Michael Gannon


In any enumeration of American historians of Florida who have significantly advanced the craft and expanded the field, one would name George Rainsford Fairbanks (1820-1906), our state’s first serious historian in the English language and charter member of the Historical Society of Florida in 1856; Thomas Buckingham Smith (1810-1871), first American scholar to collect and copy documentary materials for the history of Florida from archives in Spain; Woodbury Lowery (1853- 1906), whose two volumes, The Spanish Settlements within the Present Limits of the United States,1 first placed Florida historiography on a professional footing and established standards of research and citation that impress even today; Philip Keyes Yonge (1850-1934) and his son Julien C. Yonge (1879-1962), who assembled the first large collection of Florida books and manuscripts— eventually to form the P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History— in their home at Pensacola; James Alexander Robertson (1873-1939), editor, translator, and executive secretary of the Florida State Historical Society, in Deland, who oversaw the publication of nine handsome volumes in which he presented the work of such scholars as Jeannette Thurber Connor and Herbert Ingram Priestley; and Rembert W. Patrick, who succeeded Julien C. Yonge as editor of the Florida Historical Quarterly in 1955-1962 and, in addition to his own several books in the field, served as general editor of the twelve volumes that made up the Florida Facsimile & Reprint Series during the quadricentennial years, 1964-1965.