Tag Archives: florida state college for women

Botany: one of FSU’s longest taught subjects

Florida Flambeau, May 24, 1929. View object in the digital library here

Botany was one of the first hard science majors offered at the Florida State College for Women. It was established in 1916 with Alban Stewart as the professor at the time. The classes were made up of only a few students, up to 10 a semester, due to a lack of interest in the subject.

In 1929, a club was established under the name: Primitive and Botanical Order of Ronales. Membership to this club was only available to botany majors. The club started off with only 8 members, the total of women involved in the major at that time. The Primitive and Botanical Order of Ronales was founded by Dr. Hurman Kurz who was known for his studies of traditional Native American ways of identifying and distinguishing flora and fauna.

Botany Field Trip, circa 1920s. View object in the digital library here

Dr. Kurz organized a yearly field trip to the Apalachicola area. This field trip was exclusively for the senior members of the Primitive and Botanical Order of Ronales. On this trip Dr. Kurz would teach the members how to identify the flora and fauna using Native American traditions.

Under Dr. Kurz, the botany department was able to have a laboratory/greenhouse dedicated to botany. There, students were able to conduct experiments such as growing seedless tomatoes, research, and gardening. They were also able to examine fossils that were either found by students or donated to the department.

Florida Flambeau, December 6, 1946. View object in the digital library here
Students studying cacti in a greenshouse, circa 1950s. View object in the digital library here

During World War 2, more job specific classes were added to the class registry, allowing for students to be more prepared to enter into the workforce after college. These classes were usually centered around jobs that were in high demand and relevant to the war effort. In 1942, more botany courses were added to the register due to the Pure Seed Law Enactment of 1939. This federal enactment required seeds to be correctly identified, pure in composition, and properly packaged. Since more classes were added, it allowed for the botany major to grow in size.

Students taking notes in a greenhouse, circa 1950s. View object in the digital library here

As of 2020, Botany is still a major offered in the biological sciences department. It is now referred to as “the field of Plant Sciences”. This major “broadly includes the study of photosynthetic organisms, especially plants and algae. It prepares students to make important contributions to the world in the areas of agriculture, food security, natural resource management, sustainability, policy, and many others.”

This article was written by Aya Saludo, a student worker in Heritage & University Archives.

Vintage Valentines in the Archives

Valentine’s Day gained popularity in the United States with the introduction of mass-produced Valentines cards around the middle of the 19th century. Most of these early cards have long since disappeared, but we are fortunate to have many examples of early 20th century valentines here in Special Collections & Archives.

Aside from being a repository for manuscripts and rare books, Special Collections & Archives is also the home of the Heritage & University Archives for Florida State University and its predecessor, the Florida State College for Women (FSCW). A popular pastime for the students of FSCW was to construct scrapbooks full of precious items from their everyday lives. These scrapbooks are full of photos, articles, notes, and other ephemera that provide a snapshot into what life what like at that time. Some even contain valentine cards from the time period. 

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From the Florence Gregory Walker Collection

This valentine is found in the scrapbook of  Florida State College for Women student Florence Gregory (B.A. Sociology, 1940) and dates to circa 1931-1937.

Antique Valentine
From the Florida State University Melvene Draheim Hardee Center for Women in Higher Education Collection

This valentine is found in the personal files of Dr. Melvene Draheim Hardee. The card is from Dr. Draheim Hardee’s childhood and dates to approximately 1920.

Heart-shaped Valentine
From the Marion L. Stine Collection

This valentine is found in the scrapbook of  Florida State College for Women student Marion Laura Stine and dates to circa 1917-1921.

To My Valentine
From the Annie Gertrude Gilliam Scrapbook

This valentine is found in the scrapbook of  Florida State College for Women student  Annie Gertrude Gilliam and dates to circa 1925-1931.

My Valentine
From the Janet MacGowan West Collection

This valentine is found in the scrapbook of  Florida State College for Women student Janet MacGowan West (BS 1922) and dates to circa 1917-1954.

Wishing you a happy Valentine’s Day from Special Collections & Archives!

New Digital Collection – The Talisman

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The Talisman was a student run publication that was active at Florida State College for Women (FSCW), FSU’s predecessor institution. The magazine was published quarterly by the Thalian Literary Society and the Minerva Club, the first two literary debate societies of FSCW. The first issue was published in 1906 and it ran until 1914, when it was turned into a weekly newspaper called the Florida Flambeau. As the students put it in the first ever issue of the Florida Flambeau in January 23rd, 1915, “Things happen so rapidly that once every three months makes a slow visitor.”

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The Talisman was the first college literary periodical to be published in Florida. Each issue featured student writings, editorials, campus news, and updates on all departments, including music and athletics. It included spaces for student notes and campus directories. Not only did The Talisman provide an avenue through which students could express their thoughts, it also was a way for students and surrounding communities to be informed as to the happenings of our campus.

