirkus Review describes her book, Hidden in Plain Sight: The Other People in Norman Rockwell’s America as “smart, nuanced” and written with “clarity and insight.”

Born and raised in Connecticut, Jane earned a BA in economics from Barnard College and received her Ph.D. in organizational psychology from Saybrook University. Retired as a vice-president of ATT Wireless, she is now an adjunct professor at Capella and American Sentinel Universities, and has provided consultation in organizational behavior and diversity competence to numerous corporate clients including IBM, Nextel and Xerox.

Jane Allen Petrick was chosen as one of the “100 Best and Brightest Business Women in America” by Ebony Magazine.

Long a passionate supporter of cultural and historic preservation, Jane has contributed to local preservation efforts in both Florida and New York State. A licensed tour director, Jane conducts cultural heritage tours on the East Coast, from the Everglades to the Maritimes.

Jane and her husband, Kalle, divide their time between New York’s Hudson Valley and Miami, Florida.

Find Ms. Petrick here: web, Facebook, Goodreads


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  1. Thanks again for taking part in the tour and hosting Jane!


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