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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?

Dec
22
Tue
2015
Playing with History: The Joys and Noise of 19th Century Toys
Dec 22 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

The Jacksonville Historical Society is presenting a new exhibit at the Merrill House during the Gingerbread Extravaganza. The exhibit titled “Playing with History: The Joys and Noise of 19th Century Toys” showcases period toys from the collections of the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine, the Museum of Science and History (MOSH) and the Jacksonville Historical Society.

Children have always played with toys. From archaeological digs we know that the earliest toys were made from materials found in nature, such as rocks, sticks, and clay. Thousands of years ago, Egyptian children played with dolls that had wigs and movable limbs which were made from stone, pottery, and wood. In Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, children played with dolls made of wax or terracotta, sticks, bows and arrows, and yo-yos.

Manufactured toys became more widespread with the changing attitudes towards children engendered by the Enlightenment (1700s-1800s). Children began to be seen as people in and of themselves, as opposed to extensions of their families. They had a right to flourish and enjoy their childhood. The variety and number of toys that were manufactured during the 18th century steadily rose. Hoops, toy wagons, kites, spinning wheels, and puppets were popular toys.

In the nineteenth century, the emphasis was put on toys that had educational purpose to them, such as puzzles, books, cards and board games. Religiously themed toys were also popular, including a model Noah’s Ark with miniature animals and objects from other Bible scenes. With growing prosperity among the middle class, children had more leisure time on their hands, which led to the application of industrial methods to the manufacture of toys. More complex mechanical and optics-based toys were also invented. Wood and porcelain dolls in miniature doll houses were popular with middle class girls, while boys played with marbles and toy trains.

The golden age of toy development started at the turn of the 20th century. As wages rose, even working-class families could afford toys for their children. Mass production was able to provide the supply of toys to meet this rising demand. Intellectual emphasis was also increasingly being placed on the importance of a wholesome and happy childhood. Today dolls can recognize and identify objects and computerized games mimic reality. The materials that toys are made from have changed, what toys can do has changed, but the fact that children play with toys has not changed.

The Merrill House will be open during the Gingerbread Extravaganza, December 2nd through the 23rd, from 1:00 to 4:00pm, Monday through Saturday. A small donation is requested.

This exhibit and the 2015-16 program series is generously sponsored by Retina Associates, P.A., Dr. Fred H. Lambrou, Jr.

Dec
23
Wed
2015
Playing with History: The Joys and Noise of 19th Century Toys
Dec 23 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

The Jacksonville Historical Society is presenting a new exhibit at the Merrill House during the Gingerbread Extravaganza. The exhibit titled “Playing with History: The Joys and Noise of 19th Century Toys” showcases period toys from the collections of the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine, the Museum of Science and History (MOSH) and the Jacksonville Historical Society.

Children have always played with toys. From archaeological digs we know that the earliest toys were made from materials found in nature, such as rocks, sticks, and clay. Thousands of years ago, Egyptian children played with dolls that had wigs and movable limbs which were made from stone, pottery, and wood. In Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, children played with dolls made of wax or terracotta, sticks, bows and arrows, and yo-yos.

Manufactured toys became more widespread with the changing attitudes towards children engendered by the Enlightenment (1700s-1800s). Children began to be seen as people in and of themselves, as opposed to extensions of their families. They had a right to flourish and enjoy their childhood. The variety and number of toys that were manufactured during the 18th century steadily rose. Hoops, toy wagons, kites, spinning wheels, and puppets were popular toys.

In the nineteenth century, the emphasis was put on toys that had educational purpose to them, such as puzzles, books, cards and board games. Religiously themed toys were also popular, including a model Noah’s Ark with miniature animals and objects from other Bible scenes. With growing prosperity among the middle class, children had more leisure time on their hands, which led to the application of industrial methods to the manufacture of toys. More complex mechanical and optics-based toys were also invented. Wood and porcelain dolls in miniature doll houses were popular with middle class girls, while boys played with marbles and toy trains.

The golden age of toy development started at the turn of the 20th century. As wages rose, even working-class families could afford toys for their children. Mass production was able to provide the supply of toys to meet this rising demand. Intellectual emphasis was also increasingly being placed on the importance of a wholesome and happy childhood. Today dolls can recognize and identify objects and computerized games mimic reality. The materials that toys are made from have changed, what toys can do has changed, but the fact that children play with toys has not changed.

