Guide to Military Records and the Wartime Experience
at the State Archives of Florida
Left to Right:
- 1 Seminole Chief Billy Bowlegs, 1852
- 2 Inspection of Troop L of the 6th U.S. Cavalry at Camp Tampa, 1898
- 3 S. Augustus Aikens and a friend in their military uniforms at Cherry Lake, 1917
- 4 Nurse Sarah Kaplan during World War II, ca. 1940
- 5 Pilot David S. Breece with gunners C. W. Ramseur and Welch, 1943
The State Archives of Florida, under the Florida Department of State, is the official repository for the public records of the state of Florida. The Archives collects, preserves and makes available the permanently valuable records that agencies create or receive in conducting state business.
The State Archives collects records in five main areas. State Government Public Records are the core of the Archives collections. These records document the activities of Florida's territorial and state government from 1821 to the present. The Manuscript Collection of the State Archives is composed of collections from various entities: private citizens, religious organizations, businesses and other non-public groups or organizations. The Florida Photographic Collection consists of more than 1.5 million still images and thousands of motion picture films and tapes of Florida people, places and events from the middle of the 19th century to the present. The Genealogical Collection contains books, microfilm, online resources and other publications that provide an extensive information resource for genealogists. The Local Public Records Collection includes a limited amount of materials from various county and municipal governments around the state. All of these collecting areas offer valuable resources for researching the military service and wartime experience of individuals.
Archives staff compiled this guide to collections relevant to Florida’s military history in part by conducting a search of the State Archives of Florida Online Catalog, which is available to patrons both on site and remotely. The Online Catalog allows searching and browsing of information about the State Archives of Florida's holdings of almost 50,000 cubic feet of state and local government records and historical manuscripts. The catalog provides descriptions of more than 4,400 collections and lists the contents of containers and folders in many of those collections.
In addition to the records listed in this guide, the Archives holds other collections containing materials relevant to Florida’s military history as well as documentation of veterans’ organizations and peacetime activities. Subject files and correspondence of governors, legislators and state agencies often contain relevant records. Folder and box titles are searchable using the Online Catalog, a process which can be useful in locating relevant files contained within larger collections.
The Archives offers reference services for remote and in-person patrons. However, many of the collections listed in this guide are on microfilm, which is available to in-person patrons only. If such research is needed, researchers should plan to visit the Archives in person or arrange with a private researcher. Reference staff will provide a list of researchers upon request.