The Talisman now exists as a time capsule for us. The writings of these students paint a picture of what student life was like in those years. We can also trace the progress and growth of our university through these publications by reading the departmental news from those early years. The Talisman can be found in DigiNole with our other publications here. If you have any questions about this collection please contact the Heritage & University Archivist, Sandra Varry, at svarry@fsu.edu.

A Portrait in Courage at the Norwood Reading Room

This post was written by Kacee Reguera, an undergraduate senior at FSU pursuing a Studio Art degree in Printmaking, Artist’s Books, and Photography. A love for art preservation and the history of our university led her to an internship with Heritage & University Archives at Special Collections.

During the summer of 2018, we received a collection of items belonging to Katherine W.  Montgomery and her family. Katherine Montgomery attended Florida State College for Women from 1914 to 1918 and became heavily involved in athletics. She was on the varsity team of several sports, a member of the F-Club, and the sports editor for The Florida Flambeau. In 1920, she began teaching Physical Education at Florida State College for Women (FSCW) and spent over 30 years leading the Physical Education department. She developed curriculum for the intramural athletics program at FSCW, spearheaded the construction of a new gymnasium, and even published a book titled “Volleyball for Women”. Katherine Montgomery’s contributions to our university have proved timeless. We used this collection as an opportunity to commemorate her lasting effect on our university.

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Note from Katherine’s Diary

The collection contains items belonging to three generations of Montgomery family members. Katherine had two younger sisters that also attended FSCW during the 1920s. The collection includes diaries and scrapbooks belonging to each of them. These items brought to light how involved with FSCW the Montgomery family really was.

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Page from Katherine’s Diary

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Page from Anne Montgomery’s Scrapbook

This collection was gathered over time by Edwin F. Montgomery, Katherine’s nephew. Many of the items in the collection are ephemera relating to Katherine’s passing. These items provide a much broader understanding of the impact Katherine had not only on her community, but also on individuals.

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Telefax from Dr. Grace Fox to Edwin F. Montgomery

With the new items acquired from this collection and some from previously held collections, we curated an exhibit in the Norwood Reading Room at Strozier Library that forms a better understanding of Katherine’s values and ideals, as well as her contributions to Florida State College for Women and Florida State University. The exhibit features Katherine’s original mortarboard and tassel, excerpts from her diaries and notebooks, and awards she received.

The Norwood Reading Room is located on the second floor of Strozier Library and is open Monday-Thursday, 10am to 6pm and on Fridays 10am to 5:30pm. Please stop by to see the new exhibit!

The Search for Male Graduates of Florida State College for Women

The University Historian at the University of Florida recently contacted us with an interesting research request regarding Florida State College for Women. In his research, the University Historian found evidence that a woman, Mary Alexander Daiger, graduated from the University of Florida in 1920. This is odd because, in 1905, Florida passed the Buckman Act, which designated UF as the state university for male students. The same act designated FSU’s predecessor institution, Florida State College for Women, as the state university for female students. It wasn’t until 1947 that both schools became fully coeducation. Daiger was able to graduate from UF pre-coeducation because of the Summer School Act, which in 1913, brought summer courses under the control of the state university system. By design, these courses were coeducational and allowed for men and women to attend either university during the summer.

Given the shared history and similar circumstances of UF and FSU, the University Historian wondered if there was ever a male graduate of Florida State College of Women.

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Excerpt from the Florida Flambeau, June 22, 1940, pg 2.

Heritage & University Archives staff began looking through summer issues of the student newspaper, the Florida Flambeau. While reading the articles, it became apparent that male students were definitely taking advantage of the classes offered. Staff members of the Flambeau reported on how many male students were on campus, where they were located after they were allowed to stay in the dorms and any humorous encounters that resulted from their presence. But for the most part, names of the male students weren’t listed in those articles.

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From the Florida Flambeau, June 27, 1930

During the summer issues for several years, the Flambeau listed all of the students eligible for graduation for that semester. Unfortunately, we ran into a major problem at this juncture, because the Flambeau did not list whether the student was male or female. We chose, based on name, the most likely students to be male and sent the names along to the Office of the Registrar to see if any of them did, in fact, graduate.

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Clarence Priest listed as a candidate for graduation in the Florida Flambeau, July 29, 1938

When the Registrar replied, we learned that our process for selecting names was as inaccurate as we thought. Some of the candidates had sorority affiliations listed on their records and so were crossed off our list. More often, the candidate for graduation did not actually graduate. However, we were able to confirm that there was at least one male graduate of Florida State College for Women: Clarence Patrick Priest. Priest earned his Masters of Arts in Education in 1938 from Florida State College for Women. He stayed on to teach at the school after his graduation.

