October is American Archives Month! American Archives Month is a collaborative effort to highlight the importance of records of enduring value and is organized through the Society of American Archivists.
The John G. Riley House Museum in Tallahassee, Florida, holds thousands of documents on black history, education, business, and culture. Pictured is Samuel James Evans, a teacher who had applied to work at Crooms Academy c. 1941. His application reveals the itinerant nature of many black teachers as they searched for places to settle across Florida. It also shows the reach of Historically Black Colleges and Universities; Evans was a graduate of Florida A & M. His application demonstrates the various strictures black teachers confronted when trying to find work. This document and the thousands more held by the Riley Museum are in the process of being digitized, in partnership with Tallahassee Community College Library and Florida State University Special Collections & Archives. To read more about Evans and his connections, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/yc4mwr2e
Please also visit the John G. Riley House’s website: https://www.rileymuseum.org/
The City of Tampa’s Archives and Records Division was pleased to receive a donation from a descendant of former Tampa Mayor Frederick A. Salomonson. After he immigrated to Florida from the Netherlands, Mayor Salomonson served for three non-consecutive terms from 1893-1894, 1895-1896, and 1904-1906. Yet prior to this donation, we did not have any items belonging to him in our collection.
We knew he had his portrait painted in a similar style to other former mayors, but unlike some of the others, we did not have this portrait. Thanks to a recent visit to Tampa, Salomonson’s descendent, Fredric Altman, learned about our archives from Lonnie Herman of Ybor City Walking Tours. Mr. Altman subsequently donated Mayor Salomonson’s portrait, sword, and cane. These items will now be preserved as part of our permanent collection and displayed at Tampa’s City Hall prior to the end of the year.
Boca Raton was home to one of the largest airfields in the state during World War II. The Boca Raton Army Air Field was the Army Air Force’s principal radar training facility during the war years. Between 50,000-100,000 men and women were stationed there from 1942-1947 in a town of 750 people. The Boca Raton Historical Society is the keeper of an extensive collection of photos, archives, and objects associated with the 6000 acre base. One of our longtime residents, Pat Eddinger Jakubek’s father served as a radar instructor here. He managed to collect a copy of an amusing poem (2010.79.1) about Boca Raton in the war years—a stark contrast to the well planned, beautifully landscaped city it has become. I have been told by many veterans that the “smell” was caused by all the squashed rattlers that met their fates under the tires of all the jeeps on the local roads—somehow not a comforting thought.
USF Special Collection’s Florida Environment & Natural History meta-collection is devoted to telling the stories of Florida’s unique natural resources through the documents and experiences of the people who knew it best, like ornithologist Robert Porter Allen.
The Robert Porter Allen collection details his efforts to address the plight of bird populations in Florida and surrounding areas through photographs, notebooks, letters, and maps. One of his most endearing ventures involved saving the near-extinct whooping crane. As the cranes appeared unfazed by nearby cattle, Allen crafted a canvas cow and hid inside it to study the whooping cranes’ plumage and behavior up-close.
LIFE magazine learned of Allen’s ingenuity and sent reporters to document the progress. The photographer “waited four full days inside [the] fake cow” but was rewarded with one of the best photographs of a whooping crane family at the time. Thereafter, baiting the cranes with corn proved more practical…
In observance of American Archives Month, the Nova Southeastern University Archives spotlights the Donald Zimmer Frank Lloyd Wright Archive. This collection is part of an acquisition of books, photographic slides, and personal papers related to Mr. Frank Zimmer's pastime of the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW).
One of the images, highlighted here, is of the Charles E. Roberts Residence in Oak Park, Illinois, from the Illinois Photos-Frank Lloyd Wright Structures. The FLW image collections were added to the NSUWorks repository with the assistance of two archives students: MLIS intern Kristan Smith and undergraduate Tony Su.
Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) was an American architect, interior designer, writer and educator, who conceived more than 1,000 structures, 532 of which were completed. Wright followed a philosophical conviction of architectural design that advocated harmony with humanity and the natural environment.
Donald Zimmer traveled the United States photographing Frank Lloyd Wright structures featured in this collection from the late 1950s to the early 2000s. The complete collection comprises approximately 5,600 photographs spanning over 50 years.
