Title: Marjorie Stoneman Douglas [POF 12]
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Title: Marjorie Stoneman Douglas POF 12
Series Title: Marjorie Stoneman Douglas POF 12
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M. S. Douglas Speech to FHS

Pensacola, May 6, 1978

Page 1 Iss

D: I'm very happy to be here and I really am so disappointed however that I

have this nasty cold when I came up and I've been doing nothing but staying

in bed and I am so sorry because I had hoped very much to listen to your

excellent program. There's so mnay things that I wanted to hear about because

I've been greatly disappointed, but I'm glad I got the bug pretty well licked

so I could come out tonight at any rate. The greatest possible pleasure to

be recognized by the National Association and from the Florida Historical

Society. I don't consider myself and could not be considered a professional

historian. I was a writer first because the history 6f Florida and the various

things about it seem to be so very exciting and dramatic that I got started

writing about it. It las been the greatest possible pleasure to have worked

in the field and to see not only what I could do but what so many things remain

to be done because I feel that in coming to Florida I found a country that had

never been properly written about and I'm sure it hasn't written about enough

yet and much more in it than anybody in the whole United States can possibly

have written in a life time. Well it seems that I have been here for sixty-three

years, they tell me it's sixty-three years and it does seem that it's probably

true CkA e U4t47fY f Lg-eg1zetf of time. And T -- (Q I- Y/ -Lis to

tell my sixty-three years in Florida History in about half an hour. Well in

one sense it can't be done so I may not get through at the end of a half an

hour but I'll try to make it as short as possible but it's a perfectly impossible

chore. I've been interested in history I think always. I've been greatly

surprised and shocked by the people who said beginning I think remember Henry

Ford, who said that history was all bunk. And I recently got a letter from a

delightful friend of mine who's a professor of French at the University of


Page 2 Iss

North Carolina and Duke who said he'd never been interested in history because

it was all lies. And it really surprised me very much. I'm not quite sure what

they mean. I think they must mean that history seems to always to be changing

that we learn a lot of facts and then they say well no it wasn't quite like that,

you know, it was something a little different. But why that bothers him, I

cannot understand. There are two factors to any study of history and the first

of all is of course the research in facts. What were the facts of Florida history?

What were the facts of the history of the United States of America? The main

facts we know about. We know that Florida was discovered in 1513 by Ponce de Leon

but of course we recognize also that with these other facts have built up a great

body of material tS[ /e! c r that's nt so at all. I o

know for instance we know that Ponce de Leon did not look for -rte- at all.

That's the oldest and most persistent legend in the United States. We probably

never live it down. But hee -e ef an -~-" He didn't pay any

attention to it and I won't go into all the facts but let me just say that that

is one of the things that they would say well history is all lids and yet the

fact remains that he did discover in 1513. The problem is to get the facts

and then to keep on re-evaluating the facts. We don't always know all the facts

right away and that the addition of other facts bring in another aspect to that

attitude, to that opinion of history that we have. And so that much of our

history is not written so much as it's rewritten because these errors will creep

in because they're very human errors about the whole thing. We like something

that sounds dramatic and so we like to believe in the fountain of youth. And

it's very difficult to prove that there wasn't any such thing but it's true

there wasn't any such thing. However, it adds a great deal to some people's

pleasure if they want to believe in it I suppose it's no great harm. But it

does seem to me that the truth itself is so exciting, so dramatic, that it's

worthwhile working to get at the facts of it and if we can get the facts
s a Lie rcesof it and if we can get the facts


Page 3 Iss

constantly to renew our idea of the facts because as we grow on in our own

contemporary history, we look back on history and re-evaluate it, the things

that have been possibly wrong or right for their generation went wrong for our

present generation and so it's the constant re-evaluation of history that I have

been particularly interested in. I have to start correcting I I

f Y fl t) but it just goes to show how things get said that are

not quite according to facts. Now maybe it doesn't make any difference but

indeed and truly I did arrive in Florida in 1915 wearing a heavy blue serge

dress because when you left New York in those days on the train you wore blue

serge and as I proceeded down to Florida on the old FEC Railroad, I want to

tell you, it got hotter and hotter and hotter. I was the only person on the

train and my dress began to stick to me about Jacksonville and it continued to

stick all the way down until Miami at which I looked out of the window and saw

nothing but palm trees all the way down. I think we stopped at a place called

Titusville a long time. I didn't know what Titusville was and I have to confess

I knew very little about Florida. As someone said, I came down to get a

divorce and to be with my father whom I hadn't known for a good

many years because I wasn't brung up with him I was brung up with my mother's

people in Massachusetts not Minnesota that was one of those errors that creep

in. Well a girl said it in a newspaper a while ago, so this girl copied it and

I didn't know she was going to say it so I didn't correct it. I don't think

it makes very much difference except it does disconcert me a little because I

don't remember anything about Minneapolis at all. 4 '
immediately as a matter of fact I do remember that the family came down from

Minnesota with me along and so that we came actually to Florida and some of my

very earliest memories were associated with Florida not with Minnesota. We

came down on a Tamp Steamer from New Orleans and in those days the -


Page 4 Iss

had a great big pier going out from right in back of the old hotel in Tampa

Bay Hotel and you stayed on board the ship evidently and walked down the long

pier into Tampa and practically my earliest memories being held up and so that

I could pick off an orange off an orange tree in the Tampa Bay Hotel. I didn't

remember very much more about it than that. We went to Key West I understand

but I don't remember much about Key West. We went on to Havana and

I remember distincly being always seasick on the boat in an upper berth where

evideply my family put me up on the upper berth so I could sleep it ofs

usual and I could hear my mother and father of me on the outside of the door.

