Kathryn Smith: Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau

Kathryn Smith

Author and Journalist


Kathryn Smith has been a newspaper reporter, non-profit executive director, ghost writer, community theatre manager and working mother and is now a full-time writer and doting grandmother. A native of Macon, Georgia she grew up in Atlanta and Clemson, S.C. Her love of writing was evident from an early age, and she earned a journalism degree from the University of Georgia.


Kathryn’s is the first biography of arguably the most influential member of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration, Marguerite “Missy” LeHand, FDR’s de facto chief of staff, who has been misrepresented, mischaracterized, and overlooked throughout history…until now.


Widely considered the first female presidential chief of staff, Marguerite “Missy” LeHand was the right-hand woman to Franklin Delano Roosevelt—both personally and professionally—for more than twenty years. Although her official title as personal secretary was relatively humble, her power and influence were unparalleled. Everyone in the White House knew one truth: If you wanted access to Franklin, you had to get through Missy. She was one of his most trusted advisors who traveled with him around the country, affording her a unique perspective on the president that no one else could claim, and she was deeply admired and respected by Eleanor and the Roosevelt children.


With unprecedented access to Missy’s family and original source materials, Kathryn tells the captivating and forgotten story of the intelligent, loyal, and clever woman who had a front-row seat to history in the making. The Gatekeeper is a thoughtful, revealing unsung-hero story about a woman ahead of her time, the true weight of her responsibility, and the tumultuous era in which she lived—and a long overdue tribute to one of the most important female figures in American history.


Kathryn and husband Leo raised two children while she was a working journalist at three South Carolina daily newspapers. After leaving newspapers at age 40, she began a 17-year career in nonprofits, including founding and running a cancer charity in Anderson, S.C. She returned to writing full-time in 2013, at which time she became intrigued by the life of Marguerite “Missy” LeHand.


Kathryn lives in Anderson with her husband.



Interested in booking Kathryn Smith to speak at your next event?

Contact Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau.

(866) 248-3049
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  • Marguerite LeHand: FDR’s Right-Hand Woman and the First (and Only) Female White House Chief of Staff
  • Breaking the White House Glass Ceiling: New Deal Women Missy LeHand, Frances Perkins and Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Missy LeHand, FDR and the Fight Against Polio
  • Starting from Scratch: How an Untrained Historian Uncovered the Story of the New Deal’s Most Important and Enigmatic Player

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