We were saddened to learn of the passing of former state representative — and SCPC friend and donor — Harriet Keyserling. In her memory we have mounted an exhibit showcasing her life and career in public service.
A tireless advocate of the arts, of education, and of environmental concerns, Harriet Keyserling represented Beaufort County in the South Carolina House from 1977 to 1993. She remained an active advocate for these progressive interests in her “retirement.”
Mrs. Keyserling was a legislator of real substance and this is well illustrated in her personal papers, which reflect her life in and outside of the General Assembly. The collection stands as the largest in South Carolina of a member of the General Assembly. It documents her expertise and leadership in promoting the arts, addressing education issues, including the passage of the 1984 Education Improvement Act under Governor Dick Riley, and her concerns about energy and particularly the disposal of solid and nuclear waste.
While in the legislature, Keyserling wrote a regular column which appeared in The Beaufort Gazette and showcased her remarkable ability to describe complex issues facing government in a manner that made their complexity easily understood by her constituents. Outside of the General Assembly, Keyserling served on the board of Penn Center.
Her 1998 memoir, Against the Tide: One Woman’s Political Struggle, tells the story of this self-proclaimed “New York Jew” who, after raising her family, became a leading progressive legislator in her adopted state.
Mrs. Keyserling passed away on December 10, 2010 after a brief illness.
Posted by Kate Moore