African American students, faculty, staff, and alumni also tell their story during the 40th anniversary of integration, for which a statue was commissioned featuring the first black graduate, athlete, and homecoming queen. The exhibit concludes with a spotlight on FSU’s first black administrator, Dr. Bob E. Leach, whose speeches inspired students for over a decade (1978-1988) and who served as a model of leadership for the university.
The exhibit also aligns with the goals of FSU’s recently established Civil Rights Institute. The interdisciplinary institute will sponsor events, speakers, publications, education, and research on civil rights and social justice. Its collections will be housed in Strozier Library and include historical African American newspapers, the Tallahassee Civil Rights Oral History collection, microfilm editions of NAACP and ACLU organizational records and the Emmett Till archives.
An iconic structure of Florida State’s campus, the gothic-styled Westcott Building was once threatened by a massive blaze on April 27, 1969. The fire started in the roof above the fourth floor, spreading beneath the sheetrock ceiling and causing intense damage throughout the fourth floor. The Westcott Building housed the University’s administration as well as the art department at the time and attention turned to not only saving the building and human lives, but the innumerable valuable documents and pieces of art stored within the structure.
As the April 28, 1969 edition of the Florida Flambeau notes, the art department was deemed a total loss but a painting by Reubens valued at $30,000 dollars, as well as work by FSU faculty member Dr. Karl Zerbe, valued at $50,000 were safely extracted from the inferno by brave students. Florida Flambeau editor Sam Miller details some of the more memorable moments from the scene:
“After the fire was out, students again poured in to try to salvage the paintings from the third floor. Perhaps the first comic relief of the evening came when two students carried out a bigger-than-life painting of a psychedelic nude.”
For those interested in taking a step into the University’s past, we invite you to view the linked 13 minute video that includes a variety of moments from FSU in 1969, including the Westcott Fire (skip ahead to 3:25). You can check it out here.
It wasn’t until his later years that Paul Dirac moved to work for the University we call home. In September of 1970, after retiring from his position at Cambridge, Paul Dirac moved to Tallahassee, Florida where he was appointed to work as a visiting professor for Florida State University. He was 68 at the time and could have fully retired, but the continuation of his work may be an example of the overwhelming desire Dirac had for the field of science and quantum mechanics.
Prior to his appointment, in June of that same year, Dirac visited the city to test his endurance against the subtropical climate. In the end, he decided to move as Manci, his wife, preferred the weather to that of Cambridge. In 1972, Dirac took on becoming a full professor, a position which allowed him to continue active research and to pass on the knowledge he’d accumulated through the years. During his time at FSU, Dirac supervised a few graduate students, his last being Bruce Hellman who went on to become a physicist for the CIA.
When barking dogs weren’t ruining his walks, Dirac could be found in his spare time visiting the local lakes and sinkholes in an effort to combat the humidity and intense heat of Tallahassee. With a thermometer in hand, Dirac would systematically check the waters and, if they were above exactly 60 degrees Fahrenheit, he would go for a swim.
Dirac had no teaching responsibilities beyond his supervision of graduate students until 1973 when he agreed to give a series of lectures on the general theory of relativity. These lectures were given until 1980 and were used as the basis for his book General Theory of Relativity. He would go on to teach until his death on October 20, 1984, at the age of 82.
The work that Dirac put forth on the subject of quantum mechanics and quantum theory is still an inspiration to physicists today. Dirac’s spirit and the spirit of mathematical beauty, of which Dirac was quite enamored, still persists through science as we know it as theories, he put forward such as that of the single magnetic pole, the magnetic monopole, have not been proven but are enthusiastically looked upon as possibilities for the future of scientific discovery. Dirac’s papers can and should still be read and studied. As it was so eloquently put in The Strangest Man by Graham Farmelo, the more you read Dirac the more you understand quantum mechanics and the brilliant mind of one of the leading pioneers of the fascinating subject.
Farmelo, Graham, The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius, Faber and Faber 2009.
Today we have a guest post from Brianna McLean, a student employee for Special Collections & Archives over the past summer.
Like most undergraduate students at FSU, the FSU Libraries have always been a place to study, research, read, and hang out with friends. When I first came to FSU, I did not know about the many career opportunities libraries could offer. After working two years at the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience in the History Department, I had a wonderful opportunity to work in the Digital Library Center (DLC) in Special Collections this summer. Not only did I gain valuable experience, I worked closely with some of the best library professionals learning metadata, digitization, and cataloging processes.
