Panama and the Canal is a joint project from the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries and the Panama Canal Museum. Panama and the Canal builds from the Panama Canal Museum's rich collection of Panama and Canal Zone materials and the extensive holdings on Panama and the whole of Latin America from the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries' Latin American Collection, Government Documents Collection, and the Map & Imagery Library. The Government Documents Department of University of Florida Libraries is the Center of Excellence for the U.S. Panama Canal Commission and its predecessor agencies.
Upcoming plans include a traveling exhibit for the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal in 2014, and the digitization of documents related to the U.S. Panama Canal Commission and Canal Zone newspapers currently only available on microfilm.
Specialized collections within Panama and the Canal will include:
- Panama Canal Museum
Recent contacts with the Panama Canal Museum (Seminole, Fla.) have created the exciting potential to greatly enhance the University of Florida holdings and allow for joint programming with the Panama Canal Museum (PCM). The Mission of the Panama Canal Museum is to document, interpret, and articulate the role played by the United States in the history of Panama, with emphasis on the construction, operation, maintenance and defense of the Panama Canal and the contributions to its success by people of all nationalities. This Mission is of mutual interest to the PCM and the University of Florida and will continue to guide preservation of and access to the collections, support for research and scholarship using the collections, and documentation of the history of the United States in Panama through oral histories after Integration. Materials include objects, yearbooks, photographs, artwork from indigenous peoples, newspapers, and ephemera.
- The Leonard Carpenter Panama Canal Collection
Photographs, publications, artifacts, notes, correspondence. The collection primarily consists of photographs of Panama and the Panama Canal Zone during construction, beginning in 1914. The photographs show dredging and construction operations, workers, military personnel and camps, ships such as the U.S.S. Ohio, the dam at Pedro Miguel, an hydroelectric plant, locks, the Steamship Cristobal, Paraiso Yard, and a U.S. Navy dirigible. Several photos have captions identifying the persons, places and events shown. Most of the collection, particularly the photographs and items dated 1914 to 1929, originally were created or collected by Walter E. Boyd. He appears in a small number of the photographs, and two of the publications in the collection were mailed to him. The publications include guides, magazines, and brochures that provide historical and travel information about the Canal. Included among a small number of artifacts is a metal spike from the Pacific Coast railroad, which Boyd evidently brought to the U.S. in 1919. The collection also includes an 1887 letter, in French, regarding a proposal for a scheme to transport dredged rubble from the Canal.
- Documents of the Panama Canal Commission and Its Predecessor Agencies
As a Federal Depository Library, the Government Documents Department holds approximately 1,500 items published by the Federal Government relating to the planning for, building of and ongoing operation of the Panama Canal. These holdings include 33 linear feet of publications produced by the U.S. Panama Canal Commission and its predecessor agencies, the Panama Canal Company/Canal Zone Government, the Panama Canal, and the Isthmian Canal Commission. Congressional hearings, committee reports, maps, and general documents concerning the Canal are included in this collection.
- Newspapers from Panama
- Diario de Panama, 1915-1917
- The Canal, 1881
- The Evening Telegram, 1886
- Panama Herald, 1851-1854
- Panama Mercantile Chronicle, 1865-1868
- Panama Star, Panama Daily Star and Panama Weekly Star, 1849-1853, 1853-1854
- Panama Star & Herald, 1854-1890
- Panama Star & Herald - Steamer Edition, 1857-1875
- Panama Star & Herald - Weekly Edition, 1877-1890
- Spillway, 1957-1963 and 1963-1999
- Panama Canal Authority / Autoridad del Canal de Panamá (ACP)
Panama Canal Expansion Project
The program for expansion consists of the construction of two new sets of locks, one on the Pacific and one on the Atlantic side of the Canal. Each lock will have three chambers and each chamber will have three water reutilization basins. The project entails the widening and deepening of existing navigational channels in Gatun Lake and the deepening of Culebra Cut. Proposed completion dates are 2014-2015. See a live webcam of the project progress.
The collection is founded largely from the source document collections of the Panama Canal Museum, the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries' Latin American Collection, Government Documents Collection, and the Map & Imagery Library.