Helen von Kolnitz Hyer
? - 1983

South Carolina Connection

Helen von Kolnitz Hyer was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina and was SC Poet Laureate from 1974-1983 .

Selected Bibliography
  • The Magnificent Squeak, 1902
  • Santee Songs, 1923
  • On Shiny Wings, 1926
  • Hurricane Harbor, 1927
  • Wine Dark Sea, 1930
  • Stories By Seasons, 1930
  • What the Wind Forgets, 1970
  • Danger Never Sleeps, 1970


Helen von Kolnitz Hyer was born and raised in Charleston, daughter of Judge George Frederick von Kolnitz and Sarah Conover Holmes. After attending several private schools, Helen graduated from Ashley Hall, a private girls school in Charleston, and then went on to attend Simmons College, in Boston. There she began writing poetry, and she even won the college's Poetry Prize one year.

During World War I, Helen left school to return to Charleston, where she took a business course and worked as a statistician. After the war, she accepted a position as Curator of Public Instruction at the Charleston Museum, and a year later she helped organize the Poetry Society of South Carolina. During these years in the summers, Helen went back to Simmons College and took Library Science courses. In 1921 Helen married Edward Allen Hyer. The couple moved to Michigan, where Helen worked in several museum positions. The Hyers returned to Charleston in 1941, and in April, 1974 she was appointed South Carolina's Poet Laureate by Governor John West. Helen von Kolnitz Hyer was the state's second Poet Laureate. She held the honor until her death in 1983. Hyer's published work includes two volumes of poetry, two juvenile fiction books, and two nature study works. Over her lifetime, Hyer belonged to seven poetry societies.