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.
In 1966, a group of women, frustrated at the failure of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to recognize sex discrimination in the workplace and the failure of the conference they were attending to demand the EEOC do so, started what became the National Organization for Women (NOW). In 1971, Tallahassee gained its own NOW chapter, chartered through the national organization. Two years later in 1973, the Florida NOW state chapter was chartered to help coordinate the local chapters’ activities as well as to organize new chapters into formation. The state chapter’s records reside at the University of Florida.
As March is Women’s History Month, this week the Pepper Library is highlighting the National Organization for Women, Tallahassee Chapter records. The Tallahassee NOW papers contain official NOW correspondence, meeting minutes and agendas, reports, budgets, newsletters, and other records which chronicle the development and activities of Tallahassee NOW from its founding in 1971 until 1997. An excellent resource for studying the history of the Equal Rights Amendment in the state of Florida, the NOW material offers a firsthand glimpse into the organization’s efforts to empower and inform. This is particularly on point right now as last Wednesday, the Nevada State Legislature ratified the Equal Rights Amendment, which guarantees that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” NPR stated in an article on the ratification that the ERA “was first passed by Congress in 1972 and last approved by a state (Indiana) in 1977.” Florida has yet to ratify the ERA. The NOW records provide a look at the fight to do so in the 1970s.
Last fall,the staff of the FSU Digital Library digitized and made available online for researchers the Florida NOW Times (1974-1997). Within this statewide NOW publication, the history of the ERA and the activities of NOW chapters throughout the state can be followed over a twenty year period. Providing digital access to the newsletters was a challenge. Each newsletter needed to be reviewed to provide useful description for users to be able to browse and search these objects successfully. The DLC enlisted help from our Cataloging & Description colleagues to catalog the 211 newsletters that range from 1974 to 1997. These items cover the state chapter’s ERA fight, its yearly conferences, legislative and lobbying actions, and the many events sponsored to fight for the rights of women in Florida. You can see all the newsletters in the FSU Digital Library.
We are excited to announce our most recently processed collection, the Pride Student Union Records, 1964-2015. Now a major fixture in the Student Government Association, the collection documents Pride’s predecessor organizations and their steps towards becoming an official agency, introducing non-discrimination policies on campus, and empowering FSU’s LGBTQ+ population.
In 1969, gay and lesbians in Tallahassee organized the People’s Coalition for Gay Rights, which later became the Alliance for Gay Awareness, as a response to the Stonewall Riots. The group was primarily a political organization active in the gay rights movement of the 1970s. In 1973, staff of the University Mental Health Center (now the Student Counseling Center) formed Gay Peer Counseling to provide support and counseling for gays and lesbian students. It became the most active LGBTQ+ group on campus in the early 1970s. In 1978, the group evolved into the Gay Peer Volunteers (GPV), which provided students opportunities for services in the community outside of the counseling environment. To include all students directly served by this student organization, the Gay Peer Volunteers changed its name to the Gay/Lesbian Student Union (GLSU) in 1989, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Student Union (LGBSU) in 1994, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Student Union (LGBTSU) in 1998, and finally Pride Student Union in 2005.
There are several other auxiliary groups at FSU that have served the LGBTQ+ population. In 1984, Gay/Lesbian Support Services formed to continue and expand upon the goals and services of the preceding organizations. In the 1990s, a specialist in student counseling continued the mission of GPV by founding Gay and Lesbian Allies (GALA), which was later absorbed by Tallahassee LGBTQ+ community center, Family Tree. Safe Zone-Tallahassee was founded in 1997 as a response to FSU administration to fund an LGBTQ+ committee or office space. In 2012, Safe Zone was revamped into Seminole Allies & Safe Zones, and provides workshops to students, faculty, and staff.
The collection contains administrative records, promotional materials, artwork and banners, newspapers, and journal and magazine clippings produced and collected by the organization since the late 1960s. Spanning from meeting minutes to posters for drag shows, protest banners and queer literature, the Pride Student Union Records provide a varied look at the voices of the LGBTQ+ community in Tallahassee.
While many of us no longer create traditional scrapbooks and rely on digital solutions in the form of Pinterest, Facebook, and Flickr, there are still many examples from the long history of scrapbooking that need special care. At Heritage Protocol & University Archives, we use a variety of methods to preserve our large collection. We choose the best way to preserve while trying to maintain the original look and feel for the viewer.
Some scrapbooks have a multitude of types of materials that need extra consideration. In the over 100 scrapbooks created by the Florida State College for Women and FSU alumni, we have found things such as bones, hair, fabric, dolls, jewelry, flowers and other plants, along with paper based memorabilia. This scrapbook has varnished wood covers that require special handling and usually a sturdy box.
