Tag Archives: florida state university

Happy Birthday, FSU!

This blog post sources a timeline researched and compiled by Mary Kate Downing.

college hall
College Hall, the first building constructed for the Seminary West of the Suwannee River.

Happy birthday, Florida State! Can you believe that it’s only been 166 years since the Florida Legislature (then the General Assembly of the State of Florida) passed an act that led to our inception as an institution? We can’t either! …especially since only until fairly recently, it was widely accepted that FSU’s founding day was in 1857, and not 1851 as we now know. Why all the confusion? This isn’t a situation of FSU lying to get senior discount on movie tickets. Yes, FSU’s predecessor institution, the State Seminary West of the Suwannee River, didn’t open its doors until 1857, but there was a lot more going on for 6 years before its grand opening.

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 location of the seminary west of the Suwannee. 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 College Hall (in the area that is now Westcott Building) opens. 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 is established that one of the president’s duties will be to publish a “Catalogue Course of Studies” for the institution. Later in 1856, William (W.Y.) Peyton, previously principal of The City Seminary, is unanimously elected by the Board of Trustees of the Florida Institute as 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 must 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.

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.

Claude Pepper’s Time in Tallahassee

By Mallary Rawls

On May 15th this year the Claude Pepper Library will turn 30! Throughout this month and the rest of the year, the team at the Claude Pepper Library will be providing some history and context about the library and its namesake.

“For more than six decades, Florida has been my home.[i]” That’s how Claude Pepper began the second chapter of his 1987 autobiography, Pepper: Eyewitness to a Century. Claude Denson Pepper loved the State of Florida and many of its lively cities, one of those cities he loved was Tallahassee.

The Pepper's family home in Tallahassee, July 1957.
The Pepper’s family home in Tallahassee, July 1957.

Claude Pepper was born in Camp Hill, Alabama in 1900. Though Claude lived an adventurous life where he was constantly working and traveling, he and his wife, Mildred, chose to build a life in Tallahassee for a period of time. Claude graduated from the Harvard Law School in 1924 and began practicing law in 1925 after he was admitted to the Florida Bar. He practiced civil and criminal law at a law practice in Perry, Florida and from 1929 to 1930, Claude served as an elected member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing Taylor County. Claude spent a lot of time going back and forth between Perry and Tallahassee during this time in his life. He served as a chairman for the Committee on Constitutional Amendments and was a member on a number of committees. It was his stand against another Florida representative that led to his defeat for re-election in 1930. It was after Claude’s defeat in 1930 that propelled him to move to Tallahassee. Claude was urged to continue his political path after his 1930 Florida House of Representatives loss by Judge W.B. Davis who told Claude that he needed a, “more visible stage (in) either Tallahassee or Miami.[ii]” Claude was advised by others to move to Tallahassee as well.

“I was urged also to come to Tallahassee by Justice James B. Whitfield, the patriarch and former chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court, whom I had come to know during my legislative days. Often he told me: ‘Mr. Pepper, I want you to move to Tallahassee. Florida needs you and this is the capital of Florida. Tallahassee will offer you an opportunity to serve Florida.[iii]’”

Claude moved to Tallahassee in 1930 and by 1931 he was able to move his family, which included his parents, two brothers, and a sister as well. While living in Tallahassee Claude ran a successful

Mildred and Claude Pepper at Lake Bradford, 1940.
Mildred and Claude Pepper at Lake Bradford, 1940.

law office with law partner Curtis Waller. Claude also served on the State Board of Public Welfare. It was around this time he was introduced to Mildred Webster. Claude was stunned by a woman in a “bright yellow dress” leaving the governor’s office, “why that’s the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen[iv]” Claude said to himself before he was introduced to Irene Mildred Webster. She lived in St. Petersburg but was in Tallahassee at the time working for the state legislature. They dated on and off for a period of five years. Mildred helped Claude kicked off a primary senate campaign against then sitting U.S. Senator Park Trammell in 1934 while living in Tallahassee, but he lost the primary in a close election. Nearly two years later in 1936 both U.S. Senators representing Florida died, Park Trammell in early 1936 and then five weeks later Duncan Fletcher died. Claude filed to run for Senator Fletcher’s seat and no one filed to run against him.

Claude Pepper ran unopposed in the 1936 election and became U.S. Senator Pepper. It was also at the end of this year on December 29, 1936 that Claude and Mildred were married. Through his U.S. Senate service (1936-1950) Claude and Mildred kept residences in both Tallahassee and Washington, D.C.

Claude lost his 1950 re-election campaign in one of the most brutal and slanderous elections in U.S. history to George Smathers. After his defeat in 1951 Claude opened up a law practice in

Tallahassee with his law partner and friend Jim Clements. Things were a bit shaky at this point, especially with the law offices in Tallahassee, but Claude stayed close to politics and regularly visited Florida State University to talk with loyal supporters, including the student body president at the time, Reubin Askew. On March 2, 1951 Claude’s law partner and longtime friend, Jim Clements died. Claude’s mother, Lena Pepper and other family members were still living in Tallahassee, but around the mid-1950s Claude and Mildred were going back and forth between all of the law offices between Florida and Washington, D.C.

