Publication of Archival Library and Museum Materials
Publication of Archival Library and Museum Materials
Publication of Archival Library and Museum Materials
Florida Heritage Collection

Florida History Themes

Select a theme from the list below

AFRICAN AMERICANS

African Americans SEARCH TITLE LIST African Americans have been a prominent element in the history and culture of Florida since Estavanico explored Florida with Panfilo de Narvaez, and continued with the establishment of the first free black community in North America (Fort Mose, north of St. Augustine in the 1730s). As a slave state, Florida hadplantations that harvested cotton and later, African Americans provided much of the labor for the state's timber and turpentine industries. After Emancipation in 1863, African-Americans emerged as important Florida leaders in literature, medicine, newspapers, businesses, and education.

The Florida Heritage Collection contains a variety of works which cover some critical issues associated with African Americans in Florida. The civil rights movement forced the issue of desegregation in public services, especially in the school system. A great number of problems resulted from this process, and the struggle contributed to the cultural growth. The presence of the African American element in Florida history has enriched Florida culture, and evidence of this can be seen in many of the works in this collection.

AGRICULTURE

Florida History Agriculture SEARCH TITLE LIST Agriculture has always been an important issue in Florida history, and it varies with the region of the state. From sugar cane in the South to citrus in Central Florida to cattle ranches of the North, Florida agriculture is important and varied. Nineteenth-century crops of cotton and tobacco have given way to twentieth-century corn, peanuts, shrimp harvesting and other food sources. Historical agricultural experiments include ostrich farming and Satsuma oranges and grapes. Many of the works in the Florida Heritage Collection have discussed Florida agriculture, including works on gardening, farming, soil, topography and climate.

AUTHORS

SEARCH TITLE LIST Florida has always had the image of a tropical paradise, a land of promise and dreams. Many Florida authors have been able to contribute to this image by creating unforgetable works of literature which reflect Florida's history and hertiage. The Florida Heritage Collection contains works such as guides and biographies on some of these authors, and of special note are the works on Theodore Pratt, author of the Barefoot Mailman.

BIOGRAPHY

Many Floridians throughout history have led fascinating lives and have played key roles in the history of the state. Studying the lives of these individuals can bring about a greater appreciation of the rich culture that Florida possesses. The Florida Heritage Collection contains many biographies and autobiographies of famous Floridians, including works about Eartha Mary Magdalene White, Henry Bradley Plant and Wallace Fisher Stovall. This section will also include reminiscences and self-portraits written by notable Floridians.

BUSINESS

SEARCH TITLE LIST Business and economics have always played critical roles in the development of societies. The Florida Heritage Collection is able to offer access to several unique works on some of the important business developments in Florida history, such as the Afro-American Life Insurance Company of Jacksonville, Florida, the development of the Franklin Street business district in Tampa, Florida, and the history of businesses such as cotton and railroads in the Red Hills of North Florida.

CIVIL RIGHTS

SEARCH TITLE LIST Florida history, especially in the past 100 years, shows the expansion of civil rights to protect all of Florida's citizens, regardless of gender or race. The Florida Hertiage Collection contains works on desegregation and integration, feminism, McCarthyism and more. The information contained in these documents reveals a great deal about the effects of bigotry and hatred, and how the people of Florida have risen above such destructive feelings.

DESCRIPTION AND TRAVEL

SEARCH TITLE LIST Since time immemorial, people have been fascinated with written accounts of faraway places. Spanish, British, and French visitors to Florida often wrote books of their travels describing these tropical lands where food and danger lurked hand-in-hand. Description and travel is a very broad category that covers many aspects of Florida tourism, travel and recreational activities. This includes historic desciptions of Florida cities, such as Jacksonville and Miami. Many of the documents are related to travel, such as descriptions and pictures of different cities and locations. There are also some old restaurant menus, recipes, information of recreational activities such as hunting and fishing, and more. Anything that relates to Florida travel and recreation can be found here.

EARTH SCIENCES

SEARCH TITLE LIST Florida's geology and climate has more in common with its Caribbean Basin neighbors and the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico than with North America. In geologic terms, the Florida Peninsula is young, rising from the sea a mere million years ago. The state is comprised of aquifers. Most commonly born of the springs that once lured Spanish explorers in search of the famed "Fountain of Youth" to Florida, these aquifers gave birth to the Florida Everglades, have fed Florida's agricultural industries and, today, quench the thirst of tremendous population growth and economic development.

