Skip to Search

A Guide to the Phil Emmer Papers

Finding aid created by Steve Duckworth

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
September 2016

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Emmer, Philip I.
Title: Phil Emmer Papers
Dates: 1941-2014
Bulk dates: 1970-2010
Abstract: Philip I. Emmer is a real estate developer known for his work throughout Florida. His firm, Emmer Development Corporation, has developed properties in 15 Florida counties, from low-income, turnkey housing to luxury apartment complexes. Emmer is also well known for his philanthropy and public service. This collection focuses on the philanthropy and public service of Emmer, as well as his career in housing development. The collection also holds documentation regarding low-income housing, in particular Lincoln Estates.
Extent: 3.67 Linear feet. 7 Boxes.
Identification: MSS 0363
Language(s): English

Biographical/Historical Note

Philip I. Emmer was born on April 5, 1928 in Miami-Dade County, Florida. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1949 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and went on to serve in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1950 to 1952 on a project mapping the Philippines. He married his wife Barbara (née Lazarus) in 1956 and together they raised three children.

Emmer Development Corporation was founded in Miami as Emmer and Company in 1954. This small-volume home builder grew into one of North Central Florida's largest home and apartment building, land development, and real estate management companies, building more than 8,200 units in single- and multi-family developments, from single-family starter homes to HUD turnkey housing to luxury apartments and homes.

Emmer's public service has included work with the National Association of Home Builders, the Home Builders Association of Gainesville, Gainesville's City Housing Board and Chamber of Commerce, the University of Florida President's Council, Florida Arts Council, Board of Overseers of the Health Science Center and many other UF committees, Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization (Gainesville), and the University of Florida Foundation, among many, many more. Emmer has also won several awards for his work in real estate and for his service to the community, including the A. W. Fletcher Service Award, the NAACP of Alachua County's Humanitarian Award, and honorary membership in Florida Blue Key.

Emmer's philanthropy, including support given through the Barbara and Phil Emmer Family Foundation, is directed towards medical and educational programs, as well as those that benefit children and seniors, the environment, religion, culture, interfaith and interracial organizations, good government, and public television. Some institutions of note include the University of Florida, the Florida Museum of Natural History, Hillel House, Dance Alive, the Monarch Society, and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service, among others. Emmer and his wife Barbara also prepared and served food at St. Francis House, an institution serving the homeless of Gainesville.

Scope and Content

The Phil Emmer Papers, which date from 1941 to 2014, contains records detailing Emmer's work in housing development, his philanthropy, and his public service. This includes correspondence, clippings, photographs, scrapbooks, articles, speeches and statements, brochures and flyers, and certificates. Folders labeled "General correspondence" include a parenthetical note expanding upon folder contents as needed, but are otherwise filed in chronological order. The series of folders entitled "A Life Committed to Building, Philanthropy, and Public Service" include a series of binders assembled by Emmer relating his own life story and community involvement through numerous letters, clippings, brochures, photographs, certificates, speeches, and more. They paint a thorough picture of the life of Phil Emmer.

This collection focuses on the philanthropy and public service of Emmer and also demonstrates the effect of these guiding principles on shaping his career in housing development. Of research interest outside of Emmer himself, this collection holds documentation about Lincoln Estates, a low-income housing development in east Gainesville that made significant advancements in housing for African Americans in the 1960s. Other records regarding low-income housing are found throughout the collection.


This collection is arranged alphabetically by folder title, with the "General correspondence" folders being chronologically ordered.

Access or Use Restrictions


This collection is open for research.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Phil Emmer Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated by Phil Emmer in 2015.

