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Past Exhibits


All Ends are Beginnings: The Transformation of FSCW to FSU, 1930s to 1965
Produced by HIS 6087: Exhibiting History, Fall 2016

Featuring items from FSU Special Collections & Archives, Heritage Protocol & University Archives and the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience

Before Florida State University (FSU) became the large research university that we know today, it was the Florida State College for Women (FSCW). This exhibit explores the transformation of FSCW to FSU from the 1930s through 1965, especially the time surrounding World War II. By highlighting the university as a women's liberal arts college in the 1930s, a co-educational school in the 1940s and 1950s, and the beginning of racial integration in the 1960s, the exhibit guides you through this transitional period. The exhibit features contemporary photographs of the school and students from the era alongside artifacts from Florida State's Special Collections and University Archives and the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience. The exhibit examines the changes as well as the continuity of the university through an era of great transformation. 
The Exhibit Room is open whenever Special Collections & Archives Research Center is open. Please check the main page for those details.

What's Past is Pixels: Developing the FSU Digital Library

War Stories: 2000 Years of the Veteran Experience

The political causes and effects of war are well-documented by scholars and politicians, but the true details of life during wartime are the provenance of the fighters on the ground, in the air, and at sea.  Throughout recorded time, soldiers have shared their stories, told with humor, pathos, hope, and pride.  In honor of Veterans Day, library staff assembled an exhibit featuring soldiers' stories from across 2,000 years of human history.

In 1941, Consolidated Book Publishers of Chicago published pocket-sized journals titled "My Life in the Service" for members of the armed forces, with blank pages intended to be filled with first-hand accounts of military life.  A short introduction to this volume says it best: "Your experiences in the armed forces of your country are your part of living history. By all means, KEEP A DIARY!  Times without number, historians and writers have found more information of real human interest in the diaries of enlisted men than in the studied accounts of generals and admirals...Your personal record may supply vital information that is available at no other source."

All materials exhibited are from the holdings of FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives and are available to researchers and the general public in the Special Collections Research Center in Strozier Library, Room 110. The exhibit will be available outside the Special Collections Exhibit Room until January 2016. An online exhibit is also available.


Mittan: A Retrospective

The works of J. Barry Mittan candidly capture the student experience at Florida State University in the 1960's and 70's. As a student and photographer for numerous campus publications, including the Tally-Ho yearbook and Florida Flambeau newspaper, Mittan often photographed students at official university-sponsored events and spontaneous student gatherings alike. Through his documentation of sporting events, Greek life, protests, concerts, study sessions, socials, and so on, he was able to construct a comprehensive view of FSU student life in which individuals banded together to share a common voice in an age of social change. Mittan's unique perspective as a student informed his photographic purpose to see the individuals amongst the crowd. 

In reviewing the images it became evident that Mittan captured vignettes of activities and groups, giving equal consideration to athletes and speakers as he did to audience members and bystanders. Adhering to a modernist approach to photography, he carefully structured his compositions paying close attention to form and content.

Mittan passed away in 2013 after having donated a portion of his photographic work. The remainder was donated posthumously by his widow. The selections made for this exhibit were pulled from a set of over a thousand slides and negatives, all of which were unidentified and undated.

Mittan: A Retrospective is open in Strozier Library’s first floor exhibit space. The exhibit will be on display until mid-January and is open to the public Monday through Thursday, 10am to 6pm, and Friday, 10am to 5:30pm. 

The Battle of Natural Bridge: Bridging Past and Present

In the Special Collection's gallery in Strozier Library, this exhibition presents the history of the Civil War Battle of Natural Bridge, and explores the relationship of the Florida State University student community to this event. The exhibition also addresses the ongoing contributions of student veterans throughout the past 150 years.

Physical exhibit held December 4, 2014 to April 2015. The digital exhibit remains available by clicking on the title above.


That I May Remember: the Scrapbooks of Florida State College for Women (1905-1947)

The scrapbook is an expression of memories, unique to each individual. By preserving, collecting, and arranging everyday objects, the creators of scrapbooks shape a visual narrative of their lives. “That I May Remember” explores the scrapbooks created by the students of Florida State College for Women (1905-1947). Although scrapbooks are generally created for the preservation of an individual’s memory, when taken as a whole, the FSCW scrapbook collection grants its viewers a rare insight into the history of FSCW and the women who made it was it was.  These scrapbooks tell the stories of students’ lives, school pride, friendships, and their contributions to the heritage of Florida State University.

Physical exhibit was held October 15 to December 1, 2014. The digital exhibit remains available by clicking on the title above.

John MacKay Shaw: The Man Behind the Collection

Dr. Teri Abstein’s Spring 2014 Museum Object class, in collaboration with FSU's Special Collections & Archives, is pleased to present its exhibit, John MacKay Shaw: The Man Behind the Collection. Shaw was born in Scotland and immigrated to the United States as a teen. After marriage and having his own children, Shaw began his collection of childhood poetry and literature in the 1930s. His collection grew to include all the masters of English literature who have written about childhood – and almost every English poet has.  The Shaw Collection was donated to FSU with 6,000 volumes; the collection currently comprises of over 35,000 volumes and 69 linear feet of archival material.