A key feature of Florida's geology is the Hawthorne Formation; this karst limestone ridge, better seen from the air than from the ground, forms the backbone of Florida. The Formation stretches southward from the limestone beds of the Suwannee River to the soft, silted underbelly of Lake Okeechobee, one of the largest lakes entirely within the United States. The sinks that dot its spine have spawned the lore andliterature of Florida, from Native American legend through popular culture icons: the mermaids of Weeki Wachi, and the backdrop for more distant or fantastic venues: the Tarzan movies of the 1940sand 1950s and Voyage to the Bottom of Sea of 1970s TV fame.

Other impressive features of Florida's geology are the St. Johns River and the Apalachicola and Tampa Bays. The only major river in the United States to flow North, the St. Johns River was subject to a Confederate plan during the Civil War that would have dammed it, forcing its waters to flow south. The Apalachicola Bay has been called "nature's cradle" and has been the source of most of the oysters served in restaurant across the country. The Tampa Bay formed a natural harbor, exploited by the Spanish, British and Americans, alike, as their foothold in Florida grew.

Florida's climate is unique within the United States. More than that of any other state, Florida's climate supports a rich and diverse natural heritage. At the cross currents of temperate and tropic zones, it has either spawned or attracted numerous and infamous storms including disastrous hurricanes. Every year, Florida records more and more intense lightning strikes than anywhere else in the world.

EDUCATION

SEARCH TITLE LIST Before 1870, education in Florida was provided by private schools or academies or by efforts of tutors. Higher education emerged after the Civil War, with two major universities - the all-male University of Florida and the female Florida State College at Tallahassee. The creation of the Florida State Normal University at DeFuniak Springs, Florida in 1886 paved the way for the education of teachers.

The Florida Heritage Collection contains a wide range of literature about Florida schools and education. Much of the information is concerned with the African American experience in education during the early times of desegregation. Examination of this body of literature creates a clear picture of where Florida education has been, and where it is heading.

FOKLORE

SEARCH TITLE LIST Folklore and legend are always some of the more interesting and definitive aspects of a culture. The works in this section of the Florida Heritage Collection are very rich examples of Florida folklore. Elements of magic and the supernatural are woven into elaborate tales that exemplify elements of Florida culture. Florida folklore encompasses oral history as well as crafts handed down through generations of family members. The Florida Heritage Collection includes oral histories, folk tales, stories, and other materials that encompass folklore of the Sunshine State. One of the more significant works in this collection are the writings of Lafcadio Hearn, which contains a story about the Fountain of Youth.

HISTORIC SITES

SEARCH TITLE LIST Florida was one of the first areas of the New World to be explored, and the early inhabitants left an amazing legacy for future Floridians to cherish. Florida has many beautiful historic sites that can be explored today, including the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, as well as sites around the coasts of Florida, whose waters and coastlines have seen numerous shipwrecks. As Spain began bringing the riches of the Aztec and Incan empires to Europe, their silver and gold-laden ships sailed the Florida coastlines, often becoming prey to pirates, storms, and treacherous shallow shores and coastal reefs. There are many wonderful examples of Florida history which live on today. The Florida Heritage Collection offers many works on the unique historic sites of this state, including first-hand accounts of shipwrecks written by survivors, information on treasure-hunting exploits by salvagers, and archaeological and historical accounts of shipwreck projects, as well as descriptions of other historic sites throughout the state.

HISTORY

SEARCH TITLE LIST Florida industries have provided for the economic success of the state. The newspaper and mining industries are two of the most significant areas of this part of the Florida Heritage Collection, but there are also works on other areas of Florida industry, such as timber and lumber. Florida research materials on industries often tend to cover several different industries such as mining, printing, and similar mechanical business operations.

The first printing in Florida appears to be from printing presses carried aboard British ships hich printed broadsides, posters, forms (such as land grants) and the like. The mericanization of Florida in 1821 led to the rise of newspapers. Often the editor of the paper as as noteworthy as the newspaper, perhaps pushing progress through print, or writing fiery olumns to urge change. Some papers became nationally famous. The Florida Sentinel, an African-American newspaper, was nationally known in the early Twentieth century. The Miami Herald established a national reputation for investigative eporting, especially as Florida's East Coast became a playground of politicians, movie stars, and the jet set.

INDUSTRIES

SEARCH TITLE LIST Florida industries have provided for the economic success of the state. The newspaper and mining industries are two of the most significant areas of this part of the Florida Heritage Collection, but there are also works on other areas of Florida industry, such as timber and lumber. Florida research materials on industries often tend to cover several different industries such as mining, printing, and similar mechanical business operations.

