USF Sarasota-Manatee to celebrate Bertha Palmer Centennial

On Thursday, September 23 at 7:00 p.m. the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee’s Institute for Public Policy and Leadership will present the Bertha Palmer 2010 Sarasota Centennial, entitled “Ahead of Her Time: Bertha Palmer Then and Now.”

Bertha Honoré Palmer was an American businesswoman, socialite and philanthropist known for her significant contributions to women’s and artistic causes. Palmer owned a significant amount of the land in Manatee and Sarasota Counties from 1910 until her death in 1918 and helped build the culture and prestige of the area.  She was a progressive rancher, land developer and farm developer who introduced many innovations to encourage the Florida ranching, citrus, dairy and farming industries. 

The major roads through her property— Honoré, Lockwood Ridge, Tuttle, Webber, and Macintosh— were named by Palmer, and the area known as Palmer Ranch consists of land parcels she developed.  After her death, a large parcel of her land was donated by her sons to Sarasota County to become Myakka River State Park.

At the event, local actress Amanda Schlachter will deliver Bertha Palmer’s groundbreaking speech on the occasion of the opening of the women’s Pavilion at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.  Following the speech, attendees will discuss Bertha Palmer’s impact on women of the era and assess how far women have come today. 

The event will be held at the Jane B. Cook Theatre at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 North Tamiami Trail in Sarasota.  There is no charge for the event but registration is required. To reserve your seat, please visit or call the USF hotline at 941-359-4602.

An event to present The Bertha Palmer Centennial Woman of Achievement Award will be held at the USF Sarasota-Manatee Selby Auditorium on October 14.