Special Collections and University Archives

Special Collections

Special Collections include personal papers and primary source materials that focus on Jacksonville and Northeast Florida and document local political development, civil rights, race relations, education, literature, urban planning, visual and performing arts, archaeology, and social welfare.

Cropped photo of a historical letter by Eliza Hatch.

UNF has over 90 collections that include papers donated by businesspeople, politicians, philanthropists, and civil rights activists. There are also collections donated by institutions such as Barnett Bank and Florida Blue. We have finding aids and container lists for many of SCUA’s collections and are in the process of updating the finding aids and moving them to a searchable database, ArchivesSpace. Please see the Finding Materials section for more information about using SCUA finding aids. Below you will find several of the topics in SCUA Collections.

Social Development and Diversity

The theme of the social development and the diversity of the Jacksonville community is prevalent in Special Collections, the finest example being the Eartha M. M. White Collection, the cornerstone of the archival collections. Detailing the notable activities of Ms. White, the collection documents a Black community in a southern city from the 1870s to the 1960s. Eartha White was a philanthropist, an entrepreneur, and a humanitarian who was involved in the local and national NAACP, anti-lynching movement, universal suffragism, and community advocacy. The Eartha M. M. White Collection provides a snapshot into an area of Jacksonville that is rapidly gentrifying and disappearing. It includes personal and business correspondence, documents, notes, memorabilia, printed materials, ephemera, and photographs.

Other collections that build on the theme of social development in Northeast Florida include:

  • Rodney Lawrence Hurst, Sr. Papers which document civil rights events occurring in Jacksonville in the 1960s. Mr. Hurst was the president of the youth NAACP in Jacksonville at that time and helped organize lunch counter sit-ins to protest racial inequality. His papers include photographs and accounts documenting those activities.
  • Rosa G. Holmes Walker Collection documents an African American businesswoman in Jacksonville during the early twentieth century.
  • Nathaniel Glover Collection documents Jacksonville’s first Black Sheriff, including correspondence, personal, printed materials, and photographs.
  • Robert Allen Burt Collection is comprised of material from a Black photographer documenting urban Jacksonville, Florida.
  • Afro-American Life Insurance Company Collection documents an early twentieth century, Black-owned insurance company that served as the leading financial center of the African American community in Jacksonville.
  • Sallye Brooks Mathis Papers include information about Ms. Mathis’ activism regarding equality in education and education standards in Duval County/Jacksonville.

Civic Development and Local Politics

Collections relating to a theme of civic development and local politics can be found in some of the Northeast Florida regional primary resources, including:

Women's History in Jacksonville

Special Collections and University Archives has several collections that focus on women’s history and the contributions of women in Northeast Florida. These include:

  • Dr. Edna Louise Saffy Papers which document the career of a Jacksonville native and human rights advocate active in local, state, and national elections as well as groups such as the Human Rights Commission, the National Organization for Women (NOW), the Florida Women’s Alliance, and the Jacksonville Women’s Network. Dr. Saffy’s papers include memorabilia, correspondence, programs, ephemera, political campaign materials, and photographs.
  • National Organization for Women, Jacksonville, Florida, and Jacksonville Women's Movement Collection comprised of materials detailing the activities of the organization committed to the Jacksonville Women’s Movement.
  • Papers of the Women's Public Leadership Consortium chronicles the group's activities and development, 1979-1994.
  • Women’s History Collection documents the Mayor's Commission on the Status of Women and includes programs, invitations, and posters.
  • Nola Perez Papers chronicles a local author who is the poet laureate of Fernandina, Florida.
  • Philippine Nurses Association of Northeast Florida Collection documents the organization’s involvement in the Jacksonville community.
  • Christine Rasche Papers details the academic activities of one of UNF’s founding sociology faculty whose studies included issues involving women and crime.
  • A related collection is the Records of the American Society of Criminology, Division on Women and Crime Collection which describes activities of the first division of the American Society of Criminology to discuss issues related to women who are victims and/or offenders in the criminal justice system.

Northeast Florida Regional History

Several local history collections record experiences of early settlers in the Jacksonville region, including:

  • John P. Varnum Family Collection consisting of correspondence from a local family (1841-1927).
  • Elisa Hatch Letters detailing experiences on the Florida frontier (two letters, May 29, 1842 and July 23, 1843).
  • S. S. Hyatt Letter with details of social and leisure activities in Jacksonville and the surrounding region (one letter, February 6, 1846).
  • A. B. Temple Letter describing business, travel, and leisure activities in the Jacksonville region (one letter, January 25, 1869).
  • Fleming Family Letters consisting of letters from early settlers to Northeast Florida (1879-1930).
  • E. A. Lee, Letter which describes experiences as a winter visitor to Jacksonville (one letter, February 9, 1886).
  • H. & W. B. Drew Company and Drew Family Collection documents the activities of the Columbus Drew Stationery Printing Company (later renamed the H. and W. B. Drew Company).

Military History in Jacksonville

The theme of military history can be found in several collections, including:
  • Camp Joseph E. Johnston Collection consisting of letters from a soldier during World War I who trained in Jacksonville’s Camp Joseph E. Johnson as well as photographs of the Camp (1917-1919).
  • Carl Hayden Quinn Collection comprised of personal effects of a soldier who served during World War I.
  • Ansel Brooks Smith Collection includes postcards, and telegrams documenting the activities of a medical doctor who served World War I soldiers on a variety of bases.
  • Fort Caroline Research Collection includes materials mapping out the colonial era, French fort in Jacksonville, Florida.
 

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