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

Marjory Stoneman Douglas, 1890-1998

"Perhaps even in this last hour, in a new relation of usefulness and beauty, the vast, magnificent, subtle and unique region of the Everglades may not be utterly lost."

— Marjory Stoneman Douglas [1]

The Everglades in South Florida consists of 1.5 million acres of wetland and is the only subtropical preserve in North America. Many Floridians dedicated their time to conserving this unique natural resource, including Marjory Stoneman Douglas, who later became known as the mother of the Everglades.

She arrived in Miami in the early 20th century, when the city was still developing. Her father, Frank Bryant Stoneman, was editor of the Miami Herald and employed her as a writer. While on assignment for a story about the first woman in Florida to enlist during World War I, Douglas enrolled in her place after the woman did not show up. She served in the United States Naval Reserve for one year before joining the American Red Cross in Europe.

In the early 1940s, Douglas began writing a book about the Everglades. After years of research, The Everglades: River of Grass was published on November 6, 1947, exactly one month before the dedication of Everglades National Park. The book highlights the beauty of the Everglades and the need to conserve its unique landscape. Douglas spoke out against destruction of its delicate ecosystem, and she formed the Friends of the Everglades in 1969, to create more public awareness of the problem. She spent the rest of her life trying to protect and restore the Everglades and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1993 for her efforts.

A 1984 documentary about Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas

World War I service card of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, March 27, 1917.

Letter from Marjory Stoneman Douglas to Hedwig Michel, September 16, 1947

A letter from Marjory Stoneman Douglas to Hedwig Michel, president of the Koreshan Unity, discussing the release of and publicity for her upcoming book, The Everglades: River of Grass, September 16, 1947.

Letter from Marjory Stoneman Douglas to Hedwig Michel, November 19, 1961

A letter from Marjory Stoneman Douglas to Hedwig Michel, president of the Koreshan Unity, praising the Koreshans for donating land in Estero to the state of Florida to become a state park, November 19, 1961.

More from Florida Memory
At the Archives
  • Koreshan Unity Papers, ca. 1829-2006, Collection 2009-3, Box 118, Folder 28, State Archives of Florida.
  • Marjory Stoneman Douglas Letters, 1930, Collection N2017-140, State Archives of Florida.
  1. ^“Marjory Stoneman Douglas, The Everglades: River of Grass (Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press, 1997), 385.