The Tatler of Society in Florida is Now Available Digitally

Courtesy of the Spring 2018 issue of the St. Augustine Historical Society newsletter. I used several articles from the Tatler in my book ST. AUGUSTINE & THE CIVIL WAR (Civil War Series) finding interesting tidbits on former Civil War Generals and when they were in town and what they were up to. It was not digital with an index at the time so I know I didn’t get the full use out of this fascinating reference.  Now if they can just get this source available online.

Hidden Treasures: The Tatler  Written by Bob Nawrocki

The arrival of Henry M. Flagler and the opening of his hotels brought wealthy winter tourists to St. Augustine by the train load. Before email, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media, the wealthy visitors used print publications to find out what their peers were doing.

Anna Marcotte, who previously worked on the St. Augustine News, started The Tatler of Society in Florida to document the comings and goings of wealthy visitors to St. Augustine; The Tatler was only published during the winter season. The Tatler offered a listing of who came into town, where they were staying, menus of specials events, descriptions of dresses and gowns worn to dances and ads for hotels and souvenirs.

The Research Library has the only complete collection of The Tatler in the United States. It is an invaluable resource for a researcher looking into the Gilded Age in St. Augustine. Until recently, the only way to find information in The Tatler was to read each issue until you found the information you needed. This took time and caused wear and tear to our only copies of The Tatler.

Thanks to the hard work of Marty Cawley, a Research Library volunteer, The Tatler is fully indexed. Ms. Cawley went through each issue and indexed the articles and photographs in each issue. The information was entered into Emily, our online catalog, and is available to anyone with access to the Internet. To access our catalog, visit oldesthouse.org and click on the Research Library button.

To protect our set of The Tatler, the entire run has been scanned and converted into a set of PDFs. To scan our bound set, it was necessary to use an oversize scanner. Matt Armstrong, Collections Coordinator of the University of Florida Historic St. Augustine Library at the Governor’s House, offered use of their library’s oversize scanner for this project. Chad Germany, Assistant Librarian, scanned the collection and organized the PDFs. The PDFs are only available in the reading room of the Research Library. The fragile original copies of The Tatler will be placed in secure storage where they will be in temperature and humidity controlled space, preserving them for the future.

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Historian Patricia C. Griffin Has Passed Away

I received this notice in my email today.

Dear Members of the St. Augustine Historical Society,

It is with great sadness that I announce the death of Dr. Patricia C. Griffin. Dr. Griffin was always available to assist the Society whenever we called upon her. She was a former president of The St. Augustine Historical Society, one of the very few Research Associates of the Society as voted by the Board of Trustees, and a contributor to El Escribano and The Oldest City. She shared in the academic work of her archaeologist husband, Dr. John Griffin, and her knowledge and love of St. Augustine was her gift to others. Her texts, Mullet on the Beach: The Minorcans of Florida, 1768-1788 (Florida Sand Dollar Books) and The Odyssey of an African Slave by Sitiki, are classics–wonderful examples of weaving anthropological perspective into historic writing.

She will be greatly missed, and we offer our condolences to her family.

Sincerely yours,
Magen Wilson
Executive Director

Patricia Conaway Griffin, Ph.D.
January 30, 1920 – December 31, 2017

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Well known to St. Augustine for her groundbreaking ethnic studies. Dr. Patricia Griffin examined the first twenty years of Florida’s Minorcan community in the 1988 El Escribano: Mullet on the Beach (Later republished in book form by the University Press of Florida.) As early as 1971 African Americans became a major focus with a study of the Frenchtown neighborhood in Tallahassee and later as editor & annotator of The Odyssey of an African Slave by Sitiki. Short articles written for the historical society included: Emerson in St. Augustine and Mary Evans: Woman of Substance as well as the chapter on the Second Spanish Period in The Oldest City: Saga of Survival. She was active with the project to microfilm the Roman Catholic Church records in the Island of Minorca and the historical society published her diary of the 1994 expedition in El Escribano. Dr. Griffin served as President of the historical society in 2003. In 1992 as a tribute to her scholarship, the Board of Trustees made her one of the very few Research Associates of the St. Augustine Historical Society.

