Museum to host ‘First South Carolinians’ book signing

PICKENS — As part of our recognition of Native American Month, the public is invited to an informative presentation and book signing of First South Carolinians (Warbranch Press). Award-winning South Carolina artist, author, and cartoonist Kate Salley Palmer has been writing and illustrating picture books since 1991. The book was co-written by Kate’s husband, Jim, and illustrated by their son, James Palmer, Jr. The event is 11 a.m. – 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 2 in the LaVonne Nalley Piper Auditorium of the Pickens County Museum of Art and History (307 Johnson St, Pickens, SC 29671).

Bring your own copy of the book to be signed or purchase one the day of the event for $14.95. There will be a 20 – 25 minute presentation about the book. Also, a Christmas book has been released, I Know Santa Very Well. It will be at the book signing for $6.95 Saturday. It’s a small book about unconditional love.

First South Carolinians is about the native people of South Carolina. Over 30 tribes of native people lived in present-day South Carolina before European contact in the 16th century. This book describes and illustrates how they lived as recorded by European explorers. Native culture varied between the different regions of the state in terms of ancestral origin and dialects, but similarities existed for crops produced and gathered, game hunted, various celebrations and ceremonies and for the way they interacted with their neighbors. The illustrations vividly depict how native people lived in concert with the environment before things the Europeans brought disrupted their way of life and greatly diminished their numbers.

About the author: A native of Orangeburg, started her career while at the University of South Carolina, where she was the cartoonist for the student newspaper, The Gamecock. Her cartoon strip, “Terrible Tom and the Boys”, caricatured the school’s administration during the late 1960’s in a humorous way, and was popular with students, faculty and the administration.

After graduating from USC with a degree in elementary education, Kate took a position as artist at Clemson University. At Clemson, she met Jim, a faculty member in the agronomy (study of crops and soils) department. Jim and Kate were married in 1970, and Kate taught elementary school for two years, had two children. Kate started doing political cartoons freelance in 1975 for The Greenville News, and in 1978 became the first full-time editorial staff cartoonist for a newspaper in South Carolina. While there Kate was syndicated nationally (one of only two women in the US) in over 200 newspapers.

In 1998, Kate and Jim founded Warbranch Press, Inc. to publish and sell Kate’s books. They are kept busy developing new book ideas, selling books, and traveling around the region attending professional conferences and other events. Books about Kate’s family were published, including The Pink House and The Little Chairs, plus the soft cover edition of A Gracious Plenty.

About the illustrator: The book has vivid illustrations done by James Palmer, Jr., who also illustrated Frances Marion and the Legend of the Swamp Fox. James also did extensive research on how the native people lived, including their dress, modes of transportation, ceremonies, games, hunting and fishing tools and food – both cultivated and gathered. James lives in Atlanta.

This special program and book signing are part of the museum’s continuing effort to provide a variety of entertaining and educational programming for the community. The Pickens County Museum of Art and History is funded in part by Pickens County, members and friends of the museum and a grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Located at the corner of Hwy. 178 at 307 Johnson Street in Pickens, the museum is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., Thursdays from 9 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Admission is free but donations are welcomed. For questions or more information call the museum at (864) 898-5963.