But there was as I looked up and felt better from my little trouble, I saw this

marvelous light that 6C ( --cr 1 white light that I have never remembered

seeing before. We went off to Havana and I remember distinctly several things

about it. I remember it was before the Spanish American War and strangely enough

the people were having torch light processions up and down the cPrO

protesting the Spanish rule and that sort of thing. I remember that and I

remember falling out of the bed on a very hard floor and things like that. It

was always that marvelous light. It wasn't until I cam'e-back to Florida in 1915

that I realized this was the life of the tropics that I had seen and remembered

and it seemed that the quality of the life I have never forgotten and never

ceased to be aware of. It's something that they don't have in northern countries

at all and it was always that light, the sunlight of Florida that has impressed

me all these years, no matter what has happened to the state of Florida, the

lightthank goodness they haven't been able to change. will you

poor me a glass of water there? I'm sorry about my voice, I hope it'll, well,

I hope it won't be too difficult to listen to. Well as I say, when I came to

Florida, I didn't know anything about it at all. It was something about citrus

fruit, po I knew it was in the south but I had, as I say, been bru-g up in

Massachusetts where we got history very early, you get J 1aul Revere

you don't know what to do. /hJ I.4 i/ij sc+ A0hool, all


Page 5 Iss

this about history but I came to Florida not knowing anything. The train in

those days got in very early in the morning, it probably was late besides and

you were supposed to stay on the train till you were met. Of course I woke up

very early and here was this wonderful Ck /40C delight and I put on my

hot blue serge dress, this was in September. You can imagine how hot it was,

And immediately went out to see this funny little, to see the town and I walked

straight east from where the railroad tracks were to the residential streets to

the Bay and I thought well it's a very funny looking town. It didn't have any

trees, it had this light over it but I could see it could get a little bit

glarey. The houses were oh, simple houses, wooden houses on each side of the

street with no particular trees or anything, totally uninteresting I thought.

And the streets were laid out like a grid iron and I couldn't tell one from the

other but I kept on walking till suddenly I got to the Bay front and that of

course was a great revelation of this marvelous bay that we had then, that we

still have. In those days it was a bay that was totally untouched. It had the

most marvelous blue and green lights in it and you could see the flights of birds

way across the water and you could see flocks of mullet jumping on the placid

water and that morning it was perfectly like a glassy sea. It was so beautiful

that I really, I got particularly concerned abou tthe little town and my father

came and met me and there we were. I hadn't seen him for a great many years but

that was all right, we went right along. And my father had married again after

my mother had died and he had a perfectly lovely wife who was it turned out to be

we didn't bother about being step-mother's or stepdaughter's. I was too old

for that but she turned out to be one of my very closest and best friends. Of

course I wouldn't have been in Florida at all if it hadn't been for her because

my father said well here's this daughter I really know very little about. She

made a very bad marriage. She ought to come to Florida but if you don't want her



Page 6 Iss

she won't come. And she said, "Her place is here, I insist that she come to be

with you.' So I was always terrifically grateful to my, to Miss Lily

\G She was a C6UJ6 Herb Mathall had been Francis Epps "

who was the grandson of Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson had two daughters,

Maria and Eliza and one of them married a Randolph and the other married an

Epps and the Epps son, Francis Epps was his oldest grandchild and his very

favorite whom he educated and so on before he died and the grandson evidently

had charge of one of the Jefferson plantations called Poplar Grove. After

Jefferson died bankrupt, they had to sell Poplar Grove and FranCis Epps for

some reason or other came to Florida ringing his wife and his camel and his

servants, his slaves in wagons and came down by horse himself, as so many

people did from the old states and g S~- a long time in

Tallahassee. We're still trying to find out the relation between Francis

Epps and the Lafayette fract which had been assigned by the Congress at the

time when Florida was made a state. A large tract outside Tallahassee was given

to Lafayette. He had come over to visit Jefferson and he was very poor and they

gave him the lot. (Whether Thomas or FranCis Epps)came to Tallahassee to get the

lot in that Lafayette tract, we've never been able to find out. He didn't live

there and there is some kind of a curious lawsuit that he entered into. We are

still trying to find out and I'm very much interested in finding out what

exactly happened but at any rate, Francis Epps became one of the early intendents

of Tallahassee wwas the mayor. I wish they would change the name from mayor

to intendent of Tallahassee. I think that would be very nice. It would be such

a nice touch because they always called him the intendent in the early days and it

became the man who put on the first police force because Tallahasse was a very

riotous frontier town and he had to promote a police force to keep it calm.

Everybody was shooting up everybody. I t was a completely riotous town. Well he



Page 7 iss

put on the first police force so when he retired he gave a perfectly, he was

given a perfectly beautiful silver pitcher dated 1841 I think. I may be wrong

about that. That was in my step=mother's family. So when I came to Florida,

here was a Thomas Jefferson dining room table and the Francis Epps silver

pitcher so at once I began to know more about the background of Florida history

particularly Tallahassee and was fascinated by it to know that I was the step-

daughter of a family of that kind. It was, I of course, as you said, I immediately

got a job on the Herald which was an act of pure nepotism but I assure you that

I would have to make good on the job or I would get fired 45 W,'i C 4 S

p00/ &frt my father. My father really was brought up in Minnesota and

he was interested in Florida,came down at that time as I told you we came down

to Tampa and a group of men who were looking for investment possibilities I

think. Then he got caught in the panic of '93 and got wiped out and tried to

live in the east but that was not a success at all. As he said, he'd never been

he'd never lived in a finished town so he came to Orlando in 1896 just after the

great freeze when he saw the houses with the wheels still on the table of people

who'd lost everything in the freeze and gone back home. But he came down and

studied law, passed his exams and for a while worked in the office of the very

famous old prosecutor Joseph Jones. Somebody ought to write something about

Joseph Jones because he was a greatman and a very great character in Orlando in

those days. Now my father, I'll.be-talking about him quite a lot so I will

explain about him. He came of a long line of Qua ker people, English Quaker
Su 5wuen ,{3
stock and a great, a good deal of French that came in who were Uege.-a-nd

