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A Guide to the William Sherman Jennings Papers

Finding aid created by Dept. Staff

Digitization funded with the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
December 2011


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Jennings, William Sherman, 1863-1920
Title: William Sherman Jennings Papers
Dates: 1877-1928
Abstract: Papers relating to Florida Governor William S. Jennings, his political and business dealings, and to his role in the drainage of the Everglades.
Extent: 13.5 Linear feet. 29 boxes and 16 volumes.
Identification: Ms 58
Language(s): English
Online Content Items from this collection have been digitized and are available online in the UF Digital Collections. For more information please see the note below.

Biographical/Historical Note

William Sherman Jennings was born March 24, 1863, in Illinois. His cousin was William Jennings Bryan. He graduated from Southern Illinois Normal University and Union Law School in Chicago. He moved to Brooksville, Florida, in 1885 in order to open his open law practice. His second wife, May Mann Jennings, was a leading member of the women's club movement and was an influential advocate for social reform and civic causes.

Jennings had an extensive career in elected and appointed positions. He served as County Judge of Hernando County in 1888. He was a member of the Florida legislature from 1893-1895, serving as Speaker of the House in 1895. He served one term as Governor from 1901-1905. He was the last Florida Governor nominated at a state party convention; after 1900 Florida implemented primary elections.

By the end of his term as Governor, Jennings was credited with leading the effort to drain and reclaim over 3 million acres of Florida land, primarily in the Everglades. In 1905 he was appointed by Governor Napoleon B. Broward as General Counsel for the Internal Improvement Fund, the state agency responsible for administering public lands. In this position, which he held until 1909, he was able to continue leading drainage activities in the Everglades. Jennings continued to practice law in Brooksville and Jacksonville until his death on February 28, 1920.


Scope and Content

The Jennings Papers (1877-1928) document his years as Governor and his activities after leaving office, particularly his work with the Internal Improvement Fund, his own legal practice, and his personal business affairs. The collection is comprised of correspondence, speeches, legal documents, legislative material, news clippings, photographs, pamphlets, programs, and other publications. The collection also includes numerous letterbooks dating from 1898 to 1909 that contain both personal and official/business letters. The primary focus of the collection is the drainage and dredging of South Florida, from the earliest discussions at the turn of the century to the subsequent development and land boom of the 1920s. Of particular interest are the surveys, reports, memoranda and correspondence generated as part of the early planning for the drainage of the Everglades. Some of the major subjects covered in the Jennings Papers include drainage laws, public lands, the dredging and opening of canals, new road construction, the use of convict labor, the development of Dade County, relations with the Seminole Indians, and the activities of his wife, May Mann Jennings.


Access or Use Restrictions

Access

The collection is open for research.


Related or Separated Material

For additional materials pertaining to drainage efforts in the Everglades, consult the Napoleon Bonaparte Broward Papers, the May Mann Jennings Papers, and the Thomas E. Will Papers.


Administrative Information

Alternate Form of Material

Items in the William Sherman Jennings collection have been digitized for America's Swamp: The Historical Everglades project, which is generously supported by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). In addition to the links that are provided throughout this guide to the collection, all materials can be browsed at the William Sherman Jennings page in the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please note the majority of items in this collection are not described individually. Therefore, it is not possible to search for a specific item (e.g., a letter written by a particular author). Instead, the digital collection is best accessed by selecting a folder title and browsing the images contained in each folder.

Preferred Citation

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

Acquisition Information

Gift of his wife, May Mann Jennings.


Contents List

Miscellaneous Papers, 1895-1910


Box
1 Bonds, Florida Grand Trunk Railway Co., 1905.
1 Drainage information, 1887-1906 June.
1 Drainage information, July 1906-1907.
1 Drainage suits (settlements) 1910.
1 Speeches (also see Box 25), 1895-1905?.
1 Swamp lands; historical sketches Florida Public Land, Internal Improvement Fund, 1903.
1 Taliaferro, James - correspondence re: drainage, survey of Everglades, Lake Okeechobee, 1909.


Legal Papers (Briefs, Correspondence, Deeds), 1886-1906


Box
2 Legal papers. 1886-1890
2 Legal papers. 1892-1894
2 Legal papers. 1895-1897
2 Legal papers. 1897
2 Legal papers. 1898
3 Legal papers. 1899 January-July
3 Legal papers. 1899 August-September
3 Legal papers. 1899 October-December
3 Legal papers. 1899
4 Legal papers. 1900
4 Legal papers. 1900
4 Legal papers. 1901-1902
4 Legal papers. 1903
5 Legal papers. 1904
5 Legal papers (includes Internal Improvement Fund). 1905
5 Legal papers (includes Internal Improvement Fund). 1906
5 Legal papers. 1906