Contents List

1 Affordable housing: Clippings. 1994-1995
1 Affordable housing history: Correspondence and clippings (1962 to 1964, photocopies), photographs. 1966, 1993-1995
1 "All is Not Well in this Country": Article and responses regarding growth. 2001-2002
1 Ansbacher, Lewis "Lukie": Scholarship correspondence, biography. 2004
1 Articles and clippings, talks and speeches, correspondence, Plant City Improvement Plan. 1980-1989, 2005
1 Biographical and philanthropic information, photographs. 1989, 2012, undated
1 Biographical information. 1990, 1995, 2004-2008, 2013
1 Builders Association and Community Foundation: Minutes, assorted correspondence. 2013
1 Business Gainesville: "Phil Emmer: The Man Behind the Man". 1990
1 Children's Fund letter. 2010-2011
1 Chiles, Lawton: Correspondence, photographs. 1970-1993
1 Clippings (mostly photocopies). 1970, 2011, undated
1 Correspondence and articles, assorted. 1990, 2003, 2009-2011
1 Correspondence and clippings, assorted. 1987, 2003-2006
1 Early homes: Photographs, clippings, slides. 1955, 1959, undated
1 Ebner, Martin: Correspondence, clippings. 1984-1987, 1993-2000
6 Emmer Development Corporation: Clippings scrapbook. 1955-1964
1 Emmer Development Corporation: Correspondence and clippings regarding history and 50th anniversary. 1964-1969, 1985, 1993, 1995, 2003-2012
1 Emmer Development Corporation: History. undated
1 Gainesville Chamber of Commerce: Correspondence, clippings, speeches. 1982-1984
1 Gainesville Chamber of Commerce: Correspondence, photograph contact sheets, speeches, memoranda (1 of 2). 1982-1985
1 Gainesville Chamber of Commerce: Correspondence, photograph contact sheets, speeches, memoranda (2 of 2). 1982-1985
1 General correspondence (with articles, clippings, certificates, and photographs). 1960-1967
2 General correspondence (with certificates, clippings, report on "Low-Income Demonstration Housing"). 1965-1969
2 General correspondence. 1965, 1990-1997, 2004
2 General correspondence (with certificates and clippings). 1970
2 General correspondence (with clippings, certificate, Israel tour information, photograph). 1971
2 General correspondence (with certificates and clippings). 1972
2 General correspondence (with certificates, report on Emmer Development Corporation). 1973
2 General correspondence (with clippings, certificates, photograph with George H. W. Bush). 1974
2 General correspondence. 1976
2 General correspondence (with certificates and photograph). 1977
2 General correspondence. 1978
2 General correspondence (with certificate). 1979
2 General correspondence (with articles, letters to the editor). 1980-1981
2 General correspondence (philanthropy, marketing and sales, biographical). 1980-1985, 1994-1999, 2003-2009, 2014
2 General correspondence (with articles). 1981
2 General correspondence (with articles). 1982
2 General correspondence (with clippings, speech). 1983
2 General correspondence. 1984-1990
2 General correspondence. 1987-1988
2 General correspondence. 1989-1990
2 General correspondence (last names beginning with T). 1989-1995
2 General correspondence (last names beginning with K). 1990-1995
2 General correspondence (last names beginning with P). 1990-1995
2 General correspondence. 1991
3 General correspondence (with certificates). 2009
3 "Georgia Tech Mischief" correspondence. 1990
3 Gilder, George: Photograph with Emmer. 2002
3 Graham, Bob: Correspondence. 1980-1994
3 Graham, Bob: Correspondence, brochure, clippings regarding Bob Graham Center. 2007-2014
3 Graham, Bob: Correspondence (mostly regarding fundraising). 1978-1986, 2004, 2009
3 Grass, Alex: Correspondence, photograph. 1951, 1969-1993, 2009, 2013
3 Great American Park: Planning and correspondence. 2004-2005
3 Gurney, Senator Edward: Clippings and notes regarding housing controversies. 1972-1975
3 Housing: Correspondence, clippings (photocopies), memoranda. 1985, undated
3 Housing development brochures. 2003, undated
3 Housing development project flyers (covering 1954 to 2004). 2006, undated
3 Housing photographs. undated
3 Liemandt, Greg: Correspondence, clippings. 1980-1993
3 "A Life Committed to Building, Philanthropy, and Public Service" (scrapbook) - Volume 1: Housing Low-Income Families (1 of 2). 1945-2010
3 "A Life Committed ..." (scrapbook) - Volume 1 (2 of 2). 1945-2010
3 "A Life Committed ..." (scrapbook) - Volume 2: Marketing and Media Through the Years (1 of 2). 1945-2010
4 "A Life Committed ..." (scrapbook) - Volume 2 (2 of 2). 1945-2010
4 "A Life Committed ..." (scrapbook) - Volume 3: The Consumer Reports. 1945-2010
4 "A Life Committed ..." (scrapbook) - Volume 4: Philanthropy (1 of 2). 1945-2010
4 "A Life Committed ..." (scrapbook) - Volume 4 (2 of 2). 1945-2010
4 "A Life Committed ..." (scrapbook) - Volume 5: Public Service (1 of 2). 1945-2010
4 "A Life Committed ..." (scrapbook) - Volume 5 (2 of 2). 1945-2010
4 Lincoln Estates: Clippings. 1961-1964
4 Lincoln Estates: History (through correspondence and reproduced photographs from 1963 to 1966, photocopies), speech. 2004, undated
4 Lincoln Estates: Housing cost ledgers. 1963-1964
4 Lincoln Estates: "Turnkey Proposal". 1967 September
4 Lowenstein, Ralph: Correspondence, brochures regarding Jewish culture and history. 2004, 2010-2011
5 Lowenstein, Ralph: Correspondence, speech. 2007, 2012
5 Mortgage and financial matters: Timeline, press, certificate, minutes. 1955-2005
5 National Association of Home Builders (NAHB): Certificate, correspondence, comments (mostly photocopies, records date from 1962 to 2002). 2002, undated
5 NAHB: Convention program and biographies. 1965 December
5 NAHB: Correspondence, photograph. 1984-1985, 2012
5 National Housing Endowment: Builder Achievement Award Honorable Mention. 2007
5 News articles by Emmer. 1941, 1945-1946
5 News clippings: Student papers, articles about Emmer. 1946-1947, 1971-1974, 2004
5 Philanthropic correspondence. 1963, 1976-1990, 2001-2011
5 Philanthropic correspondence, assorted. 1985, 1998-2005, 2012-2013
5 Philanthropic correspondence, assorted (1974 to 1989, photocopies). undated
5 Philanthropic correspondence, some biographical material. 1985, undated
7 Philanthropy and public service scrapbook. 1981-1987
5 Portofino advertising. 2005-2006
5 Proton Therapy Institute: Correspondence. 2005-2009
5 Shands Hospital for Children and Women: Correspondence. 2010
5 Shorstein, Jack: Correspondence, clipping. 1969-1973, 1981
5 Speeches. 1983-1984
5 Speeches and statements. 2004, 2010, 2012
5 "Special letters to keep" (mostly thank you letters). 1988, 2002-2006
5 Statements and comments, clippings (photocopies of 1970 to 1971 articles), thank you letters. 1973, 1977-1978, 1985, 2004-2010
5 Statements to Alachua County Commission and Republican National Committee. 2004
5 Stoneridge Apartments: Clipping regarding solar electric system. 2010 May
5 Thank you letters. 1974-1990
5 Thank you letters and other correspondence. 1987, 2006, 2013
5 University of Florida: Correspondence. 1981-1984
5 University of Florida: Fundraising (and other topics) correspondence and clippings. 2007-2009
5 Volusia County Coastal Watch Tower preservation: Article, certificate. 2012-2013
5 Who's Who in Finance and Industry article. 1985

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Low-income housing

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

University of Florida Home Page