At the Jacksonville Historical Society, we’re making history every day. Our monthly Speakers Series offers in-depth information on surprising and diverse aspects of our city’s past, and our fun Pop Up events are designed to bring attention to the forgotten history buried in our own back yard. Throughout the year, we also lead countless school groups on “insider tours” of our city’s most significant landmarks and events. Why don’t you join us?
For about a century—from the post antebellum era to the 1960s or so—the communal experience of Jews in the South was largely defined by the mercantile role that they played on the Main Streets of villages and small towns. That was also true in cities like Jacksonville, where major department stores, clothing stores and other downtown shops were disproportionately owned by Jewish entrepreneurs and their families. The impact of a “Big Store” like Cohen Bros. and its rivals like Furchgott’s be measured in terms of the modernization of the South They flourished and also facilitated the prosperity of the community, while marking the broader shift from the goals of production in the nineteenth century to the emphasis upon consumption in the twentieth century. Yet there were shifts within Jacksonville Jewry too, as the shopkeepers and merchants of German origin were succeeded by immigrants and their progeny from Eastern Europe. Among them was the Wolfson family, which started in the scrap business and then succeeded in a variety of enterprises, while contributing notably to philanthropy in Jacksonville as well. This is a saga of pluck, luck and upward mobility that can shed light on the economic and social history of the city.
Mark your calendar for an exciting exhibit of the Jacksonville Historical Society’s photo contest, “Through the Lens” at the downtown Main Library’s first floor on Wednesday, February 7. The evening, during Art Walk, is a 5 to 8 pm reception, 50 judge-selected photographs will be exhibited and the winners of cash prizes will be announced at a special 6:30 pm presentation. The contest and exhibit were generously underwritten by William H. Jeter, Jr. and Deanne M. Clark. The JHS photo contest sought to capture contemporary life in our community through a place, an event, the city’s people, the city’s history and architecture, the area’s social or cultural life or a combination of these categories.
A JHS February Co-sponsored Event
Did you know there used to be a wall around Jacksonville? During the Civil War, the Union army built a wall around the then, much smaller city of Jacksonville. Its purpose was to defend the important port city from further attack by the Confederate army. Ft. Hatch was an important strongpoint in the wall’s network.
Beginning in 2013, the all-volunteer Cowford Archaeological Research Society led an archaeological excavation documenting the existence of Ft. Hatch. They, in collaboration with the Jacksonville Historical Society, are proud to announce the dedication of the Ft. Hatch historical marker. This marker will memorialize the wall, the fort and the men who served there, for the knowledge of future generations.
The Cowford Archaeological Research Society and the Jacksonville Historical Society would be honored if you would join us for the dedication ceremony.
- When: Thursday, February 15, 2018
- Time: 1:30 PM
- Location: Lee & Cates Glass, at 800 W. Adams Street.
- Ample parking is available on the Lee & Cates property.
For more information, contact George Burns, at email@example.com, or at 904-402-2223, or you may contact the Jacksonville Historical Society.
Lunch and Learn at the Jacksonville Historical Society
On Thursday, March 29 please join us at Old St. Andrews for an educational presentation by University of North Florida History graduate student Danielle Brantley. Her topic is:
“The Art of Dissent: Chilean Women’s Images of Political Opposition.”
Ms. Brantley is the recipient of the 2018 UNF Women’s History Month Scholarship and the 2018 Dr. Edna L. Saffy Library Scholarship.
There will be light snacks and refreshments.
April’s Lecture Series event at the Jacksonville Historical Society will feature George R. Burns, Vice-President of the Cowford Archaeological Research Society (CARS), speaking on the Jacksonville Wall Project.
CARS has been at work on locating and identifying evidence of the security wall built by the U.S. Army around Jacksonville during the U.S. Civil War. Recently CARS and the Jacksonville Historical Society collaborated in the establishment of an historical marker at the site of Ft. Hatch, a strongpoint in the Jacksonville Wall.
Mr. Burns, of Jacksonville, holds an MA in anthropology, and is a member of the Register of Professional Archaeologists.
Please join us on the evening of May 22 at Old St. Andrews Church for our annual membership meeting and program. Note that the program presentation will be somewhat shortened.
The evening begins at 6:30 with our customary social half-hour. At 7:00 PM, JHS members will hear the report of the nominating committee for next year’s board members, followed by a vote on the candidates.
Upon conclusion of the membership vote, our program will highlight local historic preservation challenges, with examples from Jacksonville neighborhoods. Speakers include Alan Bliss, JHS interim executive director and adjunct professor of history at the University of North Florida, joined by preservation veterans. What better place to discuss historic preservation opportunities and challenges than Old St. Andrews, itself a major example of saving one of Jacksonville’s landmarks?
Following the discussion , we will hear announcements from JHS board president Pat Andrews. We’ll then adjourn for a social gathering to acknowledge and enjoy some special social time with “emerita” executive director, Emily Lisska. She is now ninety days into a very active “retirement” that has her doing research, conducting oral history interviews, leading tours, public speaking and more! On May 3, the City of Jacksonville’s Historic Preservation Commission honored Emily for her achievements in the preservation movement. Congratulations and thank you, Emily!
Social half-hour with light refreshments begins at 6:30, and the program begins at 7:00 PM.
*This event is free for members, we ask non-members for a donation of $5
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Federal Holiday. All JHS offices and locations closed.
Don’t miss the June program, at Old St. Andrews, of the Jacksonville Historical Society!
Who were early immigrants to the North Florida area and who are they today?
The Jacksonville Historical Society’s June program features three speakers who offer insight on North Florida’s immigrant history. Included are Kathleen Cohen, with an overview of immigration in Jacksonville from 1880 through 1920; Giselle Carson, Attorney with the Marks Gray Law Firm, presenting the area’s immigration story from a legal point of view; and World Relief Director Jose Vega, offering a portrait of 21st century North Florida immigrants.
Executive Director Emeritus Emily Lisska, who started “The Melting Pot” project, will describe the project that captured the record-ed stories of North Florida immigrants from more than a dozen countries. The evening also includes an exhibit featuring the individuals who participated in the oral history series. “The Melting Pot” oral histories can be found at www.jaxhistory.org
Reception With the “The Melting Pot” exhibit featuring local immigrant stories
7:00 pm Presentation
The event is open to the public with a suggested donation of $5 for non-members.
Free parking is available in behind Old St. Andrew’s along Duval Street.
For information, (904) 665-0064.