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Bokara Legendre papers

Identifier: Mss 0229

Collection Overview

Materials reflecting the biographical, professional, and spiritual interests of Bokara Legendre. Extensive diaries from the 1950s through the early 2010s are accompanied by other writings including drafts of memoirs/autobiographies, poetry, plays, dramatic monologues, and children's stories. Scrapbooks, photographs, negatives, and slides reflect her extensive travels, particularly in Asia and South America; retreats at her homes in Mill Valley California and Medway Plantation; and the presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy. Smaller quantities of correspondence, family papers, audiovisual materials, original artwork, and artwork transparencies are also present.

The first series contains biographical documents and objects about Bokara Legendre, including health and financial records, day planners and address books, resumes, ephemera, educational records, clippings, and information about performances. It is followed by two small series, the first containing papers concerning the Legendre family and Medway Plantation, including correspondence about the Plantation, guest books for Medway, historical information, family pictures, and some legal documents; the second consists of correspondence, mostly from her childhood and early adulthood, with some additional correspondence related to professional and philanthropic work.

The largest series in the collection consists largely of diaries, journals, and notebooks from the 1950s through the 2010s. In addition, there are sub-series containing creative writing--scripts, poetry, and children's books--and her non-fiction writing, mostly in the form of memoir drafts in both physical and digital forms. A small sub-series contains writings by others that Legendre collected, often on topics related to spirituality.

The photograph series contains photographs, film negatives, slides, and CDs containing images from throughout Legendre's life. While a few are from her childhood, most are from the 1960s through the early 2010s. The majority focus on her worldwide travels or life at Medway or her home in Mill Valley, California. Additionally, some are headshots and professional photographs, candids with friends, and pictures/slides of Legendre's artwork. Of particular note are the contents of an album taken while on the campaign trail with Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 and another of professional shots taken while she filmed a television show in Palm Beach, Florida in the 1960s. Some of the photographs were removed from the original housing in photo albums for preservation reasons.

A small series consists of some of Legendre's artwork, mostly illustrations for her children's book The Dragon's Gift. The final series is made up of audiovisual materials consisting of VHS tapes, audiocassette tapes, CDs, DVDs, and floppy disks containing performances, psychic readings, and episodes of the television show Lunch with Bokara.

The diaries and notebooks sub-series, the photograph series, and the audiovisual series have been arranged in chronological order; the rest of the collection retains its original order in the files created by Legendre herself.


  • Creation: 1927-2018
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1955-2017


Language of Material

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

The nature of the College of Charleston's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. Special Collections claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Biographical Note

Socialite, writer, artist, performer, world traveler, and spiritual seeker Bokara Hennen Legendre was born 17 September 1940 to Sidney Legendre and Gertrude Sanford Legendre in Charleston, South Carolina. Known as Bo, she grew up on Medway Plantation and attended the Foxcroft School for girls in Virginia.

As an adult, she traveled extensively throughout the world and divided the remainder of her time between New York City, California, and Medway Plantation. She worked in television in Washington, D.C. and Palm Beach, Florida, performed in summer-stock theater on Cape Cod, and starred in solo shows at Cafe La Mama in New York and the Marsh in San Francisco. At the Moth Theater in New York City, she performed numerous monologues about her life, some of which were broadcasted nationally through the Moth Radio Hour.

Her paintings were exhibited in galleries in both New York and California. She worked as a freelance journalist for several publications including the New York Times and Vogue. Her autobiography, Not What I Expected, was published shortly before her death. She was a long-time member of the Board of Directors for The Paris Review.

Ordained as practitioner in Tibetan Buddhism, she turned her Mill Valley, California home into a spiritual retreat and salon and used Medway for the same purpose until selling it in 2012. She produced and hosted Lunch with Bokara, a 13-part television series on LINK TV in which she brought together notable teachers of various spiritual disciplines, many of whom were her close friends. Two marriages, first to Richard Mack and then to Arthur Patterson, ended in divorce. She died 3 December 2017.


29.00 linear feet (61 document boxes, 1 carton, 3 flat boxes, 2 postcard boxes, 43 CDs, 35 audiocassette tapes, 22 VHS tapes, 21 unprocessed floppy disks, 20 DVDs, 2 unprocessed flash drives (8 GB))


The papers of Bokara Legendre, a South Carolina-born socialite, writer, artist, performer, world traveler, and interviewer. The collection includes extensive diaries and photographs as well as other writings, biographical and family papers, and audiovisual materials.

Collection Arrangement

  1. Biographical papers
  2. Legendre family and Medway Plantation
  3. Correspondence
  4. Writings
  5. Photographs
  6. Artwork
  7. Audiovisual materials

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Special Collections cannot provide access to subseries 3/12-inch floppy disks, 1994-2001 due to lack of required hardware and software. Materials in subseries Flash Drives, 2018 have not been processed due to current technical limitations. Unprocessed digital materials are not available for researcher use, and so this material is currently restricted.

Acquisitions Information

Materials donated 2018 by Estate of Bokara Legendre.

Related Material

Related materials in Special Collections include the Gertrude Sanford Legendre papers (Mss 0182).

Processing Information

Processed by Lauren Bickel, April 2023.

Inventory of the Bokara Legendre Papers, 1927-2018
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections
College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424
(843) 953-8016
(843) 953-6319 (Fax)