As someone who recently graduated with a history degree, I have a lot of experience researching and working with primary sources. Working in the DLC and Special Collections, I was able to be part of the process of preparing primary sources for researchers. When you create metadata and inventory items, you have to think of the things a researcher might be looking for, enhancing your own research skills. Historical preservation and cataloging is the whole other side of research that is crucial to education and the availability of information. I would urge all students to become familiar with Special Collections (fsuarchon.fcla.edu/) on the first floor of Strozier and the digital library, Diginole (fsu.digital.flvc.org).
Working in Special Collections is not just exciting because of the research experience; it was incredible to be able to work with all the books, photographs, documents, and artifacts. FSU’s Special Collections has everything from cuneiform tablets to comic books. One of my favorite projects in the DLC was working with the FSU Historical Photograph Collection and the Tarpon Club Videos. FSU has such a rich history and Special Collections contains endless information from the beginning when FSU was the West Florida Seminary to the more recent history of our campus. I have included some of my favorite photographs with this blog post.
The first image is of West Florida Seminary students in 1900 surveying in front of the original administration building, which is now the Westcott Building. The second image is from 1962 when women were still prohibited to wear pants on campus, so they circumvented the rule by wearing open raincoats over their shorts. The final one is unfortunately undated, but it is of the Westcott Building before the iconic fountain was installed. These photos are perfect examples of why I love working in archives. Being a historian, I enjoy research and telling the stories of humanity. However, there is something incredibly special about being able to hold and see the items for yourself, as well as preserving them for many more people to have the same opportunity.
Brianna McLean recently graduated with her B.A. in History, minor in French from FSU. She is continuing her education this fall at FSU, beginning her M.A. in History, studying the French Revolution and Napoleonic France. Brianna is excited to continue working with FSU Libraries in the Heritage Museum this fall.
Heritage & University Archives is excited to present a newly reprocessed collection: The Florida State University Historic Photograph Collection. An initial inventory, which took a project archivist roughly four months to compile, indicated that the collection included nearly half a million images in both print and negative format. Former graduate student Dave Rodriguez then spent a year organizing and reprocessing the original several small collections and new accessions into its current state. The collection is now housed in over 200 boxes in the Special Collections & Archives stacks.
The images cover a wide time span, from FSU’s earliest iteration, the Seminary West of the Suwannee River, to the present. While the photographs date back as far as the 1800s, the bulk of the material is dated between 1920s to the 1970s.
The images themselves depict every facet of life on campus, from construction and special events to students relaxing on Landis Green and action shots of athletics contests. Some notable items in the collection include prints from the Flying High Circus, Homecoming, and various theatrical performances. In addition, a series dedicated to buildings, faculty, and university presidents help give a complete view of what campus was like at any decade.
Additionally, some images from the collection have been scanned and entered into FSU’s Digital Repository, Diginole.
For more information about Heritage & University Archives and the Florida State University Historic Photograph Collection, please contact Sandra Varry at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit heritage.fsu.edu
This blog post is an updated version of a previous post by Hannah Wiatt Davis which can be found here.
Happy 167th Birthday, Florida State University! In 1851, the first steps were taken by the Florida Legislature (then the General Assembly of the State of Florida) to create the institution we now know as Florida State University. However, it wasn’t until recently that 1851 was accepted as the founding date. Previously, FSU had used 1857, when the State Seminary West of the Suwannee River, the predecessor institution of FSU, first opened its doors. However, the 1857 date isn’t entirely accurate. The process of starting the school began long before students were allowed to study here.
On January 24, 1851, the General Assembly of the State of Florida passed an act establishing two seminaries of learning, one to the east and one to the west of the Suwannee River. It wasn’t until 1854 when the Tallahassee City Council offered to pay $10,000 to finance a new school building on land owned by the city in an attempt to “bid on” being the location of the seminary west of the Suwannee, which the legislature had yet to decide. The $10,000 consisted of the value of the property, the yet-to-be-constructed building, and the remaining balance in cash. Approximately $6,000 was originally committed, with the Council promising to give the city the remaining balance if Tallahassee was determined as the final location. Later in 1854, construction on a school building began and Tallahassee’s city superintendent approached the state legislature to present the case for the seminary to be in Tallahassee. However, state officials failed to make a decision regarding the location of the seminary before the end of the legislative session.
By 1855, the newly constructed building, which was often described as “the handsomest edifice” in Tallahassee, was ready for students. Because of the state legislature’s lack of a decision on whether it would be one of the legislature-designated seminaries, it was not given an official name. Instead, it was alternately called “The City Seminary” and “Tallahassee Male Seminary.”
