'Gertie' author to give talk on the socialite, spy, explorer
体育在线365Author Kathryn Smith will speak at The Macguire Center at Westminster Oaks at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29, about her new book "Gertie: The Fabulous Life of Gertrude Sanford Legendre, Heiress, Explorer, Socialite, Spy" (Evening Post Books).
体育在线365Legendre, who was a native of Aiken, South Carolina, and spent most of her life near Charleston, lived from 1902 to 2000, dying just short of her 98th birthday.
A daring and fearless woman — a feminist when hardly anyone knew what that was —and the daughter of a fabulously wealthy New York industrialist, Gertie lacked for nothing in her Gilded Age childhood. But she wanted more than the life of moneyed leisure that claimed so many of her female peers. She shot her first big game in her teens — an elk — on a hunting trip to Wyoming, a graduation gift from her father.
During the Roaring Twenties she partied on the French Riviera with the American ex-pats Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and drove Harpo Marx around in her convertible. Gertie’s hunger for adventure took her on dangerous safaris to Africa, the Far East, India and Iran, usually in the company of her beloved husband Sidney. They collected specimens for natural history museums that are still visited by millions of people today.
体育在线365The most perilous adventure of all came during World War II, when Gertie, who worked for the first American spy agency, the OSS, was captured and held prisoner by the Germans for six months. Her daring escape over the Swiss border was the only time she ever admitted to being scared.
It happened on the eve of her 43rd birthday, and the adventures continued until she was well into her 90s, including decades of passionate advocacy for wildlife habitat preservation on the South Carolina coast.
体育在线365"Gertie" is a rollicking read about an extraordinary woman who took every opportunity that came her way to say “yes” to life.
Kathryn Smith, who lives in Anderson, South Carolina, is a critically acclaimed author and speaker who is fascinated by women who were ahead of their time. Her first biography, "The Gatekeeper," told the unknown story of Marguerite LeHand, private secretary and chief of staff to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the first woman to be secretary to a president.
体育在线365Smith is also the author of a collection of interviews with World War II veterans, A Necessary War, and a series of mystery novels co-authored with Kelly Durham. Contact her at www.kathrynsmithwords.com.
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What: Author Kathryn Smith will talk on "Gertie: The Fabulous Life of Gertrude Sanford Legendre, Heiress, Explorer, Socialite, Spy"
When: 3 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29
When: The Macguire Center at Westminster Oaks, 4449 Meandering Way
Details: Free and open to the public; books will be available for purchase and signing.