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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?

Feb
19
Wed
2014
Shopping at its Best: Jacksonville’s Acclaimed Jewish Retail Community
Feb 19 @ 7:30 am – 9:30 am
Shopping at its Best: Jacksonville's Acclaimed Jewish Retail Community @ Old St. Andrews | Jacksonville | Florida | United States

Furchgott’s, Levy’s, French Novelty, Cohen Brothers, and the Vogue Shops were a few of the Jewish retail establishments that dotted Jacksonville’s landscape with fine retail shopping–in some instances, for more than a century. Hear the stories of the families that brought business and style to our city. It’s a fascinating look at  19th and 20th century Jacksonville through the businesses of the city’s most prominent families. Noted experts on Florida history provide the early Jacksonville account, and local families and their descendants involved in some of the businesses are special guests.

Oct
15
Wed
2014
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens: 100 Years New
Oct 15 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens: 100 Years New @ Old St. Andrews | Jacksonville | Florida | United States

Join us October 15th for “The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens: 100 Years New” with Biological Programs Registrar Alan Rost. The program is free and open to the public, and will be held at the Old St. Andew’s Church, 318 A. Philip Randolph Blvd. The program beings with a reception at 6:30 p.m, followed by the presentation at 7 p.m.

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens got its start in Springfield near 3rd and Broad Streets with a single red deer. Within two years, the zoo included monkeys and black bears along with other species. In the same year, the Jacksonville City Council appropriated funds to purchase an axis deer, a llama, zebu cattle and a bison. In late December 1916, days of heavy rain brought near disaster. Although some animals were up to their necks in water, none were lost. A move to the zoo’s current location on Trout River came in 1924 following “odor” complaints from neighbors.

Today, more than 800,000 people visit the zoo annually and a staff of 250 runs the operation. As a public-private partnership, 600 volunteers assist at the zoo. The non-profit Jacksonville Zoological Society manages the zoo and contracts with the City of Jacksonville. Twenty-five year zoo staff member, Alan Rost, is the presenter.

  • Free parking is available in the lot behind the Merrill House, or you may park along A. Philip Randolph at the parking meters.
  • Security will be on duty.
  • Your guests are welcome!
Feb
26
Thu
2015
Spies, Schemes and the Sons of Liberty: The Shadier Side of East and West Florida
Feb 26 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Spies, Schemes and the Sons of Liberty: The Shadier Side of East and West Florida @ 317 A. Philip Randolph Blvd. | Jacksonville | Florida | United States

During the critical days, months and years of the American Revolution, Florida was no longer under Spanish control. From 1763 to 1783, Florida was British-owned, and yet, it was more than a site for loyalist to the crown. Did you know that the British royal governor of East Florida accused prominent colonists of holding a Sons of Liberty meeting? Or that during the American Revolution the British put plans in motion to literally steal the Mississippi River? Throughout the Revolutionary War period, these and other wild escapades of treason, revolutionary land schemes, spies, and espionage fill the annals of East and West Florida history. This program introduces you to the shadier side of British occupation in Florida and how those instances impacted the nation’s fight for independence.

About the speaker: Roger Smith, Ph.D., received his Bachelor’s Degree in History in 2006, a Master’s Degree in American History in 2008, and a Ph.D. in Early American History and Atlantic World Studies, with a certificate of scholarship in Museum Studies, in 2011 – all from the University of Florida. His work on the American Revolution in the South has received the Aschoff Fellowship Dissertation Award and the Jack and Celia Proctor Award in Southern History. Dr. Smith now represents the firm of Colonial Research Associates, Inc., and speaks across the South on his Revolutionary War research.

Oct
8
Thu
2015
The Mad Atlas of Virginia King
Oct 8 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

The Mad Atlas of Virginia KingBook Launching and Signing at Old St. Andrews!

The Mad Atlas of Virginia King  by Tim Gilmore

with Hurley Winkler and Kiley Secrest

 

 Listen to Tim Gilmore’s interview with WJCT’s Jessica Palombo as they walk through Riverside and discuss Virginia King.