In 1856, the ball got rolling as the City Council of Tallahassee (hereafter referred to as the Board of Trustees of the Florida Institute) met and designated “The City Seminary” as the “Florida Institute.” It also indicated that “government of the institution or seminary shall be under the direction of a president” and decided that “a preparatory school will be established in connection with the academic or collegiate department of the institute.” It was established that one of the president’s duties would be to publish a “Catalogue Course of Studies” for the institution. Later in 1856, William (W.Y.) Peyton, previously principal of The City Seminary, was unanimously elected by the Board of Trustees of the Florida Institute as the first president of the Institute.
By late 1856, the General Assembly passed legislation declaring that “the Seminary to be located West of the Suwannee River be, and the same is hereby located at the City of Tallahassee in the County of Leon.” There were several conditions that needed to be granted for this to occur – “the proper and authorized conveyance of said Lot and College edifice thereon be made to the City of Tallahassee to the Board of Education,” that Tallahassee “guarantee to said Board of Education the payment of the sum of two thousand dollars per annum forever, to be expended in the education of the youth of said City, in such manner and on such terms as shall be agreed between the corporate authorities of said City and the Board of Education,” and that Tallahassee “shall pay to the Board of Education as much money in cash as shall be found necessary after a valuation of the Lot and College edifice aforesaid, to complete the sum of ten thousand dollars.”
With all of the requirements fulfilled, the State Seminary West of the Suwannee River was allowed to open its doors and so began FSU’s long history.
The Florida State University Heritage Museum exhibit Degrees of Discovery examines the history of science at Florida State, tracking the school’s development from early educational institution to twenty-first century research facility. Since the late nineteenth century, science has served as a fundamental aspect of education at Florida State University and its predecessors. After World War II, a surplus of wartime laboratory equipment and veterans allowed FSU to meet the increasing demand for science education across the country. Early programs focusing on physical sciences laid the groundwork for the development of advanced courses in a variety of fields, including meteorology, oceanography, chemistry, and physics. The creation of innovative research facilities offered new avenues for interdisciplinary collaboration and continues to encourage scientists from around the world to take advantage of the advanced technologies offered on and around the Tallahassee campus.
The process of creating this exhibit included extensive research into both the history of the University and scientific trends throughout the past century. Though Heritage Protocol & University Archives contains a wide array of scientific photographs from the 1950s and 60s, locating a variety of primary source material to tell a cohesive narrative was a challenge. In addition, as a literature student, my scientific knowledge was sorely lacking. In order to contextualize FSU’s developments, I interviewed faculty and current students involved in the sciences to gain a wider understanding of practice and principle. Research also involved reading transcripts of oral histories, scanning negatives from laboratory photo sessions, tracking the development of honor societies, and comparing a century’s worth of course catalogs to determine how science education changed over time.
Another challenge of working with such a broad subject was that relevant items were spread throughout the collections of both HPUA and Special Collections. A newsletter published by the 1973 Speleological Society was tucked away in the Archives, for example, while a postcard donated by two alumni offered an early look at the Science Hall. Perhaps one of the most interesting finds was a set of hand-crafted lab equipment from the 1960s; as part of a chemistry class, students were responsible for creating their own glass stirring rods and tube connectors. During this time period, glassblowers on campus would even create unique, made-to-order equipment for scientists who needed a particular shape or style of instrument.
The practical side of installing the exhibit, however, limited some of our object selections. Because we cannot regulate the natural light from the large, albeit beautiful, stained glass windows in the Heritage Museum, older photographs were digitally reproduced and mounted to avoid damaging the original items. Adhering images to foam board for support and cutting them down to size was more difficult than I anticipated – straight lines and I clearly don’t get along – but with the help of the Archives Assistant, the resulting photos offered an impressive visual timeline of the school’s scientific evolution. Curating this exhibit was an incredible learning process about creative design, museum principles, and even some scientific facts. Degrees of Discovery offers visitors a glimpse into the ever-changing world of science while reminding us that the basis of discovery – curiosity, inquiry, and creativity – will always be a part of human nature.
Degrees of Discovery: The History of Science at Florida State will be on display in the Heritage Museum in Dodd Hall beginning in mid-April. The museum is open Monday-Thursday, 11AM to 4PM. An online exhibit with additional content will follow.
Currently on display in the Strozier Library Exhibit Room, “That I May Remember: The Scrapbooks of Florida State College for Women (1905-1947)” is an exhibit focusing on the scrapbooks made by the students of Florida State College for Women. See our original announcement here.
Now, we are proud to present an online extension of our exhibit. The FSCW scrapbooks are rich with history and full of personality. However, one of the challenges in displaying a scrapbook in an exhibit is that it can only display one page of each scrapbook. This limitation makes it difficult to get the full depth of the scrapbook. The online portion of “That I May Remember” takes an in-depth look at six selected scrapbooks. The online exhibit includes over ninety images from each of the decades between the 1910s and the 1940s, while also providing additional history about some of the unique traditions of FSCW.
