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?
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.
Debuting a Jacksonville Historical Society film–Jacksonville History in 30 Minutes! The history of the town in 30 minutes? Wll, the high points are covered: the French colony of La Caroline; the founding of Cowford; a town in ruins post Civil War; a winter tourist destination and movie making center; the Great Fire; a burgeoning skyline; the military presence; consolidation; overnight status as the largest city in the free world; and yes, even fleeting fame as a Super Bowl city! Following the film’s debut, scholars and arm chair historians will discuss what was left out.
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.”
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.
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 attempt 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.
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.
In honor of National Preservation Month, Wayne W. Wood, the “godfather of Jacksonville History,” is speaker for the Jacksonville Historical Society annual meeting. Dr. Wood’s presentation explores Jacksonville’s greatest architectural gems, including amazing landmarks that are long gone, and his 25 favorite buildings existing in Northeast Florida. You” hear dramatic stories of local significant structures that have been rescued and preserved. Also covered during the presentation are Jacksonville’s most endangered buildings, which include some big surprises!
About the speaker
Dr. Wood, a retired optometrist, is author or editor of numerous books exploring Jacksonville’s history, including the best selling, Jacksonville’s Architectural Heritage: Landmarks for the Future (currently out-of-print). Other publications include, but are not limited to The Jacksonville Family Album: 150 Years of the Art of Photography, The Great Fire of 1901, The Architectural of Henry John Klutho: The Prairie School in Jacksonville, The Broward Family in Florida: From France to Florida, and The Living Heritage of Riverside and Avondale. A few remaining copies of The Jacksonville Family Album will be available for sale at the May 31 program along with other books by Dr. Wood, or purchase them online by clicking on the highlighted book name.