Author Kathryn Smith will discuss her new book about the life of an Aiken native and member of the Winter Colony on Oct. 20 at the annual meeting of the Aiken County Historical Museum.
"Gertie: The Fabulous Life of Gertrude Sanford Legendre, Heiress, Explorer, Socialite, Spy” tells the story of Gertrude Sanford Legendre, whose life spanned the 20th century, beginning in Aiken in 1902 and ending at her plantation outside Charleston in 2000.
The meeting will begin at 2:30 p.m. at the museum at 433 Newberry St. S.W.
Smith, a former reporter with the Aiken Standard, will begin her presentation at 3 p.m. and sign books at a reception after her discussion.
The event is free. Seating is limited.
Legendre “lived a 20th century life full of fun, adventure, derring-do and drama,” according to amazon.com.
The book details her “Gilded Age girlhood, explorations on three continents, hijinks on the French Riviera with the Lost Generation, work for the OSS – the original American spy agency – during World War II and her imprisonment by the Nazis,” according to the website.
She was the first American woman in uniform held as a POW by the Germans during World War II.
According to the site, Legendre partied with F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and Harpo Marx and befriended some of the greatest personalities of the 20th century, including Dr. Albert Schweitzer, Gen. George S. Patton, Lilly Pulitzer and Bing Crosby.
In later life, Legendre became a conservationist and fought for habitat preservation on the South Carolina coast.
Evening Post Books is the book's publisher. South Carolina Humanities is the sponsor of Smith's presentation.
In September 2018 at the Aiken County Historical Museum, Smith spoke as the title character of her book, “The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR, and the Untold Story of the Partnership That Defined a Presidency.” LeHand was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's personal secretary.
Smith has been a newspaper reporter at three South Carolina dailies, the executive director of a nonprofit in Anderson, a ghost writer, community theatre manager and working mother. She now is a full-time writer and “doting grandmother,” according to www.simonspeakers.com, the Simon and Schuster Speakers Bureau website.
A native of Macon, Georgia, Smith grew up in Atlanta and Clemson. Her love of writing was evident from an early age, and she earned a journalism degree from the University of Georgia, according to the website.