NEW! Silver Award Winner for Florida Nonfiction, Florida Book Awards

 

Suncoast Empire:

BERTHA HONORÉ PALMER, HER FAMILY, AND THE RISE OF SARASOTA

 

In the early twentieth century, Bertha Palmer was one of the best-known and wealthiest women in America. She was an art collector, women’s rights advocate, businesswoman, owner of Chicago’s Palmer House Hotel, and had elegant homes in Chicago, Paris, and London. In 1910 she traveled to the small and rough settlement called Sarasota on the west coast of Florida. Impressed by the area’s natural beauty, she decided to spend much of each year for the rest of her life on one of America’s last frontiers, investing in cattle and farming, and creating communities out of marshlands, pine forests, and tropical jungles. The society queen and social reform advocate excelled as a frontier entrepreneur, just as she had in every other endeavor in her life. She and her family managed to make a good deal of money and to change Sarasota forever.

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