TO: JOHN DANIELS
FROM: JIM SKURKA
SUBJECT: UNAUTHORIZED REMOVAL OF COLLECTIONS MATERIALS FROM THE SPANISH MILITARY
DATE: SEPTEMBER 17, 1991
On the morning of September 16, 1991, Kate Dupes, a former OPS employee, contacted
me and advised me that she had removed several boxes of collections materials
from the Military Hospital as she was concerned for their safety.
The history behind these collections materials follows:
As we will be renting out the Military Hospital's 2nd floor, we needed to remove
all items from that floor. This included mattresses and a host of miscelleanous
items. When Tracy and myself had initially gone over with Everett the review of
this area, it was discovered that in one of the closets, there were collections
materials haphazardly placed. Up until that point, we had no knowledge that these
items were even there. Further, we discovered that, according to Dempsey Corbett,
a box of artifacts had been dropped off for the Camp Blanding exhibition which
Ms. Dupes had been involved in outside her employment with the Preservation
Board. These collection items were WWII vintage items. How long they have
been at the Hospital, I don't know. It was decided to remove all items
located on the second floor to the first floor for the time being. They
were to be placed in an area clearly marked "EMPLOYEES ONLY". The movement
of these items was completed on Friday, September 13. The Hospital was
scheduled to be closed the following Monday for cleaning. It was to follow
that Tracy would then overview this collection and try to determine where
these items were from. Though there is a restroom in this area, visitors
are only aware of it if they ask and, according to Dempsey, he brings them
to that area and waits for them. Speaking with Candy Fleming, our other
OPS employee in the Hospital, she indicated that, except in an emergency
or a small child, she advises visitors of the locations of other restrooms
in the area. Hence, this is really a secure area with very limited access.
In my conversations with Ms. Dupes, I apprised her of my great dismay at
such actions and told her of the need to return these items. I then had
her talk with the Curator about the matter and it was determined that Kate
would return these items at 11:00 a.m. on that Monday. Kate further went
on to express her concerns and that she was responsible for this collection
and she had signed out for it. Further, she went on to discuss her great
interest in the Preservation Board's acquisition of other collection items
from Gainesville. This has been an ongoing situation for quite some time
in which Tracy had done the appropriate follow-up to secure the acquisition
following appropriate procedures. Kate was interested in just picking
up these items and Tracy had advised both Kate and Earle Newton that
he would need a formal letter from Gainesville indicating that these items
were being deaccessioned and available if we were interested. No such
letter was ever received and quite actually, I would further question the
acquisition of any items in this area.
As the story continues, Tracy and I went over to the Military Hospital
to assess the situation and to talk with Dempsey about the situation. He
advised that Kate had been concerned about the collection and as she was the
one who signed out for these items, she had every right to take these items.
This certainly was a shocking response as Dempsey is employed by the State
of Florida, has a Supervisor and knows that there is a Curator of Collections.
He was advised that his behavior was inappropriate and that he should have
advised me of any problem. He felt and continues to feel there is no
need to. Upon the removal of these items, he did not even ask Kate
to sign for them!
Kate arrived at Government House at 11:00. She brought with her 5 boxes
of collections materials. At the point of this meeting, Tracy and I
determined that the best approach would be just to take down the information,
she was to share. Kate advised us that these collection items were picked
up under the auspices of the Florida National Guard Foundation for the Museum
and that they needed to be transferred over to the Preservation Board but
this never took place. She expressed her concern for the collection and
that perhaps she had acted hastily in removing these items. After her
departure, Tracy spoke with Betty and the Research section so as to
gather any information on the role of the Florida National Guard in
this project. I completed an inventory on this returned collection(see attached)
Please note that I know of 3 items that are part of the permanent collection
of the Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board and that some of the
items were previously part of our collection but were deaccessioned and
have come full circle to return again.
Sorry for the lengthy narrative but I felt it was necessary.
Description A ) j- R
2 2652 IK t
C.59 H 252
$18.38.00.54, H 2523-7
Tool used for removing a root tip
Tool with serrated edges on both sides
Black with circular ladle like end
Wooden pestle like
Glass small oil lamp
Syringe with case
Wooden instrument w/metal handle
Brass sifter like container
Photo with Brass frame
Brass surgical instrument/case
Tin Lamp with spoon measure
Brass instrument with 4# horizontal
Brass instrument with 2# horizontal
Brass oil lamp or wood
Instrument with dial (label says
Blue glass (Wyeth or glass)
Black instrument scope like
Brass tool with magnifying glass
Brass stick like item
Box 3 continued
Black squeezer like instrument
Vials of medicinal items w/case
Knives with case
Glass Bottle "TR Canthal"
Glass Bottle "5 pt. Rosmar"
Glass curved top?
Shac Headache Wafers
St. Joseph's Witch Hazel
Glass Bottle (Green) "Groves Tas
Glass bottle with measure
Glass bottle "Wintergreen"
Glass bottle/Top/ "Wintergreen"
Glass bottle/Top/ "Franklin Caro
Glass bottle with measure
Glass bottle with top
Glass bottle w/top "AC Tartar"
Green bottle "Lavender tincture"
Amber bottle "Orthoform
Green bottle "Dr. McClears"
White bottle "Magnolia Balm"
Clear bottle w/dried fruits
Clear bottle "John Dickens"
Clear bottle "TR Card Co"
Clear bottle "J L Horsey"
Oil lamp glass
Glass bottle w/top
Green bottle "Dr. Hayders"
Green bottle "Vaughn"
Clear bottle "Withose"
Glass bottle "Royal Letters Pate
Clear bottle with cap
Clear bottle "Swamp Root"
Bottle "Complete Nurse"
Clear bottle with cap
Clear bottle "Merck Druggist"
Bottle "Watkins Panol"
Amber bottle "Warners safe"
Box 4 continued
jner illegible 09
-H 13 9-
Bottle "Sloans Liniment"
Clear bottle with top
Clear baby bottle
Clear bottle with crystals
Jones (bottle" Liniment
Bottle "Harts Elixir"
Glass bottle top
Bottle "Bateman's drops"
Bottle "Syrup Pepsin"
Milk Glass container
Bottle "Infants Syrup"
Glass small container
large glass "F. Steflitschek"
White glass container
Glass cup like item
Large glass item
Large glass item
Glass container "R. Rumicis"
Box "Dr. Ticheners"
Box "Initial Line"
Box "Dr. Caldwells
Container "Camphorated Blister"
Box "Dr. Abbott"
Box w/medicine spoon
Container "Cardamon Fruit"
Box "Headache wafers"
Spoon for large measure
Print-medicine "Mrs. Leigh"
*Items property of the Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board