became, strangely enough, became Quakers rather than coming in at South Carolina

and becoming Episcopalians as so many did. So my great-grandfather on that side

was French and the rest of the family were all English Quakers but they had gone

west from North Carolina because they didn't want to bring their children up

in a slave holding state and they had gone to Ohio and Illinois and Indiana and


Page 8 Iss

my father was born in a Quaker colony in Indiana when his father was fighting on

the northern side in the Civil War a surgeon. He was permitted to fight by the

Quaker meeting because it was for the emancipation of the slaves and they were

all black hearted abelihEkenietc. They helped the slaves escape from the south

and helped them om to freedom in the north. A very great, fascinating story

about the early days really before the Civil War. So when father came down

here, fortunately he'd become a Democrat. He had become also an Episcopalian

and a Democaat and something to do with -James G. Blainr0 fc i, CcA~/c C e

and I don't really, I never did quite straight why father insisted

on being a Democrat. The rest of the family of course were all Republican and

abolishonists but he had to be a Democrat. I really don't know what it was

about James G.'BlainZ- but anyway it was very fortunate because here-we came into

a country that was completely and entirely Democrat and after he got passed his

bar exams in Orlando and worked there for a while, he took an old flat bed

press for a bad debt from the town of AVoi: Park, it had to come up to

Orlando by Oxcartand he had it there. Now that was very bad for him because

he was always, as a boy in Minnesota, he'd run away when he should have been

chopping the family kindling. He'd run away to the local print shop and

there he set type by hand which is what he had always wanted to do. So he'd

always wanted to be a newspaper man. When he took this old flat bed press,

that was the ruin of him as far as being a lawyer went and by this time Miami

had been, it was a new town since '96 and he understood there was no morning

paper so he put the flat bed press on the FEC. It went down to Miami which was

a very small town. He got there in 1906 and he started the first morning

paper which was called the News Record. I think there as another beginning of

a paper that even he bought or they got together on. It was just a little four

page paper but father was a very ambitious man in that he had started the


Page 9 Iss

morning paper with the idea that he would fight the Florida East.Coast Railroad

out of politics and besides thane would stop Governor Napoleon Boneparte Broward
from draining the Everglades. Of course the result of all that was that the FEC

kept merrily on and they kept on draining the Everglades and father nearly went

into bankruptcy. So another Hoosier came down If ~t~i They reorganized

and it became the Miami Herald in 1910. It was,a smaller- paper than the

afternoon paper which was then called the Metropolis and there was a great deal

of rivalry between them. It wasn't until years later that the Miami Herald

finally exceeded the Metropolis in classified ads. I remember that was a great

day. Well, I got the job of being Society Editor and that was alright in the

winter time\'r.r the Hotel Royal Palm opened and this funny little town blossomed

with all kinds of winter visitors, very interesting people and very well-to-do

and very famous people many of them. So that was the whole __L_ climate but

in the summe ime it was hard to scrape up any real society --

7oSo in order to fill my space that I was allowed I would often make up some of

these things. I had a woman by the name of Mrs. T. Willie Washrag and Mrs.

T. Willie Washrag was always having a coffee ;anm t and things and people

would say to me, "Who is this Mrs. T. Willie Washrag, I don't seem to know

her." And I'd say,"Oh well she's recent, she's just a neighbor and I've been

getting to know her myself," you know because I'm 'asked to the parties but

nobody else is. We had to fill up the paper some how. Of course there were

only about, there were four men on the paper and I was the only woman and

although I had been a rather ruggen career in the north of working as a

social worker, I wasn't allowed to cover anything at the courthouse. That was

no, no, you couldn't do that you see. My father's daughter was too much of a

lady to go over to that, and learn about murders and things like that but

really I could have told them a whole lot that they'd never even heard of that

I knew of. However, it was a very odd feeling coming down as a, really, I was


Page 10 Iss

twenty-five years old in 1915 and it was a little odd being treated like a

sheltered girl of the south you know. I hadn't been brung up that way but I

got used to it and gradually I was let to do more and more things and I did all

kinds of things. It was a very, it was an enormously interesting experience. I

don't think there's any experience like working on a small newspaper to start you

off wanting to write. I had always wanted to write, I'd majored in English in

college and all that stuff, but the dirty work of getting out a paper day after

day with stories and research. My father was, he had gone to the University of

Minnesota but he had to give it up because my grandfather died and father had to
4$ c. res5LA&
go to work teaching school. But af.e- he was as scholarly a

man as I've ever known. He had a great feeling for history, particularly English

and American history. He was a student of constitutional law, both English and

American, and of course, a good deal of the French contributions to the feeling

for law and human law that was developed out of the British common law. And he

was really running a paper of which the editorial page was far and away above

the quality of the paper itself because in a little town we had all these people

from all over everywhere and the editorial bage had to carry opinions that were

not silly, they were scholarly, and I think father's was the very first produced

a very scholarly editorial page. I have to sort of stop and think about the

chronology of all this. We get it a little mixed up sometimes but that was in

1915 and I worked on the paper all that winter and it was 1916 Thelma that we ..

that the amendment you know was in question, the nineteenth amendment was in

question. It had been offered I don't know how many years before but had not

been ratified by many of the states. Now in the meantime, William Jennings

Bryan had come to Florida. He'd come early, he was related to the Jacksonville.

That's where that Jennings name came from. And he had been down in Florida

earlier, I think Joan just said in 1912, which I didn't know. But he came down.