You can find the online portion of “That I May Remember” here.
And don’t forget to visit the Strozier Library Exhibit Room to see the scrapbooks in person!
Rebecca L. Bramlett is a graduate assistant in the Special Collections & Archives Division. She is working on her Master of Library and Information Science at Florida State University.
This past weekend at the FSU vs. Wake Forest football game, one of FSU’s most beloved members was honored with a retirement ceremony. While he doesn’t play football or coach athletes, he is known for his tireless training and impeccable composure on the field. I’m talking about none other than Renegade V, the fifth horse bestowed with one of Florida State’s most prestigious titles. Renegade V’s last performance was at the 2013 BCS National Championship, but has since lost vision in his right eye due to a medical condition. Renegade V has been performing with Chief Osceola since 2000.
The Renegade Program was started in 1978 by Bill Durham, 25 years after he originally proposed the the idea for the 1962 FSU Homecoming. His vision for a lone Chief Osceola mounted atop a leopard appaloosa, galloping onto the field and planting a flaming spear before kickoff picked up traction after he approached new head football coach, Bobby Bowden, in 1976. Coach Bowden loved the idea and after securing permission from the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Chief Osceola and Renegade premiered at the 1978 Oklahoma State game. Jim Kidder, the first student to assume the role of Chief Osceola, described the selection process as secretive – he didn’t even know what he was auditioning for until he won the position, saying that “they tried to keep it a secret as long as they could.“
The Renegade Program is truly a family affair. Since its inception, Bill Durham and his wife Patty both had a hand in training Chief Osceola and Renegade. In 2002, Bill Durham passed the reins of the program to his son Allen, who had previously been Chief Osceola from 1992-1994. Since the 70s, the Durhams have truly established one of college football’s most beloved traditions.
Check back for photos of Renegade V’s Retirement Ceremony!
For our first project as graduate assistants, Katherine Hoarn and I have been given the unique opportunity to delve into the history and heritage of Florida State University. From the years 1905 – 1947, Florida State University was Florida State College for Women, one of the largest women’s colleges in the country. To explore this fascinating aspect of FSU’s past, Katherine and I are putting together an exhibit centered on the scrapbooks of the students of Florida State College for Women. In preparing for this exhibit, I’ve not only learned about proper handling of archival material, but about the heritage of Florida State University.
The first step in deciding how to approach the exhibit was to research the history of Florida State College for Women. We consulted numerous resources, but my favorites were the primary sources themselves—the scrapbooks. As historical documents, scrapbooks are special. Each scrapbook is an individual and unique combination of text, photographs and papers. They are arranged in such a way that the interests and personalities of Florida State College for Women students come through. It’s also been interesting to see some similar themes and concerns fill the pages of scrapbooks across the forty plus year span of Florida State College for Women.
It would be difficult to choose a “favorite” scrapbook. As each is unique and individual, they are all remarkable in different ways. Marion Emerett Colman’s (HP 2007-130, go here for more information) combination of scrapbook and journal gives the reader a glimpse into the triumphs and concerns of an academically minded college sophomore in 1917.
Some scrapbooks delve into current events. Alberta Lee Davis’s scrapbook devotes pages to the end of World War I. (Alberta Lee Davis’ scrapbook is currently unprocessed. This means that it hasn’t yet been assigned an accession number, the number by which Special Collections & Archives will identify the scrapbook. For the scrapbooks from Heritage Protocol & University Archives, the accession number looks like HP ####-###. This also means that a finding aid hasn’t yet been created in Archon, the database for searching through the manuscript collections in Special Collections & Archives).
The scrapbooks of Jewell Genevieve Cooper (HP 2007-089, go here for more information), with its newspaper clippings and personal photographs gives its viewer a special glimpse into the traditions of Florida State College for Women during the 1920s.
Other scrapbooks, such as that of Victoria J. Lewis (HP 2007-079, go here for more information) shows similar concerns to that of contemporary teenagers, showing us the commonalities between teenager girls at the beginning of the twentieth century and at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The past really isn’t that distant.
Finding the connections between past and present has been wonderful, as has learning more about the history of Florida State University.
“That I May Remember: The Scrapbooks of Florida State College for Women (1905-1947)” is scheduled to open October 15 – December 1 in the exhibit space in Strozier Library.
Rebecca L. Bramlett is a graduate assistant in the Special Collections & Archives Division. She is working on her Master of Library and Information Science at Florida State University.