If the scrapbook is in relatively good condition (clean of obvious dirt and debris, dry, no mold, or obvious insect activity) wrapping gently, and/or boxing and storing in a cool dry place is a simple way to preserve.When tying with linen tape, we are careful not to tie so tightly that the covers or pages are damaged at the edges.
Interleaving pages containing photographs and other items with buffered or at least acid free paper can also provide stabilization. Cutting the sheet to fir the page and gently tucking it in works well.
With photographs, a properly cut piece of buffered or acid free paper can be slid under it to create a barrier between it and the paper it rests on. There is still the matter of the photo corners, but some separation is better than none.
If many additional sheets are needed, the spine of the scrapbook may not accommodate the extra pages. Scrapbooks that are too large, over-stuffed with objects (anything that exceeds the capacity of the binding) may need to be separated into parts, and either wrapped or boxed in sections to keep fragile items and brittle paper from falling apart.
For albums with pages that are falling apart or otherwise in bad condition (bugs, mold, etc.) it may be wise to document the pages through scanning, photocopying, or photographing, and then remove as many items as possible and preserve them individually. Documenting the original order and other details of the pages preserves the context of items and the overall creation of the scrapbook, especially if there are notations or other items to preserve that cannot be removed easily. One method for removing old photos from paper and magnetic pages (sticky, striped backing), very gently saw back and forth with fine, waxed dental floss.
These procedure are great tips for preserving your own scrapbooks, however removing items involves tools, patience, and a steady hand. The first rule of thumb with archival materials is to “do no harm.” If you aren’t sure what to do or aren’t comfortable with some of the more aggressive techniques, simply stabilizing your scrapbook is best (see interleaving and wrapping). If you are more daring, practice on something you aren’t attached to first.
Amidst all of Homecoming Week’s non-stop events, one doesn’t have time to think about the festivities of the past and their influence on the present. FSU’s first Homecoming, celebrated over the weekend of December 3-4, 1948, boasted concerts, dances and dinners held by various organizations, skit night, Pow Wow, and a football game for students and alumni alike to enjoy. Many of FSU’s greatest traditions started at the 1948 Homecoming.
Friday’s Homecoming events started with a continuation of an older tradition from FSCW by hosting an Odd-Even Archery event. Men weren’t excluded from the fun, and competed in an intramural volleyball match. Festivities continued with an Odd-Even modern dance, Garnet and Gold Key Banquet, a Tarpon Club exhibition, with Friday’s activities culminating in the first annual Pow Wow. Pow Wow, now a concert featuring popular comedians and performances by various student groups, used to be held at Centennial Field (now the location of Cascades Park). The Pow Wow program consisted of skits and performances by students, speeches by the President and Master of Ceremonies, and concluded with a “pyrotechnics show.”
Saturday was packed full of activities for students and alumni to attend. Starting with breakfast and followed by campus tours, visitors were able to view the newest buildings on campus (including the new music building, the first building on campus to have air conditioning), as well as see the entries in the House Decorating Competition. In the afternoon, students held a parade from campus to centennial Field, just in time to catch the game against the University of Tampa Spartans. The first Homecoming game set the precedent of the Seminoles winning bowl games. Homecoming coincided with the first bow game of the newly reorganized Dixie conference. The Seminoles finished their second season by trouncing the University of Tampa Spartans with a 33-12 victory.
After the game, students reconvened on campus for a dance that featured Hal McIntyre and his 15-piece Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Orchestra. Formerly a saxophonist for Benny Goodman and later the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Hal McIntyre toured over seas and around America during the mid-century. FSU students and alumni were excited welcome him and his band to campus. At the dance, students chose their new Homecoming Queen. Whittled down from an original 32 Homecoming hopefuls, 5 finalists were rated on an applause-meter, and junior Clara Moffat Howell was chosen to reign supreme.
If you’ve ever attended orientation at Florida State, most likely you learned the words to the fight song (or at least how to spell F-L-O-R-I-D-A S-T-A-T-E), and probably heard the Alma Mater and “The Hymn to the Garnet and the Gold” two, maybe three or four times each. You can also hear these songs at football games, graduation ceremonies, concerts, and as the tinny and garbled hold-music while waiting to get through to financial aid. These pervasive melodies and chants are just a few among a long tradition of campus songs at Florida State.
Universities all over America have their own campus songs, written to spread school spirit or wax poetic about campus traditions. Often, though, school songs develop from chants meant to trash talk competitors. Our predecessor institution FSCW was no exception – the intracollegiate competition between the Odd and Even classes produced some pretty snarky verses. One such song, an Even anthem, skewers the Odds:
The bells of Hell go ting-a-ling-a-ling
For the Odds and not for us,
Up where the angels sing-a-ling-a-ling,
That’s where you will find us.