Correspondence (Legislative, Political, Business, etc.), 1895-1913


Box
6 Correspondence. 1895-1898
6 Correspondence. 1899
6 Correspondence. 1900
6 Correspondence. 1900 January-March
6 Correspondence. 1900 April-May
7 Correspondence. 1900 May
7 Correspondence. 1900 June
7 Correspondence. 1900 June
7 Correspondence. 1900 July
7 Correspondence. 1900 August
8 Correspondence. 1900 September
8 Correspondence. 1900 October
8 Correspondence. 1900 November
8 Correspondence. 1900 December
8 Correspondence. 1901
8 Correspondence. 1901
9 Correspondence. 1901 January
9 Correspondence. 1901 January
9 Correspondence. 1901 February
9 Correspondence. 1901 March
9 Correspondence. 1901 April
10 Correspondence. 1901 May
10 Correspondence. 1901 May
10 Correspondence. 1901 June
10 Correspondence. 1901 June
10 Correspondence. 1901 July
10 Correspondence. 1901 July
11 Correspondence. 1901 August
11 Correspondence. 1901 September
11 Correspondence. 1901 October
11 Correspondence. 1901 November
11 Correspondence. 1901 December
12 Correspondence. 1902
12 Correspondence. 1902 January
12 Correspondence. 1902 January
12 Correspondence. 1902 February
12 Correspondence. 1902 March
12 Correspondence. 1902 March
12 Correspondence. 1902 April
13 Correspondence. 1902 May
13 Correspondence. 1902 June
13 Correspondence. 1902 July
13 Correspondence. 1902 August
13 Correspondence. 1902 September
13 Correspondence. 1902 October
14 Correspondence. 1902 November
14 Correspondence. 1902 December
14 Correspondence. 1903 January
14 Correspondence. 1903 January
14 Correspondence. 1903 February
14 Correspondence. 1903 March
15 Correspondence. 1903 April
15 Correspondence. 1903 May
15 Correspondence. 1903 June
15 Correspondence. 1903 June
15 Correspondence. 1903 July
15 Correspondence. 1903 July
16 Correspondence. 1903 August
16 Correspondence. 1903 September
16 Correspondence. 1903 October
16 Correspondence. 1903 November
16 Correspondence. 1903 December
17 Correspondence. 1903
17 Correspondence. 1904
17 Correspondence. 1904 January
17 Correspondence. 1904 January
17 Correspondence. 1904 February
17 Correspondence. 1904 March
18 Correspondence. 1904 April
18 Correspondence. 1904 May
18 Correspondence. 1904 June
18 Correspondence. 1904 July
18 Correspondence. 1904 August
18 Correspondence. 1904 September
18 Correspondence. 1904 October
18 Correspondence. 1904 November-December
19 Correspondence. 1905
19 Correspondence. 1906 January
19 Correspondence. 1906 January
19 Correspondence. 1906 February
19 Correspondence. 1906 March-April
19 Correspondence. 1906 May-July
19 Correspondence. 1906 August-September
19 Correspondence. 1906 October-December
20 Correspondence. 1907 January-February
20 Correspondence. 1907 March-April
20 Correspondence. 1907 May-July
20 Correspondence. 1907 August-December
20 Correspondence. 1908
20 Correspondence. 1909
20 Correspondence. 1910
21 Correspondence. 1911
21 Correspondence. 1912-1913


Miscellaneous Everglades and Drainage Materials, 1911-1917


Box
21 Drainage: correspondence, office book. 1911
21 Survey of Everglades: report and correspondence. 1911
21 Internal Improvement Fund: history. 1911
21 Dade Muck Land Co. vs. Dade Co Development Co. (briefs). 1911-1914
21 Opening of the Everglades canals: correspondence, program, clippings. 1914
21 Everglades Drainage Law. 1913
21 U.S. Drainage Fund Law. 1913-1914
22 Everglades Engineering Commission; correspondence, agreement. 1913-1914
22 Sub-drainage District. Ingraham, J.E. 1914
22 Drainage (Everglades) clippings, articles. 1914
22 Trustees of Internal Improvement Fund; correspondence. 1914
22 Little Pine Island Sub-drainage District; correspondence and briefs. 1914
22 Davie Farm Sub-Drainage District; proceedings and minutes. 1914
22 The Truth about Florida (Everglades). 1914-1915
22 Florida Drainage Association. 1914-1915
22 Organization of Sub-Drainage Districts. 1915
22 Legislative. 1915
22 Legislative. 1915
22 Homestead Sub-Drainage District; correspondence, briefs, minutes. 1915-1917
22 Clippings (promotional). 1915


Financial Documents, 1890-1910


Box
23 Canceled checks; receipts. 1901-1905
23 Canceled checks; receipts. 1906
23 Canceled checks; receipts. 1907
24 Canceled checks; receipts. 1908-1909
24 Canceled checks; receipts. 1910
24 Canceled checks; receipts. 1911
24 Canceled checks; receipts. 1912
24 Canceled checks; receipts. 1913
24 Ledger (Stored separately on shelf). 1890-1907