Page 11 lss

He had retired. He'd resigned from being Secretary of State, as you remember,

under Wilson, because he felt that a war was coming. I don't remember if it

was any overt act on Wilson's part, or anybody's part, that had set William

Jennings Bryan off, I g resigning. But anyway, he did resign

and came to Florida to live. Yet it's rather curious because he had been a
-eeriam in the Spanish American War and had gone through, I suppose he'd had

enough of war from that and he didn't approve of any other kind of war because

he was very much of a pacifist when he came down d they lived in a charming

house / 1 4&erfl ) which is just north of where Viscaya is now and I got'to

know them slightly because he came up to see my father very often. They were

entirely different kinds of Democrats. My father didn't approve ofrany of the

things that he believed in. He didn't approve of diMA- I I S He said

there's no such thing as I V 64t and of course there isn't. He was quite

right. He didn't approve of many of the things that Mr. Bryan stood for although

he did believe in the direct election of senators and some of those which MR.
P1 pu)lu+
Bryan had got from the original -pAtOus Party which started in Florida interestingly

enough. But they agreed on a great deal of the Democratic history and they had

a wonderful. Mr. Bryan would come in, sit down, and they would have a wonderful

time telling, talking about the history of the Democratic ?arty. And my father

said afterwards always that Mr. Bryan was a very fine man. He was a great

neighbor. He didn't agree with him but he appreciated him very much. He was one

of the many people who came in and talked with him and all that. So I knew Mrs.

Bryan of course better than I knew Mr. Bryan and I was invited to go down sometimes

and help them with having teas in the winter to all the people who had come down

from the middlewest and I was astounded because having been brought up in

Republican Massachusetts you know where I only knew very few people who'd ever

voted for Mr. Bryan, I mean, I didn't know you could really, and all these

people would come in and shake his hand and say "Oh Mr. Bryan, I voted for you


Page 12 Iss

three or four times, however many times you've run. I would vote for you again

anytime." I really began to learn an awful lot about their country and all that

sort of thing. He was a charming host and Mrs. Bryan was a very brilliant woman.

In a way I think she was more brilliant than he was because later she was very

crippled with arthritis and she said to me, "If I hadn't had my arthritis, papa

would never have gone in for that evolution business." And I think she would

have kept him alive because she did not believe in the extremes of that sort of

thing but he did and / __because she was so.wcrippled she couldn't keep

him from doing that kind of thing. It was really outside the general train of

well nevermind. Now Mrs. Bryan was a great suffrage woman and she organized an

exp ition up to Tallahassee to talk to the Florida Legislature about ratifying

the m t's suffrage iendment. And she was most kind to ask me to go up with

her. I represented, I was told, that I represented the professional woman which

is nice, I didn't know many of them but it's alright, I was glad to represent them.

And so up in Tallahassee, Mrs. Bryan and I went up together. In those days you

went to Jacksonville and took the pullman to Tallahassee. I remember what a long

dirty, filthy trip it was, that red dust coming in the window. Anyway, in

Tallahassee we met Mrs. W. S. Jennings, whom you've been hearing about, May

Jennings, who was a really great woman. She was the widow of Governor Jennings

and had been for a long time a stalwart in the Federationa omen's Clubs and

was then the president of the Florida Federation of Women's Clubs. So she was

there and who else was there was another very remarkable woman who may not, you

may not even know about. She was old Mrs. Napoleon Bonaparte Broward. She wasn't

dead. I didn't know anything about her but she was the widow of old Mr. Broward

who was Governor after Governor Jennings and there she was. She'd come on from

Jacksonville to speak for suffrage and then h yes, there was Mrs. Frank

Stranahan who was the woman who was the ,Aschool teacher in Ft.;Lauderdale who had
done wonderful work with the Indians and AtheIndiansgreatfriend.Well
done wonderful work with the Indians and oFee the Indians great friend. Well


Page 13 Iss

Mrs. Stranahan and I, we, I guess we were the sex appeal, I don't quite know, but at

any rate we had on our best hats and our best dresses and I'd never been north

of Florida before and so we stayed at the old Leon Hotel. And the Senate had

passed the bill. They knew perfectly well that the House of Representatives

was not going to pass it so they were perfectly safe in passing it. We didn't

have to speak to the Senate at all. We were supposed to speak to the House

Committee which would then pass it or not to the House of Representatives. -ao

that was my first experience in public speaking and I want to tell you it was a

great shock to me because we went into, here we were, how many was that, one, two,

three, four, four women. Mrs. Bryan, Mrs. Jennings, five women, Mrs. Jennings and

Mrs. Broward, were distinguished elderly women. They were probably the most

distinguished women in Florida. Mrs. Bryan had been the wife of a presidential

candidate, the wife of a Secretary of State, a truly distinguished and brilliant

woman. We were ushered into this rather small room in which there were men

sitting all around the walls with a tall brass sp~itl n between every two men

and we were introduced and we were supposed to speak and we did speak. But the

men around the walls, I should say there were twenty of them, never by any

flick of their eyelash, acknowledged our presence. It was as if we were speaking

to blank walls. We were speaking to perfectly blank minds because these were the
(C ))
good old boys from the north part of Florida who had been running the state a

great deal and they, you could just hear them say, "No damn woman is going to

tell me what to do." We got that treatment so we went to our little speeches

and we were ushered out and that was th a-nd and of course it died right there

and as a result of our effort, Florida was the last state in the union to ratify

the In learning about the Florida Legislature and the way we

ran the politics. I didn't particularly like it but I never had any experience

with any other so that's all I knew and fortunately I didn't have to go back to


Page 14 iss

the Senate for a great many more years until they got reapportioned and all that

sort of thing and in fact until we finally got the vote as a war measure to

remember. But even then, Florida was not, it was the last one of all to ratify

that amendment. I suppose I might as well make a plug for what I believe should

be done and that is, I think the Equal Rights Amiendment should be passed. I'm

not working very hard for it because I've been emancipateAjl you might say for

so many years that I don't have to worry but I feel that Florida has been back-

ward about the suffrage all these years and I hate to think it's still continuing

to be backward. However, I'm not here to make a political speech. However, I

would be very happy if they would pass the /amendment but I don't expect they will.