Pat was born in San Luis Obispo, California, an old Spanish Franciscan Mission town. She received an AB from University of California (Berkeley) in 1943. In 1945 she completed a Master’s degree in social service administration at the University of Chicago. A Master’s degree in anthropology came in 1977 from the University of Florida. She earned a Doctorate in anthropology from the University of Florida with her dissertation on the impact of tourism of local festivals, specifically St. Augustine. Dr. Griffin spent the majority of her time since 1954 in St. Augustine when her late husband Dr. John Griffin accepted the position Executive Historian of the St. Augustine Historical Society. From 1955 to 1957, she taught history and social studies in St. Johns County high schools. The Griffins were founding members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of St. Augustine in 1985. She was on the faculty of Florida State University from 1970 to 1980. She was editor of the Florida Journal of Anthropology in 1975. In the 1980s, she held various positions as an administrator and clinical social worker with the Tri-County Mental Health Services, Inc. The Historical Research Institute at Flagler College inducted her in the 1990s. Pat edited her husband John’s papers into Fifty Years of Southeastern Archaeology: Selected Works of John W. Griffin for the University Press of Florida in 1996. Some of her most recent writings were as an historical and anthropological consultant for archaeological reports on several eastern Florida plantation sites excavated by Ted Payne.

In addition to her career in teaching and social work, she and her late husband John raised five children over the course of their long marriage. Dr. Griffin was an avid runner who held two age records in the Gate River Run in Jacksonville. In 1984 she was a member of the Silver Haired Legislature of Florida. From 1980-1985, Dr. Griffin served on the Board of Directors of the Area Agency on Aging which covers all of northeast Florida plus Flagler & Volusia Counties.

Condolences may be sent to the Griffin family at 901 North Griffin Shores Drive, St. Augustine, Florida 32080.

Charles Tingley Wins Major Award for Work on Alexander H. Darnes

 

Charles Tingley
Charles Tingley

At the recent annual meeting of the Florida Historical Society, Charles Tingley, Senior Research Librarian for the St. Augustine Historical Society was presented the Arthur W. Thompson Award for the best article in any issue of the 2016 Florida Historical Quarterly. 

The article titled, “Another Invisible Man: Alexander H. Darnes, M.D.,” concerns a long forgotten man who was born and raised in St. Augustine enslaved by the Smith family. He spent his teenage years as the valet to Edmund Kirby Smith, a U. S. Army officer who became a Confederate general.

After the Civil War, he received his college education at Lincoln University in Chester, Pennsylvania and graduated with a medical degree from Howard University in 1880. He immediately set up a medical practice in Jacksonville, Florida. He was the first African-American with a modern medical practice in Florida.  Darnes was the physician to James Weldon Johnson, the author of Lift Every Voice and Sing and was fondly remembered in his autobiography.

He served with courage during two of the greatest health emergencies in Jacksonville

Darnes
Alexander H. Darnes

history: the small pox epidemic of 1884 and the yellow fever epidemic of 1888. At the time of his death in 1894, Darnes was the Deputy Grand Master of the Prince Hall Masons of Florida.

Mr. Tingley began researching Alexander Darnes prior to the St. Augustine Historical Society erecting a statue to A. H. Darnes and E. Kirby Smith at their childhood home in 2003. This building is now the Research Library for the Historical Society

Book Review–Finding the Fountain of Youth

Kilby, Rick. Finding the Fountain of Youth: Ponce de Leon and Florida’s Magical Waters. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. 2013. Bibliography, color & b/w photos. ISBN 9780813044873, $14.95.

I imagine in some ways we are all searching for the Fountain of Youth. We may want to have the wisdom of being a few years older but for most of us we want to hang on to our youth as long as possible.

In his beautifully illustrated book, author Rick Kilby  lets us in on the myths and legends surrounding Juan Ponce de Leon, the Fountain of Youth, and how this dream has been, and continues to be, used in marketing.

Mr. Kilby points out a common narrative in regards to many of the springs in the state. First is that these sites are sacred to Native Americans who lived near them for years before colonial settlers take up residence near them, drawn by the cool and pure water. As tourism becomes more important to Florida, entrepreneurs such as steamboat owners, begin using the “fountain of youth” myth to draw visitors to the healing waters. With family travel becoming more common these springs were often turned into tourist attractions with highlights such as waterskiing elephants (De Leon Springs), glass bottom boats (Silver Springs), mermaids (Weekie Watchie), and more. In the days of segregation African-Americans could visit locations such as Paradise Park, which was “For colored people only” according to period advertisements.

