Florida Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
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This entry was originally written by the Florida Pioneer Descendants Certification Program Committee of the Florida State Genealogical Society, Inc. for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
In addition to The Florida Genealogist, published by the Florida State Genealogical Society, researchers can turn to The Southern Genealogists Exchange Quarterly, published by the Southern Genealogist’s Exchange Society in Jacksonville since 1957. The Florida Historical Quarterly, published by the Florida Historical Society, has been in publication since 1908, and Tequesta, from the Historical Association of Southern Florida, since 1941. A number of local societies also publish useful periodicals. For a listing, see the Florida State Genealogical Society below.
The first newspaper published in Florida was in 1783 by a Tory who wanted to announce the end of the American Revolution. However, it was discontinued when Florida again came under Spanish rule. After Spain relinquished Florida back to the United States, the Florida Gazette began publication in St. Augustine in July 1821.
Newspaper collections are found in most large libraries, but local societies and libraries in the area of geographical interest should also be queried. The most comprehensive collection is located at the University of Florida, P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History, and the George A. Smathers Library in Gainesville. According to their website, “a collection and preservation effort begun in 1944 called for acquisition of at least one newspaper from each of Florida’s sixty-seven counties on an ongoing basis. The library began to produce in-house microfilm copies of its Florida newspapers in 1947 and films sixty-four current Florida newspapers on a regular basis today.” The Florida Newspaper Project website is www.uflib.ufl.edu/flnews.
Other major collections can be found at the State Library of Florida in Tallahassee, the Robert Manning Strozier Library at Florida State University in Tallahassee, the John C. Pace Library at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, the University of Miami’s Otto G. Richter Library, and the University of South Florida’s Tampa Campus Library.
Not only are manuscript collections found in university and historical libraries throughout the South, but also in several larger public collections as well the Florida State Archives and the state’s larger historical societies. The National Union Catalog of Manuscripts (see page 11) lists numerous Florida holdings. Specific and limited queries to individual collections can also be productive.