Welcome to the Jacksonville Historical Society’s Collection
The Jacksonville Historical Society oversees an archival repository with tens of thousands of items, including, but not limited to, rare photographs, diaries, maps, manuscripts, and films relating to city history and the history of Northeast Florida. As part of our Archives, we maintain a Research Program that provides public use of the materials with a 24-hour-a-week staff, along with volunteers and college interns dedicated to assisting individuals, the media, government leaders, and researchers—from children to doctoral candidates—in pursuit of historical data and images.
An ever increasing electronic presence offers users throughout the world the opportunity to locate information and rare materials on Jacksonville and Northeast Florida. This also makes research more effective for the public, and minimizes potential wear and tear on the collections. We are currently digitizing our collections in order to make research more effective for the public and to minimize potential wear and tear on the collections. Updates to the online collections occur as soon as the collections are digitized.
For more information about our archive, as well as research assistance or other related archive information, please contact the JHS Archivist at 904.374.0296 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Archives are housed at the society’s Old St. Luke’s Hospital, 314 Palmetto Street, and portions of the Florida Casket Factory.
Our images are available for purchase and for a small fee, the Jacksonville Historical Society staff and volunteers will conduct research for individuals and provide digital copies of images.
Jacksonville Historical Society Collection Highlights:
Board of Trade Collection: The minutes of Jacksonville’s Board of Trade (renamed Chamber of Commerce in 1916) spanning the period of 1901 through 1939. Among the highlights are hand0written minutes two days following the Great Fire of 1901, when local businesses were called to action.
Broadbent Collection: A series of images photographed and donated by Robert Broadbent many relating to a declining downtown Jacksonville in the 1970’s, including store windows and street scenes.
Bilbo Family: A collection of photographs and letters pertaining to the Bilbo family of Jacksonville, donated in 1976 by Lillian Gilkes, author of a biography on the infamous Cora Crane, wife of Stephen Crane, and descendant of the Bilbo/Gilkes line. The letters span from 1812 to the early 1900s, focusing on the Bilbo/Gilkes families living in Savannah, GA and Jacksonville.
Carrick Collection: The blueprints, working plans, scrapbooks and images of the bridges of Carrick in and around Jacksonville, Florida in 20th century Jacksonville.
Chamber of Commerce Collection: Tens of thousands of documents and photographs relating primarily to 1990’s Jacksonville business and Chamber activities.
City Council Photographic Collection: Photographs of City Council of Jacksonville members dating from the late 19th century through the late 20th century.
Consolidated City of Jacksonville Records: The records of the committees and individuals involved in activities leading up to the consolidation of the City of Jacksonville (not inventoried).
Cohen Brothers Collection: More than 200 images of early 20th and mid-20th century Jacksonville and its most noted department store; includes, interior and exterior store, employee activities, fashion shows, store’s parade and more.
Cuban Consulate Collection: A collection of photos and articles pertaining to the Cuban Consulate to Jacksonville, FL. The collection contains approximately four hundred and sixty-seven (467) loose photos as well as eighty-five (85) photographs in various albums. There are also various newspaper articles about the Consulate in Jacksonville. The collection highlights many visitors to the Consulate and its role in Jacksonville.
Elks Club Membership Collection: The collection consisting of 550 membership applications for the Elks Club Lodge Number 221 from between approximately 1900 and 1950. The applications contain information about each applicant’s history, including work history, current and former residences, places of birth, occupation and more. The applications also show the social connection between individuals as it lists those already in the Elks Club who sponsored the applicant, as well including references for the applicant. Some applications even contain medical histories.
Elsner Collection: Professional photographer William Elsner’s photos of 1930’s Jacksonville; active street scenes, presidential motorcades, city skylines and more (not inventoried by collection, but by subject matter).
Great Fire Photographs: A series of photos (some from the Leah Mary Cox Collection listed below) of the Jacksonville’s Fire, including more than 300 images of people, places, and events related to the fire or the aftermath of the fire.
Kellogg Album: Included in the collection is one scrapbook of photographs, drawings and embellishments titled “Arms, Crests and Monograms” from the 1870s by Edward B. Kellogg. Kellogg was part of the Alvord, Kellogg & Campbell Company, located at 57 West Bay Street in Jacksonville, FL, a Florida curiosity shop that reproduced the photographs (for sale at his shop) as seen in this album. The majority of the album contains images that were later made into stereographs and sold to Jacksonville tourists, many of which became well-known Florida images.
Leah Mary Cox Collection: Photo collection of 4,075 glass plates with images relating to late 19th century and early 20th century Jacksonville, including street scenes, pre and post Great Fire photos, buildings, homes, portraits and recreational images, and more.
Memorial Park Collection: Papers, documents, photographs and historical records related to Memorial Park and the Memorial Park Association in Jacksonville’s Riverside neighborhood.
Merrill Collection: Hundreds of photos and documents relating to Jacksonville’s Merrill family, the St. Johns River Ship Building Company, and Merrill-Steven’s Dry Dock and Repair. Collection highlights include images of the construction and launching of more than 80 Liberty Ships during WWII and Jacksonville’s role in the Panama Canal construction.
Postcard Collection: More than one thousand postcards of area scenes in and around Jacksonville including parks, hotels, restaurants, public buildings and much more. The bulk of this collection represents the early half of the 20th century.
Publication Collection: Books and Journals published by the Jacksonville Historical Society, including three major coffee table books: The Great Fire of 1901, The Jacksonville Family Album, and The Architecture of Henry John Klutho; a series of journals with specific articles relating to city history, published between 1949 and 1996; and two other books: Jacksonville’s Aviation History and First Coast Steamboat Days.
Robert Fisher Photos: In the collection are approximately four hundred and twenty-seven (427) photographs and portraits taken by photographer Robert E. Fisher. These photographs were taken around Jacksonville, FL in the 1940s ad 1950s. The photographs focus on the architecture, the society and the landscape of Jacksonville amongst some other things, including houses, buildings, aerial photos, bridges, parades and landscapes.
Spanish-American War Collection: Images specific to the war and Jacksonville, Florida including encampments, Gen. Fitzhugh Lee, soldiers’ activities, parades and more, dating to the late 1890s.
Studio Collection: A collection of 10,000 plus images, mostly negatives and some hard copy and some glass plates in the process of electronic cataloging, includes 20th century Jacksonville with portraits, everyday scenes, car wrecks, and more. Some local World War II images are included.
The Woman’s Club of Jacksonville Collection: A collection of rare documents, photographs and scrapbooks relating to decades of notable citizens and club members and activities, spanning the decades from late 19th century into the 21st century.