Approximately 600 images of the dramatic, comedic, and routine moments of Florida politics

Collection Number: N2008-15

Creator: Dughi, Donn, 1932-2005

Title: Photographic collection, 1980-2000

Quantity: 2000 photographs : 8"x10" color and b & w prints


For nearly forty years, photographer Donn Dughi captured the dramatic, comedic, and routine actions of the members of Florida's House of Representatives as well as notable and personal moments of Florida governors, justices of the Florida Supreme Court, members of the Florida Senate, and other state officials.

Whether he was focusing his lens as a TV cameraman, as a photographer for United Press International (UPI), or as the official photographer of the Florida House, Dughi's camera witnessed key events in Florida's legislative history, including the 1968 and subsequent revisions of Florida's constitution, integration and school busing, the fight over the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, abortion legislation, the operation of the death penalty, the building of the new capitol and the restoration of the old capitol, and bills for and against prayer in public schools. Although politics was his principal subject, Dughi's photographic work encompassed many other aspects of life in Florida, including sports, crime, and space exploration.

Historical Note:

Born on July 9, 1932, in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, Donn Dughi did not live outside of Florida for long. His parents moved to Florida in 1935, and Donn grew up in St. Petersburg, where his father was a druggist and his mother practiced cosmetology.

After high school, where Dughi made a name for himself as a star baseball and football player, he briefly attended the University of Florida before being drafted to serve in the Korean War. Dughi saw tough fighting in Korea as a Marine rifleman and was decorated for his battle service.

After the war, Dughi attended Florida State University as a creative writing student and learned his craft under such distinguished professors as Michael Shaara, the author of the famous Civil War novel, The Killer Angels.

Dughi's passion for writing drove his desire to become a novelist, but family concerns (he was already the father of two daughters when he graduated from FSU) required him to find work. He found a job in Tallassee at WCTV, a local television station, and began writing for TV. Dughi put down his pen, however, when he was offered a promotion to cameraman. From 1963 to 1970, he served WCTV behind the camera and spent much of his time shooting scenes from the Florida State Capitol for the station's coverage of the legislature. In 1970, Dughi joined UPI as the photographer for its Tallahassee bureau. He worked for UPI until 1991, when he joined the Associated Press for a year after UPI ended operations in Tallahassee. In 1992, Dughi took a position with the Florida House of Representatives as its photographer.

He worked for the House for nine years and retired in 2001. Donn Dughi died on April 6, 2005, while undergoing surgery. He was survived by his daughters, Laurie and Leslie.