Claude & Mildred Pepper at the inauguration of Governor Fuller Warren; January 4, 1949
Claude & Mildred Pepper at the inauguration of Governor Fuller Warren; January 4, 1949

Claude campaigned for the U.S. Senate again in 1958 for the Republican Senate seat that belonged to Spessard Holland, but Holland won his re-election. The good news that came out of that election for Claude would be that he carried Dade County by 25,000 votes and that weighed in on his decision to run for the U.S. House of Representatives representing a new district in Florida. Claude won that campaign and served his district and country as a U.S. Congressman for the rest of his life.

Claude and Mildred Pepper maintained their close friendships and relationships in Tallahassee during this time. In January 1979, Mildred and Claude attended the Inauguration of Governor Bob Graham. At this time plans were established to build a library dedicated to the life of Mildred and Claude Pepper at Florida State University.

Mildred Pepper died from cancer on March 3, 1979. Claude held two funerals for his beloved wife, one at the Coral Gables Methodist Church in Miami and the other at the First Baptist Church where she and Claude worshiped while living in Tallahassee.

Claude remained active and vigilante while serving in the U.S. Congress. The Mildred and Claude Pepper Library opened here at Florida State University on May 15, 1985. The original library was located in Dodd Hall and moved to Call Street in 1997. Claude Pepper lived an ambitious and productive life of 89 years where he worked hard and accomplished many great things. We’re honored that he chose to spend an exceptional amount of time carrying out that work in Tallahassee.

[i] C. Pepper, H. Gorey, Pepper: Eyewitness to a Century, Orlando, 1987, p.33

[ii] Ibid, p.43

[iii] Ibid, p.43

[iv] Ibid, p.50George

Homecoming at FSU

It’s Homecoming Week at FSU and there have been many exciting events happening around campus for students and alumni. Homecoming is always a festive time of year at FSU, with events like Pow Wow, Warchant, the Homecoming parade, and the Homecoming football game to keep folks busy all week.

Please enjoy some photographs and ephemera from past Homecoming activities.

 

Homecoming Prop Outside Pi Beta Phi House, "FSU's First, Welcome Alums" (Lillian M. Mandyck Photograph Album, 1948)
Homecoming Prop Outside Pi Beta Phi House, “FSU’s First, Welcome Alums”, 1948 (Lillian M. Mandyck Photograph Album)
Florida State QB Ed Pritchett of Decatur, Ga., scores FSU's second and final touchdown during the game against North Carolina State. This marked FSU's first homecoming win since 1958.
Florida State QB Ed Pritchett of Decatur, Ga., scores FSU’s second and final touchdown during the game against North Carolina State. This marked FSU’s first homecoming win since 1958. (FSU Historic Photograph Collection)
A decorated pickup truck with the name "Jennie" on the front carrying several women dressed in Seminole-inspired costumes makes its way up the street passing the Capitol Radio Labs during the 1948 Florida State University Homecoming parade, as spectators in formal wear watch.
A decorated pickup truck with the name “Jennie” on the front carrying several women dressed in Seminole-inspired costumes makes its way up the street passing the Capitol Radio Labs during the 1948 Florida State University Homecoming parade, as spectators in formal wear watch. (FSU Historic Photograph Collection)
Student Cars in Homecoming Parade
Student Cars in Homecoming Parade, 1948 (FSU Historic Photograph Collection)
Football program from FSU vs. Stetson (10/27/51)
Football program from FSU vs. Stetson (10/27/51)(FSU Vertical Files)
1953 Homecoming program
1953 Homecoming program (FSU Vertical Files)
Florida State University's 1970 homecoming Queen Doby Lee Flowers poses in the traditional headdress. On November 13, 1970, she became the first black Homecoming Queen in the history of FSU. She was a social welfare student and was sponsored by the Black Student Union.
Florida State University’s 1970 homecoming Queen Doby Lee Flowers poses in the traditional headdress. On November 13, 1970, she became the first black Homecoming Queen in the history of FSU. She was a social welfare student and was sponsored by the Black Student Union. (FSU Historic Photograph Collection)
 1955 Homecoming queen Margaret Ann Ballinger shown crowning 1956 Queen Laytie Brown with the traditional headdress, both in formal wear.
1955 Homecoming queen Margaret Ann Ballinger shown crowning 1956 Queen Laytie Brown with the traditional headdress, both in formal wear. (FSU Historic Photograph Collection)

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.

Farewell, Renegade V

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.

renegade1
Renegade IV’s Retirement Ceremony, 2000. Photo by Ryals Lee.

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.

planting_of_the_spear
Chief Osceola and Renegade V plant the spear at the 2013 BCS National Championship. GIF courtesy SB Nation and ESPN.

 

Check  back for photos of Renegade V’s Retirement Ceremony!

A Century of Seasons: Modern FSU Sports History

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

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

A place in the sun

Tally Ho, The Florida State University, 1967
Tally Ho, The Florida State University, 1967

Florida State

both a university and a place in the sun

an invitation both to learn and to feel

and above all an education

an exercise of the mind and body

the spirit seeking knowledge in the fountain of life.

