Rollins Special Collections

Special Collections house items of interest to scholars on campus as well as outside the college. Details of our collection of rare books and books about Florida are included in the library catalog for easy searching by researchers.

Rex Beach Collection Rex Beach
Papers created by and about Rex Ellingwood Beach (1877-1949), alumnus of Rollins College.  Beach traveled to Alaska in 1897 to participate in the Klondike Gold Rush, before becoming a prolific writer of short fiction, novels, articles, plays, and radio plays.  He was also involved in the production of films and plays based on his writings.  He retained close ties to Rollins, serving as the president of the Rollins Alumni Association from 1927 to 1944.  A significant portion of the correspondence in these papers documents Beach’s connection to Rollins through the Alumni Association and through friends who worked at the college, and his interest in experimental farming is evident in this correspondence as well.  Also well represented are typed manuscripts of Beach’s writings, particularly his short stories and his auto-biographical Personal Exposures radio play series.  To a lesser extent, this collection contains some papers and photographs related to films based on Beach’s works, particularly The Spoilers and The Barrier.  These papers do not contain a significant amount of information about Beach’s experiences in Alaska, nor do many edited manuscripts or drafts of his writings appear in the collection.

Blackman Manuscript Collection Blackman with baby eagle
The collection records the activities of the Blackman family at Rollins College as well as in the community. The writings demonstrate their wide interests and endeavors. Education was something that they "consecrated" their lives to and sacrificed much for (see Prange, Blackman Administrative Correspondence). The Florida Audubon Society was an interest for both the President and his wife; Lucy Blackman wrote the early history of the Society (the Department has copies of the history).

The Wekiva Ranch diary for the year of 1918 contains information about the day-to-day workings of the Blackman’s Wekiva Ranch (4,000 acres) on Lake Monroe and the St. Johns River, where they lived with their son Berkeley.

The scrapbook covers the years 1904-1915 and 1926-1927 and contains newspaper clippings on Rollins athletics fundraising campaigns, as well as clippings on Winter Park events.

Richard Firestone Manuscript Firestone
Professor Richard Firestone was appointed Professor of Modern Languages at Rollins College in September 1921, a position he held until his death on September 5, 1944.  He taught Greek, French, German, and comparative literature, while possessing a working knowledge of Latin, Spanish and Hebrew. It was to the students of Rollins College that he applied the best part of his pedagogic idealism, a philosophy and method of education which was an inspiration to all who came in contact with him. At the semi-centennial celebration in 1935, Firestone was awarded the Rollins Decoration of Honor, the first member of the faculty to receive such an honor for his distinguished services to the college. In addition to teaching, Professor Firestone also conducted extensive research on the Renaissance and Elizabethan literatures. Professor Carlton Brown of New York University once noted that Firestone’s work “made an important contribution to the interpretation of a considerable body of Elizabethan literature.” Upon his death, Professor Firestone left a wealth of unpublished manuscripts behind.

Glenn Scrapbook Glenn Scrapbook
Photo from DePauw University Archives
To celebrate Rollins College’s Diamond Jubilee, William Meharry Glenn donated the scrapbook to the College on April 30, 1961. It contains a sketch written by him entitled “The Real Hamilton Holt,” which recounts their friendship, as well as the reasons why Glenn considered Hamilton Holt the “Greatest Man and Friend I have met in my more than half-century in journalism.” The scrapbook also contains correspondence between the two men (1911-1950) which attests to their mutual friendship.

The material had been placed in a traditional oversized scrapbook that had become brittle over the years. The entire collection was removed and placed in acid-free folders; the order corresponds directly to the original order of the scrapbook.

Hamilton Holt Collection Hamilton Holt

Journalist, social activist, politician, pacifist, and college administrator, Hamilton Holt shaped the image and mission of Rollins College during his twenty-four years of service as president.  A respected magazine editor prior to his tenure at Rollins College, Holt was a candidate for the United States Senate and respected proponent of international peace.  Holt's innovative theories on classroom learning transformed collegiate education and garnered Rollins College a national and international reputation.

The Hamilton Holt Papers at Rollins were processed in 1964 by Peter E. Robinson. They consist of correspondence, scrapbooks, manuscripts and files on peace, internationalism, journalism, and education, and eighty-one volumes of the Independent, a forerunner of weekly journals such as Time and Newsweek. The collection represents a wealth of material, especially for scholars tracing the peace movements of the early 20th century.

Zora Neale Hurston Collection Zora
Carl Van Vechten [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
These archival files highlight the relationship between Zora Neale Hurston and Rollins College.  They document Hurston’s performances at Rollins in the early 1930s, arrangements regarding her visits, as well as her written correspondence with Rollins student Maxeda Von Hesse ’35.  The records also contain secondary reference materials, including biographical information and literary criticism.  Hurston’s importance in Central Florida is documented through the annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts, local reading programs, and a commemorative postage stamp.

