On August 15, 2019, Evening Post Books will release the book Gertie: The Fabulous Life of Gertrude Sanford Legendre, Heiress, Explorer, Socialite, Spy, a biography of a woman whose adventurous life spanned the twentieth century, beginning with her birth in Aiken, South Carolina in 1902 and ending at her plantation outside Charleston in 2000. 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.
The 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 forty-third birthday, and the adventures continued until she was almost ninety-eight, including decades of passionate advocacy for wildlife habitat preservation on the South Carolina coast. Gertie is a rollicking read about an extraordinary woman who took every opportunity that came her way to say “yes” to life.
The book, ISBN 978-1-929647-44-6, retails for $29.95. A launch party will be held at the auditorium of the Hollings Science Center at the College of Charleston at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 28, 2019. If you would like to request a review copy, please contact Michael Nolan at the address above.
Consumer Publications, LLC dba Evening Post Books, began publishing titles in 2008 by South Carolina authors with subject matter dedicated to the Lowcountry. Additional information may be found atwww.eveningpostbooks.com.
Kathryn Smith is a journalist, writer and American history 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. Kathryn 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. She lives in Anderson, South Carolina with her husband, Leo. Visit her at kathrynsmithwords.com.
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