The myth of Juan Ponce de Leon searching for the “fountain of youth” is laid out and addressed thoroughly by Mr. Kilby. Let’s also be honest; how was Ponce supposed to find the real “Fountain” when it seems to have been located in so many places. Florida cities as diverse and far away from each other such as St. Augustine, St. Petersburg, Sarasota County, De Leon Springs, and Venice, have use the “fountain of youth” motif in advertising and promotion. But let us not forget that drinking a glass of Florida orange juice may also be the key to staying young.

While this book is fun, enjoyable, and upbeat, there is also a sadness to be recognized when one realizes much of what Mr. Kilby puts forth is no longer available. The interstate system, along with the ease of flying, have put many of these locations out-of-the-way and no longer relevant to today’s visitor to the state. The quaintness of these attractions make them seem outdated and boring when compared to billion dollar theme parks with every bell and whistle imaginable. A cell phone in hand is oftentimes more interesting to not just the young but their parents as well. In addition, the reality is that today’s world is doing considerable damage to springs and our underground water reservoirs. Fertilizers, pesticides, and septic field runoff, have changed many springs from clear and beautiful to overgrown with algae and murky to the eye. Fish, which were often abundant, can be difficult to find in some locations.

All is not a lost cause however. Many of the springs are now part of state parks so they have a measure of protection. Many of them are regularly open and can be used for recreational purposes and these are often full of visitors to whom the water seems clear because they do not know better. It will take a large turnabout however to fully save and replenish these natural beauties. We need to look at and address population growth. Further, the use of native plants should be encouraged rather than trying to all have lawns that look like manicured golf courses. Fertilizers and pest control are large problems for our spring systems.  Nature is resilient and these wonders can return to their former state if we allow them to.

While not a large book this is a book that packs a wallop. It is full of dozens of vintage images including brochures, photos, post cards, and more. There is a retro, or maybe kitsch, vibe here that is quite appealing. The writing is easy to follow and presents a lot of interesting information. Those interested in natural Florida, those interested in the history of tourism in our state, and those with a nostalgic bent, would be wise to pick up a copy of this book and enjoy a couple of hours of reading! You won’t regret it.

Rick Kilby is the President of Kilby Creative, a graphic design and advertising firm.

You may keep up with Rick by reading his Old Florida blog.

Other reviews of University Press of Florida books may be found here.

New Executive Director at the St. Augustine Historical Society

The Board of Trustees of the Historical Society has selected Magen Wilson to be its executive director. Ms. Wilson has been a member of the Society’s staff since 2011. During that time she has created exhibits and presentations, served as manager of the Oldest House and Museum Store and currently oversees the operations of the properties, staff and programs. She will begin her duties as executive director in the middle of September 2016.

New St. Augustine Historical Society Marker to be Placed

The Saint Augustine Historical Society invites you to attend the unveiling of the historic marker “ST AUGUSTINE ON ANASTASIA ISLAND” on September 8, 2016, at 11:00 A.M. in the open field (overflow parking lot) just north of the St. Augustine Alligator Farm (999 Anastasia Boulevard).

Through the generosity of the Alligator Farm and Mr. David Drysdale, the Society is able to place this marker in a highly visible and easily accessed location.

THE MARKER

ST AUGUSTINE ON ANASTASIA ISLAND
St. Augustine, the oldest European-settled city in the United States, was located on Anastasia Island from 1566 until 1572. Spanish settlers had founded the city on the west shore of the Matanzas River on Sept. 8, 1565. They built homes and a fort. The fort and the supplies inside burned. On May 18, 1566, a council voted to relocate the city to the barrier island across from the first location. St. Augustine moved to the barrier island for protection from hostile Native Americans and European enemies entering the port. Documents describe in detail the city’s 6-year presence on the island–two forts, government buildings, barracks, a jail, homes, wells and fields for crops. No physical evidence has yet been found. Quarrying in the 17th and 18th centuries and erosion probably destroyed the remnants of the city on the island. Sixteenth-century reports note that the island city was two leagues (5-6 miles) from a strong house on San Julian Creek, placing the city in this general area of high ground and near the 16th-century inlet. The relentless ocean eroded the town’s location. In 1572 St. Augustine returned to the mainland.

Death Date of Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass, Courtesy Library of Congress.
Frederick Douglass, Courtesy Library of Congress.

Frederick Douglass was born in 1818 and died on February 20, 1895.

My connection to Douglass is through my research for my book ST. AUGUSTINE & THE CIVIL WAR (Civil War Series). It turns out Douglass, who had personally met with Abraham Lincoln on several occasions, gave a speech in St. Augustine in August 1889.

