Paul Dirac was an English theoretical physicist who provided remarkable insight towards the development of quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. His discoveries led to him now being famously known as the father of modern physics and a Nobel Prize Winner. These discoveries constitute his own formula, known as the Dirac Equation, to describe the behavior of fermions, which are subatomic particles, and predicted the existence of antimatter, which are corresponding particles of ordinary matter.
His contribution to the study of physics and society is commemorated on this day, the day of his death, in 1984 at the age of 82. On October 19th, the day before the anniversary of his death, several librarians and students from the physics department go out and clean his headstone at Roselawn Cemetery and plant flowers to honor the man who spent his last decade at Florida State University teaching physics students and conducting further research.
The FSU Special Collections & Archives houses The Paul A.M. Dirac Papers that consists of correspondence, books, manuscripts of scientific papers, calculations, photographs, framed certificates, and realia. A window is even dedicated to Paul Dirac within the Heritage Museum located in Dodd Hall, to remember his work and honor his footprint within physics.
Have you ever wondered what the average salary of an FSU professor was in 1961? ($8,940). Have you ever been curious to know how many full-time students were enrolled in 1995? (23,950).
This information and much more is available in the FSU Fact Books now available on DigiNole. There’s a wealth of data in these documents from budgetary breakdowns and property valuations to organizational charts and enrollment statistics.
There’s something for everyone in these documents. History buffs can track the administration and governance of the university. Data enthusiasts have huge sets of information they can use track educational and budgetary trends. Many issues also demonstrate the important role alumni play in the success of the university.
All fact books from 1960 to the present are available to explore.
This blog post sources a timeline researched and compiled by Mary Kate Downing.
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.
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.
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
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 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
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.
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!
Athletics 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.
A 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.
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.
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.