Thursday, July 10, 2008

Alligators in Your Backyard?

The State Library & Archives announced that several really interesting collections have been added to the Florida Memory Project. Here's an excerpt from their newsletter -

Alligators in the Backyard Photo Exhibit

Male alligator bellowing during mating seasonThe alligator resides in the popular imagination as one of the most widely recognized symbols of Florida. From the earliest Native American and European explorers to present day tourists, visitors have maintained a fascination with the cold-blooded freshwater reptile. The alligator, which was once hunted and harvested to near extinction, has thrived in recent years, although its natural habitat has not. Nonetheless, gators can be found throughout Florida's popular culture, from tourist attractions and alligator wrestlers to postcards and team mascots.

Photo: Courtesy of the Florida Photographic Collection.

Civil War Guide

State Archives staff compiled a new online research tool titled A Guide to Civil War Records at the State Archives of Florida. The guide identifies and describes the state, federal, and private records pertaining to Florida's Civil War era (1860-1865) housed at the State Archives of Florida. Of note is the section titled "Florida and the Civil War: A Short History," which was written by State Archives staff member Dr. Boyd Murphree. The State Archives created this guide with the goal of assisting current historical research and promoting future study of this significant time period in Florida's history.

75th Anniversary of the New Deal with WPA Photo Exhibit

Conch Town Cover ArtIn recognition of the 75th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, the State Library and Archives of Florida re-created a photographic exhibit that was first developed by the Florida Works Projects Administration in 1939. The original exhibit, titled Conch Town, documented Bahamian immigrants living in Riviera Beach, Florida. The new exhibit includes the 30 original photographs and captions, along with the original catalog and news clippings about the exhibit. The images represent only a small portion of the New Deal-related records and publications found at the State Library and Archives.

In May 1939, Florida WPA photographer and artist Charles Foster accepted an assignment to take photographs for Florida Writers Project writer Veronica Huss' profile of the "Conchs" on Riviera Beach. At the time, locals used the derogatory slang term to describe immigrants from the Bahamas. Armed with his Reflex-Korelle single-lens camera and four rolls of 12-exposure black and white film, Foster spent the day photographing Veronica and her subjects.

Photo: Courtesy of the Florida Photographic Collection.

State Library and Archives of Florida Presents Historic Recordings of the Florida Folk Festival Online

In celebration of the 2008 Florida Folk Festival, the State Archives of Florida has expanded its online resources to offer historic recordings of all the Florida Folk Festivals from 1954 through 1979 for free listening and downloading.

Last summer, the State Archives offered a podcast of the very first recording of the Florida Folk Festival, recorded on reel-to-reel tape on May 6, 1954. The first recording features performances by local school children, representatives of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, folk singers, and opening remarks by festival director and renowned founder of the National Folk Festival, Sarah Gertrude Knott.

Now folklife fans can visit the Folklife Audio Page to download and listen to 26 years of Florida Folk Festivals, most of them in their entirety, totaling hundreds of hours of audio.

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