In Her Own Words: Remarkable Women in 20th-Century Florida

Dorothy Dodd, 1902-1994

"Our books are not here to gather dust on the shelves; library service is not denied to anyone in Florida if the service is within the limits of our budget."

— Dorothy Dodd [1]

The collections at the State Archives and State Library of Florida document some of the state’s most historically significant events through archival records, photographs, books, ephemera and more. Dorothy Dodd, first as state archivist and then as state librarian, was responsible for collecting many of these records and preserving them for posterity.

Dodd served as the first state archivist of Florida from 1941 to 1951. She made historical records more accessible to the public and edited a book for the Florida Centennial Commission titled Florida Becomes a State about territorial Florida and the path to statehood.

When Dodd became state librarian in 1951, she went to work expanding the State Library’s services and collections. Dodd increased library services in rural communities, started an outreach initiative to provide technical advice and assistance to public libraries, extended library services to prison inmates and established the Library’s Florida Special Collection.

By the time she retired in 1965, the Florida Collection contained more than 15,000 items from all around the state and included pamphlets, booklets, broadsides and memorabilia documenting Florida tourist attractions, events and other important topics. Selected records collected and processed by Dodd while she was state archivist and then state librarian are continually digitized and made available on Florida Memory.

"Goals for the State Library" by Dorothy Dodd, 1952

A transcript of "Goals for the State Library," presented by Dorothy Dodd at the 1952 Florida Library Convention in Miami.

Letter from Dorothy Dodd to Thomas Dreier, November 30, 1955

A letter from State Librarian Dorothy Dodd to Thomas Dreier outlining her hopes for the State Library of Florida, including a comprehensive book collection, more reference services and making archival collections more readily available to the public, November 30, 1955.

Correspondence Between Thomas Dreier and Dorothy Dodd, 1956

A letter from State Librarian Dorothy Dodd to Thomas Dreier explaining how an increased budget would allow the Library to build its genealogy and Florida collections and provide more lending services to the public, July 6, 1956.

More from Florida Memory
At the Archives
  • Dorothy Dodd Manuscript Drafts, 1984-1988, Collection N2017-154, State Archives of Florida.
  • Florida Flowers and Birds Photographic Collection, ca. 1960-1979, Collection M83-12, State Archives of Florida.
  • Florida State College for Women Photographs, 1918-1934, Collection M99-23, State Archives of Florida.
  • Library and Historical Commission Correspondence, 1928-1969, Series S1506, State Archives of Florida.
  • State Archivist Dorothy Dodd Records, 1941-1952, Series S1507, State Archives of Florida.
  • State Librarian's Correspondence and Reading Files, 1954-1979, Series S2037, State Archives of Florida.
  • State Librarian Dorothy Dodd Correspondence, 1952-1965, Series S1508, State Archives of Florida.
  • State Librarian Dorothy Dodd Records, 1952-1965, Series S2038, State Archives of Florida.
  1. ^“Convicts Are Some of Best Users of State Library,” The Tampa Tribune, August 27, 1962.