Tag Archives: florida collection

Gloria Jahoda

Gloria Jahoda, an author and Florida historian, was born on October 6, 1926, in Chicago, Illinois. She earned a B.A. in English in 1948 and an M.A. in Anthropology in 1950, both from Northwestern University. She retired in 1957 to write full time after teaching anthropology at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.  In 1963, she and her husband Gerald moved to Tallahassee when he accepted a teaching position at Florida State University’s School of Library Training and Service. Her non-fiction works include the The Other Florida (1967), a social and natural history of the West Florida Panhandle; Trail of Tears (1976), an account of the uprooting of Indians in the Southeast; The Road to Samarkand: Frederick Delius and His Music (1969); and The River of the Golden Ibis (1973), about the Hillsborough River. This book was named by the Society of Midland Authors as the “Best History Book” of 1973.

From Florida Collection, F316.2 J3
From Florida Collection, F316.2 J3

In honor of  Women’s History Month, I wanted to feature this author since The Other Florida, is a favorite book of mine. I read it before I lived in North Florida but read it again after I moved here, which made it all the more interesting. We have books written by her in our Florida Collection, and we also have  manuscript collections that have been either donated by her or by her husband. Included in the manuscript collections are biographical information, family and personal papers, correspondence, writings, photographs, galley proofs, and original book jacket designs.

Earlier book jacket design, Gloria Jahoda Papers, Box 317
Earlier book jacket design, Gloria Jahoda Papers, Box 317

Ms. Jahoda was president of the Tallahassee Historical Society and was elected as a registrar of the Creek Indian nation. In 1973, the Florida Senate passed a resolution honoring her for her works depicting the history and culture of Florida. In 1975, she was presented with the D.B. McKay Award by the Tampa Historical Society for her contributions to Florida history.

The last paragraph of The Other Florida ends with this: “The Other Florida’s pines will survive too, I think. Often among them I remember the person I was before I came to them and what I thought was important then, and the landscapes I have since known, and the history I have since learned, and the friends I have since made. Whatever the fates may take me in the years to come, I shall not be the same again”.

Zora and Marjorie: Literary Legends and Friends

From Zora in Florida, edited by Steve Glassman and Kathryn Lee Seidel.
From Zora in Florida, edited by Steve Glassman and Kathryn Lee Seidel. Florida Collection, PS3515 .U789 Z955 1991.

Zora Neale Hurston moved to St. Augustine at the beginning of World War II for a quiet place to write. While in St. Augustine, she taught part-time at the local black college, Florida Normal. She did not get along well with the administrators of the college after she became involved in a dispute between serviceman being trained at the signal corps school at the college and the college president. Zora sent a letter to Walter White, the executive secretary of the NAACP in November 1942, telling him she thought the soldiers were living in inadequate living quarters and blamed him for putting pressure on Florida Normal to allow the government  the use of the school when Fisk, Hampton, and Tuskegee had wanted the training at their schools. Zora did not see the argument settled because she left St. Augustine in early 1943 to move to Daytona Beach where she lived on a houseboat she had purchased.

I have had to go through a long, long, dark tunnel to come out to the light again. But I had the feeling all the time that you believed in me ~Zora Neale Hurston

From Crossing the Creek: The Literary Friendship of Zora Neale Hurston and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
From Crossing the Creek: The Literary Friendship of Zora Neale Hurston and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

In 1942, while in St. Augustine, Zora became friends with Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, who lived part-time in St. Augustine, as her husband, Norton Baskin, owned the Castle Warden Hotel located there. Zora’s autobiography Dust Tracks on a Road and Marjorie’s Cross Creek were both published in 1942. Zora invited Marjorie to speak to her class, and in turn, Marjorie invited her to tea at the Castle Warden, a segregated hotel. When writing about Marjorie’s invitation to the hotel in Zora Neale Hurston: A Literary Biography, Robert E. Hemenway says, “Later, realizing what she had done, she gave special orders to the elevator man to take Zora immediately up to the Rawlings residence on the fourth floor. But Zora had lived in the South for a long time; she went in through the kitchen and walked up the stairs. Safe in the apartment she was her usual vibrant self, causing Rawlings to admit to her husband that she had never in her life had such a stimulating visit”.

The 1940’s were a time of personal hardships for both women; they struggled with their writing and experienced health issues and had various other issues. They remained friends through the years, and Zora visited Marjorie’s home Cross Creek.

Our Florida Collection includes books written by them and about them, and we also have theses and dissertations written by Florida State University students on their lives and works.

And without my writing, I am nothing ~Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

The Florida Highwaymen

Willie Daniels painting from The Highwaymen: Florida’s African-American Landscape Painters by Gary Monroe. Florida Collection, ND1351.6 .M66 2001.
Harold Newton painting from Harold Newton: the Original Highwayman by Gary Monroe. Florida Collection, ND237 .N4875 M66 2007

I love the paintings of The Highwaymen artists.   They are colorful, show movement, and depict images of “Old Florida” with palms, water, birds, boats, and sunsets.  The paintings are mostly landscapes although I have seen a few with people in them.

According to Gary Monroe in The Highwaymen: Florida’s African-American Landscape Painters, “The Highwaymen didn’t exist, so to speak, until 1994, when art aficionado Jim Fitch assigned the name to an unknown group of African-American artists.  Suddenly, thousands of the Florida landscape paintings they had produced since the end of the 1950s, which had been stored for years in Florida attics, were brought down, dusted off, and viewed with renewed interest”.  Monroe states that “They made upwards of 50,000 paintings; some estimates exceed four times this amount”.

