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Reubin O’Donovan Askew: September 11, 1928 – March 13, 2014

March 13, 2014

Today we are saddened to mark the passing of Reubin O’Donovan Askew, FSU alumnus, professor, and former Governor of Florida. Askew, born in Muskogee, Oklahoma on September 11, 1928, died early this morning surrounded by family members at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare, he was 85. He served as Governor from 1971 to 1979 and as U.S. trade Representative from 1979-1980.


Previous to his long and eventful political career, Askew was an active student at Florida State. After serving in the United States Army from 1946-1948, he attended FSU on the G.I. Bill and became Class President during his sophomore year in 1949, a member of the University Senate in 1950, and as a senior, served as President of the University Government Association in 1951. Since 1995 he had been on the faculty here at FSU, and was also the Senior Fellow of the Florida Institute of Government. Since 2000, he was the Eminent Scholar Chair at the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy teaching Florida Government & Politics, and held 15 honorary doctorates from institutions around the nation. 
Askew was known as a champion for racial and gender equality and was the impetus for many “firsts” in Florida. He integrated the Florida Highway Patrol, appointed the first black Supreme Court justice of a Southern state, appointed the first black member of the Cabinet in over a hundred years, created the five regional water management districts, made the Public Service Commission appointed rather than elected, called for rehabilitation rather than the jailing of alcoholics. One of his most notable acts was to pardon Freddie Pitts and Wilbert Lee, two black men wrongly convicted by an all-white jury and sent to Death Row in the killing of two gas station attendants in Port St. Joe, Florida.


Reflections of a French Dream: Early Modern Maps from Florida (16th-19th c.)

February 21, 2014

On the occasion of the international conference “La Floride Francaise. Florida, France and the Francophone world ” organized by the Winthrop-King Institute at FSU (20-21 February 2014); FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives and North Redington Beach map seller La Rose des Vents present an exceptional selection of antique maps and documents reflecting French involvement in Florida during four centuries.

La Floride

Between the middle years of the sixteenth century and the early nineteenth century Florida was a recurring concern of French governments in their attempts to introduce a French presence south of Canada. Maps of Florida, many of them produced in France but also in the Netherlands, England, Italy or the United States, thus represented tools for the military and diplomatic action of France, images sometimes fanciful of territories to conquer or reconquer, but mostly images of a dream conceived in Huguenot minds, at the height of the Religious Wars, a dream that never came to be true but fed a nostalgia that lived on long after Florida had ceased to be considered another viable Nouvelle France.

Located in the Strozier Library Gallery, the exhibit is open February 17 to March 21, 2014, Monday-Friday, 10am to 6pm.

Our new Digital Library is Live!

February 10, 2014

FSU Libraries announce the launch of the new Florida State University Digital Library. The FSU Digital Library provides online access to Florida State University’s rich and unique historical collections of photos, pamphlets, maps, manuscripts, and rare books.

Currently, the FSUDL highlights collections from Special Collections & Archives, Heritage Protocol, and the Claude Pepper Library, including yearbooks from 1900 to 1997, historical photos of campus, and selections from the Paul A.M. Dirac Papers.  Over time it will connect students and researchers with digital collections from all over the University.  The technology platform supporting the FSUDL allows for future growth in both content and services.

“I’m very excited about the potential to show FSU’s special collections, which include hundreds of thousands of rare items, to a wide audience through FL-Islandora,” said Dean of FSU Libraries Julia Zimmerman.

The Florida State University Digital Library is run on the FL-Islandora platform, managed by the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC). Florida State University Libraries has been a development partner with FLVC on the state’s common digital platform project.

“FSU’s implementation marks a significant milestone in the growth of Islandora as a common digital platform that can serve all of Florida’s public universities and colleges,” commented Florida Virtual Campus Executive Director Don Muccino. “As a development partner, FSU provided tremendous insight into the unique needs and challenges that university libraries have in managing their large digital collections and making those resources easily available to their students, faculty and staff.”

These partnerships enabled the project to succeed. “Our collaborative relationships with FLVC as well as with LYRASIS have made this development possible,” said Dean Zimmerman. “Our combined efforts will provide Islandora capabilities to many other libraries in Florida and nationally.”

The mission of the University Libraries is to Advance academic excellence and success for FSU and the broader scholarly community through intellectual discovery and dynamic engagement. For more information about the FSU Libraries, please visit

A Century of Seasons: Early FSU Sports History

December 9, 2013

Florida State University’s Special Collections presents A Century of Seasons: The History of Florida State Athletics.  Visitors are invited to explore the history of Florida State athletics, which spans over ten decades, from the turn of the century to the modern day.  Beginning in 1905 and ending in 1947 Tallahassee’s campus was a women’s college, then known as Florida State Women’s College (F.S.C.W.).  These forty-years were marked by energetic school spirit, enthusiastic intramural rivalries and vibrant traditions.   A Century of Seasons highlights this age of intramural competition between Odd and Even classes with images, documents and artifacts.

F.S.C.W. intramural teams compete in a basketball game as fans watch from the sidelines.

F.S.C.W.’s 1914 intramural basketball teams compete as fans watch from the sidelines.

Basketball was phenomenally popular during the F.S.W.C years and, arguably, the most anticipated event of the year was the Thanksgiving Day competition.  Photographs of the game and the athletes tell the story of this highly anticipated event and the women who competed in it.  The exhibit also includes photographs and artifacts documenting minor and non-traditional sports played on campus over this period, including archery and an aquatic sport known as prelo.  Wooden dumbbells from the early twentieth century have survived and are displayed next to an image of the tumbling class putting them to use.