Douglass was visiting nearby Jacksonville to give a speech at the Sub-Tropical Exhibition. Douglass was convinced to take a train ride and speak in the nearby city. He was given an afternoon reception at the Genovar Opera House located on St. George Street. He later spoke to a racially mixed audience of approximately 700. His speech was an abbreviated version of his Jacksonville lecture.

Unfortunately the Genovar Opera House and other nearby buildings burned to

The Frederick Douglass Monument located in St. Augustine. Courtesy Robert Redd.
The Frederick Douglass Monument located in St. Augustine. Courtesy Robert Redd.

the ground in April 1914.

In June 2009 the City of St. Augustine erected a small marker on St. George St. commemorating the speech and Douglass’s trip to the city. The marker is easy to pass by. It is located near Treasury Street on the left hand side as you are walking toward the Plaza. GPS N29.53.638 W081.18.772

Library Additions-February 2016 (1)

Here are a few books that are new to my library. I will be posting more library additions shortly; January was a busy month.

The cover for Lincoln's Bold Lion
The cover for Lincoln’s Bold Lion

Lincoln’s Bold Lion: The Life and Times of Brigadier General Martin Davis Hardin written by James T. Huffstodt; published by Casemate Publishers. Cover price is $32.95.

I have a special interest in this book due to Hardin being buried in St. Augustine.

From the publisher: This is the first biography devoted to the life of a remarkable young man who, in the words of Civil War historian Ezra Warner, “embarked upon a combat career which has few parallels in the annals of the army for gallantry, wounds sustained, and the obscurity into which he had lapsed a generation before his death.”

Cover for And the Walls Came Tumbling Down
Cover for And the Walls Came Tumbling Down

And the Walls Came Tumbling Down: An Autobiography written by Ralph David Abernathy. Cover price is $19.95.

Originally published in 1989, this beautifully written autobiography of the Rev. Dr. Ralph David Abernathy—Martin Luther King Jr.’s partner and eventual successor—not only tells his own story but also expounds on the leaders he knew intimately, including King, Jesse Jackson, Andrew Young, and Lyndon Johnson, among others. Revealing the planning that went into major protests and the negotiations that brought them to a close, Abernathy chronicles a movement, recalling the bitter defeats they faced, the misery and deaths they suffered. Amidst these struggles, though, he celebrates the victories that integrated communities, gave economic and political power to the disenfranchised, and brought hope to people who had not dreamed of it. Throughout, Abernathy’s close relationship with King is central to the story—and to the civil rights movement. In 1956, when Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus, it was Abernathy who enlisted King to join the protest. Together, they led the landmark bus boycott for 381 days, during which Abernathy’s house was bombed and his church dynamited. From there, the two helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and they were jailed together more than 40 times. Their protests and marches took them all over the South—Selma, Albany, Birmingham—and to Washington and Chicago as well. An unsung hero of his era, Abernathy’s inspiring memoir ultimately shows how their victories, and even their setbacks, led to social and legislative changes across the entire country.

Library Additions-December 2015 (2)

Here’s a special look at the many wonderful books I received as Christmas presents. I think I am going to be pretty busy!

For Us the Living: The Civil War in Paintings and Eyewitness Accounts–This beautiful book is illustrated by Mort Kunstler.

Whitey: The Life of America’s Most Notorious Mob Boss and John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster from my wife’s nephew. True crime is generally not my big area of reading interest but I have to give him credit, both look interesting so I think he did pretty well.

The Witches: Salem, 1692 I know author Stacy Schiff has taken some criticism for her writing style. I am inclined however to give her the benefit of the doubt based upon professional reviews. Salem was on the short list for vacation this year so this is a perfect book to maybe put the area over the top in the next couple years.

Mr. Flagler’s St. Augustine (A Florida Quincentennial Book) Having written about St. Augustine it’s no shock I would want to read this book by Dr. Thomas Graham, an excellent historian of the city.

Florida Indians and the Invasion from Europe An area I really need to learn more about for my job.

The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 A time period I don’t know anywhere near enough about. Having looked through it for quite a while at B&N and based upon the reviews I am very happy to have received it.

Shiloh: Conquer or Perish (Modern War Studies) A recent quick trip to the Shiloh battlefield has led to an interest in this engagement. It looks like there is no better author than Timothy B. Smith (not to be confused with the Tim Smith who is a Gettysburg expert).