A longtime figure in Beaufort politics has died. Former Democratic State Rep. Harriet Keyserling passed away Friday afternoon. She was 88.
Keyserling was a self-proclaimed “New York Jewish liberal” during her 16 years in the Statehouse from 1977 to 1993. She was a vocal advocate for women’s issues and later wrote a book about her experiences entitled, Against the Tide: One Woman’s Political Struggle.
Keyserling was also an arts advocate. She approached then-governor Dick Riley in 1980 about creating a Task Force on the Arts, which eventually became the Joint Legislative Committee on Cultural Affairs.
She entered politics in 1974, when she became the first woman elected to the Beaufort County Council. Her son is current Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling.
In retirement, Keyserling served on the board of directors for the Spoleto Arts Festival, as well as the Beaufort Arts Council and the Coastal Conservation League.
Keyserling donated her political papers to the University of South Carolina library in 1998.