The artists painted on construction material called Upson board, named after the company that produced the material, and sold their paintings around Florida from the backs of their cars.   The paintings were sold inexpensively, but now original Highwaymen art can sell for very high prices.

Recently, The John G. Riley House and Museum in Tallahassee was the recipient of 13 original Florida Highwaymen paintings donated by Tallahassee resident Grace Dansby.  The Riley House is a member of the Florida African Heritage Preservation Network — a statewide web of 40 museums and groups. The downtown museum is now the largest holder of Highwaymen art in the network.

In his book, Monroe has identified one woman and twenty-five men as members of The Highwaymen: Mary Ann Carroll, Curtis Arnett, Hezekiah Baker, Al “Blood” Black, Ellis Buckner, George Buckner, Robert Butler,  Johnny “Hook” Daniels, Willie Daniels, Rodney Demps, James Gibson, Alfred Hair, Isaac Knight, Robert Lewis, John Maynor, Roy McLendon, Alfonso “Pancho” Moran, Harold Newton, Lemuel Newton, Sam Newton, Willie Reagan, Livingston “Castro” Roberts, Cornell “Pete” Smith, Charles Walker, Sylvester Wells, and Charles “Chico” Wheeler.   In our Florida Collection, in addition to Monroe’s  The Highwaymen, we also have his Harold Newton: the Original Highwayman.

Harold Newton painting from Harold Newton: the Original Highwayman.
Harold Newton painting “Eddie’s Place” from The Highwaymen: Florida’s African-American Landscape Painters.

Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley

From the cover of Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley: African Princess, Florida Slave, Plantation Slaveowner. Florida Collection, E444. K56 S33 2003.

From the book jacket of Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley: African Princess, Florida Slave, Plantation Slaveowner by Daniel L. Schafer:

“Both an American slave and a slave owner – and possibly an African princess – Anna was a teenager when she was captured in her homeland of Senegal in 1806 and sold into slavery. Zephaniah Kingsley, Jr., a planter and slave trader from Spanish East Florida, brought her in Havana, Cuba, and took her to his St. Johns River plantation in northeast Florida, where she soon became his household manager, his wife, and eventually the mother of four of his children. Her husband formally emancipated her in 1811, and she became the owner of her own farm and twelve slaves the following year. For 25 years, life on her farm and at the Kingsley plantation on Fort George Island was relatively tranquil. But when Florida passed from Spanish to American control, and racism and discrimination increased in the American territories, Anna Kingsley and her children migrated to a colony in Haiti established by her husband as a refuge for free blacks. Amid the spiraling racial tensions of the antebellum period, Anna returned to north Florida, where she bought and sold land, sued white people in the courts, and became a central figure in a free black community. Such accomplishments by a woman in a patriarchal society are fascinating in themselves. To have achieved them as a woman of color is remarkable.”

Anna returned to Florida from Haiti in 1846 to fight for the control of Zephaniah Kingsley’s Florida properties. He had died in 1843, and his sister Martha McNeil had tried to have her brother’s will declared “null and void”. She did not want Kingsley heirs of African ancestry to inherit his estate. The Florida courts ruled in Anna’s favor, and she remained in Florida as the matriarch of the Kingsley clan until 1862 when she went North with her family to escape  pro-slavery. She returned in 1865 with her daughters to their diminished estates and wealth. Anna died in the spring of 1870 and was first buried in a family cemetery, but her final burial place is in an unmarked grave in the Arlington area of Jacksonville, Florida.  Anna was from the Wolof states of Senegal and was Anta Majigeen Ndiaye before she was captured.

Holiday Display

Celebrating the Holidays with an
Exhibit from Special Collections and Archives

signHaving a winter-theme display in the Reading Room has become something for the FSU students to browse when they want to take a break from studying for finals. With this year’s theme, I immediately started brainstorming and knew I wanted to use cookbooks. The holidays are times of festive cooking, baking, and preparing special recipes for scrumptious meals

recipeThe three cookbooks I selected are from our “delicious” Florida collection. I wanted to make sure each book not only had detailed recipes, but also pictures or illustrations to bolster one’s appetite.

If anyone has been to Ybor City, the Columbia Restaurant is a Florida landmark. What could be tastier than Florida Citrus snowflake cookies with Florida Orange Juice? Who says it never snows in Florida? And the Florida Panhandle cookbook Four Seasons has the best Red Velvet Cake and eggnog recipes, which are holiday favorites.

kids1I knew many good choices for holiday images would be in our John Shaw collection, which contains an extensive assortment of poetry and children’s books. Of these I selected the classic The Night Before Christmas but with a slight twist representing our furry friends – dogs & cats – and, of course, the people who are  part of children’s lives everywhere – teachers!

There were some rare books that I picked out simply because they had festive artwork on the covers or unique illustrations. King Winter is a picturesque book cut in the form of “Jack Frost.”  One of the book covers that I especially enjoyed was Christmas Garland, a wonderful book containing several holiday essays, done in a royal blue with the title and a wreath of hollies in a gold typeset. Two beautifully illustrated books that I found appealing were Nister’s Holiday Annual and Nutcracker of Nuremberg. The first book is a collection of holiday-themed stories, with bright, magnificent colored illustrations. The second book has both black and white and colored illustrations; some of the illustrations have separate pages, while others form a border around the text.

case2 case1

I hope you enjoy the exhibit as much as I did putting it together!

Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday season,