The first printing in Florida appears to be from printing presses carried aboard British ships which printed broadsides, posters, forms (such as land grants) and the like. The americanization of Florida in 1821 led to the rise of newspapers. Often the editor of the paper as as noteworthy as the newspaper, perhaps pushing progress through print, or writing fiery columns to urge change. Some papers became nationally famous. The Florida Sentinel, an African-American newspaper, was nationally known in the early Twentieth century. The Miami Herald established a national reputation for investigative exporting, especially as Florida's East Coast became a playground of politicians, movie stars, and the jet set.

LITERATURE

SEARCH TITLE LIST The works of literature within the Florida Heritage Collection are some of the most unique pieces of the collection. These beautiful examples of writing illustrate the talent of Florida authors. There are works of poetry, children's stories, and writings about Florida and its environs. Fictional works, although they often contain a great deal of historical license, also help us to understand the social and cultural climate of a time. Fiction written about Florida has included such themes as shipwrecks, poetry, life in the Everglades, and similar themes that reflect the rich tableau of the State's history. Some examples of the works in this section are, Al Alligator and how he learned to play the banjo, Canoemates: a story of the Florida Reef and Everglades, and Chasco, queen of the Calusas.

MEDICAL CARE

SEARCH TITLE LIST Florida's nineteenth-century was overshadowed by the annual threat of Yellow Fever. Studies of this disease led to quarantines, the discovery of air-conditioning, and similar health care innovations. In the twentieth-century, health care has been predominantly a question of how to reach rural communities and meet the growing demand in the areas of aged health care. The medical care received by Floridians throughout the years has had a strong impact on the life and well-being of Florida's population. The Florida Heritage Collection contains works about medical facilities and resources, as well as how medical services and programs have effected the health of the population of Florida. The advances and contributions made in medical care have promoted wellness and the betterment of health in Florida.

MEDICINE

SEARCH TITLE LIST After the Civil War, northern physicians began prescribing a 'change of climate' to people suffering from tuberculosis and other lung diseases. These people were often urged to go to Florida for the winter to escape the harsh weather and in hopes that the more temperature and humid climate would make breathing and recovery easier. The history of medicine in Florida includes health foods and patent medicine tonics, literature extolling the benefits of climate upon health and the abundance of pure water springs. Florida Medicine is a strong and dedicated field. Doctors and other medical practitioners must serve and ever-expanding population, including the large numbers of retirees that move to Florida in their later years. Works contained in this section of the Florida Heritage Collection are primarily related to the clinical and life sciences, human biology, physicians and the medical profession.

MILITARY HISTORY

SEARCH TITLE LIST Military history has played a very strong role in the evolution of Florida society and culture. The early history of Florida is a military history of conquest as the land was captured by Spain who saw numerous attempts by France and England to attack and capture Spanish East and West Florida. English control of Florida ceased with the Siege of Pensacola in 1781, a Revolutionary War battle that gave Florida back to Spain. Invasions of American volunteer armies under Andrew Jackson in 1813 and 1818, fighting Creek and Seminole uprisings, led to the annexation of Florida to the United States. To protect the new Territory, a string of military forts and bases were established throughout Florida to protect the coastlines and cities. As part of the Confederate States of America, Florida saw her share of military battles and occupations as port cities like Key West, Pensacola, and others became important points on the Union blockade of the South.

Following the Civil War, Florida became a major training and embarkation point for the War with Cuba in 1898, and the site for major military training bases after World War I. Naval aviation brought the need for good weather training sites in the 1920s including the development of Naval Aeronautical Stations in Pensacola, and naval bases in Jacksonville, Tampa, Key West, and other locations. Eglin Air Force Base, the largest air force base in the world in size, was created to provide weapons and armament training for World War II and continual support services into the 21st century.

As is the case with the histories of many other states and countries around the world, military efforts pave the way for the rest of society's development, and while these actions may be considered unnecessary or brutal by some, no one can deny the influence of military history on the growth and development of Florida and it's people. The Florida Heritage Collection presents works on the many wars and battles in Florida's history, including the Mexican War, wars and skirmishes with the original Native American population, wars with the British, Spanish, and more. A close study of this section of the collection will provide an interesting view of Florida's early development.