In the exhibit, you will be able to view Shaw’s own poetry written for his children, letters between Shaw and Dr. Seuss, first editions of books which turned into popular children’s movies, part of the largest Scottish collection in America and finally, the legacy Shaw has left to his children, to Florida State University and many others. A digital exhibit to complement the physical exhibit can be found hereJohn MacKay Shaw: The Man Behind the Collection was available to view until July 28, 2014.

Reflections of a French Dream: Early Modern Maps from Florida (16th-19th c.)

On the occasion of the international conference “La Floride Francaise. Floridaa, France and the Francophone world " organized by the Winthrop-King Institute at FSU (20-21 February 2014); FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives and North Redington Beach map seller La Rose des Vents present an exceptional selection of antique maps and documents reflecting French involvement in Florida during four centuries.

Between the middle years of the sixteenth century and the early nineteenth century, Florida was a recurring concern of French governments in their attempts to introduce a French presence south of Canada. Maps of Florida, many of them produced in France but also in the Netherlands, England, Italy or the United States, thus represented tools for the military and diplomatic action of France, images sometimes fanciful of territories to conquer or re-conquer, but mostly images of a dream conceived in Huguenot minds, at the height of the Religious Wars, a dream that never came to be true but fed a nostalgia that lived on long after Florida had ceased to be considered another viable Nouvelle France. 

Reflections of a French Dream: Early Modern Maps from Florida was available in the Strozier Exhibit Room until March 21, 2014.

A Century of Seasons: The History of Florida State Athletics

Florida State University’s Special Collections presents A Century of Seasons: The History of Florida State Athletics.  Visitors are invited to explore the history of Florida State athletics, which spans over ten decades, from the turn of the century to the modern day. 

Beginning in 1905 and ending in 1947 Tallahassee’s campus was a women’s college, then known as Florida State Women’s College (F.S.C.W.). These forty-years were marked by energetic school spirit, enthusiastic intramural rivalries, and vibrant traditions. Our exhibit highlights this age of intramural competition between Odd and Even classes with images, documents, and artifacts.

After the inception of Florida State University in 1947, sports exploded. Now able to have varsity teams because of the addition of men to the student body, the Tallahassee past time of Seminole fanaticism began.  Photos, artifacts, and ephemera from FSU’s favorite sports teams are on display in this exhibit, as well as forgotten athletic groups like Tarpon Club, the women’s synchronized swimming club, and Gymkana, FSU’s premier gymnastics show troupe.

digital exhibit complements the physical exhibit, sharing more artifacts that mark the history of athletics at FSU. A Century of Seasons: The History of Florida State Athletics was available in the Strozier Exhibit Room until February 2014.


Enter the Farms, Fields, and Florida: Lois Lenski Illustrating the South Online Exhibit

The members of Dr. Teri Abstein’s spring 2013 Museum Object class have been working with Florida State University Special Collections to design the exhibit entitled Farms, Fields, and Florida: Lois Lenski Illustrating the South. Through materials that have not been on display since Lenski presented them herself, the exhibition highlights the children’s author’s connection with the rural south, focusing on the state of Florida.

Showcasing tales such as Bayou Suzette (recounting the life of a young Cajun girl in Louisiana), Strawberry Girl (the Newbery Award winning novel depicting the life of a young Cracker girl in Florida), and Judy’s Journey (tracking a young migrant girl’s travels through the south and eastern coast), the exhibition displays the rustic yet realistic tapestry of Southern life woven by Lenski. In addition, with featured photo albums, handwritten manuscripts, fan letters, original illustrations, and her published books, visitors receive a glimpse into Lenski’s own life and process. A digital exhibit to complement the physical exhibit is available here.

Integration at Florida State University

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Integration at FSU, the Florida State University Libraries have combed Special Collections and University Archives to bring you headlines, stories, and images from the era. Within the online exhibit, you'll find photographs, newspaper clippings, yearbook selections and other documents which tell the story of Integration at FSU and the broader Civil Rights movement in Tallahassee. Our goal is to present original material from the time as a tool for research, exploration, and discussion.

Book of Kings, King of Books: Early Printed Bibles from the Carothers Collection

This exhibit is a selection of 27 treasures from the collection of early printed Bibles bequeathed to the library in 1982 by Milton Stover Carothers, Director of Florida State University’s Presbyterian Center, in memory of his parents Julia Stover and Milton Washington Carothers.

Book of Kings, King of Books offers a new example of the multi-faceted collaborative effort between the Strozier Library and the History of Text Technologies (HoTT) program as its direct origin is the graduate seminar “The Bible as a Book (13th-18th c.)” that François Dupuigrenet Desroussilles, a professor in the Religion Department and HoTT faculty, has been teaching every year in Special Collections since 2009.


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