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A Student’s View of the Collections

By Ma Gabrielle Bernasol – This year marks the seventeenth since my family immigrated to Florida. Despite living so many years in the Florida, my time working with the Florida History Collection has made me realize that my knowledge of the state is still in its infant stages.  Since the…

Catching a Murderer in 1885 – from the Correspondence of Pliny Reasoner

By Rachel Laue – The pioneer settlements of nineteenth-century Florida were rife with hardships and potential dangers. Settlers contended with adverse weather, fires, wildlife, and accidents often far from the help of modern conveniences, medical care, or other people. In the settlement along the Manatee River, there was another, more…

The Great Speckled Bird and its Florida Coverage

By Lee Hoffman –  What is the Great Speckled Bird? The Great Speckled Bird was an underground alternative press publication. The South, historically, has been characterized as a monolithic legislative echo-chamber painted in  All-American red. It should not be forgotten that southern legislatures have been historically associated with violent rhetoric…

The Florida LGBTQ+ Collection

By Rachel Laue and James Cusick –  The P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History has started a new collection on LGBTQ+ publications in Florida, focusing on newspapers or periodicals published during the 1970s and 1980s.  At the core of this collection is an 18-month run of The Weekly News (TWN),…

Florida and the Early Years of African American Film

By James Cusick – In the 1920s, the small movie production company of Norman Studios, in Jacksonville, Florida, became a vehicle for starting the careers of numerous African-American actors and actresses.  Prominent among them was John Lawrence Criner (1898-1965), a member of the famed New York acting group…

An Artist’s Adventures in Florida

By Rachel Laue – William E.B. Hayman was born in 1837 in Devon, England. It is unclear when Hayman emigrated to the United States, but by 1880 he resided in Newport, Rhode Island, with his wife Rebecca, and his three children, Willie, Clara, and Emma. He owned a business in…

Some Advice from Stetson Kennedy, Still the Nation’s Foremost Klan-Buster

By James Cusick – October 5th marks the birthday of folklorist, activist, writer and Klan-fighter William Stetson Kennedy (1916-2011).  He would have been 105 years old today!  And although Stetson is no longer here in the flesh, his words and warnings about the dangers we are facing from white supremacy…

1821 – Florida Becomes Part of the United States

  This year marks the 200th anniversary of Florida’s entry into the United States.  As a result of the Adams-Onís (or Transcontinental) Treaty, the two Spanish colonies of East and West Florida were transferred from Spain to the United States and became a single American territory, initially with twin…