Thursday, December 6, 2007

University of Florida Digital Archives

The University of Florida has some potentially useful digital archives.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Florida
The maps were mainly designed to help fire insurance agents determine the degree of damage to a property and show accurate information to help them determine risks and establish premiums. They showed the size (including color-coding), shape and construction of buildings (brick, adobe, frame, etc), dwellings (including hotels and churches), and other structures such as bridges, docks and barns. Along with fire stations, you could also find water facilities, sprinklers, hydrants, cisterns, and alarm boxes as well as firewalls, windows, doors, elevators and chimneys and roof types. The maps included street names, property boundaries and lot lines, and house and block numbers. Other information such as the latest census figures, prevailing winds; railroad lines and Indian reservations and topography were included. Today, the maps are an invaluable guide to inner-city history, land use, and historic preservation.
Sanborn maps from some other states are also available elsewhere. [And that link is to a blog called ResourceShelf where "dedicated librarians and researchers share the results of their directed (and occasionally quirky) web searches for resources and information."]

Oral History Collections
The Oral History Collections comprise the digital holdings of both the Matheson Museum and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida.
These are transcripts of over 1500 interviews. The only names I recognized were Dean Rusk, Gen William Westmoreland, George McGovern, Lawton Chiles, Shelby Foote, Tom Wolfe, and Sen. Eugene McCarthy. There may be a few other 'big names' I missed, but the majority aren't.

Samuel Proctor Oral History Program:
The Program's major collection has more than 900 interviews with Native Americans --including Seminoles, Cherokees, and Creeks. Other holdings include such diverse subjects as African Americans in Florida, civil rights activities in St. Augustine (1964), women in Florida, pioneer settlers, a history of Florida education, the citrus industry, and the Florida Highway Patrol.
Matheson Museum:
The Museum’s oral history collection includes 125 interviews of Alachua County residents from all walks of life. Topics include family history and genealogy, the home front experience during the World Wars, schools and businesses, development, race relations and integration, the University of Florida, and the experience of daily life and culture in Gainesville and Alachua County over a 100- year time span.
Florida Digital Newspaper Library

Searchable scanned issues from 214 newspapers across Florida. Issues dating as early as 1762 and as recent as 2006.

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