Florida Memory is administered by the Florida Department of State, Division of Library and Information Services, Bureau of Archives and Records Management. The digitized records on Florida Memory come from the collections of the State Archives of Florida and the special collections of the State Library of Florida.
State Archives of Florida
The Florida Seminoles
Seminole Doll Making
Mary B. Billie and her daughter, Claudia C. John, discuss the history and practices of Seminole doll making.
Images of Florida Seminoles in the Sunshine State
These images provide a brief glimpse of the vibrant culture and complex history of the Florida Seminoles.
Deaconess Harriet Bedell
established the Glades Cross Mission at Everglades in 1933 and worked with the Florida Seminoles until 1961.
The Department of Commerce Collection
features hundreds of photographs of Seminole Indians used in marketing campaigns by the State of Florida.
The William A. Fishbaugh Collection
features about a dozen photographs of Seminoles taken near Miami in the 1930s.
The Folklife Collection
contains hundreds of images of Seminole cultural traditions documented by folklorists in the 20th century.
The anthropologist Irvin M. Peithmann
photographed the Florida Seminoles in the 1950s and 1960s during research trips to Florida.
The Postcard Collection
contains over 150 widely-disseminated images of Florida Seminoles.
Botanist John Kunkel Small
photographed Seminoles during his research in southern Florida in the early 1900s.
The Joseph Janney Steinmetz Collection
contains approximately 80 images of Florida Seminoles in the 1940s and 1950s.
- Search “Seminole Indians” in the Florida Photographic Collection.
Scenes of the Everglades (1928)
This film, produced by Homer Augustus Brinkley, contains the earliest known footage of Seminoles life in the Everglades. Brinkley captured scenes of camp life, a stickball game, and traditions associated with the Green Corn Dance.
Florida Folk Festival (1955)
This film features performances at the 1955 Florida Folk Festival at the Stephen Foster Memorial in White Springs, Florida, including Florida Seminoles dancing onstage.
Florida Folk Festival (1958)
This film is composed of performance clips from the 1958 Florida Folk Festival held at the Stephen Foster Memorial in White Springs, Florida, including scenes of Seminoles Billy Bowlegs III and the Frank Shore family.
Many of the films featuring Seminoles in the archives’ collection were made for promotional purposes. Seminoles played an important role in Florida tourism in the decades before the rise of Disney World led to the decline of roadside attractions.
Florida Attractions (1948)
This promotional film features scenes from a Seminole tourist village in southern Florida.
Ross Allen Reptile Institute (1960s)
This film features footage of the Ross Allen Reptile Institute at Silver Springs. Seminole families worked at tourist camps located on the grounds of the Silvers Springs theme park from the 1930s to the 1970s. At Silver Springs and similar tourist sites, Seminoles wrestled alligators and exhibited aspects of their daily life for tourists.
You Got to See Florida (1950s)
This promotional film shows Seminoles spearing fish, grinding corn, and preparing food.
The Florida Folklife Collection contains nearly 1,000 items related to the Florida Seminoles, including 291 audio recordings. Of these, about 180 are digitized and available online. Below is a sampling of Seminole recordings from the audio collection.
- Interview with doll maker Mary Billie (June 11, 1980)
- Interview with healer Susie Billie (1985)
- Interview with alligator wrestler Richard Bowers (1983)
- Stanloe Johns discusses Seminole cattle ranching at the 1984 Florida Folk Festival
- Interview with James Billie (1981)
- Interview with Jeanette Cypress (1984)
- Interview with Lena Osceola and Ethel Santiago (1983)
- Seminole folklore with Betty Mae Jumper (1985)
- Interview with Joel Frank (1984)
- Interview with Judy Bill Osceola (1982)
- Interview with Rubie Billie (interpreted by Betty Mae Jumper) (1982)
- Storyteller James Hancock talking with students (1986)
- Performance by James Billie at the 2002 Florida Folk Festival
- Performance by Paul Buster at the 2002 Florida Folk Festival
- Traditional song performed by Josie Billie at the 1959 Florida Folk Festival
Call and Brevard Family Papers
This collection represents personal papers from the Call and Brevard families of Tallahassee. A few items contain information about Richard Keith Call’s service in the Second Seminole War.
Seminole Indian Legends
This document contains Seminole Indian legends collected by the Florida Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
Thomas Sidney Jesup Diary
General Thomas Sidney Jesup commanded military operations in Florida during the early stages of the Second Seminole War (1835-1842). Jesup’s diary gives his perspective on the conflict from October 1, 1836, to May 30, 1837, including the movement of troops, the nature of the conflict, and meetings with Seminole and black leaders.
Additional Resources at Other Institutions
The following institutions provide a wealth of information about and digitized materials related to the Florida Seminoles and Seminole history:
- The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, located on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation, maintains artifacts, publications, photographic and manuscript collections related to Seminole and Native American history.
- History Miami holds several photographic and manuscript collections on the Florida Seminoles.
- The Library of Congress holds a variety of visual, audio, and printed resources on Seminole history.
- The National Anthropological Archives holds research notes and publications by American anthropologists, including several who worked with Florida Indians in the 19th and 20th centuries.
- The National Archives holds census records, documents on the Seminole Wars, photographic and manuscript collections, and the files of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The State Library and Archives of Florida has microfilm copies of many federal records related to the Florida Seminoles.
- The P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History at the University of Florida holds a number of photographic and manuscript collections as well as copies of federal records related to Florida Indians.
- The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida has collected, preserved, and made available online over 150 interviews with Florida Indians from the 1960s-2000s.
- The Stranahan Collection, held by the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society, is an important resource on Seminoles and the southeast Florida frontier.
- The University of Oklahoma Digital Collection includes materials related to the Seminoles and other southeastern Indians removed to the Indian Territory during the Creek and Seminole Wars.
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Florida Electronic Library (FEL)
The Florida Electronic Library is a gateway to select Internet resources offering access to comprehensive, accurate, and reliable information. Available resources include electronic magazines, newspapers, almanacs, encyclopedias, and books, providing information on topics such as current events, education, business, technology, and health issues. The Florida Electronic Library offers information for all age groups, including homework help for students and resources for teachers.
Publication of Archival Library and Museum Materials (PALMM)
PALMM is a cooperative initiative of the public universities of Florida to provide digital access to important source materials for research and scholarship. PALMM projects may involve a single university or may be collaborative efforts between a university and partners within or outside of the state university system. PALMM projects create high-quality virtual collections relevant to the students, research community, and general citizenry of Florida.
- Primary Source Sets
These primary source sets contain documents and photos arranged by topic that teachers can use in their lesson plans. Each set is accompanied by a teacher's guide containing historical context, teaching suggestions, and relevant NGSSS and Florida Standards.
- Florida History Day Resources
Florida History Day is an annual statewide activity sponsored by the Museum of Florida History. These archival resources relate to this year's theme.
The Assorted Selections Program
Documenting Florida's legislature prior to statehood
Lists of Florida's state and county officials either elected or appointed between 1868 and 1969.
A guide to government records and manuscript collections relating to service members and the wartime experience.