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The Courier

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September 2017

Vol. III, Issue IV

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~ MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ~

Be a part of history: We promise that it’s easy

and you may not need to leave your chair!

StAndrews

The fall speaker series begins at Old St. Andrews on October 10 with the program, "Lindbergh in Jacksonville: The 90th Anniversary".

by Emily Lisska

It’s that time of year again. September 30th marks the end of the Jacksonville Historical Society’s fiscal year. Finances are always challenging, yet once again, it appears we will end the year without a loss.
That’s good news.

And more good news, JHS emerged from Hurricane Irma largely unscathed, but we are still dealing with damage at Old St. Luke’s, in part, from Hurricane Matthew. This damage must be repaired. To that end, the JHS has submitted a grant to the Florida Division of Historical Resources to restore much of St. Luke’s exterior, a project sorely needed. We’ll keep you posted on our application’s success. Like so many activities in Florida, the grant hearing has been postponed.

We continue to rely on grants, rentals, a major fundraiser, volunteers and your memberships and contributions to maintain the four buildings we manage and all of the programming we produce. Next month in the newsletter, I’ll summarize those programming accomplishments for you with hard numbers.

As for now, here are four ways you can help the Jacksonville Historical Society – in three cases without leaving your home!

▪ Send your best images of the Jacksonville-area aftermath of Hurricane Irma to info@jaxhistory.org Please provide information with the photos, such as the location and identify any individuals in the photos.
▪ Support the society with the donation of gently used, new or vintage holiday items to sale in our gift shop at the Gingerbread Extravaganza. Phone (904) 665-0064, for drop off or pick up information.
▪ Contact the society at info@jaxhistory.org to volunteer at the Gingerbread Extravaganza or phone (904) 665-0064.
▪ Please sponsor the 2017 Gingerbread Extravaganza at any monetary level. The event is our only dedicated fundraiser at this time, and it’s one of the city’s annual “signature” events of the year. We need sponsors to guarantee its success. Please contact the JHS or me as soon as possible for more information on sponsorships, emily@jaxhistory.org or at 904 665-0064.
Send your best images of the Jacksonville-area aftermath of Hurricane Irma to info@jaxhistory.org Please provide information with the photos, such as the location and identify any individuals in the photos.
Support the society with the donation of gently used, new or vintage holiday items to sale in our gift shop at the Gingerbread Extravaganza. Phone (904) 665-0064, for drop off or pick up information.
Contact the society at info@jaxhistory.org to volunteer at the Gingerbread Extravaganza or phone (904) 665-0064.
Please sponsor the 2017 Gingerbread Extravaganza at any monetary level. The event is our only dedicated fundraiser at this time, and it’s one of the city’s annual “signature” events of the year. We need sponsors to guarantee its success. Please contact the JHS or me as soon as possible for more information on sponsorships, emily@jaxhistory.org or at 904 665-0064.

As always, our goal is to present compelling and timely history topics! In that regard, the September 26, program with WJXT meteorologist emeritus George Winterling more than delivered. The revered meteorologist provided a comparison between 1964’s Hurricane Dora and 2017’s Hurricane Irma.

I look forward to seeing you at the October 10, program meeting at Old St. Andrew’s when we look back on Charles Lindbergh’s Jacksonville visit 90 years ago to the day! Read more in this newsletter about the program with JHS Past-President Ed Booth.

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~HISTORY MATTERS~

The 1846 “Great Gale” was vast and powerful – just like "Irma"

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Hurricane Irma on September 10, right before landfall in Florida. Hurricane Jose can be seen to the lower right.

In 1846, the year after Florida became a state, Jacksonville had boomed to an astonishing population of 600. At the time, the town was nearly 25 years old and was on its way to becoming the most important city in Florida, although it was far from the largest. St. Augustine claimed 3,000 residents; Key West claimed an approximate 2,600; and Pensacola, by some estimates, was nearing 2,000.

An official U.S. government census didn’t actually begin until 1850, and there were issues of who was actually counted or should be counted, so these numbers are estimates. What we do know, Florida could not claim any major city. The entire state only included about 70,000 people.

Jacksonville news in those days was often reported by the nearby big town of St. Augustine, although Jacksonville produced a regular political newspaper at the time called the Florida News. In 1846, there was no photography, telegraph, train, or even bulk-headed riverfront. But without question, the 1846 Gale would change the city’s life ...[Read more...]