In the Spring 2022 semester, the Ringling College Archives created its first exhibition to celebrate Ringling College of Art & Design’s ninetieth anniversary. The exhibition, titled “90 Years in the Ringling College Archives,” provided a decade-by-decade glimpse into campus history through the lens of the Archives’ holdings. By showcasing primary sources related to some administrative happenings, campus planning developments, and student life activities, the exhibition traced the trajectory of the College as a pillar of the art and design community in Sarasota.
The exhibition now lives on as an interactive, illustrated timeline, created in Northwestern University Knight Lab’s TimelineJS platform. Users can explore a selection of materials from the exhibition along with added interpretation and context from the Archivist. Links to finding aids are included in the timeline to encourage further discovery within the Ringling College Archives’ collections.
The “90 Years in the Ringling College Archives” digital timeline can be found here: https://bit.ly/3SwraOq
Southeast Toyota’s Vehicle Processing Center in the Westlake Industrial Park in Jacksonville celebrates 20 years in operation. Twenty years ago, SET looked to expand and found 250 acres to build more than 280,000 square feet of workspace. The facility has expanded in recent years and now has 11 buildings totaling 381,413 square feet, 75 acres of blacktop and two 60-railcar support tracks.
In 2021, Westlake processed 162,308 Toyota vehicles and installed 230,165 accessories for the 177 Toyota dealers in the five southeastern states. The strategic need was necessary to invest in an all-rail facility on the opposite side of Jacksonville from where our Port operation was located to accommodate the tremendous growth of vehicles arriving from three other manufacturing plants.
JM Family Enterprises is the parent company of Southeast Toyota Distributors, the world’s largest private Toyota distributor. The distributorship was established in 1968 and celebrates 54 years in business.
One of my favorite parts of working with archival letters is the unpredictability of the letter’s contents. Especially within the Edward Lear letters at FSU’s Special Collections and Archives, you get a hint of the author’s personality through a text not meant to be seen by anyone other than the intended correspondent. That’s what I love about the Letter from Edward Lear to Henry Bruce, September 26, 1875 (FSU_Lear_MSS_1978_32b_16), where Lear’s whimsical doodle is a great surprise amongst the rest of the text. Looking at Lear’s personal letter and doodle makes me appreciate the uniqueness of archival objects that were not created to be published or viewed by the public.
As I continue my internship at Special Collections and Archives, I look forward to exploring more letters and personal documents in the 17th-20th Century Correspondence and Documents collection.
Photo caption: Last page from Letter from Edward Lear to Henry Bruce, September 26, 1875 where Lear drew a man riding a whale.
The Village Archive at Advent Christian Village at Dowling Park, Florida is delighted to open a new exhibit in celebration of Florida Archive Month.
The Dowling Sawmill Exhibit celebrates the 1898-1930 sawmill that Thomas and Robert Dowling established at Dowling Park. It was the largest mill in Florida at the time. It produced 60,000 linear feet of lumber per day and averaged in stock 11,300,000 feet of lumber.
The Village Archive is open to the public three days a week. If you’re visiting Suwannee County make arrangements to stop by the Archive for a visit.
The Brooks Archive adjoins the Kennon Public Library located on the campus of Advent Christian Village. This is a unique relationship between a public library and a non-profit organization.
Rollins College Archives recently acquired The Betty M. Mitchell Collection of Fred Stone Theatrical Materials, which includes four boxes of theatrical files, plus a few bound volumes of sheet music used in various musicals and plays. The gift also contains a small assortment of items from Rex Beach, but the core of the collection consists of some critical early Broadway ephemera. Fred Andrew Stone ’29H (August 19, 1873 – March 6, 1959) was an American entertainer, Broadway actor, and Hollywood movie star in the early twentieth century. His career spanned over 60 years, during which he performed as an acrobat, dancer, singer, actor, and comedian. After his death in 1959, The New York Times noted that he was “almost alone among the popular comedians of his day as the ‘wholesome’ type” and unique in his appeal to both children and adults. For additional information, please see: https://blogs.rollins.edu/libraryarchives/2020/12/03/the-betty-m-mitchell-collection-of-fred-stone-theatrical-materials/.