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Gertrude Sanford Legendre – SC Explorer, Conservationist, WWII Spy (March 29, 1902 – March 8, 2000.)
Talk about your Steel Magnolias! Gertrude Sanford Legendre is the most amazing South Carolina woman you’ve never heard of. An heiress, a flapper, a hunter, a leader of scientific expeditions, Gertie was also the first American woman in uniform taken prisoner by the Nazis during World War II.
Gertie partied with the Fitzgeralds, Harpo Marx, Albert Schweitzer, George S. Patton, Lilly Pulitzer and Bing Crosby. In her later years, she became an ardent conservationist, fighting for habitat preservation on the South Carolina coast and leaving her 7,000-acre plantation in a conservation easement (Medway, Mount Holly SC.)
In this world of covid social isolation, get some tips on surviving lockdowns based on Gertie’s experience as a WWII POW from Kathryn Smith, her biographer and author of “Gertie: The Fabulous Life of Gertrude Sanford Legendre, Heiress, Explorer, Socialite, Spy.”
This program aired on Tue Feb 16th. This recording can be viewed until March 3.
Kathryn Smith has lived all her life in Georgia and South Carolina, and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Georgia. She worked as a daily newspaper reporter and editor, and has been the book columnist for the Anderson Independent Mail for twenty years. Kathryn Smith is a native of Macon, Georgia who grew up in Atlanta and Clemson. She went into nonprofit management work after that, concluding her career as executive director of the Cancer Association of Anderson, which she helped found. Since 2012, Kathryn has been a full-time writer and speaker, most notably of the book “The Gatekeeper,” the first biography of Marguerite A. LeHand, which was a finalist for the Southern Book Prize in biography in 2017. She lives in Anderson, S.C. with her husband, Leo.
She has recently published her thoroughly researched and delightful second book “Gertie: The Fabulous Life of Gertrude Sanford Legendre, Heiress, Explorer, Socialite, Spy.”
Support your local bookstores and order either or both books from bookshop.org