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~ TREASURES FROM THE ARCHIVES ~

Mayor of Italian town seeks silent film era information from JHS Archives

Vignola

Portrait of Kalem Studios actor Robert G. Vignola. © State Archives of Florida

Among the various requests we receive on a daily basis at the historical society, I think this is one of the most unique. It read:

Hi, I'm Michele Marino, I am the mayor of a municipality in Basilicata, a small region in the south of Italy. The small town is called Trivigno and is the country that gave birth to Robert Vignola.

I'm carrying out a Robert Vignola project to keep his memory alive. I would be grateful if we could establish a contact so that you can give me information and useful documents about him.

I apologize for the bad English. Hoping for your answer, I greet you cordially, Michele Marino

Having been a lover of all things Italian and truly interested in the motion picture industry in Jacksonville, I immediately went to our JHS library and pulled out various books on the motion picture industry in Florida. In those books, I found out that Mr. Vignola was an actor/director who first arrived in Jacksonville in 1908 with the Kalem Studios.

The Kalem Studios were the first New York Studios that set up a location in Jacksonville ...[Read more...]

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~MEET THE TEAM~

This talented JHS volunteer is an accomplished career librarian

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Longtime JHS volunteer, Theresa Barmer.

Books and libraries have played a major role in JHS volunteer Theresa Barmer’s life. Eleven Jacksonville libraries existed when Theresa began working for the Jacksonville Public Library (JPL). By the end of her 30 year library career, there were 21 public libraries citywide, and she had been directly involved with opening seven regional branches—mega libraries.

She was branch manager of Southeast and Webb Wesconnett and part of a team that installed the first automated system at the JPL. She worked with two more upgrades.

Never far from the library, Theresa met her husband Andy, a Jacksonville native born at Baptist Hospital, when they both worked at the Haydon Burns Library. Andy worked in the Florida collection, providing his expertise in Florida history. They courted at the library and in the surrounding downtown Jacksonville, marrying in 1983.

The accomplished professional has volunteered weekly at the JHS since 2013, cataloging books in the JHS automated system, Past-Perfect. Her goal is to insure the society’s books, manuscripts and limited editions are accessible to researchers. “It’s what keeps me coming in every Monday. It’s important that people know what’s in the JHS collection.”

“Theresa is a tremendous asset to the archives. Her talent and time make such an important difference in what we do now and in the future,” said JHS Executive Director Emily Lisska.

“The JHS collections are illuminating,” ... [Read more...]

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~SPEAKER SERIES PROGRAMS~

1748 - Lindbergh

"Spirit of St. Louis" at Municipal Airport in Jacksonville, October 11, 1927. © Jacksonville Historical Society Collection.

On October 10th, join the JHS and Past-President and aviation expert Ed Booth, Jr., for Charles Lindbergh in Jacksonville: The 90th Anniversary at Old St. Andrews beginning with a reception at 6:30, followed by the program at 7pm.

REGISTER

Damato Tailor

The Damato Family immigrated from Italy in the late 1870s and moved to Jacksonville in early 1889. This photo is of the Damato tailoring store. Jacksonville Historical Society Collection.

Wednesday, November 15 Speaker Series program at Old St. Andrew’s, The Unique Populations of Jacksonville, at 6:30 p.m. Who migrated to Jacksonville in the 19th century? Why did they come? What does the city’s immigrant population look like today? These questions and others will be answered at the special evening exploring immigrant groups in North Florida.

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Thursday, November 30 through Saturday, December 23, The Gingerbread Extravaganza, at Old St. Andrew’s daily 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays opening at 10 a.m., closed Sundays. Andrew’s, Dozens of themed gingerbread houses by professionals and amateurs are showcased along with history themed trees.

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City of Jacksonville

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Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville

Our Mission: Educate and inspire the greater Jacksonville community to value its history, by fostering understanding of how the region’s past shapes our present.

Staff: Emily Lisska, Executive Director | Taryn Rodriguez-Boette, Associate Director & Archivist | Meghan Powell, Office Manager & Archives Assistant | Imani Phillips, Office Assistant | Sherrard Ceglia, Archives Assistant | Jeremy Graf, Archives | Anna Verney, Archives | Ellen Jensen, Event Coordinator |

2016-17 JHS Board Alan Bliss, President | Pat Andrews, Vice-President | Maggie Means, Secretary | Michael Fackler, Treasurer | Jeff Graf, Immediate Past-President | Ed Booth, Jr., Esq. | David Chauncey, Esq. | Judge Gary Flower | Angela Gates | Drew Haramis | Karen Herzog | Larry Kantor, M.D. | Doug Milne | Harry Reagan | Lisa Sheppard | Reecy Thornton | Skip Willbach | Wayne W. Wood, O.D.

 
     
 
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