MUSIC

SEARCH TITLE LIST The role of art and expression is one of the most defining characteristics of any culture. It is through examination and study of these works of creativity, one can see elements of a society that are not easily expressed in any other form. Music is one of the most expressive forms of art, and projects thoughts, experiences and feelings that others may have never experienced. Florida's diverse musical history has ranged from the Native American songs of the Seminoles and the Creeks to ballads of the frontier and lumbermen, to the classical presentations of opera and culture. In addition to songs about Florida, numerous musicians wrote and produced music in Florida including Stephen Foster and others. The Florida Heritage Collection stives to provide works on the role of music in Florida's culture and history.

NATIVE AMERICANS

SEARCH TITLE LIST The Native American population of Florida has played one of the most significant roles in the history of this region. As the original settlers of this county, they have an intimate knowledge of the land that cannot be as easily understood by other races who moved into the country from other areas of the world. Their life, experience, sufferings, and spirit will always play a strong role in the culture and society of Florida. The Florida Heritage Collection contains many works on Native American history, culture, folklore, and warfare. Thorough examination of this body of literature will open one's mind to the Native American experience in Florida.

NATURAL DISASTERS

SEARCH TITLE LIST What is one of the first things that people think of when they think of Florida? Perhaps, the think of a tropical paradise, but due to the tropical nature of the state of Florida, the land is subject to one of the most destructive forces of nature ever seen--hurricanes. Early accounts called them "big storms." Today we know that Florida is a prime target for hurricanes. Major hurricanes that hit Florida leave a historical record of destruction of people and property. A number of historical works deal with reminiscences of these storms, as well as pictures of the destruction they leave behind. The Florida Heritage Collection contains a variety of items regarding Florida hurricanes, such as the infamous Hurricane Andrew, but there are also works on other natural disasters. Florida's primary source for building materials has been its pine forests. Historically this creates a number of problems in that the decay of wood in a tropical climate has made it difficult to preserve Florida's historical buildings. But another prevalent danger was fire. A number of historical works deal with major fires in Jacksonville and other cities where one fire could destroy an entire business district.

NATURAL HISTORY

SEARCH TITLE LIST When Florida came under English control in 1765, a number of English naturalists came into the state to study its strange animals, plants, and natural history. American botanists like William Bartram and Mark Catesby published studies of plants. John James Audubon produced paintings of the Brown Pelican and other birds. Silas Stearns gathered fish specimens for the Smithsonian Institution in the late 19th century. Florida was unlike any other American state--a lush tropical paradise of jungle and plants, with an extraordinary large wetland that became known as the Everglades.

This section of the Florida Heritage Collection contains various works on the Florida outdoors. Biological and botanical information is available, as well as information about hiking on Florida's trails, observations of Florida's flora and fauna, and details on camping and related outdoor activities. The writings of the many naturalists are still important today for they provide information on natural habitat, the uses of plants, and even document native species that have all but disappeared.

PERSONS

SEARCH TITLE LIST For more information "Browse Persons"People are the most significant element of the development of any society. Without the efforts of the people of Florida, there would be no Florida to speak of. This section of the Florida Heritage Collection contains works concerning the achievements and efforts of Floridians which contributed to the growth and development of society and culture in this region.

POLITICAL SCIENCE

SEARCH TITLE LIST Into the twentieth century, Florida has had a history of political intrigue and power clashes in government. From the Reconstruction Republicans to the Southern Democrats, Florida has seen hard-fought political battles, including the rise of important national politicians such as Bob Sikes and Claude Pepper. At the same time, Florida has had to deal with governmental problems unique to a state that is rural and urban, dependent upon both agriculture and tourism, and dramatically changed by the growth of transplanted non-native citizens.

Politics and government are very significant and necessary forces in the development of society. Through government, laws and norms are established, and structure is given to the state. The Florida Heritage Collection contains works that cover a variety of areas in this category, such as the establishment of desegregation policies in schools and other public institutions, environmental policy development and works related to the use of Florida swamplands, regulatory policies for public institutions such as the police force, population surveys, hearing reports, and much more. This section of the collection details the development of Florida's government and policies for providing structure to the state.

PUBLIC HEALTH

SEARCH TITLE LIST Early in Florida history, Yellow Fever was a serious problem for the state. This major disease historically affected Florida in many ways. Yellow Fever often wiped out whole communities, such as the destruction of St. Joseph, Florida. At the same time, attempts to treat the cause and effect of the disease led to the discovery of air-conditioning by John Gorrie and the rise of public health agencies to foster control and quarantines of Florida cities.In the 1880s, Florida saw the rise of public health - the concern for health of citizens by governmental agencies such as city and county Board of Health. Into the twentieth century, these organizations became concerned over contagious diseases, health care for children and rural citizens, vaccination programs, and health education.

