April 20, 2017- (Key West, FL).  Willie Drye, Author of “Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935” to Appear as Key West Art & Historical Society Distinguished Speaker Series Guest

On Thursday, May 4, 2017 from 6:00PM– 7:00PM, Key West Art & Historical Society welcomes author and National Geographic News Contributing Editor Willie Drye to the Helmerich Research & Learning Center on the third floor of the Custom House Museum as Distinguished Speaker Series guest.

Described by eminent meteorologist Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as “a reporter with decades of experience and a real knack for exploring the human dimensions of a natural disaster,” Drye’s book, “Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935,” is regarded by many as the definitive account of the devastating category 5 hurricane that made landfall Monday, September 2, 1935, destroying Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railroad and killing more than 400 people in the Florida Keys, including 259 WWI veterans working on the Overseas Highway and living in Civilian Conservation Corps camps.

“In the 15 years since “Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935,” was originally published, it has developed something of a cult following,” Drye commented.

“My presentations in Key West on May 4 and Islamorada May 10 will be about how I came across the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 story, the people I met along the way, and the story of the tragedy itself,” Drye said.

A reporter and editor for more than three decades, Drye began writing about hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis and other topics for National Geographic News in 2003. “Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935,” was adapted as a History Channel documentary titled “Natures Fury: Storm of the Century,” and a package of stories he wrote for Key West Magazine about how Key West and the Florida Keys would be affected by a major hurricane earned a prestigious Charlie Award for Best Public Service Coverage from the Florida Magazine Association in 2007.

“Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935,” is presently out of print with a second edition pending release, but copies can still be found at some sales venues which attendees are welcome to bring for signing. Copies of Drye’s latest book, “For Sale-American Paradise: How Our Nation Was Sold an Impossible Dream in Florida” will be available for purchase and signing at the event.

The Distinguished Speaker Series project is sponsored in part by the Helmerich Trust and the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council of the Arts and Culture and the State of Florida. Additional support provided by the Marriott Key West Beachside Resort.

Tickets are available at kwahs.org/education/distinguished_speaker_series; $5 for members, $10 for non-members.  Seating is limited and advance ticket purchase is recommended. For more information contact Adele Williams, Director of Education, at 305-295-6616, x115. Your Museums.  Your Community.  It takes an Island.


Photo Captions:

1_DSS Willie Drye:

Award winning author and journalist Willie Drye will appear as KWAHS Distinguished Speaker Series guest at the Custom House Museum on Thursday, May 4. (Photo by Doward Jones)

KWAHS Willie Drye at Work