Sarasota Author Wins Honors For Book On Sarasota Society Queen
By D’Ann Lawrence White, Patch Staff | Mar 25, 2018
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Looking for a good book to read over spring break and maybe to buy in anticipation of summer vacation? According to the Florida State University Libraries 12th annual Florida Book Awards, you can’t go wrong with these winning books by Florida authors.
With more than 200 eligible books submitted, the Florida State University Libraries announced the winners of this year’s annual contest.
Among this year’s winners is one of special interest to Sarasota residents because it tells the story of Sarasota’s “society queen” of the early 20th century.
Sarasota author Frank Cassell’s book, “Suncoast Empire: Bertha Honore Palmer, Her Family, and the Rise of Sarasota, 1910-1982 ,” published by Pineapple Press, won a Silver Medal in the Florida Nonfiction Category.
In the early 20th 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 owned elegant homes in Chicago, Paris and London.
In 1910 she traveled to the small and rough settlement called Sarasota. For some reason, 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, creating communities out of marshlands, pine forests and tropical jungles.
The social reform advocate excelled as a frontier entrepreneur, just as she had in every other endeavor in her life. She managed to make a good deal of money and to change Sarasota forever.