Four key women in Sarasota County history featured in special traveling exhibit

Focus put on Nettie Keith, Bertha Palmer, Mable Ringling and Marie Selby

Image courtesy Sarasota County

Sarasota County staff is inviting members of the community and visitors to take a step back in time with four historical women.

Beginning Friday, June 7, Phillippi Estate Park on South Tamiami Trail in Sarasota will be home to a special exhibit dedicated to examining the impacts Nettie Keith, Bertha Palmer, Mable Ringling and Marie Selby had on the growth of Sarasota, a news release explains.

The exhibit will remain at Phillippi Estate Park until July, when it will begin traveling to eight county libraries, the release adds.

It is called Shaping Sarasota: Four Memorable Women, the release says.

“Guest speakers will address the period in which the women lived, impacts on their lives, troubles they faced and a review of their family heritages,” the release notes

“These women greatly influenced the direction of life in the early Sarasota community,” said Priscilla Brown, program coordinator with the county’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department. “Their legacies can be seen today throughout the county at well-known landmarks, including Phillippi Estate Park, Historic Spanish Point, Ringling Museum and Selby Gardens,” Brown added in the release.

Staff has planned the following presentations late this week at Phillippi Estate Park:

  • At 6:30 p.m. on Friday, June 7, Rodney Kite-Powell, director of the Touchton Map Library — The Florida Land Boom of the 1920s.
  • At 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 8, Steven Noll, master lecturer at the University of Florida — Florida Mansions and the Gilded Age.
  • At 1:30 p.m. on June 8, Jeff LaHurd, Sarasota author and historian — Female Activists in Early 20th Century Florida.

Admission to the Phillippi Estate Park exhibition is free, but reservations are required, the news release points out. Viewing hours for the exhibit will be from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays through July 6.

Edson Keith Mansion at Phillippi Estate Park is located at 5500 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota.

After July 6, the exhibit will visit eight county libraries, the release continues. Displays will be available at each location for a month, with viewing times during regular library hours, beginning in August, the release notes.

County staff has planned the following travel schedule:

  • August — Osprey Library at Historic Spanish Point,located at
    337 N. Tamiami Trail in Osprey.
  • September — Gulf GateLibrary,located at 7112 Curtiss Ave. in Sarasota.
  • October — Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Library, located at 4143 Woodmere Park Blvd. in Venice.
  • November — William H. Jervey Jr. Venice Public Library, located at 300 Nokomis Ave. S. in Venice.
  • January 2020 — Fruitville Library, located at 100 Coburn Road in Sarasota.
  • February 2020 — Elsie Quirk Library, located at 100 W. Dearborn St. in Englewood.
  • March 2020 — North Port Library, located at 13800 S. Tamiami Trail in North Port.
  • April 2020 — Selby Library, located at 1331 First St. in Sarasota.

Financial support for this program was provided through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council, plus funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the release says.

For additional information call the county Contact Center at 861-5000 or visit

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