The History of Legacy Publications

The distance from the gracious plantations of South Carolina’s Lowcountry to a family farm outside Burlington, North Carolina, may not be as great as you think. The direct connection is N. Jane Iseley, president of Legacy Publications, photographer for more than 30 books, and farmer on land that her family has been cultivating since 1790.

Formed in the early 1980s by Iseley and Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, president and CEO of Pace Communications, Legacy Publications specializes in books set in the beautiful city of Charleston or the surrounding Lowcountry. A graduate of the New York Institute of Photography, Iseley served as staff photographer for Colonial Williamsburg for nine years and is a long-time admirer of Charleston and the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Since starting Legacy Publications, she has authored Legacy’s Charleston, Charleston Entertains, The Charleston Interior, and the award-winning Lowcountry Plantations Today, among others.

Legacy’s diverse collection of Charleston-themed books includes children’s books such as Rosebud Roams Charleston, Hermy the Hermit Crab Goes Shrimping, and Mr. Gator Hits the Beach. It was Legacy that “started the wave” of books about this area, and it seems that although they’ve done interiors, exteriors, day-trips, children’s stories, and a cookbook, Iseley, her versatile assistant Alice Turner “Boots” Michalak, and Legacy will never run out of aspects to explore. Charleston’s long and rich past fits nicely with Iseley’s deep-rooted feeling for history: “History, and an appreciation of the quality of life as opposed to the quantity of life, is very important to me,” she says.

Iseley’s concept of “quality of life” involves getting her hands dirty, and not just by hauling camera equipment up the stairs and around the grounds of storied Lowcountry structures. Not too many graduates of the New York Institute of Photography can say, “I have a cow-calf operation, about 100 head, and we grow organic tobacco, and have a market. We open with strawberries in the spring, then we move into our vegetables, and from that into chrysanthemums and pumpkins.”

But as the seasons change, Iseley and Legacy will continue harvesting books from the abundance of the Lowcountry then and now.

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1301 Carolina Street, Greensboro, North Carolina, 27401