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Florida Memory provides free online access to historical documents, photographs, films and audio recordings from the State Library and Archives of Florida.

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Civil War Letters Home: Roderick Gospero Shaw

Of all the Civil War documents here at the State Archives, letters from soldiers to their loved ones are some of the most engaging. Many of the young men who signed up for military service at the beginning of the war were eager, confident, and impatient to get into the fray and make a name for themselves.

Roderick Gospero Shaw of Attapulgus, Georgia enlisted at Quincy in April 1861  in the “Young Guards,” a unit of the “old” First Florida Infantry. He served one year in this unit, and later re-enlisted in August 1862 in the 4th Florida Infantry at Chattanooga. The State Archives of Florida holds typewritten transcripts of nearly a dozen of Shaw’s letters to his sister, Mrs. Jesse Shaw Smith, who lived in Quincy for much of the war (Collection M87-6).

Learn more in today’s blog: floridamemory.com/blog/2014/09/19/civil-war-letters-home-roderick-gospero-shaw

2 hours ago
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Ochopee, Home of the Nation’s Smallest Post Office

Florida’s unique history owes some of its splendor to great people and great visions. In many cases, however, the most interesting tidbits have happened when no one was expecting it. That’s certainly the case with Ochopee, home of the smallest post office building in Florida, and most likely the smallest in the United States. The people of Ochopee hadn’t planned to have such a cramped space for handling mail. If it hadn’t been for a serious tragedy, the tiny settlement might never have had such a distinction.

Read the full blog: floridamemory.com/blog/2014/09/17/ochopee-home-of-the-nations-smallest-post-office

1 day ago
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Somebody Give That Cow a Bath!

Why in the world would someone want to bathe a cow? Better yet, why would someone bathe an entire herd of cows? They’re just going to get dirty again anyway. Yet for a number of years in the early 20th century, it was very common for cattle ranchers to lead their cattle, one by one, through a vat designed to douse them from top to bottom. The practice was called cattle dipping, and it had little to do with keeping the cows clean.

Learn more in today’s blog: floridamemory.com/blog/2014/09/15/somebody-give-that-cow-a-bath

4 days ago
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The Beatles Are Back!

Fifty years ago, the Beatles played their second and last Florida show as a band at the old Gator Bowl in Jacksonville.  This was a particularly exciting and dramatic time for Floridians and for the Beatles.  The band’s movie, A Hard Day’s Night, had recently premiered in the United States. Record breaking crowds were screaming at their shows while millions of viewers were swooning and shaking their Beatle wigs in front of the television. “Beatlemania” had taken hold in Florida and across the country. Yet this particular show was nearly canceled due to Hurricane Dora, racial segregation and the illegal sales of live Beatles footage. Recently, the State Archives and Florida Memory was privileged to receive never before seen photos of this nearly doomed event along with an eyewitness account from beginning to end.  Read on as Annette Ramsey shares about the Beatles, her father’s dedication to getting her to the show despite the bad weather, and these incredible Fab Four photos.

Read the full blog: floridamemory.com/blog/2014/09/11/the-beatle-are-back

The Beatles having a hasty dinner and press conference at Jacksonville's George Washington Hotel (September 11, 1964). Photo courtesy of Annette Ramsey.

1 week ago
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Civil War Voices from Florida

Florida Memory is pleased to announce a special program for the month of October called Civil War Voices from Florida. The program will feature letters, diary entries, and other documents from a variety of historical “voices” like Chalker’s. By combining these perspectives, we get a better picture of the war as it was experienced by Floridians and others who were stationed in Florida at the time. All of the documents date from October 1864, and each will be released on the exact 150th anniversary of its original creation.

Learn more in today’s blog: floridamemory.com/blog/2014/09/09/civil-war-voices-from-florida

1 week ago
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Gov. Reubin Askew makes a televised statement on bussing in the public school desegregation issue. President Jimmy Carter, while still governor of Georgia, speaks briefly on legislation to extend voting rights to 18-year-old citizens of Georgia. There is silent footage of the Florida Legislature in session. Jimmy Carter comments on civil rights issues, school desegregation and bussing in Georgia

Find the full video here: floridamemory.com/items/show/253433

(Source: floridamemory.com)

23 hours ago
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When the Civil War began, Union officials viewed the numerous lighthouses along Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts as particularly vulnerable to Confederate attack. They reported that the loss of the lights “for a single night would be disastrous.” These fears proved justified when in August 1861 a small group of southern sympathizers from Indian River rendered inoperable the lighthouses at Jupiter Inlet and Cape Florida. They removed the lenses from the Jupiter light and destroyed those of the latter lighthouse. Federal officials branded the men “a gang of pirates” and recommended “that early measures be adopted for the security of the lights on the reef.”
Reproduced here is a report from the Confederate sympathizers who dismantled the lights to Florida Governor Madison Starke Perry. The governor or a member of his staff endorsed the document with the statement: “a Report of an Interesting personal service.”
See more: floridamemory.com/exhibits/floridahighlights/lighthouses

When the Civil War began, Union officials viewed the numerous lighthouses along Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts as particularly vulnerable to Confederate attack. They reported that the loss of the lights “for a single night would be disastrous.” These fears proved justified when in August 1861 a small group of southern sympathizers from Indian River rendered inoperable the lighthouses at Jupiter Inlet and Cape Florida. They removed the lenses from the Jupiter light and destroyed those of the latter lighthouse. Federal officials branded the men “a gang of pirates” and recommended “that early measures be adopted for the security of the lights on the reef.”

Reproduced here is a report from the Confederate sympathizers who dismantled the lights to Florida Governor Madison Starke Perry. The governor or a member of his staff endorsed the document with the statement: “a Report of an Interesting personal service.”

See more: floridamemory.com/exhibits/floridahighlights/lighthouses

3 days ago
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When the Dam Breaks

The threat of hurricanes and tropical storms is an inescapable part of living in Florida. To experience their wrath is to confront head-on the brutal power of Nature. Ask around, and many Floridians will be able to name the larger ones they’ve witnessed or heard of. Betsy, Donna, Andrew, and Charley usually make the list.

Some of Florida’s most destructive hurricanes, however, hit the state long before the National Weather Service began assigning names to tropical cyclones. One of the deadliest of these remains known to history only as the Okeechobee Hurricane of 1928.

Read the full blog here: floridamemory.com/blog/2014/09/12/when-the-dam-breaks

1 week ago
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Blackout orders for Palm Beach, Florida

Blackout orders for Palm Beach, Florida

(Source: floridamemory.com)

1 week ago
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Next Stop – Wauchula!

Florida Memory extends its congratulations to the city of Wauchula, which was recently named Florida’s Main Street program of the month for September 2014. 

Read the full blog here: floridamemory.com/blog/2014/09/05/next-stop-wauchula

2 weeks ago
2 notes