The Florida Heritage Collection contains materials which help document much of the research related to Yellow Fever, as well as documents dealing with statistical information and firsthand accounts. There are also works on social welfare and descriptions of the efforts of state health organizations to better the state of public health in Florida.

RACE RELATIONS

SEARCH TITLE LIST The end of the Civil War meant a social change in Florida between African-Americans and Whites. The turbulent 1920s and 1960s saw civil unrest with race riots and desegregation concerns. The influx of Cubans, Hispanics, and Vietnamese has also created racial relation concerns. Historically, race relations have not always been positive, but it is important historically for us to understand these issues and the research materials produced about them.

Much of the historical information in the Florida Heritage Collection deals with the interaction of different races and social groups who are located in proximity to one another. At times this type of interaction can be plagued with hatred and misunderstanding. The collection contains many works on the interaction of African Americans and the white population of Florida during the time of integration, but there are also works on the interactions of whites and Native Americans and other social groups. A solid understanding of the concepts presented in these works can help to open the minds of the reader, and promoting tolerance and understanding.

RAILROADS

SEARCH TITLE LIST The growth of railroads in Florida before the Civil War was limited to a few companies who tried to connect major cities with cities in other states. It was perhaps the lack of railroads in Florida that made the state less of a battleground than other Confederate States. But after the Civil War, the growth of railroads exploded. The major cities of Florida were connected in the 1880s as the Louisville and Nashville Railroad expanded throughout the South, and the development of the East Coast Line by Henry Flagler led to the development of cities like Miami, Palm Beach, and the introduction of Florida as a tourism destination.

While there is less reliance on railroads as a major source of transportation today, they still remain an important element in today's society and in the development of Florida infrastructure. Some works relate the history of railroads across the state, and there are also directories and pamphlets related to the railway system.

REAL PROPERTY

SEARCH TITLE LIST From Spanish crown grants through modern court records, land records tell the story of people who populated Florida's lands and what they did with them. Land records in Florida tend to over three stages. First come Spanish land grants, and British land sales. Then following the creation of the Territory of Florida in 1821, a federal land commission held hearings and made reports to Congress concerning the land claims in the 1820s. The last period is the township and section survey of the State; these records tend to be in the courthouses of the appropriate county but are occasionally published and indexed in print.

Land issues and real estate have played very important roles in the growth and development of this state. Through the buying and selling of lands, Florida has become a very densely populated region, and offers many resources to its population. The Florida Heritage Collection provides access to works on land records and other territorial issues.

SOCIAL HISTORY

SEARCH TITLE LIST This section of the Florida Heritage Collection contains works on the socio-cultural aspects of Floridian society. There is access to works on child development and other sociological topics, as well as works on social structures, institutions and interactions. Important currents in Florida society and culture are discussed in this section.

Land issues and real estate have played very important roles in the growth and development of this state. Through the buying and selling of lands, Florida has become a very densely populated region, and offers many resources to its population. The Florida Heritage Collection provides access to works on land records and other territorial issues.

URBAN DEVELOPMENT

SEARCH TITLE LIST Urban growth and development has proceeded at an amazing rate in the state of Florida. Cities and towns that started out as small cowtowns have been developed into massive population centers. As Florida has changed from a tourist destination to a retirement state, growth planning has been a major component of infrastructure development. Growth planning may include studies of water demands, transportation needs, housing and urban growth, and related growth planning materials.

The Florida Heritage Collection offers many works about the growth and development of Florida. Some of the documents highlight historical sketches of towns such as Miami and Tampa, growth of the school systems, and government efforts and programs for development, such as the Works Progress Administration. The materials in this section of the collection detail many interesting aspect's of Florida's evolution as a major population center, providing both historical and more current views on the subject.

WOMEN

SEARCH TITLE LIST Women development of cultures around the world, and the efforts of women in Florida have made serious contributions to the current state of the region. This part of the Florida Heritage Collection focuses on the many aspects of these efforts and achievements, including works about women pioneers in the state, feminist activism, biographical information on important Florida women, and images of women in Florida history. The documents contained in this collection offer a unique perspective on Florida's history and culture. Some of the works may include biographies and autobiographies and accounts of specific women and their contributions in health care, education, and other fields.