Florida History

Books are sorted alphabetically by title.

Image of the front cover of A University is Born

Rising from the depths of the Great Depression, The University of Tampa has written a distinguished 75-year history since its founding in 1931. Dr. Frederic H. Spaulding brought both vision and leadership to the creation of Florida’s “landmark of learning.” His recollections of those years of challenge and inspiration are preserved in A University Is Born.

A University is Born, by Dr. Frederic H. Spaulding





An image of the front cover of the book, Amidst a Storm of Bullets.

From the foreword: “Frank Laumer experienced a rare thrill, stemming from his study of the Second Seminole War (1835-1842), with the discovery of a diary kept during that war by Lt. Henry Prince. The manuscript had been out of sight in attic trunks for 142 years. Laumer brought the diary to the P. K. Younge Library of Florida History at the University of Florida. After twenty years of deciphering and researching, Laumer, with the help of many others, presents Prince’s field notes in their entirety.”

AMIDST A STORM OF BULLETS, The Diary of Lt. Henry Prince



Image of the front cover of Barnett.

For more than a century, the name Barnett was synonymous with Florida banking. From its humble beginnings in 1877, Barnett Bank grew to be the largest and most dominant banking organization in the state. The bank, and the remarkable executives who led it, made significant contributions not only to the growth of Jacksonville, its headquarters city, but also to the economic development of Florida and to the evolution of the American banking industry.

BARNETT: THE STORY OF “FLORIDA’S BANK”, David J. Ginzl




A picture of the front cover of Bridging the Gap, displaying a man in the foreground.

Racial tensions were explosive in Florida when young Bob Saunders returned to his home state as its second NAACP field secretary in 1952. Through the tense desegregation of Florida’s public schools and universities; through marches and sit-ins; through the Tallahassee Bus Boycott and the St. Augustine demonstrations that eventually included the visit and arrest of Martin Luther King Jr,; through the dismantling of Jim Crow attitudes and frightening intimidation by the Ku Klux Klan and White Citizens council–through all of this and more Bob Saunders led and inspired the state’s most important civil rights organization.

BRIDGING THE GAP, CONTINUING THE FLORIDA NAACP LEGACY OF HARRY T. MOORE, Robert W. Saunders, Sr.



Citrus, Sawmills, Critters, & Crackers preserves an attic full of memorable images and charming stories about Lutz and the many small communities that sprang up in northern Hillsborough and central Pasco counties in the 1800s and early 1900s. Combining expert research and colorful narrative vignettes with old photographs, letters, maps, and other archival materials, the authors have lovingly stitched together an intricate heirloom quilt of memories, histories, and homespun wisdom.

CITRUS, SAWMILLS, CRITTERS, & CRACKERS, Elizabeth Riegler MacManus & Susan A. MacManus




Image of the front Cover of Flying the Andes.

“Those of us fortunate enough to fly for a living owe our lives, our careers, and the continuation of our profession to the pioneer aviators who put their lives on the line during the infancy of commercial airlines. The story of Pan American-Grace Airways—which the authors of Flying the Andes present in both rich, factual details and human situations—is an important segment of aviation history…. Panagra pilots flew the first nighttime passenger-carrying flight in 1931 and won their first ALPA contract in 1941.” –J. Randolph Babbitt, President, Air Line Pilots Association

FLYING THE ANDES: THE STORY OF PAN AMERICAN-GRACE AIRWAYS, William A. Krusen




Image of the front cover of Go Sound the Trumpet!

From the preface, “Our title phrase, “Go Sound the Trumpet,” from John Wallace’s poem on the Emancipation Proclamation (page 73), announces a fresh voice and mission. As will become evident with a first look, this volume’s design attempts to utilize an approach unique to such works. it adopts Florida’s incredibly rich and deep African American history as its foundation, placing Sunshine State personalities, events, and circumstances within the context of regional and national experiences. Unknown to many, our state’s African American heritage stretches back to nearly one century prior to the 1607 landing of English settlers at Jamestown, Virginia, and to more than one hundred years prior to the first settlement at Plymouth, Massachusetts. From those origins, African Americans have participated in virtually every aspect of Florida’s development and evolution even though credit for accomplishments and their resulting legacies often has gone to others if it has received recognition at all.”

GO SOUND THE TRUMPET!, Edited by David H. Jackson, Jr. and Canter Brown, Jr.




A picture of the cover of the book, Going, Going...Almost Gone.

This companion volume to Citrus, Sawmills, Critters, & Crackers: Life in Early Lutz and Central Pasco County will be treasured bay historians and residents alike. The authors have compiled a remarkable collection of unique documents, family photographs, oral histories, significant facts, and illuminating commentaries that preserve a rapidly vanishing Florida pioneer history. Here is a milestone work that traces agriculture and commerce, presents original maps of businesses and historic landmarks, affirms local customs and traditions, and sets new standards for local and regional history in the years to come.

GOING, GOING…ALMOST GONE, Elizabeth Riegler MacManus & Susan A. MacManus



Image of the front cover of None Can Have Richer Memories

Polk County, “the heart of Florida,” resonates with the richness, diversity, and relevance of its historical experience. Having influenced regional and state development for nearly a century and a half, it has produced untold numbers of individuals and witnessed a myriad of events that have stirred waves of profound significance. These, in turn, have rippled outward far beyond the county’s physical limits.

NONE CAN HAVE RICHER MEMORIES, POLK COUNTY, FLORIDA, 1940-2000, Canter Brown, Jr.