Virginia King wrote an 8,448-page highly inaccurate book about her hometown of Jacksonville. The title was almost as long. She said her brother was dead. He said he’d never heard of her. Always dirt poor, she called the wealthiest people in the city “my little friends.” From 1915 to 2001, Virginia lived in 18 different residences, mostly in Riverside, and residents who remember her call her a “Riverside character.”

Virginia King in front of the Carnegie Library as the Hayden Burns Library is under construction.

Virginia King in front of the Carnegie Library as the Hayden Burns Library is under construction.

This new nonfiction novel about Virginia King includes reminiscences from local residents Helen Lane, Wayne Wood, Sarah Van Cleve, Pokey Towers Lyerly, Elizabeth Towers, Charlie Towers, Jerry Ferguson, Joel McEachin, and many others. The book celebrates the strange treasures of the Jacksonville Historical Society archives.

The book includes meaningful musings by Hurley Winkler, of Perversion Magazine and Swamp Radio, and hand-drawn maps by Springfield resident and architectural portraitist Kiley Secrest. Though she got so much of Jacksonville’s history wrong, her work touches innumerable aspects of it, and her devotion and commitment are perhaps unmatched. When Reverend Tom Are gave Virginia’s eulogy, he said, “It seems to me that Virginia King served as something of a prophet in our town.”

The reception and book signing will begin at 6:30pm. Dr. Gilmore will present his findings on Jacksonville’s unique character, Virginia King, at 7pm.

Dr. Gilmore is the author of several books, including In Search of Eartha White, Storehouse for the People (2014), Stalking Ottis Toole: A Southern Gothic (2013) and This Kind of City: Ghost Stories and Psychological Landscapes (2012). He’s the creator of Jax Psycho Geo, which features nearly 250 stories about significant places across Jacksonville, Florida. He teaches Literature and Composition at Florida State College at Jacksonville.

 

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

Feb
29
Mon
2016
Ribault to the Revolution
Feb 29 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Shipwreck Archaeology at the St. Augustine Lighthouse

 

Chuck Meide, Director of the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP), offers updates o the search for the lost ships in Jean Ribault’s fleet. He’ll also focus on a major underwater wreck dating to Revolutionary War years that has yielded extraordinary finds — everything except the ships name! Near the end of the American Revolution, the ship out of Charleston was on its way to St. Augustine filled with fleeing loyalist escaping to British East Florida. Meide believes the ship stopped in route to St. Augustine at St. Johns Town, a town of British loyalist located at St. Johns Bluff about six miles from the St. Johns River mouth. Later, the ship sunk as it approached St. Augustine’s treacherous inlet.

An Atlantic Beach, Florida native, Chuck Meide attended Florida State University, receiving both his bachelor and master degrees in anthropology with a focus on underwater archaeology. He is currently Chuckcompleting his PhD through the College of William and Mary. Meide has participated in and supervised a wide variety of maritime archaeological projects, including investigations of submerged prehistoric hunting and occupation sites; 16th and 17th century Spanish galleon wrecks; Confederate ironclad and Union supply ship wrecks; the earliest Western river steamboat excavation by archaeologists; and La Salle’s ship la Belle lost in 1686.

 

This event is open to the public. A suggested donation for non-members is $5, unless a student with an I.D.

 

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

 

Nov
5
Sat
2016
Jacksonville Genealogical Society Monthly Meeting
Nov 5 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

jgs

Join the Jacksonville Genealogical Society for their regular monthly meeting  on Saturday, November 5, 2016 at 1 PM at the Edgewater @ Sunbeam Clubhouse, 4366 Edgewater Crossing Drive, Jacksonville. In order to enter the gated community, use the code #7437. The clubhouse is immediately on the left after entry.

 

Speaker: Robert Scott Davis

Using Federal Records: The Secrets to Finding and Understanding What You Need From a National Archives

Paul will cover this huge topic in just over an hour.  He will give a little historical and geographic context. There will be a key emphasis on internet resources and cover such topics as parish registers and transcripts, newspapers, census records (there were some!) and substitutes, and other resources available to most people from their arm-chair.  The talk will be accompanied by a two-page checklist so that members can follow up at home.