I expect that the attitude is much the same about that sort of thing. So we just

have to go on and forget it. We just have to go on without it, and we'll do the

best we can. Well anyway, now then, that was in 1916. That summer was a lovely

summer. I began to know the town a lot better and it was a queer little town. I

wasn't aware of very much in the way of a background for it but I was aware that

we had people from all over everywhere with an underlying structure, political

structure of this Qd South, the Democrats, we had no Republican Party because

we had a Democratic primary so that the Negroes wouldn't vote and if you wanted

to vote in the primaries for anybody you had to sign up as a Democrat. Of course

I didn't have the vote so it wasn't a problem. But if I had voted, I wasn't old

enough to have voted in Massachusetts. However, I remember the town. I was

getting to know the tropics and I he tropics^ the sub-tropics,

particularly in the summer. In those days the beach had been / -

/,/l A AL/ but the sand was all open. It wasn't covered by anything. There

were no horses so after a days work you could go for a run up and down the

beaches or stay there and have fires and run up and down in the nighttimewith a

marvelous moon and the sea and it was the background of that, the sea and the

wonderpl bay that to me saved the funny little town from, made it interesting


Page 15 iss

and made it possible. I was aware that it was a frontier town. It felt very

temporary. It felt like just a tool in a strange country about which I knew so

very little. That summer of 1916 while I had been the Society Jditor and I was

the feature ritor doing most of anything else except cover murder cases at the

courthouse. My father lightly tossed me the .editorial page and he went west as

he generally did in the summertime for I think about six weeks and now was I stuck

with the editorial page which was really pretty terrific. Now the thing that was

happening you know, you've bhen telling me that I had to do this speech

of sixty-three years of Florida history and I've been spending my time in bed

with a bad cold but I 've also been reviewing all this in my mind and things have

come up that I'd almost forgotten. I had a terrific time. I'm glad to get it

off my chest cause I can't live in that age but I remembered so many things. I

don't have total recall but I have a very good recall and if I started to tell

you all the things we'd never get through at all. I find that in any kind of

historical writing, you have to realize what is fundamentally going on and the

fundamental thing that's going on is the thing that you're really interested in

and what was really going on was the war in Europe. I'd come down, the boys

started going there in 1914 and by the time I came down it was well along and

the thing was building up. It was like a great bonfire that if you worked building

a bonfire at any time you know how the air is drawn in to the fire and blows up.

And we were all being drawn in with this war that was happening in Europe. In

Miami there were a great many people like my father and like me who had French

and English backgrounds to whom the allegiance was completely towards England

and France not only by blood but by every heritage that we valued most. The

whole common,~ law of England, the whole idea of the developing democracy, the

constitution of otrs that had developed first, the idea of France, the

$pfTI Io5 A and the whole ideas of France developing into a Democracy


Page 16 Iss

meant a great deal to u and the background of an invaded France with an England

that got involved because it would not break its word to go to _,_ A; _5

a very powerful factor. Now of course there were many Germans in Miami also and

the Germans had been rallying around the Kaiser, he to them, the Kaiser was the

great man and there was a hall over .kC J CA Arcade, was called

Germania Hall and at night be walking up and down what was then 12th Street and
DP lV + c1 u1 _r 4U Lz
coming from the movies you could hear them singing Dutehli~-ord- and

you thought well that's funny but of course they are German people and they are

proud of Germany and all that but it does seem to me it's kind of queer. So

that we were there and already the polarization was building up. The war was

coming on and it was evident in this country that the war was being so important

to us that we were by all our various interests being drawn into it. Now this

is the funny thing and this is to, and this comes out because a year or two ago

in the Historical Society Quarterly there was an article and I don't know by

whom, I don't remember the name. It was written and it was called The Florida

Newspapers and the First World War and it was a survey of the attitude of

Florida newspapers toward the war and the survey sai4 that of all the papers

in Florida the Miami Herald was the most igo A the Miami Herald was

the one that did more arousing for the war and you know coming across that

remark after all these years was, it was the most extraordinary, it had the

most extraordinary effect on me because you see, whoever wrote the article

wrote it simply from the point of view of Florida newspapers, what they were

doing editorially but it made no reference at all to the great opinions that

were coming out from the background about the war and whether we should get

into the war and so on. Now I actually wrote some of those editorials because

my father gave me the editorial page that summer so that if the Herald was a


Page 17 iss


jing2ppaper, my father and I, we jingosB, so in other words, I jingoed. I don't

remember when it was first used but it was used late about the Spanish American

Wars, it was a word that went with it. It said that we don't want to fight but

by jingo, we do, we've got the arms, we've got the men, we've got the money to.

I think it was even earlier application, probably you know about it Charles. But

it was applied particularly to Hearst and the way Hearst promoted the Spanish
rthat, Keely
American War. But I want to confess that I resented that, I've been meaning to

write the editor of the Florida Quarterly and say that the young man, I thin it

was a young man, who wrote did not go into the background sufficiently of that

because we were all greatly trouble e were truly. We couldn't put our minds

on Florida so much because this thing was coming on and my father was a student

of constitutional law kept saying, "If they just wouldn't attack the ships but

if they attack the ships then that will be bad and we'll probably have to fight."

He was a Quaker to start, he wasn't interested in wars. He disliked them but at

the same time he felt and I must say I felt too that you couldn't let France and

England down and of course with all this, I daresay, that article was written.

