Florida Governors' Records
About These Records
The governor is Florida’s chief executive officer, constitutionally charged with enforcing the laws passed by the Florida Legislature and administering the many departments and programs those laws create. The State Archives holds a variety of records from Florida’s governors and their staff. Some of the most common kinds of records include:
- Appointments and resignations of state and county officers.
- Citizen complaints and requests for assistance.
- Correspondence with the heads of agencies within the executive branch.
- Correspondence with other state governments and the federal government.
- Correspondence with local government officials about matters within their jurisdiction.
- Extraditions, pardons, transfers and other issues involving prisoners.
- Messages to the Legislature, including approvals and vetoes of bills.
- Statements, speeches and press releases.
This online collection contains a growing selection of the records of Florida’s governors held by the State Archives. Digitization of these records is an ongoing project; more records will be added here as they are processed.
Using This Collection
Use the search box above to look for specific names, topics or other keywords across the entire collection, using the drop-down menu to narrow your search to a specific governor if desired. You can also use the expandable menu below to browse records from a particular administration. The online collection represents only a small fraction of the records available for public research at the State Archives. Consult our Guide to Florida Governors to see the complete list of records available for each governor’s administration.
The records of Florida’s governors are generally organized in one of three ways:
- Letterbooks: Most governors in the 1800s and early 1900s kept copies of their outgoing correspondence and select incoming correspondence in bound letterbooks. Each letterbook has a table of contents that can be searched or sorted to locate a specific sender or recipient, or correspondence from a particular point in time.
- Incoming Correspondence: In addition to letterbooks, which contain mostly copies of outgoing correspondence, the State Archives also holds incoming correspondence for many of Florida’s governors from the 1800s and early 1900s. Within a specific governor’s administration, the records are generally organized by type and then either chronologically or alphabetically by county.
- Subject Files: Many of Florida’s 20th-century governors maintained subject files, in which incoming correspondence and copies of outgoing correspondence were filed alphabetically by subject or the agency or officer involved. Other informative documents like reports, speeches, statements, bill drafts, meeting minutes, ephemera, invitations and other items are included.
More recent governors often divided their records into more specific categories, such as press files, issue files, or scheduling files.