Miscellaneous Papers


Box
25 Biographical and death memorials; Pamphlets; Speeches; Capitol furniture.
25 Wailes, Sydney I. (Internal Improvement Fund, swamp lands). 1877-1903
25 Indian War Claims (Indian War of 1855-causes; hostilities; Everglades; abstract titles to state land).
25 Taliaferro, James P. (also see Box 1). 1901-1904
25 Photographs - "Everglades and Other Trips".
25 Photographs - Barrel-making (probably for shipping potatoes).
25 Photographs - Bolles Hotel?, Jacksonville. 1913?
25 Photographs - Brooksville, FL.
25 Photographs - Canal dredge in operation at Okeechobee. 1911
25 Photographs - Canal dredging. 1909
25 Photographs - Canal dredging. 1909
25 Photographs - Crane and hoist.
25 Photographs - Dredging canals - panoramic.
25 Photographs - Harvesting and shipping potatoes, Clay County (near Black Creek?). 1913
25 Photographs - Making a social call at Flourie's Grove. 1911 January 9
25 Photographs - Shipping potatoes, Black Creek.
26 Legislative. 1917
26 Legislative. 1917
26 Dade Muck Land Co. vs. Trustees of Internal Improvement Fund; briefs and correspondence.
26 Showhalter et al vs. Trustees of Internal Improvement Fund; clippings, briefs and correspondence.
26 Abstract of land in Palm Beach Co. re: roads across the Everglades.
27 Legislature and Special session - Bills, clippings, correspondence. 1917-1919
27 Southern State Land and Timber Co. (Furst-Clark Construction Co.). 1917-1919
27 Avocado Land Co. vs. Trustees of Internal Improvement Fund; briefs and correspondence. 1917-1918
27 Jennings, W.S.; Income Tax (His companies: Dade Muck Land Co., Artesian Farm Land Co. and Flamingo Grove Co.). 1917-1918
27 Jennings, W.S.; Income Tax (His companies: Dade Muck Land Co., Artesian Farm Land Co. and Flamingo Grove Co.). 1919-1922
27 Dade Muck Land Co. vs. Trustees of Internal Improvement Fund and Everglades Drainage Commission, briefs. 1928
28 Speeches.
28 Scrapbook (newspaper clippings). 1901
28 Scrapbook (newspaper clippings). 1901-1904
28 Scrapbook (newspaper clippings). 1902-1905
28 Scrapbook (newspaper clippings). 1902-1910
29 Scrapbook (Everglades clippings). 1909-1915, 1918
29 Memoranda book. 1900
29 Memoranda book. 1901
29 Biographical materials.
29 Personal Photographs - William Sherman Jennings and May Mann Jennings (2 photos).
29 Personal Photographs - Jennings in group shot with son, Bryan.
29 Personal Photographs - Jennings in field.
29 Personal Photographs - Carriage outside Jennings home, Jacksonville.
29 Personal Photographs - Jennings in carriage, unknown location.
29 Personal Photographs - Jennings in front of farm shed.
29 Personal Photographs - Jennings on farm?.
29 Personal Photographs - Jennings with farm equipment.
29 Personal Photographs - Jennings and May (2 items) and with Bryan (1 item).
29 Personal Photographs - Residence of E.R. Reaines, Klamath Falls.
29 Personal Photographs - Jennings automobile.
29 Personal Photographs - Grave of Gov. Jennings.
29 Portrait Photographs - William Sherman Jennings (2).
29 Portrait Photographs - William Sherman Jennings (2).
29 Portrait Photographs - William Sherman Jennings (3).
29 Portrait Photographs - William Sherman Jennings. 1900
29 Portrait Photographs - Dr. V.H. Gwinn.
29 Portrait Photographs - Dr. V.H. Gwinn and Jennings with Cabinet (2 negatives).
29 Portrait Photographs - Leon Canova. 1908
29 Portrait Photographs - A.C. Croom, State Comptroller.
29 Portrait Photographs - John W. Tench.
29 Portrait Photographs - Jennings with Cabinet: Sheats, Whitfield, McLin, Crawford, Reynolds.


Letterbooks, 1899-1909

Letterbook (Personal). 1898 September-1899 May
Letterbook (Personal). 1899 May-November
Letterbook (Personal). 1899 November-1900 September
Letterbook (Personal). 1900 August-1901 November
Letterbook (Personal). 1901 September-1903 April
Letterbook (Personal). 1901 October-1902 September
Letterbook (Personal). 1902 October-1904 February
Letterbook (Personal). 1903 April-October
Letterbook (Personal). 1903 December-1904 July
Letterbook (Personal). 1904 February-1905 December
Letterbook (Personal). 1905 December-1909 June
Letterbook (Official/Business). 1901 July-1902 January
Letterbook (Official/Business). 1901 January-July
Letterbook (Official/Business). 1902 February-1903 November
Letterbook (Official/Business). 1903 November-1904 October



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