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A Guide to the Alexander Linn Papers

Finding aid created by Anastasia Bower and Bridget Bihm-Manuel

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections

April 2009



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Linn, Alexander, 1881-1975
Title: Alexander Linn Papers
Dates: 1925-1975
Bulk dates: 1925-1951
Abstract: Monthly reports and supplementary letters from Rev. Alexander Linn to the Board of National Missions of the Presbyterian Church detailing expenses, salary due, and noteworthy events from his missionary work in Florida. The collection also includes a set of hand-tinted glass lantern slides that accompanied a lecture Linn gave about the Seminole Indians.
Extent: 1.16 Linear feet. 2 boxes and 1 lantern slide box.
Identification: MS 259
Language(s): English
Access: Researchers should consult with Special Collections staff before using the collection because there are access restrictions. See the Access note for more information.
Online ContentItems 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

Reverend Alexander Linn (1881-1975) was born in Hamburg N.J. and graduated from Columbia University. In 1905 Linn went to Florida at the advice of his doctor. He became pastor of his first church in Tarpon Springs in 1910 and was ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1914. Also in 1914, he married Lucile Gregory from Quincy, Florida. Between 1925 and 1951, Linn worked for the Board of National Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the Presbytery of Southwest and Southeast Florida as a Sunday school missionary. He started Sunday schools and established churches around Florida. In his travels Linn developed an interest in the Seminole Indians and gave lectures about his trips to Seminole camps. He illustrated his lectures with glass lantern slides that were tinted and painted with watercolors to make them more realistic. Linn retired in 1951 but continued to work as interim pastor at different churches until he had a stroke at age 92.


Scope and Content

This collection includes monthly reports on Linn's work as a Sunday school missionary, which were supplemented by letters. He surveyed communities to gauge their openness to starting a Sunday school, building a church, or improving an already existing but struggling church or Sunday school. Linn visited towns across south Florida, including Punta Gorda, Fort Myers, West Palm Beach, Miami, Pinellas Park, Englewood, Clewiston, Lake Garfield, Bradenton, Lakeland, Key West and Marco. The school reports mention Linn's trips to Seminole camps; major Florida hurricanes in 1926, 1928, and 1935; outbreaks of disease, such as the flu and polio; and the economic situation of the communities that he visited.

The collection also contains a photographic record of Linn's visits to Seminole camps. He produced a series of lantern slides that he used to illustrate his lecture about the Seminoles. The collection includes the original glass lantern slides, black and white prints made from the slides, and an almost complete set of 35mm photographic slides. The transcripts of two oral histories conducted at the University of Florida contain further information about Linn's interest in the Seminoles. The oral history recorded on March 8, 1971 describes specific lantern slides in this collection.

Among the identified images are depictions of Ted Smallwood's trading post at Chokoloskee; Fort Marion (the Castillo de San Marcos); pre-1930 hairstyles and clothing of the Seminoles; dredging to build the Tamiami Trail; a cooking chickee; grinding corn in a pop ash mortar; and coontie roots used to make sofkee. Specific people identified are Billie Fewell, Linn's "best friend among the Miccosukee;" Wilbert Smith, a retired conservation officer who traveled with Linn; Josie Billie as drawn by Ira Dell; Whitney Cypress with his family; and a man on horseback believed to be Coffee Gopher, one of Linn's friends and informants.


Access or Use Restrictions

Access

One box of 93 lantern slides is stored separately from the collection. The slides have been tinted and colored. The collection is open for research, but access to the lantern slides requires special permission. Black and white prints and 35 mm slides of the images are available in box 1. Please use the photocopies, provided in the folders, of the letters accompanying the monthly Sunday school reports. Originals are stored in the last folders of the collection but in general are too deteriorated for use.


Related or Separated Material

The Library of Congress holds a related collection: The Rev. Alexander Linn / "Our Florida Indians" Slide Show Collection. The collection includes 84 slides and a tape-recorded lecture by Rev. Alexander Linn regarding Seminole Indians of Florida in the period between 1925 and 1945.


Administrative Information

Alternative Format Available

Items in this collection have been digitized and are available via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Preferred Citation

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

Acquisition Information

R. T. King, a University of Florida graduate student, wrote a dissertation on the Seminoles and worked for the Southeastern Indian Oral History Project. He met Linn during the course of his studies, and Linn gave him a set of glass lantern slides. King then donated the slides to the university. King also made 35mm slides of the images for a presentation before the Alachua County Historical Society in 1978. He created a similar slideshow for an open house at the Florida State Museum (now the Florida Museum of Natural History) in October 1980. The 35mm slides were removed from the R.T. King Photograph Collection and moved to the Alexander Linn Papers.

