Special Collections

Leonardo da Vinci in Northeast Florida? Read on!

Unique among Special Collections items are two facsimile limited editions of the manuscripts of Leonardo da Vinci:

  • Il Codice Atlantico di Leonardo da Vinci nella Biblioteca Ambrosiana di Milano. Published in Milan, 1894-1904, in a limited edition of 280 copies. The collection, known as the Codex Atlanticus, consists of unbound notebooks, sketches, drawings and other manuscripts written by Leonardo between 1483 and 1518. The 1,384 plates show his remarkable versatility and gifts as an artist, mathematician. engineer, and inventor.

Page from the Madrid Codice. Shows drawing of textile machine.

  • The Madrid Codices. A facsimile edition, limited to 1000 numbered sets, of the Codex Madrid I and II (two long-lost notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci). Popularly known as the Madrid Codices because they were discovered in 1965 in the National Library in Madrid. These manuscripts reveal his wide-ranging impact on the Renaissance, with varied sketches and designs ranging from mechanical inventions and cartography to proposals for new musical instruments, and lessons for painters.

UNF Venture Studies Program

  • These two special Leonardo editions have particular historical relevance for our University. They complemented the University's early Venture Studies program, an innovative component of interdisciplinary studies offered by the College of Arts and Sciences during the University's first decade.

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Featured Rare Publications

H. & W. B. Drew Company Publication: Proof of Faith in Florida

Proof of Faith in FloridaColumbus Drew, the founder of this historic Jacksonville printing company, came to Jacksonville in 1848 and opened the eponymous Columbus Drew Stationery Printing Company in 1855. Our artifacts include a rare Drew stationery box circa 1900.

The full text of two Drew publications held by the Library, Proof of Faith in Florida and Our Story, are available at the Florida Heritage Collection web site. Horace Rainsford Drew, Jr., a fourth generation Floridian and great grandson of Columbus Drew, is the author of Our Story. He documents the saga of the Drew and Fairbanks families in Florida in the 1920's, 1930's and the World War II era.

Other Drew publications available online through the Florida Heritage Collection:

  • Annual Report of the Board of Health... Jacksonville (Fla.) 1910.
  • Annual report of the Board of Trustees for the Waterworks and Improvement Bonds of the City of Jacksonville, Florida... 1912.
  • Florida Ship Canal: Atlantic-Gulf Ship Canal... 1938.
  • A Guide-book of Florida and the South, for Tourists, Invalids, and Emigrants... 1869.
  • History and Antiquities of St. Augustine... 1881.
  • Jacksonville and Florida Facts.1906.
  • Jacksonville Board of Trade. Report: Third Annual Report of the Board of Trade....1887.
  • Treatise and hand-book of orange culture in Florida, Louisiana and California...1886

The Civil War in Northeast Florida

Maple Leaf Shipwreck, St. Johns River2011-2012 marks the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the American Civil War. On April 12, 1861, the Confederate forces at Charleston, South Carolina, bombarded the Union Garrison at Fort Sumter, and thus began the opening engagement of the War. In Jacksonville, Union forces occupied the city on four different occasions and remained in control until the end of the war and occupied several coastal towns and various places along the St. Johns River.

The Battle of Olustee, fought in nearby Baker County in February 1864, was the largest Civil War battle fought in Florida. Battle casualties amounted to 1,861 Union and 946 Confederate soldiers, a total which reflected the hard-fought Confederate victory. An annual reenactment of the Battle is held every February at the State Park.

To commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the War, we have compiled an extensive resource guide to materials in Special Collections. The guide includes books, articles, maps, theses, and videorecordings documenting the skirmishes and battles in Florida and the region.

Recommended Books on Local History

Postcards Galore!

Special Collections has a Northeast Florida regional postcard collection. It contains over 500 postcards with views primarily of Jacksonville dating from the 1890’s to the late twentieth century. Subjects include buildings, Camp Joseph E. Johnston, tourist attractions, St. Johns River, bridges, roads and streets. There are a few St. Augustine and general Florida cards. For more information, e-mail lib-special@unf.edu or call (904) 620-1533.

Subjects: Art and Design, Education, History
Tags: history, local history, manuscripts, personal papers, photography, primary sources, rare books, records, special collections