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State Archives of Florida
Sergeant-at-Arms Earnest Sumner dropping handkerchief during the House Sine Die.
Collection number N2006-6
During the years when the House Chamber was at the north end of the Old Capitol and the Senate Chamber was in the east wing, the presiding officers could not see each other nor were they in telephonic communication. On those occasions when the houses adjourned sine die simultaneously, the House and Senate Sergeants would stand in the rotunda where they could be observed by the Senate President and House Speaker. The Sergeants would drop a handkerchief at the moment agreed upon for adjournment and the gavels would fall in each house to formally signal the end of the session.
Later, when the Senate occupied the south wing in 1947, the need for this ritual disappeared as the Speaker and President could see each other when the Chamber doors were swung open fully at the time of adjournment. This line-of-sight arrangement prevails in the New Capitol. Nevertheless, from time to time, the Sergeants will drop the handkerchief, primarily for the benefit of news photographers.
Also, there have been more occasions nowadays than in the past when the two houses adjourned at different times and no signal, by telephone, handkerchief or line-of-sight, was necessary.
Note in the background at the rostrum is House Speaker Dean Cannon.
Accompanying note: "In the early morning hours and preceding the Senate, House Sergeant-at-Arms Earnest Sumner ceremonially drops the traditional handkerchief on the House seal, thus capping the end of Legislature 2011 for the Florida House."
Subject - Person
Subject - Corporate
Chicago Manual of Style
Geddings, Meredith Hill. Sergeant-at-Arms Earnest Sumner dropping handkerchief during the House Sine Die. 2012. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. <https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/254776>, accessed 17 September 2021.
Geddings, Meredith Hill. Sergeant-at-Arms Earnest Sumner dropping handkerchief during the House Sine Die. 2012. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. Accessed 17 Sep. 2021.<https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/254776>.
AP Style Photo Citation
(State Archives of Florida/Geddings)