Toward the end, after the end of Viet Nam war which was of course a perfectly

miserae affair from start to finish, no justification whatsoever and I've

been but since that article I've been thinking very deeply about how we got

into the first World War and I feel that we were justified in so doing. I

think there are wars that are fought because nothing else could happen, no

possible arbitration, no possible accommodation could be made. Wars have

happened because there was nothing else to do and I think we got into that war

with that feeling. However, if they want to blame my father and me for getting

Florida in the war, they can but I think they're very poor historians. I think

they haven't understood what was going on in peoples minds at that time and the

fact that l/- .- that was in the summer of '16 and I


Page 18 Iss

remember distinctly, I have to tell you about one editor I suddenly remembered

an editorial I wrote that got me into awful trouble because I was wildly

scratching around for things to write about in the editorial page you know,

really, I had never done it before. And you had to write the whole page of

columns of stuff and then you clip things and put things in between the two

columns of editorial everyday it had to be written. Well I saw another paper
A0 kA I4I-(
that a German by the name of Vn MI' had died and I went and looked up

vn MO in the whatever it was and I V___ 0 was the man

who, with Bismark, promoted the whole militaristic regime, rising militaristic

regine in Germany. So I wrote a pretty powerful darn editorial about VAn 0 n i'[.

had promoted all this militarism you see and how now the war, he died just as

the war was coming on. The only trouble was that I had neglected to notice

that Vnn himself had died years before and this was his nephew I was

talking about. So )\iS Carpenter who was the school teacher
--- A 0
editor of the afternoons the Metropolis, now i$ the News .ad a big time

about me you see. She said well at least the Herald is getting up to date and

stuff like that. So I was, I was terribly chagrined. Oh I thought that was

just perfectly awful and our city editor came in and gave me the dickens about

this and I hadn't I( elt : simply ghastly and I just had no

idea what father would say when he came home. Well all he said was, "Well that'll

teach you to look up your sources more carefully in the future I hope ." But

I do remember we were writing editorials I that kind and I resent very much

the attitude that the first World War was not a justified war. Now perhaps it's

because I'm left over from those days, perhaps even it's because I'm an old

woman and that I remember the causes of that war but at the same time I feel

we were perfectly justified in so doing /. And further it was the war, we

didn't feel, I don't remember feeling that it was going to be the war to end


Page 19 Iss

all wars. It was just some nasty business that we had to go over and help with

and after that I did go down, I guess a little bit, then the war was declared in

April of 1917 and I remember the ship came up from Key West and I went dowo

get the story of the first woman who enlisted in the Navy and the boys brain-

stormed me and the first thing I knew *._f f'-J f promising to protect and

defend and I wa. proceeding to beaal' t- t /- y I objected, w weren't
-t he^ -we-weren' t y

_____It \S "he _almanacs came out because they didn't know what to do if

there was, I think -there was another girl who enlisted as I did. They didn't

know what in the world to do with us and I was the worst yeoman the Navy ever

had because I couldn't do shorthand, my typing was alright, but the trouble is

my commanding officers dictated letters that I didn't think were grammatical and

I would rewrite them grammatically and they'd say "That's not what said." And

I'd have to rewrite them grammatically and W'J- r an I thought

it was very stupid. 4I couldn't believe that it was the real Navy and as a

matter of fact it wasn't very much,) ~ase to Key West.

I had one,v-l~.\ ,ijN1, two weeks in which I was, my commanding officer was awfully

glad to get rid of me. I was gone to Albert Gushing Reid who became later

admiral up here in Pensacola. Albert Gushing Reid was then a Lieutenant

Commander who'd come down to start the naval airbase in Miami a-

and he didn't bring a yeoman with him so I belonged to him and you know I got

along beautifully with him. He dictated grammaticA letters and he thought I did

alright, so I had a lovely time. Very interesting man. He was the man who went

overseas with me, SET, after, and I was very proud that I had been working with

him for a little time. But when I went back to my own people, I didn't like it

at all and the commandant down at Key West was a friend of my father's so I

put in for a nautical discharge. I should have been kicked out anyway. I

wrote a note and said look, I really don't belong in this man's Navy and I


Page 20 Iss

want to go overseas and have fun and so I got a r_______discharge because

as I say I didn't earn at all. Very ashamed really, I was so poor. But I went

overseas and saw the end of the war anyway. I didn't get over there much

before the armistice in Paris the day of the armistice I managed to write home

to father and that story was the first story they'd had on account of the

armistice that had made the front page of the Herald. I thought was still

working for the old home paper. That was a very great experience because I

had never been to Europe before and I was sent around all over Europe to get

stories and Red Cross work and but I was so much more interested in, I was

interested in the countries and the cities themselves and the result of this

war and the result of all the other wars. It was a great lesson in European

hist y that they had suffered so many wars In the cities like, that I knew

bes, aris and Rome and Venice and Athens, I got to Athens finally. I saw

the beautiful cities that these people had built in the centuries and I looked

back then to thinking about Miami, Florida and wishing so much that it could

have been built beautifully as those cities were. Of course it took centuries

to build them. They were built and rebuilt, planned and replanned and but there

was something that, well in theAorth, it was as if I'd never met

before so when I came, my father wired me to come back and be his associate

editor which I, so I came back and was his associate editor for three years

and that was a very much more interesting job than reporting because I had to

learn a great deal then about Florida and about the constitution and about the

way the legislature worked and all that kind of thing. It was a very fine

experience. I couldn't stand it more than three years because it's so daily

and I finally, the family doctor said I had to give it up because it was just

too much for me nervously and I had wanted always to be more of a writer, I

mean it's alright to be a writer and an editorial writer and all that but I

wanted to writer other things and I'd already begun to so very fortunately


Page 21 Iss

I was able to sell stories to the Saturday Evening Post and I got off the paper

and eventually built myself a little house in Coconut Grove resort, a sort of

a workshop but I'd go back to my father's house for a square meal every other

night and spend the night and play checkers with father and all that kind of thing.

So I was very closely in touch with the Herald and what was going on and with the

town. For fifteen years that I was doing magazine writing for the big national

magazines, I was not so completely concerned about what was going on in Florida.

