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Illustrated Florida, Buffalo, NY: Dodge Art Publishing, [c. 1882]

State Library of Florida. Florida Collection. Tallahassee, Florida.

Established in 1845, the State Library of Florida continues to serve educational and library needs of Florida's expanding and diverse population. The Florida Collection, one of several collections in the Library, includes materials on all aspects of the state. With both primary source and published materials, the Florida Collection contains approximately 13,000 volumes, 280 periodical titles, 1,000 maps, 185 manuscript collections and 1,000 reels of microfilm.

Ledyard Bill. A Winter in Florida: Or, Observations on the Soil, Climate, and Products of Our Semi-Tropical State; With Sketches of the Principal Towns and Cities in Eastern Florida. To Which is Added a Brief Historical Summary; Together with Hints to the Tourist, Invalid, and Sportsman. By Ledyard Bill. Illustrated. New York: Published by Wood and Holbrook, 1869.

This volume is believed to be the first general guide published on the state of Florida. For those lacking any specific knowledge of Florida, the volume includes instructions on how to get to the state, as well as recommendations on sites to visit and recreational activities to pursue. The introduction offers a brief description of Florida in 1869. "Florida is the oldest settled portion of the Union, notwithstanding which it is the most of a wilderness... Within, however, the past few years, Florida has attracted considerable attention as a winter resort for invalids and pleasure seekers." Chapters that describe the history and development of Florida, its springs and central regions and topics such as alligator hunting, climate, soil, fruits, and social conditions attempt to address the interests of a broad cross section of American society.

Florida offers a location to help provide "those who fill the various professions more of rest and play than they get... It is this overworked class, as well as the invalid, who need to go to Florida." In summary of the people of Florida, the author was moved to note that, "The Spirit of the people, taken as a whole, is most excellent, and much better than they have the credit for. There need be, we believe, no apprehension of molestation on this score... It would, however, be nothing strange, even with a people disposed to let by-gones be by-gones, if here and there were found uncontrollable characters."

Illustrated Florida, Buffalo, NY: Dodge Art Publishing, [c. 1882]. Label on back of case: Ashmead Bro's. Publishers and Stationers Jacksonville, Florida.

This volume represents an early form of promotional literature now common to Florida. There are nineteen color plates in the case. The views of Jacksonville, St. Augustine, the St. Johns River and surrounding areas illustrate the many types of attractions available in Florida in the late nineteenth century. The lure of tropical weather, exotic plant and animal life, boating and recreational pursuits, luxurious hotels, historic buildings, and native Americans are all highlighted to encourage the seasonal visitor, the potential investor, and the adventurous soul. The publication does not include illustrations of sites in the southern region of the state, and with good reason: the year of publication, 1882, is fourteen years before the incorporation of the City of Miami.