Know of any other men who graduated from Florida State College for Women? We’d love to know about any of our other graduates. You can contact the Heritage & University Archivist at svarry@fsu.edu.

Florida State: Traditions through the Eras

Florida State: Traditions through the Eras is an exhibit that traces back some of Florida State University’s most well-known traditions through the institution’s long history. What we now know as FSU has gone through many changes over the years: beginning as the Seminary West of the Suwannee River, then the Florida State College, Florida State College for Women, and finally Florida State University. Many of the symbols and practices we know today, like the school colors or the university seal, have been carried over through these iterations, evolving with the institution itself.

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Cover of a 1930 Memory Book from Florida State College for Women

The exhibit is divided into four main categories: Seals, Torches, and Owls; School Colors & Honors Societies; Music & Marching; and Camp Flastacowo & the FSU Reservation. The digital exhibit further separates the School Colors and Honors Societies into two groups. More information regarding each category can be found on their respective digital exhibit pages.

The materials in this exhibit were curated in collaboration with Women for FSU. As part of their Backstage Pass program, members get a behind-the-scenes look at how things are done at FSU. Because of this collaboration, the process of putting the exhibit together was somewhat unique: instead of researching a wide number of potential materials and only gathering a select few, we gathered a wide number of materials, from which the members would be able to pick and choose their favorites. The exhibit you see today is made up of those choices. Gathering dozens of items from all over Special Collections and Archives was quite an undertaking, but getting a glimpse into the development of FSU over its existence made it a worthwhile one.

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A page from a Color Rush Scrapbook

After the event, the time came to put together a digital version of the exhibit. While the physical version is ultimately limited by space, the digital exhibit could incorporate basically every item that we had initially gathered. That being said, incorporating all of those items digitally meant a lot of digitization. Through a combination of scanning and photography, the digital exhibit now contains approximately fifty of the items gathered to reflect FSU traditions past and present.

Florida State: Traditions through the Eras is currently on display in the Florida State University Heritage Museum in Dodd Hall and accessible online here. If you have any questions regarding the exhibits or the museum, visit the Special Collections & Archives website or feel free to contact us at lib-specialcollections@fsu.edu.

Post was written by Dylan Dunn, Special Collections & Archives Graduate Assistant 2017-2018.

Spring Fashion at FSCW

The azaleas and dogwoods are in bloom, thunderstorms have started rolling through in the afternoon, and sunbathers and hammock dwellers have returned to their regular spots on Landis Green, which can only mean one thing: spring has arrived in Tallahassee! While the weather and native plant life hasn’t changed much in the past 70 years, fashion sure has. Take a look at some FSCW Easter styles, which in true southern fashion was all about white shoes and big hats.

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My Easter Hat, Mary Tarver Willis Photograph Collection (HP 2009-043), 1948-1951.

Continue reading Spring Fashion at FSCW

Florida County and City Histories Collection Online

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Jefferson County Florida or the Monticello Section written by Ida Meriweather.

The Florida County and City Histories Collection comprises two boxes of essays written by students at the Florida State College for Women in 1922 and 1923. These essays consist of research into the history and culture of certain cities and counties across the state of Florida from Dade County, to Jacksonville, to Pensacola. The essays provide an interesting glimpse into the methods of 1920s academic writing, whereby papers were researched without the convenience of the Internet and were written by hand, absent of formatting, style guides, and citations. This collection is now digitized and available through the FSU Digital Library.

In order to digitally scan the Florida County and City Histories Collection the ties and brads that bound the essays together had to carefully and meticulously be removed so as not to damage the nearly century-old documents. This practice, the delicate removal of hardware and binding materials, is part of a process aptly called processing, in which the archivist takes steps to ensure the preservation of the archival documents.

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Page from Jefferson County or the Monticello Section written by Ida Meriweather.

Once the ties and hardware were removed from the essays the individual pages were ready to be digitized. In the cultural heritage field, we use a fancy word called digitization to refer to the digital photographing or scanning and online presentation of physical materials. In this case, the records were scanned on a  state-of-the-art flatbed scanner (which is worth more than my car) in order to capture high quality images in a short amount of time.

In order to provide access to the images of the essays online, one of the most important steps of digitization is collecting and organizing the metadata. Metadata, in my opinion, is a scary word that refers to the abstract concept of information about information. In all reality, metadata is the set of data that describes a piece of information. In this case the piece of information is the essay and the data describing it includes details such as the language it was written in and size of the paper. After organizing the metadata into a spreadsheet it is then converted into a code, presumably by means of magic or sorcery, by the Metadata Librarian.

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Page from Jefferson County or the Monticello Section written by Ida Meriweather.