–Tally Ho, 1967, page 4

Snow in Florida!

snow pictureOn February 13th, 1958, the Florida State University campus experienced a snowfall.   We have several pictures of students enjoying the snow, but we thought this one was appropriate for the season.

Happy Holidays from Special Collections!

17 February 1940: Eleanor Roosevelt visits FSCW

From the 23 February 1940 Florida Flambeau:

Know Government Says First Lady

Women Urged to Take Interest in Democracy

“Girls, take a vital interest in government in all its details,” Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt advised Florida State college students when she spoke on “Citizenship in a Democracy” here last Saturday.

She cautioned, “You won’t like it very much. You may think it isn’t a clean game, but we women, if we keep to our ideals, can do much to improve politics.”

Mrs. Roosevelt pointed out the great responsibility of the United States in a world at war to find the answers to some of the many problems of the day which, she said, we can only do with full realization of what the problems are. She urged her audience, especially the students, to “know the whole situation of the whole community.” She said these problems are just now being thrust on us as in the past we had a great deal of new country to settle. Now we are building a civilization. To do that we must know our community and from there go out with our minds to the state and to the nation.”

She touched on one of her favorite topics, the position of women in local and national affairs, urging them to participate in finding a solution for such national problems as health and education. To help in these problems Mrs. Roosevelt said women must study the tax problems of their local, state, and national governments as each thing we do depends on tax money.

She closed her 45-minute address by advising students “to work hard, keep an open mind, understand the problems of the whole people, and be willing to pay the price of real democracy which means being willing to see all people share in the good life which will security for all.

“If we can keep our ideals alive in the youth of this generation, I think we can safely leave the future in their hands.”

After the speech, Mrs. Roosevelt was escorted to the home of Mrs. Frank D. Moor, president of the Alumnae association, for a dinner party. Guests at the dinner party included President Edward Conradi, Mrs. Ernest Ekermeyer, Mrs. Charles O. Andrews and Mrs. Fred P. Cone. After dinner Mrs. Roosevelt left by car for Jacksonville.

Mrs. Moor, Marjorie Jessup, and Katherine Graham escorted Mrs. Roosevelt to the stage. Mortar Board members and the 1939 and 1940 usher committee members served in the auditorium.

The college auditorium was filled to capacity for the occasion and hundreds of other students and townspeople packed the gymnasium and the Augusta Conradi theater, where public address systems were installed to carry the address.

Women for FSU event

Text provided by Gina Woodward
Photographs by Burt Altman, Liz Johnson, Gina Woodward, and Kat Bell

Women For FSU Logo
Florida State University Libraries Welcomes The Women for Florida State University

On Saturday, March 19, 2011, Florida State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives and Heritage Protocol hosted the Back-Stage Pass event for the Women for Florida State University (FSU).

The Women for FSU is an organization for women who share a passion for Florida State University.  The members span multiple generations and diverse backgrounds, but they are united by the desire to support the university in whatever way they can.  Members choose their level of involvement and join in activities as their schedules permit.

Over 85 women participated in the Back-Stage Pass event. As they arrived, they were greeted by Julia Zimmerman, Dean of the University Libraries. The groups were then divided up, with half of the participants visiting Heritage Protocol while the other half visited Special Collections, then switching between locations.

Sammie Morris, Associate Dean for Special Collections and Digital Initiatives, spoke to the participants about the wide variety of rare books and manuscripts available for research in Special Collections.  Several examples from the collection were on display, including a signed copy of The Chimney Corner by Harriet Beecher Stowe, books on women’s rights, women in Southern literature, women’s efforts during World War I and World War II, and women’s education. The display included a 15th century handwritten and illuminated manuscript created by nuns in Venice, Italy.  Additional manuscripts included letters from Helen Keller and Harriet Beecher Stowe; scrapbooks of Betty Wood McNabb, a 1930 Florida State College for Women (FSCW) alumna and pilot; and a lengthy handwritten oration on poetry delivered by Lucile Gregory at FSCW in 1911.

Dr. Christie Koontz, a faculty member in FSU’s College of Information and an expert on marketing and storytelling, served as a guest speaker at the event. Dr. Koontz read an excerpt from Lucile Gregory’s 1911 oration and talked about the serendipity of archival research, in particular how connections can be made with archival material that lead to the creation of new knowledge. The audience shared Dr. Koontz’s awe that Lucile Gregory gave her award-winning 11-page oration entirely by memory, as was the custom at FSCW at the time.

Dick Puckett, who along with Ed Franklin made up the famous Florida State University Flying Seminoles, also served as a guest speaker.  The Flying Seminoles performed in Native American costumes, and had unusual baton twirling dance routines with the Marching Chiefs and at other events.  He spoke about his memories of FSU and the personal items he has donated to Heritage Protocol, a university-wide organization dedicated to collecting and preserving FSU history.  Visitors to Heritage Protocol were able to view historical photographs of FSU and FSCW, as well as yearbooks, documents, and memorabilia.

Continue reading Women for FSU event