High Life to Spy Life…and Back!

Posted By Bill Payer on Mar 16, 2023 | 0 comments

That’s part of the title of a 2017 Charleston Magazine article on Gertrude Legendre….one of the historical figures that Beth Bush and Lee Ann Bain will showcase in our March 22 DIHS program.

The other two women we’ll feature, Septima Clarke and Martha Daniell Logan are both better known and probably much more significant….but neither has quite the glamorous story of Ms Legendre…aka ‘Gertie.’

Born in, and very much part, of horse country in Aiken, SC. Daughter and granddaughter of Congressmen fromNew York.
Gertie was an heiress, a socialite/debutante, a world famous big game hunter, a spy of sorts, a WWII prisoner of war who managed to escape her captors, and a a house guest of Allen Dulles, an OSS operative in Switzerland, who would later head the CIA under Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy.

After the war she lived at Berkeley County’s Medway Plantation. She published two autobiographies, The Sands Ceased to Run in 1947 and The Time of My Life (Wyrick & Co.) 40 years later. Throughout that era, she was a fixture in Charleston social, philanthropic, and cultural circles. Her New Year’s Eve costume parties at Medway were the hottest ticket in town.


Gertrude Legendre – The High Life to Spy Life, and Back” Charleston Magazine, September 2017

“Gertrude Sanford Legendre, 97, Socialite Turned Hunter and Prisoner of War” New York Times obituary, March 13, 2000

“The Fabulous Life of Gertrude Sanford Legendre” Walter Edgar’s Journal, South Carolina Public Radio

There’s PLENTY more about Gertie….just Google her.

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