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“K” is for King, Susan Dupont Petigru (1824-1875)

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“K” is for King, Susan Dupont Petigru (1824-1875). Author. A Charleston native, King received a finishing-school education at Madame Talvande’s in Charleston and Madame Guillon’s in Philadelphia. Contemporaries described her as intelligent, talented, quick tempered, rebellious, and fun-loving. Her first book, Busy Moments in the Life of an Idle Woman was published in 1853 to critical acclaim. She followed with Lily (1855), Sylvia’s World (1859), and Gerald Gray’s Wife (1863). King perceived herself to be an American William Makepeace Thackeray. She wrote realistically and satirically about the manners and mores—the sexual politics and unhappy unions—of the Charleston and lowcountry plantation elite in the divorceless South Carolina that she knew well. After the Civil War, Susan Dupont Petigru King tried unsuccessfully to support herself as a writer and became a government clerk in Washington.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.