Moonshine Madness

Bootleggers, moonshiners, and rum runners rejoiced when Prohibition banned the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States. Florida’s long and undulating coastline provided an open door for illicit booze from the Caribbean, and the state’s extensive forests, swamps, scrub, hammocks, and bayous provided ample cover for stills. In 1926, Charlotte County in southwest Florida gained recognition for the biggest haul of contraband liquor on record.

Police testing moonshine after a raid, Immokalee, 1950s

Police testing moonshine after a raid, Immokalee, 1950s

Read more »

National Nutrition Month

This year is the 40th anniversary of National Nutrition Month. Celebrated in March, National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses attention on “the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.”

Alice Cromartie teaching a lesson in nutrition: Tallahassee (January 10, 1955)

Alice Cromartie teaching a lesson in nutrition: Tallahassee (January 10, 1955)

4-H short course on nutrition: Tallahassee (1949)

4-H short course on nutrition: Tallahassee (1949)

Class in infant nutrition at Florida A&M College: Tallahassee (ca. 1935)

Class in infant nutrition at Florida A&M College: Tallahassee (ca. 1935)

Doyle Conner (1928-2012)

Doyle Conner passed away on Sunday, December 16. Elected to the House of Representatives when he was only 21, Conner became the youngest House Speaker in Florida history at age 25. He served in the Florida Legislature for 10 years and as Commissioner of Agriculture from 1961 to 1991.

Doyle E. Conner served in the Florida House of Representatives representing Bradford County from 1951 to 195.

Doyle E. Conner served in the Florida House of Representatives representing Bradford County from 1951 to 1959

 

Commissioner of Agriculture Doyle Conner with Orville Redenbacher

Commissioner of Agriculture Doyle Conner with Orville Redenbacher

 

Commissioner of Agriculture Doyle Conner meeting Major General Leighton I. Davis as Governor Bryant looks on

Commissioner of Agriculture Doyle Conner meeting Major General Leighton I. Davis as Governor Bryant looks on

 

Carnac the Magnificent

Fifty years ago today, Johnny Carson made his debut as host of The Tonight Show. The talk show featured comedy monologues and guest interviews with political, film and music personalities. More than 50 million people tuned in for the show’s finale in 1992 when the “King of Late Night” ended his 30 year reign.

Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson: Fort Lauderdale (ca. 1968)

Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson: Fort Lauderdale (ca. 1968)

Johnny Carson, Governor Claude Kirk and Dick Pope at Cypress Gardens: Winter Haven (May 4, 1968)

Johnny Carson, Governor Claude Kirk and Dick Pope at Cypress Gardens: Winter Haven (May 4, 1968)

 

Rosie the Riveting

Elephants have long been used as props in promotional advertisements. One such campaign involved an Asian Elephant named Rosie and the 1920s Florida Land Boom.

Carl Fisher, developer of Miami Beach, bought Rosie when she was a baby. Fisher said he would get a million dollars’ worth of advertising out of Rosie the elephant, and many believe he did.

Rosie being used as a golf tee: Miami Beach (1927)

Rosie being used as a golf tee: Miami Beach (1927)

Rosie became the mascot for Miami Beach. She appeared in a variety of publicity photos that promoted the region as a luxury vacation destination. She was shown dancing in front of the Boulevard Hotel, impersonating a dive platform and entertaining children. Rosie even served as a golf caddy for vacationing President Warren G. Harding.

Rosie and friend dancing in front of the Boulevard Hotel: Miami Beach, Florida (1920s)

Rosie and friend dancing in front of the Boulevard Hotel: Miami Beach, Florida (1920s)

Fortunately, there is good visual documentation of Rosie in the Florida Photographic Collection – ensuring that the charismatic elephant will be remembered as Miami Beach’s most charming champion.

After All, Their Game Is Golf

On Monday, August 20, Augusta National Golf Club opened its exclusive membership to women for the first time in its 80-year history. As these photographs and film show, women have long shared men’s passion for the game of golf.

Visitors teeing off on the lawn of the Royal Palm hotel: Miami, Florida (1899)

Visitors teeing off on the lawn of the Royal Palm hotel: Miami, Florida (1899)

Woman golfer on the course: Palm Beach, Florida (1918 or 1919)

Woman golfer on the course: Palm Beach, Florida (1918 or 1919)

Maureen Orcutt (1920s)

Maureen Orcutt (1920s)

Women golfing with Dr. William E. Van Brunt in Tallahassee, Florida (1930s)

Women golfing with Dr. William E. Van Brunt in Tallahassee, Florida (1930s)

Babe Zaharias and her caddy at the golf tournament: Saint Augustine, Florida (1947)

Babe Zaharias and her caddy at the golf tournament: Saint Augustine, Florida (1947)

Yuk it up, Sunday is World Laughter Day!

Dr. Madan Kataria first introduced this day in 1998 to broaden understanding and friendship throughout the world. The celebration of World Laughter Day is meant to be a positive manifestation for world peace and to build up a global consciousness of brotherhood and friendship through laughter.

The observance takes place annually on the first Sunday of May; it has now spread to 65 countries and led to the creation of thousands of laughter clubs.

U.S. Senator George A. Smathers sharing a laugh with Governor Collins and President Kennedy.

We all know laughter is contagious. Walt Disney said, “Laughter is America’s most important export.”

Portrait of 2 1/2 year old Greg Hansen - Tallahassee, Florida.

To see more photographs guaranteed to make you smile, visit the Florida Laughing exhibit on the Florida Memory website.

Passover

The Jewish holiday of Passover starts today. Passover lasts seven to eight days and commemorates the biblical story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were emancipated from slavery in Egypt.

Passover supper at Temple Beth Jacob Servicemen's Center under the auspices of the Jewish Welfare Board, Miami Beach, 1943

Passover supper at Temple Beth Jacob Servicemen's Center under the auspices of the Jewish Welfare Board, Miami Beach, 1943

 

Seder at the home of Aaron and Marcella Kanner, Miami, 1950s

Seder at the home of Aaron and Marcella Kanner, Miami, 1950s

 

Passover Seder services, conducted by Rabbi Max Shapiro at Fagan's Palatial Kosher Restaurant, Miami, 1938

Passover Seder services, conducted by Rabbi Max Shapiro at Fagan's Palatial Kosher Restaurant, Miami, 1938