The Merrill House will be open during the Gingerbread Extravaganza, December 2nd through the 23rd, from 1:00 to 4:00pm, Monday through Saturday. A small donation is requested.

This exhibit and the 2015-16 program series is generously sponsored by Retina Associates, P.A., Dr. Fred H. Lambrou, Jr.

Jan
25
Mon
2016
Historic Jacksonville Theatre Palaces, Drive-Ins and Movie Houses
Jan 25 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Lights, camera, action!

Join the Jacksonville Historical Society Monday, January 25 for a reception and program on Jacksonville’s theatre and performance history. The evening will begin with a reception at 6:30pm with the program to follow at 7pm. Author and speaker Dorothy K. Fletcher will present the theatres, drive-ins and movie houses that brought entertainment to Jacksonville citizens. FletcherBookSome have passed into memory. The Dixie Theatre, originally part of Dixieland Park, began to fade in 1909. The Palace Theatre, home to vaudeville acts, was torn down in the ’50s. The Alhambra has been everyone’s favorite dinner theatre since 1967’s debut of Come Blow Your Horn.

Local author Dorothy K. Fletcher revives the history of Jacksonville’s theatres in her new book Historic Jacksonville Theatre Palaces, Drive-Ins and Movie Houses,dorothyfletcher published in 2015. Mrs. Fletcher retired from the Duval County Public School System in 2007 after thirty-five years of teaching English classes. She was then able to  embrace her passion – writing. Her monthly column, “By the Wayside,” which she wrote for the Florida Times-Union, led to a series of history books she has written about her beloved home, Jacksonville, Florida. She and her husband, Hardy, love traveling and hanging out with their grandchildren.

 

** Due to illness, the original program scheduled for January 25th, “The History of Jacksonville’s Jewish Community” with Marcia Jo Zerivitz will be rescheduled for a later date.**

This program and the 2015-16 JHS program series is generously sponsored by Retina Associates, P.A. Dr. Fred H. Lambrou, Jr.

May
24
Tue
2016
Jacksonville’s Jewish History
May 24 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Bazaar in YHMA 1916

Bazaar at the Young Hebrew Men’s Association in 1916.

CohensEntr 4x5

Entrance to Cohen’s Department Store in Jacksonville, Jacksonville Historical Society Collection.

Throughout Jacksonville history, Jewish families have been immersed in city commerce, government and the community’s cultural life. In fact, prior to the 1930’s, Jacksonville’s Jewish population was the largest in Florida. Eventually, Miami took the lead. January speaker Marcia Jo Zerivitz features the city’s Jewish history and the important “firsts in Florida” that happened in Jacksonville.

About the Speaker

Marcia Jo Zerivitz, Founding Executive Director of the Jewish Museum of Florida, has been a leader in the American and Floridian Jewish communities for 50 years with a specific focus on museums and Florida Jewish history for the past 26 years. Marcia Jo retired from JMOF on marciaheadshot2011-forwebOctober 1, 1011. Beginning in 1985, Marcia Jo traveled around Florida to research and retrieve the state’s unknown Jewish history, created a collection and a storyline of Jewish life in Florida and helped develop the MOSAIC exhibit that traveled to thirteen cities (1990-1994).

In 1985, under her direction, this project evolved into the Jewish Museum of Florida, now housed in two restored former synagogues, on the National Register of Historic Places. JMOF collects, preserves and interprets 250 years of the Jewish experience in Florida in the context of American and world Jewish history, art and culture and also to reflect the immigration experience of all Americans.

In 2012, the partnership with Florida International University was finalized, resulting in JMOF-FIU.

Marcia Jo frequently lectures on topics related to discrimination and Florida Jewish history, which she originally collected, compiled and documented, and consults and conducts workshops nationally for non-profits, including museums, on strategic planning, collections, exhibitions, non-profit governance and management, adaptive reuse of historic structures and fundraising.

She initiated the legislation for both a Florida Jewish History Month (January) and a Jewish American Heritage Month(May) to increase awareness of the contributions by Jews to the state and nation. In May 2010, 2011 and 2012, Marcia was invited to President Barack Obama’s White House receptions for Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM). On behalf of the Board of JMOF, she loaned the original 2006 Presidential Proclamation for JAHM to Jewish astronaut Dr. Garrett Reisman to take on the Atlantis Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station in May 2010 and in August 2010, Reisman returned the document to her. Marcia serves on the Board for Jewish American Heritage Month.