A collection of student scrapbooks, which contain unique photographs and ephemera from sporting events and provide a fascinating look at the way athletics, affected the daily lives of students.  Each of the scrapbooks displayed portrays the personality of its owner and the collected photographs, newspaper clippings and ephemera with the scrapbooks shows a unique perspective on the athletes and fans who attended the university when it was yet young.

A Century of Seasons: The History of Florida State Athletics is open from 10am-6pm in the Strozier Exhibit Room until February 2014.

Up close and personal with FSU ACC Championship Rings

December 6, 2013
ACC Championship Ring

ACC Championship ring from 1996

Excitement is in the air at Florida State! With the Seminoles finishing their regular season undefeated, heading to the ACC Championship Game on Saturday, and favored to play in the BCS National Championship, FSU fans have renewed pride after what some call the “Lost Decade.”

The Atlantic Coast Conference, or ACC, was created in 1953, and its charter members included Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, and Wake Forest. FSU didn’t join the conference until 1991, but immediately began to dominate the competition and have been ACC champions 13 times, making the Seminoles the most victorious team in the conference.

Championship rings have been a tradition in America since the 1920s. Because a sports team is only awarded one trophy, players, coaches, and staff are presented rings as a token of their victory. Prior to rings, teams were often given pocket watches or pins.

ACC champion rings that were presented to President D’Alemberte. Years left to right: 2000, 1995, 1997.

FSU’s Heritage Protocol is fortunate to have accessioned FSU President Sandy D’Alemberte’s championship rings from his tenure from 1994-2003. President D’Alemberte’s time as a president is synchronous to the Seminole’s reign as ACC Champs.

We here at Special Collections don’t have a crystal ball (well, on second thought, we might have one in our collection somewhere!), but sure hope that after Saturday the Seminoles have another ring to add to their collection.

A Century of Seasons: Modern FSU Sports History

December 3, 2013

ImageAthletics at Florida State College and Florida State College for Women had always been popular, but after the inception of FSU, sports exploded. Now able to have varsity teams because of the addition of men to the student body, the Tallahassee past time of Seminole fanaticism began. In the exhibit A Century of Seasons: The History of Florida State Athletics, photos, artifacts and ephemera from FSU’s favorite sports teams are on display, as well as forgotten athletic groups like Tarpon Club, the women’s synchronized swimming club, and Gymkana, FSU’s premier gymnastics show troupe.

A Century of Seasons traces the history of FSU athletics, like the incredible growth of FSU football. The excitement was palpable in 1947 when after a 40 year hiatus, FSU hosted its first football game against the Stetson Hatters. While the first season was a dismal bust (the Seminole squad lost all five of their games), the love for football had been instilled in FSU students and Tallahassee citizens alike. It didn’t take long for Florida State football to develop into a powerhouse team: winning the Cigar Bowl in 1950, their first undefeated season in 1950, starting in the top 20 in 1971, and the decades of winning teams under the coaching of Bobby Bowden.

ImageA Century of Seasons also highlights the illustrious career of the Tarpon Club, FSU’s oldest club. The synchronized swimming team was created in the 1920s, originally with the name Life Saving Corps. The club hosted exhibitions that would demonstrate form swimming, figure swimming, speed swimming, lifesaving techniques, diving, and canoe handling. The group adopted the name Tarpon Club in 1937, and developed into a highly-regarded club that garnered awards from national organizations, featured in Hollywood films, and eagerly anticipated water pageants. Tarpon Club disbanded in 1994 and left Florida State with a unique and well-loved history.

A Century of Seasons: The History of Florida State Athletics is open from 10am-6pm in the Strozier Exhibit Room until February 2014.

Florida State vs. Florida: the History of a Rivalry

November 29, 2013

The arguably epic football rivalry between Florida State and near neighboring University of Florida has spanned over five decades.  Although the first game between the two was played in November of 1958, the relationship between the schools can be traced to the first decade of the twentieth-century.

In 1905 the Florida legislature passed the Buckman Act which disbanded Tallahassee’s coeducational Florida State College.  The mandate designated the Tallahassee campus as an all-female school and changed the name to Tallahassee campus to Florida State College for Women while simultaneously establishing an all-male school in Gainesville.  During the next forty years the University of Florida was viewed by many students at F.S.C.W. as their counterpart and many of the students in Tallahassee supported the men’s sports teams in Gainesville.

Newspaper comic from 1966.

Newspaper comic from 1966.

Following the Second World War the Tallahassee campus once again became coeducational in order to accommodate returning G.I.s who were seeking a college education and the newly christened Florida State University immediately established its own football team.  It took nearly a decade of negotiation to finally sanction an annual game between the Florida State Seminoles and the University of Florida Gators.

The first twenty years of competition were dominated by The Gators who achieved a nine-game long winning streak beginning in 1968 and ending in 1976.  One of the most controversial showdowns took place in 1966, when a game-winning Seminole pass from the Gators’ 45-yard-line was ruled incomplete despite photographic evidence suggesting otherwise.  The next day the Florida State Flambeau ran headlines announcing a Seminole win, despite the officials’ ruling.

The rivalry became increasingly heated over the following years as Florida State began to even the balance with a four-year streak from 1977 through 1980 then again from 1987 through 1990.  In November of 1994 the Seminoles made an awe-inspiring comeback to tie the Gators who had led 31-3 in the fourth-quarter.  In 2012 the Seminoles put an end to a six-season Gator streak.  The rivalry continues this month as the 4-7 Gators meet the 11-0 Seminoles in Gainesville on November 30th.

Timeline of FSU-UF Games

Timeline of FSU-UF Games


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