“The Bells of Hell”
The Odds weren’t going to just take that, however:
Go easy, Odd team,
‘Cause we don’t want to kill ’em quite.
We’re out to beat ’em.
So holler for the Red and White.
That Even team is mighty slow
Because they fear the Odd team so.
Go easy, Odd team,
‘Cause we don’t want to kill ’em quite.
“Go Easy, Odd Team”
After FSCW became co-educational in 1947, the school needed some new songs, specifically an alma mater. On May 16th, 1947, The Florida Flambeau announced a contest to select a new alma mater, and on November 21st, it was announced that Johnny Lawrence had won with his song “High O’er the Towering Pines.” While the song had been selected and performed at convocation and homecoming, the university dragged its heels to adopt the song. Flambeau writers appealed to the administration to make a decision, but were rebuffed by Dean of Music, Karl O. Kuersteiner: “[Choosing] an alma mater is like choosing a wife and that it demands much consideration.” Finally in 1949, two full years after the original alma mater contest announcement, the university officially announced “High O’er the Towering Pines” as the alma mater.
A little over a year later, a phenomenon happened: “The Hymn to the Garnet and the Gold” was premiered at the 1950 Homecoming by The Collegians (men’s glee club). Written by J. Dayton Smith for SATB choir, the song blew up. Women in their dorms were being serenaded with The Hymn and it was often sung at campus events. Eventually, the song was arranged by Charlie Carter for FSU Marching Chiefs in 1958 and captured the hearts of Seminole fans. FSU alum and friend of Heritage Protocol Paul Ort recounts the time when he committed a little petty theft to get a hold of a copy of The Hymn: “I still remember how guilty I felt when I hooked that copy of the SATB music from a University Singers folio while the choral rehearsal room was empty. But Carter had to have something to start with…”
Since then, there have been several other songs that have developed and shaped the identity of FSU: The Fight Song, written by Doug Alley and Dr. Thomas Wright, and the Warchant, a tradition that has one of FSU’s most disputed origin stories. Campus songs are still written today, in musical styles that are popular with modern students. A few years ago, FSU premiered “I’m in the Doak,” a parody of the Saturday Night Live sketch “I’m on a Boat” featuring famous former-Tallahassee denizen, T-Pain. More recently, FSU student Daniel Stamphil a.k.a. Blak Iron, released a remake of the Drake track “Know Yourself,” titled “Nole Yourself.” While these tracks herald a new era of campus songs, they will always echo FSU.
Born in 1900 in Woodville, FL, Lee Causseaux was the descendant of a long line of Leon County residents and spent his whole life serving the greater Tallahassee community. Considering FSCW and FSU his second home, “Mr. Lee” (as most people called him) occupied many positions on campus, ranging from laundry operations, Superintendent of Landscaping, and his eventual promotion to Chief of FSCW Police in 1945. His influence was felt outside of campus, too – he was often called on by the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and Culley’s Funeral Home for assistance.
Before taking his position as FSCW Chief of Police, Causseaux protected students from a pervasive threat: the sun. As the Superintendent of Landscaping, one of his major projects was transplanting live oak trees from the campus arboretum to various locations around campus and Tallahassee. Causseaux’s love of landscaping never faded after leaving the position, evident from the friendship he had with accomplished horticulturist and FSU’s first First Lady, Mrs. Edna Campbell. He helped her landscape the President’s home after renovations, and she would often share plants with him for his new home.
Causseaux’s law enforcement career started in 1932, when he was sworn in as a Leon County Deputy Sheriff and FSCW’s first day officer. In a 1956 Florida Flambeau article about the necessity of campus police, Causseaux remarked that when he started at the university in the early 1930s, there was only “one man, whose duties were chiefly those of a night watchman.” Throughout the 1930s, the FSCW police force grew to include 3 more officers, and by 1939, police uniforms had been issued. The department continued to grow during the 1940s, as the transition from FSCW to FSU saw an increased need for police. By the time of Causseaux’s death in 1959, the FSU Police Department employed nearly 20 officers. Lee Causseaux served as Chief of Police from 1945-1959.
Lee Causseaux had two children with his wife Alma, whom he married in 1923. Causseaux’s daugher, Patsy Yawn, describes her father as someone who “cared for all [his] employees,” saying that he considered “FSCW/FSU faculty and staff [as] his extended family.” On October 24, 1959, after seining for mullet out of the FSU Marine Laboratory, Causseaux complained of not feeling well and passed away on the shore. Yawn proclaims that her father’s death on FSU soil was “a fitting exit for a man who loved, lived, and breathed for the school.”
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.