291 images chronicling the history of Miami Beach from the 1900s to the 1980s

Collection Number: M99-6

Creator: Wendler, James P., 1915-

Title: 1909-1999

Quantity: 1 cubic ft.


This collection consists of primarily of photographs and correspondence relating to James P. Wendler's career as editor of the Miami Beach Times and his interest in state and national politics. Included are about 300 photographs dating from the first decade of the 1900s thru about 1995, many of which accompanied editorials published in the Miami Beach Times before that newspaper ceased publication. Also included is correspondence (mostly incoming) dating from 1948 through 1999.

The photographs depict historical events and prominent individuals in Florida as well as the development of Miami Beach, Surfside, Indian Creek Village, Bal Harbour, and undeveloped Bay Harbor Islands. Among the images of interest are Al Capone and his Palm Island residence; Miami Beach gambler George R.K. Carter with sports promoter Tex Rickard; developer Carl G. Fisher; dredging and filling of the beach; and preservation of the Flagler Monument in Biscayne Bay.

The correspondence is primarily from Florida politicians as well as other public figures, conveying opinions on issues of local, state, or national concern or discussing Wendler's involvement in community activities. Included are letters from Governor and U.S. Senator Lawton Chiles, Governor Haydon Burns, State Senator Robert Shevin, U.S. Senator Richard (Dick) Stone, Secretary of State George Firestone, Agriculture Commissioner Doyle Conner, Attorney General Jim Smith, Congressman Claude Pepper, Congressman Dante Fascell, Chief Justice Joseph A. Boyd, State and U.S. Senator Bob Graham, F.B.I. Director J. Edgar Hoover, and Elliot Roosevelt.

Historical Note:

James P. Wendler was publisher and editor of the Miami Beach Times from 1945 until the newspaper ceased publication in October 1975. Wendler assumed that position upon the death of his father, J.H. (John Henry) Wendler, who established the paper in 1927 as the Miami Beach Democrat, operating out of the Hialeah Herald plant. The Wendler family moved publishing operations for both papers to Miami Beach in 1929 and renamed the Miami Beach paper the Times.

In 1950, James P. Wendler's wife, Alice Cole Wendler, became editor of the Times, and Wendler became publisher. Wendlersold the Times to Panax Corporation of Michigan in 1973 but remained with the paper until the company closed it down in 1975. Wendler was active in community affairs and local politics, being elected to the Surfside town council in 1950 and to the post of mayor of Surfside in 1956.

The collection also includes sample issues of and clippings from the Miami Beach Times and correspondence and publicity items relating to the newspaper and events on which it reported; and clippings from other newspapers regarding Wendler's life and activities.