The last step of digitization is to gather up all the metadata code and the digital images into a queue that is uploaded onto the Digital Library’s server and arranged according to the instructions in the code. Because the magical code tells all the little bits of information how to look and how to behave, the text and images appear in a way that is ergonomically and aesthetically pleasing to the viewer.

And that’s the behind the scenes of the digitization process. Check out the Florida County and City Histories to evaluate for yourselves!

Britt Boler is currently the graduate assistant for FSU’s Special Collections & Archives division.

FSCW Student Government Bulletins are now available in the FSUDL!

Bulletin of the Student Government Association of the Florida State College for Women and Official Circular of Information of College Customs and Regulations, 1923-1924
Bulletin of the Student Government Association of the Florida State College for Women and Official Circular of Information of College Customs and Regulations, 1923-1924

We are excited to announce that a set of Florida State College for Women (FSCW) Student Government Bulletins are now available in the Digital Library! Bulletins were distributed yearly to each student and outlined the rules and regulations of campus, and now provide a glimpse into the life of FSCW students throughout the early 20th century. Prior to becoming Florida State University (FSU) in 1947, the Florida State College for Women was a bastion for educating women and encouraging them to live well-rounded lives, embodying the concept of femina perfecta (the perfect woman).

Marjorie Fogarty and Janie Mattison smoking cigarettes with rolled up pants, two prohibited activities (Marjorie Fogarty Lee Collection, HP 2007-014)
Marjorie Fogarty and Janie Mattison smoking cigarettes with rolled up pants, two prohibited activities (Marjorie Fogarty Lee Collection, HP 2007-014)

The majority of the bulletins contain standard rules and practices that most students would expect nowadays, but some of the guidelines read downright draconian compared to modern standards. In a 1925-26 bulletin, the “Decorum” section states that “quiet, ladylike demeanor is expected at all times and in all places.” Students weren’t allowed to dry their hair in front of buildings, attend dances, play cards, roll down their stockings below their knees (or wear pants!), smoke, and could only pick flowers on Mondays. On Sundays, church attendance was required, and “pianos and other musical instruments are not to be played… except as on other days, fifteen minutes before and fifteen minutes after meal time.” In that span of 30 minutes, don’t even think about playing rag or jazz music!
The FSCW Student Government Bulletins can be viewed in the FSU Digital Library. To see more photographs, ephemera, and artifacts related to the history of Florida State, check out the FSU Heritage Protocol Digital Collections or like the Heritage Protocol Facebook page.

With All My Love: The Frances Isaac Letters, 1944-1947

This post was originally published February 13, 2015.

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Frances Isaac writing a letter to her fiance Herbert Dotter, ca. 1945.

Much has been written about letters sent during World War II – movies and books chronicle the stories of undelivered correspondence found decades later, letters between young lovers parted by an ocean, advice from mothers and fathers to their sons. Last fall, Heritage Protocol and University Archives were excited to acquire a collection of letters and photographs sent by FSCW student Frances Isaac to her deployed fiance, Herbert Dotter. From 1944 through ’47, Frances “Frannie” Isaac sent hundreds of letters to her fiance who was stationed in Liberia during WWII.

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Notes written on the back of a photograph, ca. 1945.

Frances started school at FSCW in 1943, and worked as an attache for the press in the Florida Legislator. She was an introvert, and often expressed in her letters that she preferred the solitude of studying in the library to gossiping with her classmates. In a letter from 1944, Frances wrote that she felt “pretty disgusted with the girls,” describing how her peers would gather at the gates of campus to talk to young military personnel. Many of the letters document the mundane, recounting what she ate for dinner that night, the new dresses she’d bought, difficult homework assignments. In some letters, she would talk about the multiple health ailments she faced, like a pulled tooth she had in 1946.

The binding theme throughout all of the letters, however, was the future of their relationship. In earlier letters, Frances would gush with love for Herbert, soliloquies filled with plans for their marriage and how she felt when she thought about him. But by 1947, her letters had become increasingly antagonistic until she eventually called things off. In a letter from March 1947, Frances compared their relationship to that with her father, explaining that the unconditional love Herbert showed her reminded her of the way her father treated her: “I can’t marry you – it would be like marrying my own father.” A few letters later, with a returned engagement ring, Frances tells Herbert about how she met someone new: “we’re like two lost souls adrift in an ocean who understand the fears hopes, frustration and desires of the other.”

Inside of Valentine's Day Card, 1947
Inside of Valentine’s Day Card, 1947

Unfortunately, we only have half of the narrative from this epic love story. Not much is known about Frances Isaac after she graduated from FSCW. Herbert Dotter eventually married someone else, and passed away at the age of 92 in 2009.

To see more photographs, ephemera, and artifacts related to the history of Florida State, check out the FSU Heritage Protocol Digital Collections or like the Heritage Protocol Facebook page.