Processing Notes

In 2016, the glass lantern slides were identified, arranged, and numbered as part of the digitization process. The new arrangement is based on the order used by the Library of Congress for its set of glass lantern slides and descriptions of the slides in Linn's oral history interview. The black and white prints and the 35 mm slides follow the same numbering as the glass lantern slides.


Contents List

General files.



Box Folder
11 Obituary. 1975 June 29
12 Oral History. 1971 March 8
13 Oral History. 1974 March 23
14 Photographs-not related to Seminoles-Lake Worth Church?
15 Photographs-Seminole Indians-black and whiteprints, color prints, and postcards.
16 Photographs-Seminole Indians-prints from lantern slides, number 1-12.
17 Photographs-Seminole Indians-prints from lantern slides, number 13-32.
18 Photographs-Seminole Indians-prints from lantern slides, number 33-42.
19 Photographs-Seminole Indians-prints from lantern slides, number 43-62.
110 Photographs-Seminole Indians-prints from lantern slides, number 63-82.
111 Photographs-Seminole Indians-prints from lantern slides, number 83-93.
112 Photographs-Seminole Indians-prints from lantern slides, 35 mm slides.
113 Sunday school reports. 1925
114 Sunday school reports. 1926
115 Sunday school reports. 1927
116 Sunday school reports. 1928
117 Sunday school reports. 1929
118 Sunday school reports. 1930
119 Sunday school reports. 1931
120 Sunday school reports. 1932
121 Sunday school reports. 1933
122 Sunday school reports. 1934
123 Sunday school reports. 1935
21 Sunday school reports. 1936
22 Sunday school reports. 1937
23 Sunday school reports. 1938
24 Sunday school reports. 1939
25 Sunday school reports. 1940
26 Sunday school reports. 1941
27 Sunday school reports. 1942
28 Sunday school reports. 1943
29 Sunday school reports. 1944
210 Sunday school reports. 1945
211 Sunday school reports. 1946
212 Sunday school reports. 1947
213 Sunday school reports. 1948
214 Sunday school reports. 1949
215 Sunday school reports. 1950
216 Sunday school reports. 1951
217 Sunday school reports-duplicates. 1946-1951
218 Sunday school reports-supplemental letters-originals. 1926-1928
219 Sunday school reports-supplemental letters-originals. 1929-1932
220 Sunday school reports-supplemental letters-originals. 1933-1937
221 Sunday school reports-supplemental letters-originals. 1938-1944



Lantern slides.

The lantern slides are stored separately from the rest of the collection. The slides have been tinted and colored. Due to their fragile nature, access to the lantern slides requires special permission. Black and white prints and 35 mm slides of the images are available in box 1.



