Reubin O’Donovan Askew

Known for his overwhelming honesty and integrity, as well as his belief in the benevolence of government, Florida’s 37th governor Reubin Askew died today in Tallahassee.

Askew is considered one of the greatest and most popular governors of Florida and served from 1971 to 1979. He was recognized by Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School as one of the top 10 governors of the 20th century.

Reubin Askew was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma in 1928 and moved with his family to Pensacola in 1937. In 1946 Askew entered the Army as a paratrooper, serving for two years. During the Korean War, Askew served in the Air Force from 1951 to 1953.

Reubin Askew in his paratrooper uniform (1947)

Reubin Askew in his paratrooper uniform (1947)

A graduate of both Florida State University and the University of Florida Law School, Askew began his public career as Assistant County Solicitor for Escambia County in 1956. He went on to represent his district in the Florida House and Senate, serving as president pro tempore in 1969-70. In that same year he won the election as Florida’s governor and subsequently was re-elected to another four-year term.

Governor Askew poses for a photo with his family: Tallahassee, Florida

Governor Askew poses for a photo with his family: Tallahassee, Florida

As governor, Askew pushed through corporate income tax legislation, supported desegregation of Florida’s schools through busing, and championed open government laws that endure today and are unique to this state.

Florida's 37th Governor Reubin Askew

Florida’s 37th Governor Reubin Askew

After his term of office ended, Askew served in President Carter’s cabinet as U.S. Trade Representative and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. presidency in 1984.

Jimmy Carter and wife with Reubin Askew and his wife

While continuing his legal career, Askew served as a professor of public policy at the Florida Institute of Government which bears his name. He will be remembered as a consummate leader who was true to his word and values and as a governor who was able to work across party lines for the benefit of the people of Florida.

Letter to Governor Askew from Barry Goldwater, 1972

Letter to Governor Askew from Barry Goldwater, 1972

 

Letter to Governor Askew from John D. Rockefeller IV, 1972

Letter to Governor Askew from John D. Rockefeller IV, 1972

The Beatles are Coming!

Fifty years ago this week the Beatles arrived in Florida for the first time in order to begin rehearsing for their second appearance on the Ed Sullivan show.

The Beatles in Key West, 1964

The Beatles in Key West, 1964

Their performance was broadcast live from the Deauville Hotel’s Napoleon Ballroom in Miami Beach on February 16. About 3500 people saw it live, and approximately 70 million watched on television. The Beatles were the opening act, and dancer and singer Mitzi Gaynor was the headliner. Beatle mania was in full swing.

Postcard view of the Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach

Postcard view of the Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach

After the show the Beatles enjoyed some much needed rest and relaxation in the balmy climes of South Florida. On February 18, they flew from Miami to London. As a band, the Beatles only visited the Sunshine State one more time, in the fall of 1964.

Don Barton, Jacksonville Filmmaker (1930-2013)

Jacksonville filmmaker, producer, and director Don Barton died this month. Barton spent much of his life promoting the motion picture industry in Florida. These days, he is best known for his 1971 feature-length cult classic Zaat about a radioactive half-man, half-catfish monster bent on destroying the world. However, the greater body of his work included documentaries, training films, and commercials promoting Florida. Several of these films are in the collections of the State Archives, including:

Design for Winning Florida Department of Citrus promotional film featuring Steve Spurrier

 

Sailfish City Florida State Advertising Commission film on fishing for sailfish off Fort Pierce Inlet

 

A Day at the Zoo Promotional film about the Jacksonville Zoo

 

Fire It Up…

May is National Barbecue Month. Some etymologists believe the word barbecue comes from the Timucuan Indian word “baribicu” meaning “sacred fire.”

"Mode of Drying Fish, Wild Animals, and other Provisions," from an engraving by Theodor de Bry

“Mode of Drying Fish, Wild Animals, and other Provisions,” from an engraving by Theodor de Bry

There is no doubt that barbecue and barbecuing is sacred to many Floridians today and was certainly enjoyed by the Timucuans of yesterday. From the meat lover to the vegan, Florida’s beautiful spring weather demands that we come together for a barbecue!

Barbecue at the Koreshan Unity, Estero, ca. 1945

Barbecue at the Koreshan Unity, Estero, ca. 1945


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National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. Florida, called “[t]he State with the most beautiful name…” by poet Elizabeth Bishop, has been the home and inspiration for many famous and not so famous poets over the centuries.

James Weldon Johnson, ca. 1920

James Weldon Johnson, ca. 1920

Robert Frost with two Florida State College for Women students, Tallahassee, ca. 1940

Robert Frost with two Florida State College for Women students, Tallahassee, ca. 1940


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Graf Zeppelin

May 6, 2012, was the 75th anniversary of the Hindenburg disaster. The Hindenburg’s sister ships Graf Zeppelin (LZ-127) and USS Los Angeles (originally LZ-129) were also built by the German Zeppelin company. On October 23, 1933, Miami welcomed the Graf Zeppelin. The Graf Zeppelin also shared several German crew members with the Hindenburg, one of whom died in the Hindenburg disaster.

Arrival of Graf Zeppelin: Miami (October 23, 1933)

Arrival of Graf Zeppelin: Miami (October 23, 1933)

Mayor E.G. Sewell welcomes the crew of Graf Zeppelin (October 23, 1933)

Mayor E.G. Sewell welcomes the crew of Graf Zeppelin (October 23, 1933)

Airship Los Angeles over Miami (1925)

Airship Los Angeles over Miami (1925)

Women’s Basketball

With the annual hoopla surrounding the beginning of March Madness and the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, many forget that the NCAA women’s tournament occurs simultaneously. The inventor of basketball, Dr. James George Naismith, envisioned basketball as a sport for men and women. In fact, women’s high school and college basketball teams played an important role in promoting the game and coincided with the earliest men’s basketball teams at the beginning of the 20th century. So with this, Florida Memory highlights women’s basketball in Florida from its earliest days.

Stetson University women’s basketball team: Deland, Florida (1907)

Stetson University women’s basketball team: Deland, Florida (1907)

 

Florida State College for Women’s basketball team sitting atop Westcott gate on College Avenue: Tallahassee, Florida (ca. 1920)

Florida State College for Women’s basketball team sitting atop Westcott gate on College Avenue: Tallahassee, Florida (ca. 1920)

 

Florida A & M College women’s basketball team: Tallahassee, Florida (1929)

Florida A & M College women’s basketball team: Tallahassee, Florida (1929)

 

Pierce Junior High School women’s basketball team: Polk County, Florida (1937)

Pierce Junior High School women’s basketball team: Polk County, Florida (1937)

 

Lincoln High School’s women’s basketball team: Tallahassee, Florida (1950s)

Lincoln High School’s women’s basketball team: Tallahassee, Florida (1950s)