Major settings in Andrew McDowd Secrest's 'Curses and Blessings' include:
- Monroe, NC, particularly vivid portrait of life in the 1930s and 1940s.
- Chapel Hill, NC, the University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Carolina Meadows retirement community.
- North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC, during the 1970s and 1980s.
- Duke University in Durham, NC., particularly from the perspective of students in the 1930s and 1940s., and again from 1969-1973, and of Duke University Medical Center.
- Scotland County, NC: Laurinburg and Wagram, in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
- Saranac Lake, NY in the 1940s, emphasizing tuberculosis, psychoanalysis, courtship, love, and marriage.
- Cheraw, South Carolina in the 1950s and 1960s, as viewed by the editor and publisher of the Cheraw Chronicle.
- Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University and the Nieman Fellowship program for outstanding journalists.
- Bethesda, MD and the National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md., from the perspective of patients and families in the 1960s, and 1970s.