Treasures of South Florida Libraries Home > Introduction


This exhibit and catalog are tributes to the efforts of many individuals and institutions across Florida. The creation of a state-wide, multi-institutional exhibit of rare books, manuscripts, photographs, maps, and other material requires the patience, cooperation, understanding, knowledge, and support of librarians, archivists, museum curators, collectors, and friends. We wish to recognize the many individuals who gave so freely of their time and expertise to assist us in the identification, selection, preparation, and loan of the materials for the exhibit.


Among the many individuals who contributed are: Reva Hurtes, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute; Bobby Henderson, Bethune-Cookman College; Peggy Bing, Broward County Library; Father Philip Gagan, Diocese of St. Augustine; Professor Michael Gannon, Institute for Early Contact Period Studies, Department of History, University of Florida; Zita Cael, Florida Atlantic University; Althea Silvera, Florida International University; Charles E. Miller and Gay Dixon, Florida State University; Thomas Gunn, Jacksonville University; Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Jaffe, Boca Raton; Pansy Cost, Johann Fust Community Library and Mrs. Francis H. Low and Paul Csank of Boca Grande; Jay I. Kislak and Dr. Lee Parsons of the Jay I. Kislak Foundation; Sam Boldrick and Barbara Young, Miami Dade Public Library; Tom Hambright, Monroe County May Hill Russell Library; Edward Amatore, Register, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art; Kate Reich, Rollins College; Ruth and Marvin Sackner, Miami Beach; Margaret Elliston, St. Thomas University Library; Joanne Redon, Society of the Four Arts Library; Mary Ann Cleveland, State Library of Florida; Betty Johnson and Debbie Dinkins, Stetson University; Anne Marie Allison, University of Central Florida Library; Carla Summers and Frank Orser, University of Florida Libraries; Virginia Thomas and Wes Daniels, University of Miami Law Library; Eileen Brady, University of North Florida; Kathy Arsenault, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg; Dean DeBolt, University of West Florida; and Jim Findlay, Wolfsonian Foundation.

A special debt is owed to the staff of the Historical Museum of Southern Florida. J. Andrew Brian, Rebecca A. Smith, and George Chillag opened the Museum's doors and offered their expertise to help us mount this exhibit. We also wish to acknowledge the generous financial support of SunBank, Southeast Florida Library Information Network, Inc. (SEFLIN), and Social Issues Resources Series, Inc. (SIRS). Their contributions made the exhibit and catalog possible.

This exhibit was originally conceived by Frederick G. Ruffner, Jr., publisher of Omnigraphics, Inc., after he viewed the Legacies of Genius exhibit sponsored by the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Libraries. Ruffner desired a comparable exhibit for Florida and proposed such a project to the Council for Florida Libraries. Jean Trebbi, a member of the Council and Director of the Florida Center for the Book, began to solicit proposals and funding. Aware of these discussions, we proposed this exhibit as a way of celebrating the 1994 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Meeting in Miami Beach and as an opportunity to welcome the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) Preconference. The preconference regularly attracts an international audience of rare book librarians, manuscript curators, collectors, and book dealers. In addition, local residents and visitors in South Florida would be able to view this exhibit.

Initial inquiries and in-person visits across Florida revealed a wealth of rare and unique material in academic, public, and private libraries. The Historical Museum of Southern Florida agreed to host the exhibit as a public service to the people of Florida. Diligent fundraising on the part of Florida Center for the Book secured the necessary support to mount this unprecedented exhibit and publish this catalog.

The Treasures of Florida Libraries offers a wide ranging and diverse look at books, manuscripts and artifacts from Florida's leading libraries. The materials show the depth and strength of institutional and private holdings. Florida libraries collect in expected and unexpected areas. Floridiana is represented in many collections with Caribbean and oceanographic materials also present. Many libraries have landmark books in the history of the book or classics in the history of English and American literature. The quirks and personal interests of acquisition librarians, curators and collectors as well as serendipitous gifts and donations leave their mark. Marvelous and important material can be found in Florida's libraries. We hope you enjoy discovering the Treasures of Florida Libraries.

Nora J. Quinlan and William E. Brown, Jr.
University of Miami Library
June 1994