Image of the front cover of Pioneer Days.

Though Spanish fishermen from Cuba camped on the key, and Native American Tocobaga people visited in an earlier era, the beaches were virtually unsettled when George Lizotte arrived. An early postcard of Lizotte on a fishing skiff shows the island’s only two structures. They were the home of original settler Captain Zephaniah Phillips and a tent erected by Lizotte to house workers building his Hotel Bonhomie. Lizotte would figure prominently in the barrier island’s history, both as an observer and participant. As an eyewitness to the events taking place, Lizotte gives a fascinating inside look at the Gulf beaches’ transformation from a primitive settlement to a major tourist destination.

PIONEER DAYS ON TAMPA BAY’S GULF BEACHES, George Lizotte

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A picture of the cover of the book, Real Women of Tampa, displaying a tree's limbs over the water.

They created a civilized society long before Europeans arrived in the Americas, helped establish Tampa as the nation’s cigar capital, led Florida’s first statewide suffrage movement, built ships during World War II, and pioneered movements–in fields ranging from real estate development to social service–that forged the community’s character. These are the Real Women whose lives and times author Doris Weatherford has collected for this comprehensive review of Tampa and Hillsborough County women from prehistory to the millennium.

REAL WOMEN OF TAMPA AND HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Doris Weatherford




A picture of the cover of the book, Stein Mart, displaying pictures of the Stein family.

Growing from a single store in Greenville, Mississippi, to a 270+-store national chain, Stein Mart’s story is a remarkable one. At the heart of that story is the Stein family — and the greater “Stein Mart” family of employees and customers.

STEIN MART, AN AMERICAN STORY OF ROOTS, FAMILY, AND BUILDING A GREATER DREAM, David J. Ginzl




A picture of the cover of the book, Tampa Before the Civil War, displaying a painting of Tampa in its early days.

Tampa Before the Civil War provides an account of the early years of one of Florida’s most important cities. And while it communicates the dates and facts, including the results of the latest historical research, it does much more than that. This book captures the drama, adventure, and complexity of the early pioneers and soldiers.

TAMPA BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR, Canter Brown, Jr.




A picture of the cover of Tampa In Civil War and Reconstruction, displaying a painting of sailboats on the bay.

Instead of the mostly tranquil scenes of early Tampa previously depicted as the remote Gulf village of the 1860s and 1870s, historian Canter Brown, Jr., here reveals a place and time teeming with conflict, danger, treachery, privations, and disasters–natural and man-made. But, that is not all. The book sensitively explores the quiet–and sometimes not so quiet–heroism of men and women, black and white, who held their community together and who doggedly persisted in the belief that a better day would come.

TAMPA IN THE CIVIL WAR AND RECONSTRUCTION, Canter Brown, Jr.



A picture of the cover of the book, The Last Rites Never Came, displaying a blue pattern with flowers.

The Last Rites Never Came presents a vivid picture of the scope of problems and issues which a successful university president must address, it brings to life a man who did successfully encompass that spectrum with grace and leadership, and it includes a wealth of intriguing details for readers about one of the great formative periods in the life of The University of Tampa.


Book Type



Image of the front cover of This Miserable Pride of a Soldier.

The Second Seminole War was the United States’ longest, costliest, and deadliest wars against Native Americans. Fought from 1835 until 1842, over half the United States Army participated in the conflict. One of the senior officers who served during the most active years of the war was Col. William S. Foster. Arriving in Florida immediately after the commencement of hostilities, Foster would serve directly under such famous generals as Edmund Gaines, Winfield Scott, Thomas Jesup, and Zachary Taylor.

THIS MISERABLE PRIDE OF A SOLDIER, Compiled and Edited by John & Mary Lou Missall




Image of the front cover of Yesteryear I lived in Paradise.

Betz is a born storyteller with a marvelous tale to tell. Her account of growing up on Caladesi Island is one of the richest portraits available of life in Florida when it truly was the natural, tropical paradise that tourists and residents alike can only dream of discovering today. This tale captures the natural wonders, discomforts, challenges, and joys of pioneer life on a Florida West Coast barrier island.

YESTERYEAR I LIVED IN PARADISE, Myrtle Scharrer Betz




A picture of the cover of the book, Ybor CIty, displaying a city center with a train track.

Ybor CIty stands today as a beacon of history, culture, and legend. In a state primarily known for tourism and citrus, it is a sparkling anomaly: a factory town built by immigrants with an architecture, culture, cuisine, and industry pulsing with distinctive Latin flavor found nowhere else in the world. Here is the largest collection of historic cigar factory buildings and social clubs in the world–most of them built of warm, red brick. And like many factory towns in the late twentieth century, it fell upon desperately hard times and was nearly lost. The story of its founding and growth is a history of the Spanish, Cuban, Italian, German, and Romanian immigrants who were the workers and the visionaries behind its success. The story of its rebirth as a National Landmark town is something of a modern miracle.

YBOR CITY, THE MAKING OF A LANDMARK TOWN, Frank Trebín Lastra



A picture of the cover of the book, Zephyrhills, displaying several pictures of the area.

Zephyrhills has a rich history that is full of surprising facts and engaging anecdotes. The story of its people and what they have achieved is told here in a collection of articles arranged from A to Z, spanning more than a hundred years of dynamic change in the Sunshine State.

ZEPHYRHILLS, FROM A TO Z, Compiled and edited by Vicki Elkins with Margaret Seppanen