Midwife Doll

Who is She and Why is She in the Archives?

Most of the unusual or unexpected items we find in the Archives are usually some form of recorded information. Every once in a while, though, something – or someone – a bit different makes an appearance.

Take this distinctive woman, for example.

Midwife Doll

Who is she, and more importantly, why is she in the Archives?

One clue is the agency from which she originated – what archivists call provenance. This mystery woman is from the State Board of Health, located in a series of Midwife Program Files from 1924-1975 (series S904).

Make sense now? 

The State Board of Health initiated a midwife licensing program in 1931 to reduce infant mortality and to promote maternal and child health. So, yes, this was a maternity and childbirth teaching aid for midwives and expectant mothers.

In addition to this midwife teaching doll, the Midwife Program Files include correspondence, reports of legislation, essays on midwifery, midwife manuals and publications, photographs, and midwife licenses, record cards, and summaries. The midwife record cards provide yearly health checkup information, race, literacy and education level, and consulting physicians. The summaries list licensed midwives in each county for each year.

There are plenty of great resources for mid-20th century public health policy research among the records of the State Board of Health in the State Library and Archives. Among the many other record series from the Board are a substantial series of administrative files dating from 1889-1926 (series S46), Board minutes from 1889-1969 (series S272), subject files from 1875-1975 (series S900), and a series of photographs, photographic slides, lantern slides, negatives and sound recordings documenting the history and activities of the State Board of Health (series S907).

Happy Birthday Eartha M.M. White (November 8, 1876)

Eartha with her mother Clara White: Jacksonville (ca. 1910)

Eartha with her mother Clara White: Jacksonville (ca. 1910)

Eartha M. M. White was a humanitarian, businesswoman and philanthropist from Jacksonville. She created educational opportunities and provided relief to African-Americans in northeastern Florida. White helped found several organizations and institutions, including the Clara White Mission, Mercy Hospital and the Boy’s Improvement Club. She was designated as a Great Floridian by the Florida Department of State in the year 2000.

The Honeymooners

The peaceful solitude of Sanibel Island is ideal for a honeymoon. Follow the adventures of honeymooners Lyn and Jim Agramonte, as photographed by the Florida Department of Commerce in January 1957.

Picnic on the beach

Picnic on the beach

Visit to an abandoned house

Visit to an abandoned house

Jim, who was born in London, shows Lyn the art of exploring abandoned seaman’s homes – he explored abandoned houses in England when a boy.

Visit to the Sanibel Island Lighthouse

Visit to the Sanibel Island Lighthouse

Bidding farewell to Sanibel Island

Bidding farewell to Sanibel Island

Orlando in the ’70s

Actor Redd Foxx and actress LaWanda Page at the Stars Hall of Fame (June 1977)

Actor Redd Foxx and actress LaWanda Page at the Stars Hall of Fame (June 1977)

Sightseers on footbridge at the Gatorland Zoo swamp (1979)

Sightseers on footbridge at the Gatorland Zoo swamp (1979)

Couple at Rosie O'Grady's restaurant (1979)

Couple at Rosie O’Grady’s restaurant (1979)

Senator Bob Graham during work day as a bellhop (July 15, 1977)

Senator Bob Graham during work day as a bellhop (July 15, 1977)

Marcia Kernstein, Marlene Stone and Eva Ritt (December 10, 1975)

Marcia Kernstein, Marlene Stone and Eva Ritt (December 10, 1975)

Visitor meeting Eeyore at the Magic Kingdom (June 1977)

Visitor meeting Eeyore at the Magic Kingdom (June 1977)