A Strange Find at the Claude Pepper Library

One of the strangest items that I’ve ever come across in the archives is not a document or an artifact, but rather something more organic. In the Spring of 2018, the staff at the Claude Pepper Library were in the early stages of reviewing many of the smaller political collections with the end goal of rehousing memorabilia and ephemera,  furthering the preservation process. That process was paused for a brief moment when one of the Pepper Library staff members was emptying out a large manila envelope containing assorted pieces of memorabilia belonging to Spessard Lindsey Holland. 

From the Spessard l. Holland Papers, MSS 76-05

Originally from Bartow, Florida, Holland would serve as the 28th Governor of Florida during the Second World War, and also served as a U.S. Senator (from Florida) from 1946 to 1971. Within the Senator’s collection are many photographs, political cartoons, and assorted memorabilia collected over his long career, but we were not prepared for a pair of ossified rooster spurs. 

From the Spessard L. Holland Papers, MSS 76-05

After the initial surprise and feeling of being very grossed out subsided, we began to guess at the reasons why Holland would have kept such an unusual token – Luck? A lost bet? A memorable run-in with a ferocious fowl? A few years have passed and we still only have guesses as to the significance of the rooster spurs, but it makes for an interesting yet slightly creepy archive mystery. What strange or interesting items do you have in your archives or personal collections? 

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