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Former ‘Aiken Standard’ reporter to talk about book at museum

August 31, 2018

A former Aiken Standard reporter will be at the Aiken County Historical Museum at 3 p.m. Sept. 23 to discuss her book about a president and what some have called the first White House chief of staff.

Author Kathryn Smith will discuss “The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR, and the Untold Story of the Partnership that Defined a Presidency” at a presentation sponsored by the Friends of the Museum.

Marguerite Alice LeHand was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s personal secretary. She worked with Roosevelt for more than 20 years, starting from his first failed vice presidential campaign in 1920 through his time as governor of New York and for almost a decade in the White House, according to a news release from the museum.

“Far more than a secretary, Missy fulfilled the crucial duties of Chief of Staff (long before the position was formally created), and she was a persuasive voice in policy decisions and appointment recommendations,” Smith said. “ She was FDR’s confidante, his support when he contracted polio and his close friend.”

Roosevelt considered his “savvy personal secretary, Marguerite Alice LeHand, one of the most vital and certainly one of the most loyal members of his inner circle,” according to the release. He often remarked that Missy was “my conscience,” according to the release.

Smith, who lives in Anderson, has given more than 150 talks about LeHand and Roosevelt at venues including the FDR Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York; the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia; and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta.

Smith will speak as LeHand in full period costume and afterward will take questions about her book.

A wine and cheese reception will follow. Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing.

Tickets are $20 and are available in the museum’s gift shop from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Seating is limited.

Smith has been a newspaper reporter at three South Carolina dailies, nonprofit executive director in Anderson, ghost writer, community theatre manager and working mother. She now is a full-time writer and “doting grandmother,” according to 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.

The Aiken County Historical Museum is at 433 Newberry St. S.W.

Want to go?

WHAT: Author Kathryn Smith will discuss “The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR, and the Untold Story of the Partnership that Defined a Presidency”

WHEN: 3 p.m. Sept. 23

WHERE: Aiken County Historical Museum, 433 Newberry St. S.W.

COST: Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the museum

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Call the museum at 803-642-2015

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