There's a place in here that I want to break off my personal memories to say that

I am very much of the opinion that a great deal of history is not so much the

individual people or the individual battles or the individual events like the

Battle of Pensacola or the Battle of Bunker Hill or these are the things we learn

in school are important. But I am very much more interested in what is the

more or less modern French school of historical writing which is a study of the

great forces, the great economic forces that make, that produce the movement of

people and economics, the beliefs, the way people live, the way they think, the

great movements of people around the world. I think those are the ones that are

the great historical things that we need to know more about not just people coming

into a state because they we want to know more about the whole movement of

people here. I was beginning to be a lawyer but a great change was going on in

Miami, Florida and that great change was stopped, the boom that ended by the

hurricane of '26 was a perfectly extraordinary:thing. My father never got into

it because he didn't have any money except what was in the Herald and I think
I h]ed-about two thousand dollars on, you know, speculation, that was enough

and so I thought I was part of the picture. But it was a perfectly extraordinary

thing to live through because you saw the actual madness of people who had come

here to get rich and were swapping pieces of paper that represented land, much

of which they'd never even seen. The whole history of Florida actually from

Page 22 iss

the P ^" B l d af 1850 has been one of extreme land fraud.

It has been a state that's never had as many people as it had land and the land was its

only wealth and the land consequently was something that people came down for

to spy and sell at all possible moments. Now there were actually three booms in

Florida. There was one in 1912 and they began six years after they'd begun to

drain the Everglades. There was one immediately following the first World War

and it was the great boom that piled up after that and you could easily trace

that boom back to things that were happening in the entire United States

People wh6 had been dislodged from their original backgrounds. I think also

1 and it had come to down to what was the frontier, all this dependency for people

to fled down here, into a frontier because the frontier is the great chance to

make more money quickly on land or whatever else. I think also, this is something

that occurred to me, I think the people of the old south who came down to the

southern part of Florida were also, whose lives, whosewhole pattern of lives,

had been completely ruined. I think they too ecame a frontier people and many

of them also looked to the acquisition of money. Then too, they were,1an older

civilization for the means of their new life and we saw this terrible thing,

this boom, happening. And the encroachment of people into an area which after

all could not support it because in time I began to know a great deal more about

the nature of the country, I saw that down in south Florida we have this shape

of land that is nothing more than ",7i4/ [4 it/ limestone which holds the water

and holds the fresh water in and the salt water outAwith the pressure of the salt

water against the fresh water is low, the salt water intrudes. A very delicate

balance that none of the people recognized who came down. I think very very few

people recognized what was happening when they put the dredges in and started

the drainagbecause the drainage which Governor Jennings had suggested and was

carried on by Governor Napoleon Bonaparte Broward was set up with no idea at all

what it would do to the country, no idea at all what it would do to the fresh


Page 23 iss

water. The whole idea was to get the water off and drain it and sell the land

and get rich. Well that went on for a long time and I really should knowN

\A J vWAC{\ Crt L IOkay. We'll go on from there. So that I

began to learn when I wrote that book first in '47, I began the book before then,

In '47 it was a great year as far as I was concerned. My book came out in '47.

That was the year in which we finished getting the southern tip of Florida as

the Everglades National Park and that was the year also in which the government

of Florida, because the rainage had been so very bad, and everything was messed

up so, they asked the if they had a contract with the United States Army engineers

to come in and handle the whole question of the drainage of the Everglades, which

was probably about the worst thing that could have happened to Florida. The

engineers were supposed to be assisted by a political body called the Central and

Southern Florida Flood Control Board. They were completely against flood, that

was the only thing they cared about. That's what most of the people wanted, was

to get the water off the land .and the engineers started in to get the water off

the land a lot more than it ever had been and they resulted in a situation which

we are faced with now, in which we have so many more people that we have hardly

water enough to go around. We have originally enough water. We have rainfall

from 60-66 inches a year in the rainy year but when the extreme increase of the

cities and the developed land we haven't got enough water to give them all what

they need because the engineers have not been able to keep the level of Okeechobee

down and have been spilling millions and millions and millions of fresh water out

to sea on each side wasting it with no idea of proper conservation. Now it seemed

to me in '47 when I was writing last summer, the last chapter, when I was writing

last summer the chapter of that book with the new, the new hard cover edition is

just out, that the Everglades National Park and the engineers were almost in

polarization of two forces. The engineers who were still the body that wanted to

get the water off the land with no idea of what it would do to the land without


Page 24 Iss

any conception of the needs of the people and the conservation that was put into

practice by the Everglades National Park. Now the presence of the Everglades

National Park has been one of the greatest that's happened to what I would like to

call the environmental movement in Florida because it gives us something on which

to argue our points. We have a great federal property down there and one of the

first things that the engineers did was to cull off all the water to the Everglades

National Park. It gets all its water, 2/3 of it'from the Everglades, 1/3 from

the big Cypress. They put in as you see going along the Tamiami Trail these big

flood gates and they shut them down and the colonel of the army in those days said

the Everglades National Park has got to get along with its own water. W it hasn't

any of its own water, it has only rainfall. So one of the first things that was

done to fight that was when 4I went to Washington to see President Johnson

and he insisted that the Department of the Interior, the Department of the Army

get together and realize the Everglades National Park must have enough water.

They still haven' got enough water but they have a certain guaranteed amount.

Now 1" been happening in the north, the last thing that the engineers

did, as you were saying, was to run a canal in '69, they ran a canal from the

Kissimee 0 gyLake Kissimee down to Lake Okeechobee in a part of the country

that had been entirely marshes and streams and little lakes and little ponds with

a meandering river, down which the water went slowly because the engineers didn't

know that running water will purify itself only if it runs slowly. They ran this

channel, this canal down, say about a hundred miles of what was a hundred and

fifty miles of a meandering river and of course immediately the object was to sell

more of the drained land which they did. And they started a let of dairy farms

and you may not know it but cows produce manure and they started a lot of camp sites

and so anyway you may not know this that people produce sewage and they dump it all

into the caYl and it all came into Lake Okeechobee and it is polluted. There are


Page 25 iss

53 sewage disposal plants up and down that canal, only half of which fulfill the

state's lowest conditions. Why the rest of them don't, I don't know. Don't ask

me. That is the property of the government. They should see that that water is

properly treated. It comes into Lake Okeechobee and it's all polluted. The lower

part of the lake is polluted by the back pumping from the su things which

shouldn't be there anyway, I don't have time to tell you why au've got to take my

word for it. It doesn't belong there and they've depreciated the soil for so long

they want to get five feet of really what's left so they'll have to go eventually.