About the speaker:

Robert Scott Davis is the director of the Genealogy Program of Wallace State Community College, Hanceville, Alabama. His duties include helping to build one of the South’s most extensive genealogical collections; operating a microfilming facility; teaching genealogy in one of the first colleges to offer genealogy as a college level course; and organizing field trips for his classes to libraries throughout the country. In 2006, this program that he built received the Award for Outstanding Leadership in History from the American Association for State and Local History. Professor Davis also teaches survey courses in geography and history. He has more than 1,000 publications of all sorts and from research he has conducted in archives and libraries throughout the United States, England, and Scotland. Aside from writing history, genealogy, and records, he has also compiled books and articles on methods and materials in research.

Jacksonville Genealogical Society Monthly Meeting
Nov 5 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

jgs

Join the Jacksonville Genealogical Society and the Southern Genealogist’s Exchange Society as the co-host a November meeting on Saturday, November 5 at Edgewater at Sunbeam Clubhouse, 4366 Edgewater Crossing Drive, beginning at 1pm. In order to enter, use code #7437 at the gate. Clubhouse is on the left immediately after entry. This is the last monthly meeting of the year.

Speaker: Robert Scott Davis

Using Federal Records: The Secrets to Finding and Understanding What you Need From a National Archives

About the Speaker:

Robert Scott Davis is the director of the Genealogy Program of Wallace State Community College, Hanceville, Alabama. His duties include helping to build one of the South’s most extensive genealogical collections; operating a microfilming facility; teaching genealogy in one of the first colleges to offer genealogy as a college level course; and organizing field trips for his classes to libraries throughout the country. In 2006, this program that he built received the Award for Outstanding Leadership in History from the American Association for State and Local History. Professor Davis also teaches survey courses in geography and history. He has more than 1,000 publications of all sorts and from research he has conducted in archives and libraries throughout the United States, England, and Scotland. Aside from writing history, genealogy, and records, he has also compiled books and articles on methods and materials in research.

Apr
20
Thu
2017
Andrew Jackson in Florida
Apr 20 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Join the Jacksonville Historical Society and co-sponsor, The Hermitage, on April 20th for a 6:30pm reception and book signing, followed by a 7pm program with authors and speakers, Sherry Johnson and James G. Cusick.

Andrew Jackson is one of the most controversial figures in Florida history. He invaded Pensacola, the capital of Spanish-controlled Florida, during the War of 1812. He was commander of military operations during the First Seminole War, and his Indian Removal policies sparked the Second Seminole War. He briefly served as the first territorial governor of Florida.

No other person is more closely associated with the Americanization of Florida and its transformation from Spanish borderland to Deep South frontier. Jackson’s military expeditions ended both Spanish and Native American control over Florida’s Big Bend and Panhandle areas. From his own time to the present, opinion is divided on whether he deserves praise or condemnation for his actions.

This book includes scholarly perspectives previously published in the Florida Historical Quarterly, important primary source documents from Jackson’s time, and new original analysis from contemporary scholars reflecting upon Jackson’s legacy.

About the authors

James G. Cusick is curator of the P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History at the University of Florida Library and author of The Other War of 1812: The Patriot War and the American Invasion of Spanish East Florida. His interests in Florida history focus primarily on its colonial and 19th century past. Since 2004 he has also worked closely with the Florida Humanities Council to bring knowledge of Florida’s colonial history to primary, middle school, and high school teachers around the state. In addition to his duties at the university, he serves on the boards of the Florida Historical Society and the Gulf South History and Humanities Conference; he is a research associate of the St. Augustine Historical Society and the Historical St. Augustine Research Institute; a former board member and officer of the Seminole Wars Historic Foundation and the St. Augustine Archaeological Association; and a judge for the Florida Book Awards administered through the State of Florida.

Sherry Johnson is assistant professor of history and Cuban studies at Florida International University. She is the author of articles on Cuban and Florida history in such journals as Florida Historical Quarterly, Hispanic American Historical Review, Cuban Studies, and Colonial Latin American Historical Review.

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