Marcia wrote (with co-author) Florida Jewish Heritage Trail, published by Florida Dept. of State (250 sites in 44 cities with Jewish historical significance). Marcia authored all of the Florida entries for the Encyclopedia Judaica and her scholarship has been used in films and books, including by Brandeis University Press; she has been published internationally. In 2009, her photodocumentary book, Jews of Greater Miami, was released.

Sep
29
Thu
2016
Banned in Jacksonville: What book are you missing?
Sep 29 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

According to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom(OIF), “hundreds of books are challenged in schools and libraries in the United States each year. A challenge is an WH_BannedBooksattempt to remove or restrict materials, while a banning reflects the actual removal of those materials”. 275 challenges were recorded nationally during 2015. The OIF staff believes far more challenges occur, however, because reporting is not mandatory in all states.

In the Duval County School System alone, 300 book challenges have been reported from 1978 – 2012. The Jacksonville Public Library reports 70 challenges to materials (books, DVDs, etc.) since 2000.

Leslie Kirkwood, Chair of  Banned: A Community Conversation about Censorship and Free Speech will present crucial history and background and Barbara A. B. Gubbin, Director of Jacksonville Public Library in this important conversation.  The presentation also incorporates performances by Jason Woods, actor/director. The presentation will also highlight the history of the Nazi-era censorship and its relevance today; Banned Books Week; a review of national, local public school and public library challenges; and a discussion of First Amendment rights.

Leslie Kirkwood is is a current chair of Banned: Censorship and Free Speech (a series of public programs—community conversations—that examines the delicate balance between censorship and free speech) and Remembering for the Future Community Holocaust Initiative (an organization that focuses attention on Holocaust education and remembrance through educational resources, teacher training, major exhibitions and community programs.). She is also the Vice-President of Urban Dynamics Corporation, a member of the Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library and the former Executive Director of the Jacksonville Public Libraries Foundation.

The reception begins at 6:30pm with the program to follow at 7pm. Both events will be held at Old St. Andrew’s, 317 A. Philip Randolph Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32202.

Free parking is available in the lot behind the Merrill House and Old St. Andrew’s, along Duval Street.
Security will be on duty.
Your guests are welcome.
A suggested donation for non-members is $5, students free with proper ID.

This program and the 2016-17 JHS program series is generously sponsored by Retina Associates, P.A. Dr. Fred H. Lambrou, Jr.

Mar
30
Thu
2017
Florida’s Fleet: A Shrimping Legacy from the First Coast
Mar 30 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Shrimp boats in Jacksonville, Florida. © Florida Memory

The Jacksonville Historical Society and Brendan Burke, author and underwater archaeologist with the St. Augustine Historical Society and Museum‘s research center LAMP, will present a program on Florida’s Fleet: A Shrimping Legacy from the First Coast on Thursday, March 30th beginning with a reception at 6:30pm followed by the program at 7pm.

During the early 20th century, a new type of boat was born in Northeast Florida. Forged from Greek, Italian, Norwegian, African-American, and native Floridian hands, the Florida-style trawler became one of the most important boats in the state’s history. From 1919 until the mid-1980’s, Florida supplied the world with shrimp trawlers and commercial fishing boats of all types. In Northeast Florida, the enterprise grew into a multi-billion dollar industry that contributed to over 23 foreign fishing fleets. Ultimately, Florida would be responsible for the largest purpose-built wooden fishing fleet ever assembled.

We ask that you register for the event via Eventbrite. Please click the ticket icon above to register for you seat. You may also email or phone the society to make your reservation.

About the speaker

Brendan Burke, Archaeologist and Logistical Coordinator with LAMP.

Brendan Burke is a maritime archaeologist at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum in the museum’s research wing, the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP). Since 2007, he has researched the commercial shrimping history of Florida, and in 2013 co-authored Shrimp Boat City with Ed Long, a St. Augustine native. When he is not researching commercial fishing, Brendan may be found underwater or onboard the research vessel ROPER, diving and excavating a shipwreck from the American Revolution off St. Augustine’s beach. He holds a B.A. in history/anthropology from Longwood University and an MA in historical archaeology from The College of William and Mary.

