29 March 2013

Notable Women of 20th Century Beaufort County: Part 4

One component of the "Virtual BDC" is our Wordpress Blog, simply entitled "bdcbcl." We post lists of materials about the people, places, and themes of our long and storied history on that blog. Continuing our observance of National Women History Month we draw your attention to two notable women of 20th century Beaufort County among the "Local Notables" personages: Harriet Keyserling and Chlotilde Martin.

Harriet Hirschfeld Keyserling was born in New York City on April 4, 1922.  She married a Navy doctor, Herbert Keyserling in 1944.  At the conclusion of World War II, they moved to his hometown, Beaufort, SC. Here they reared 4 children, one of whom is the current Mayor.  The story of her transition from a liberal-minded Jewish housewife to an eight term South Carolina legislator (beginning at the age of 54), is told in her memoir Against the Tide.  (Against the Tide is available in the BDC and Local History sections under call # B Keyserling).  Her particular interests were funding for the arts and environmental issues. She died on December 10, 2010, aged 88.  To learn more, consult the resources we compiled about her for the Harriet Keyserling list.

Chlotilde Rowell Martin was a newspaper writer, deeply interested in history and historic preservation.  Born in Bamberg in 1895, she moved to Beaufort in 1911 and considered it her hometown.  She was likely the first woman reporter at The State newspaper (1919). She married Thomas S. Martin of Anderson County in 1923.  Four short years later he died and widow Martin had two children to support on whatever income she could cobble together to keep the wolf from the door.  The children and she returned to Beaufort to be nearer to her parents (Melvin L. and Eva Randall Rowell)  in 1930 and soon started her most famous work, "Lowcountry Gossip," for The News and Courier newspaper of Charleston.  Some of those columns have been reprinted and annotated in Northern Money, Southern Land: The Lowcountry Plantation Sketches of Chlotilde R. Martin, edited by Robert B. Cuthbert and Stephen G. Hoffius, University of South Carolina Press, 2009. (The volume is available in the BDC and Local History sections under call # 728.8579 MAR).

She was a charter member of the Beaufort County Historical Society and the "Committee for the Preservation of the Lafayette Building." She was an active member of the Historic Beaufort Foundation, the Beaufort Museum, and the St. Helena's Episcopal Church.  She died on November 17, 1991, aged 96.  To learn more about her, consult the resources we compiled about her for the Chlotilde Martin list.

Of course, if you read through the list of posts on bdcbcl, you'll find other women significant to the history of Beaufort District: Charlotte Forten; Harriet Tubman; Clara Barton; and, Rachel Mather.  

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