Box
3 Slide 1 - Group of two women and children, camp northwest of Lake Okeechobee.
3 Slide 2 - Group of three women and children, camp northwest of Lake Okeechobee.
3 Slide 3 - Group of women under tent, camp northwest of Lake Okeechobee.
3 Slide 4 - Women with child, camp northwest of Lake Okeechobee.
3 Slide 5 - Terrain south of Lake Okeechobee.
3 Slide 6 - Traversing cypress swamp by car, Okalacoochee Slough. 1933
3 Slide 7 - Reverend Linn and assistant clearing a path for a car through wet terrain.
3 Slide 8 - Wading through water to wood ibis rookery, Okaloacoochee Slough. 1933
3 Slide 9 - Seminole camp in the Indian Prairie.
3 Slide 10 - Entrance to Seminole camp in the Indian Prairie.
3 Slide 11 - Example of a cooking chikee.
3 Slide 12 - Example of a family chikee.
3 Slide 13 - Wilbert Smith, retired conservation officer, camping at Big Bear Beach.
3 Slide 14 - Sketch of Florida, showing areas of Seminole occupation circa 1920s.
3 Slide 15 - View of the southwest bastion of Fort Marion (Castillo de San Marcos), associated with the Second Seminole War.
3 Slide 16 - Casement, southwest corner of Ft. Marion (Castillo de San Marcos), that served as cell for captive Seminoles.
3 Slide 17 - Curtain wall of Ft. Marion (Castillo de San Marcos).
3 Slide 18 - Southeast bastion of Ft. Marion (Castillo de San Marcos).
3 Slide 19 - Entrance to Dade Memorial Park. circa 1922
3 Slide 20 - Marker for the military road from Fort Brooke (Tampa) to Fort King (Ocala).
3 Slide 21 - Monument to fallen soldiers of the Second Seminole War, Dade Memorial Park.
3 Slide 22 - Construction area for the Tamiami Trail in the 1920s.
3 Slide 23 - Operating a dragline for construction of Tamiami Trail.
3 Slide 24 - Dragline at work as roadbuilding equipment, Tamiami Trail.
3 Slide 25 - Car on a recently made section of Tamiami Trail.
3 Slide 26 - Dragline roadbuilding equipment, Tamiami Trail.
3 Slide 27 - Seminole hunter.
3 Slide 28 - Alternate view, Seminole hunter.
3 Slide 29 - Seminole woman with daughter and with young child on back.
3 Slide 30 - Coffee Gopher on horseback.
3 Slide 31 - Dugout canoe and family in front of the Chokoloskee trading post.
3 Slide 32 - Seminole poling a dugout canoe.
3 Slide 33 - Homespun Billie, Wilson Doctor, and Frank Tucker in an automobile known as a flivver.
3 Slide 34 - Billy Fewell (left), Alexander Linn, and Wilson Cypress at the Californee camp.
3 Slide 35 - Whitney Cypress and family in front of chikee.
3 Slide 36 - Corn field near Seminole camp.
3 Slide 37 - Woman using mortar and pestle.
3 Slide 38 - Woman using coffee grinder to grind corn.
3 Slide 39 - Woman digging for water.
3 Slide 40 - Woman cooking sofkee in an iron pot with a wooden spoon.
3 Slide 41 - Woman posing with coontie roots.
3 Slide 42 - Woman wearing beads.
3 Slide 43 - Man wearing a turban in the town of Everglades, Fla..
3 Slide 44 - Close up of a man wearing a turban, town of Everglades, Fla..
3 Slide 45 - Crayon portrait of Josie Billie by Ira Dell. 1928
3 Slide 46 - Josie Billie.
3 Slide 47 - Young Seminole man.
3 Slide 48 - Billy Motlow, elder and bundle carrier.
3 Slide 49 - Billy Fewell, termed by Reverend Linn "my best friennd among the Miccosukee".
3 Slide 50 - Young woman of marriageable age.
3 Slide 51 - Seminole girl.
3 Slide 52 - Seminole baby girl.
3 Slide 53 - Group of four children in front of chikee.
3 Slide 54 - Seminole family (unidentified).
3 Slide 55 - Photographer showing camera to Seminole family (unidentified).
3 Slide 56 - Close up of photographer showing camera to Seminole family.
3 Slide 57 - Two Seminole boys with bows and arrows. 1939
3 Slide 58 - Two Seminole boys with bows and arrows (black and white). 1939
3 Slide 59 - Group of Seminoles with unidentified white male (in suit and tie); Billy Tucker (possibly) far right.
3 Slide 60 - Group of Seminoles posing on steps of Collier County Courthouse during celebration of opening of Tamiami Trail.
3 Slide 61 - Possible view of Tamiami Trail.
3 Slide 62 - Train running along a canal.
3 Slide 63 - Car on Big Cypress Highway.
3 Slide 64 - Marsh area.
3 Slide 65 - Pine wood with possible storm damage.
3 Slide 66 - Group of Seminoles around a chikee platform.
3 Slide 67 - Seminole camp among pine woods and palmetto.
3 Slide 68 - Four chikees.
3 Slide 69 - Three chikees.
3 Slide 70 - Man (unidenfied) among chikees in black and white.
3 Slide 71 - Women in cooking chikee.
3 Slide 72 - View of Seminole camp. 1930
3 Slide 73 - View of Seminole camp with dugout, 1930s.
3 Slide 74 - Image in oval frame, man fishing in dugout canoe.
3 Slide 75 - Man fishing in dugout canoe.
3 Slide 76 - Family in dugout canoe at Ted Smallwood's store, Chokoloskee. (Possibly family of Little Charlie Billie).
3 Slide 77 - Seminole women and children near pump.
3 Slide 78 - Seminole Women and children near pump (mirror image).
3 Slide 79 - Seminole woman in field.
3 Slide 80 - Young man posing with mortar and pestle.
3 Slide 81 - Young woman with sewing machine on chikee platform.
3 Slide 82 - Seminole man in traditional long shirt.
3 Slide 83 - Two views of woman wearing beads.
3 Slide 84 - Seminole woman holding child in her arms.
3 Slide 85 - Seminole woman with child on her back.
3 Slide 86 - Seminole children fishing. 1927
3 Slide 87 - Woman and dugout canoe beside Tamiami Trail. 1929
3 Slide 88 - Group of men around fire.
3 Slide 89 - Navaho Indian, 98 years old.
3 Slide 90 - Air plants growing on tree.
3 Slide 91 - Unidentified group of men and children posing in front of fence.
3 Slide 92 - Three sons of Whitney Cypress, Big Cypress. 1933
3 Slide 93 - Image of American flag.



Bibliography

Sources consulted by Bridget Bihm-Manuel while writing this finding aid.

Oral history interview with Alexander Linn, 23 March 1974, Samuel Proctor Oral History Program.

Oral history interview with Alexander Linn, 8 March 1971, Samuel Proctor Oral History Program.


Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Linn, Alexander, 1881-1975
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Board of National Missions
Seminole Indians




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

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