Sep
14
Thu
2017
Emerging Florida and the Women Who Changed the World
Sep 14 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Join the Jacksonville Historical Society and speaker and JHS Past-President Susan Caven on Thursday, September 14th at noon at Old St. Andrew’s for Emerging Florida and the Women Who Changed the World.

Ximenz-Fatio House in the mid-1880s. Image belongs to the Ximenz-Fation House Museum.

In 1821, when Florida became part of the United States, northerners began traveling to St. Augustine to see the exotic new territory. Margaret Cook, an entrepreneurial widow, purchased the solidly built Ximenez building and operated it as an elegant inn. She was the first of several refined female owners who, with good household management skills, accommodated a sophisticated northern clientele. Speaker Susan Caven will talk about the women associated with the one-time inn, now a museum, who helped create the foundation of the hospitality industry and modern tourism—the backbone of Florida’s economy.

The property today, the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum, is proudly owned and operated as a museum by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Florida; Susan Caven is a Past President of the formidable and insightful group of women. Susan is also Past-President of the Jacksonville Historical Society, Greenscape and Scenic Jacksonville. She is a former Chair of the Jacksonville Landmarks Commission.

Desserts and drinks will be provided. Please feel free to bring a brown bag lunch.

Sep
26
Tue
2017
Winterling and Weather: A North Florida View
Sep 26 @ 6:30 pm – 8:15 pm

George Winterling, Channel 4 meteorologist, reports on Hurricane Dora’s maneuvers, 1964.

In 1962, when George Winterling began as a meteorologist with Channel 4 television, broadcasts were black and white and reporting was live—no video tape. Prior to his 47 year career at WJCT, Mr. Winterling worked as a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jacksonville. In 1964, he accurately predicted Hurricane Dora would hit North Florida. He’s also known for creating a humiture index—how hot it feels—today used nationwide and beyond as the”heat-index.” Rainfall predictability was another Winterling creation. He recalls television’s earliest Jacksonville broadcasts in 1949. So eager to see more, later as a student of Florida State University, he mounted an antenna on the chimney and watched Bill Grove’s “Eye on the News” from Tallahassee. By the time he retired from Channel 4 in 2009, he was a Jacksonville institution. In this presentation, you’ll learn more about Mr. WInterling-known to all as George-and more about North Florida’s weather history.

About the speaker

Born in New Jersey in 1931, George Winterling moved with his family to Jacksonville at age 10. He graduated from Lee High School. In 1949, he joined the United States Air Force and was sent to Weather Observers School at Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois. He eventually trained at Shemya Air Force Base in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands where he observed the Pacific’s killer storms. In 1957, he earned a meteorology degree from Florida State University and was employed for five years by the U.S. Weather Bureau (now called the National Weather Service) until he was pivotal in convincing Channel 4, they needed a meteorologist. A Mandarin resident, he married his wife Virginia in 1956.

Apr
19
Thu
2018
Digging for our history: The Jacksonville Wall Project
Apr 19 @ 7:00 pm

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.

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

Sep
29
Sat
2018
2018 Gingerbread Extravaganza Builder’s Workshop
Sep 29 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Calling All Gingerbread Builders!

The Jacksonville Historical Society is holding the 2018 Gingerbread Builder Workshop Saturday, September 29th from 10:00am – 12:00am and the Old St. Andrew’s, 317 A. Philip Randolph Blvd. We highly recommend Builders to attend the workshop but are not required to attend the workshop in order to participate in the event. We are happy that our Gingerbread Builder Veterans E.J. McIntyre and Sara Aicher have agreed to lead this workshop, sharing their tips and tricks to creating a gingerbread entry that will last.

As a reminder, the Gingerbread Builder Permit form submissions are due Thursday, September 27th and the creations are to be delivered to the Old St. Andrews either Monday, November 26, 12:00pm – 4:00pm or Tuesday, November 27, 8:00am – 3:00pm. We hope that those of you who have shown an interest in participating in this event for 2018 have submitted your Builder Permit form and are busy planning your wonderful creations.

Please RSVP for the Builder Workshop with our office at (904) 665-0064 or email gingerbread@jaxhistory.org

Copyright © 2019 by Jacksonville Historical Society

THE JACKSONVILLE HISTORICAL SOCIETY