Well anyway, so the great thing that happened in Florida, it was 1971 when Governor

Askew called a water management conference at Miami Beach. It had 150 people from

all over Florida. I was happy to be a delegate. I had formed the Florida, the

Friends of the Evergklades to help fight the jetport out of the ig Cypress, which

we did, successfully, thank goodness and we went over and had three days of very

hard work chewing the rag about what should be done about Florida water anyway.

And so they formed the idea there should be five water ma ement districts in

Florida and the water management laws of '72 put that over so we now have five

water management districts in Florida which was the first time we have tran ended

the olarpolitical county units. Of course it's been up for a great deal of
argument but it is a very sound basis. It needs more work, probably in the way

of regulation. You have a hearing, you have one more management district up here

in the panhandle but you have a whole series of rivers, a whole series of systems

of rivers still there, homogenous and can be studied as the same kind of river.

You've got plenty of water up here in the panhandle but of course the quality of

your water is the great problem. You don't have to pay such high taxes as we do

because your problem is not that of water quantity but you do have to pay taxes to

get your water purified and I do hope you'll be able to manage it because the

whole quality of water in the entire state of Florida is extremely bad. We have

I _


Page 26 lss

the south Florida water management district, the St. Johnsmanagement district, the
V -frTnACr
Swanee River. The Swanee River, the St. John's River and the Everglades are

regions in thahey have one central river although they're all little rivers

by the Swanee. But the St. John's is one river, the Everglade's is one river of

grass, the Tampa Bay area is a district whichh is more like the panhandle in that

it has rivers going from swamps in their case down to the Gulf of Mexico and

they have very bad problems. I think probably that water district has the worst

problems of any. We're just working the thing out and it may be that we're going

to have to change tre legislation yet. I think they should

report, oh yes, we set up these two departments, the Department of Natural

Resources, oh that had been set up. We set up the Department of,the D.E.R., the

Department of Environmental Regulation and we're in bad trouble with that I
VC k. '.r-^?'. e wanted I
think. .............the Natural Resources Committee !_._ wanted

$4 million to start the work in the north we went to the Senate Appropriaions

Committee. They absolutely gutted the bill. All the 4 -

the cattlemen and all those people like the canal, they like it the way it is,

fought it. They didn't entirely kill the bill. So we took a resolution asking

--- that Congress c power the engineers to start the restoration which Ey .

That resolution did not pass the Senate but you have a resolution, that can go

to Congress. A bill can't go to Congress unless it's both houses but a resolution

can. So it went to Congress and we've been writing letters and Senator Chiles

had the idea we needed $4 million to have the whole thing restudied. Well we

didn't need a restudy at all. We've got studies and studies. We've got a $2

million study of the _____ _am _'" ta of Lake Okeechobee. We've got

the studies. All we wanted was $100,000 to get the engineers to start the technique

of getting the water back into the river. They can either fill up the canal or

they can put, what would be like this, is the idea of occasional plugs so that the

water can go out and yet there'll be remnants and there'll be lakes and they can


Page 27 Iss

control the flood. So that's up to them, we're satisfied, we'll let them do that.

Well as the news came down from Washington the other day that Congressman hapell

had requested the Senate subcommittee, not the Senate., c, the House Subcommittee

of Public Works to Q- A V IPV C to order the engineers to appropriate

$100,000 that we call FY.78,the fiscal year '78. For this one year to make a

study of that and see how we can go ahead with it. So I haven't heard whether

that is passed. I think it has a good chance, we've been getting letters out and

all that. So I hope and pray that we're going to get that restored because that

is the first step to getting us all, all of us in the South Florida, to get us

better water in the Kissimmee-Okeechobee and Everglades district. Now the next

great problem is this one that is going to be presented to the House and Senate f

&[ Legislature very shortly on coastal zone management. We've had people going

around having public hearings on coastal zone management now for months and they

found that a coastal zone management planning committee under Dr. to all

the findings and these public hearings has made a plan for coastal zone management.

I am also chairman of a co-chairman of a coalition for water which is about

twenty environmental societies and we had a meeting in Fort Myers, a joint meeting

with EcoSwift which is the lower east coast coalition, on the subject of coastal

zone management and we got, had to pull wires to get Dr. ~La down to

present to us the idea of the bill that he will present to the Legislature and

we took the one afternoon off to criticize him. We gave him rather a bad time

I'm af4d. But we don't like the bill the way it is. If the bill goes over in

its present form, it'll be a great detriment to the State of Florida because it

weakens existing statutes. I don't think it'll pass. I think there's too much

opposition to it and for once environmentalists on the side of the big developers,

they don't want it either, but we want the laws enforced that are there. We want

the coastal zone protected. We've got to have some protection instead of



Page 28 iss

everybody, every Tom, Dick, and Harry wants to dredge and fill in, put a new

relining there, they seem to be able to. We've got to watch all of this because

this is the beginning. In '47, as I said, when they inaugurated the Everglades

National Park AThat is the beginning, really, of the environmental movement in

Florida which to my mind is the thing that is going to change it from a frontier Iv

which people don't care anything about the land or the resources for the land,

and merely use it as a means of making money. The environmental movement with the

cooperation of so many people, so many people who are coming, the young people,

and the retired people, all kinds of people, who are coming up and saying we've

got to keep Florida, we've got to, in fact, we're not conservationists any more.

We've lost so much that we can't conserve it, we've got to restore it. A great

deal can be restored, some has got to be preserved. We've got to do it wisely with

our best intelligence or we won't have any Florida left. So thank you very much

for listening to this plug for the environmental movement because we need you all

in it, every one of you. Thank you very much.

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