Dr. Jack C. Lane's Rollins College:  A Centennial History Manuscript Dr. Jack Lane
Jack Constant Lane was born on April 19, 1932, in Austin, Texas. After serving three years during the Korean conflict, Lane earned a B.A. degree from Oglethorpe University, Atlanta, Georgia. As the first member of his family to complete college, he then went on to Emory University and to the University of Georgia, where he received his M.A. and Ph.D., respectively.

Lane came to Rollins College in 1963 to teach American History. While at Rollins, Lane acted as chairman for several groups including the Humanities Foundation Courses and the Social Science Division. He was recognized with several awards, including the Arthur Vining Davis Fellowship in 1972, the Alexander Weddell Professor of the Americas Chair in 1978, and the William Blackman Medal in 1997.

In 1980, the Rollins Board of Trustees appointed Lane as the College Historian. To celebrate the College centennial, Lane completed the book Rollins College: A Pictorial History and a manuscript, Rollins College: A Centennial History, that traced the development of the Winter Park institution of higher learning from 1885 to the end of Hugh McKean administration.

Theodore L. Mead Collection Hamilton Holt

The  T.L. Mead Collection at Rollins College contain manuscripts, photographs, memorabilia, periodicals, books, and pamphlets from Mead's personal library, as well as jis personal papers and correspondence.  As the last remaining survivor of his immediate family, Mead received the collected correspondence and papers of his mother, father, and brother, which are also part of this collection. 

The T. L. Mead collection documents the story of an early Florida horticulturist.  Along with T. L. Mead's own inventory of papers and letters, the total collection of documents spans nearly a century from 1840 to 1936.  Through his family papers and hundreds of letters, we can trace the comprehensive history of an American family for more than one hundred years.

Bucklin Moon Manuscript Collection Bucklin Moon
These records reflect the writing career of Bucklin Moon and his connection to Rollins College. The most remarkable parts of the collection are Moon’s handwritten manuscripts on various subjects, ranging from politics and black colleges to editing books; and his type-written, unpublished memoir with handwritten revisions.  From those folders one can gain insights into the mind of a talented author with a vision for his time: the first white writer to examine the black family without relying on either stereotype or tragedy.

Henry Nehrling Collection Hamilton Holt
The personal papers and library of Henry Nehrling contain manuscripts, photographs, memorabilia, periodicals, and pamphlets from his personal library.  The collection also includes Nehrling's correspondence with internationally famous botanists, plant collectors, and horticulturists of his time, such as Theodore L. Mead.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Rawlings
These records reflect the connection between Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Rollins College. They document her frequent visits to the College, where she gave readings for the Animated Magazine, a yearly occurrence during Founders Week. The Magazine was a live performance of writers reading from their works to a local audience of between five and seven thousand people.

The most remarkable part of the records is the forty-eight piece correspondence between Rawlings and Rollins' President Hamilton Holt, spanning the years 1933 to 1949. While her letters are the originals, those from Holt to her are carbon copies. From this correspondence the reader gains insights into a relationship of mutual respect and affection, going beyond the confines of a mere business association. The University of Florida holds Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' papers. Follow the link below to their finding aid:

Jessie Belle Rittenhouse Collection Hamilton Holt

Papers created and collected by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse (1869 – 1948), a poetry anthologist and Poetry Consultant at Rollins College.  The papers document Rittenhouse’s great contribution to the American and British poetic movement, documenting her own personal contributions to poetry and her skill for finding and fostering the talent of others.  Very well documented is the relationship between Rittenhouse and her mother, whose letters constitute a significant portion of the collection; conversely, the relationship between Rittenhouse and her husband, the American poet Clinton Scollard, is documented to a lesser extent, as their remaining correspondence is scarce. 

The papers consist of her personal correspondence with some of the most prominent poets of her time; her private correspondence with her family; her contributions to the Poetry Society of America, of which she was secretary for ten years; her correspondence regarding her anthologies and published material; collected manuscript poems; publications, press releases, and correspondence regarding her professorship at Rollins College; and clippings from periodicals highlighting her career.

Fred Rogers Collection Mr. Rogers
Fred McFeely Rogers was born on March 20, 1928 in Latrobe, PA.  He graduated from Rollins College with a B.A. in Music in 1951 and earned a B.A. in Divinity from the University of Pittsburgh in 1962.  Fred Rogers began working for NBC in New York as an assistant producer / floor director in 1951.  In 1953 he moved to public television in Pittsburgh as program manager and began producing a children’s show, The Children’s Corner. In 1963 he began producing and hosting a daily 15-minute show, Misterogers, for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.  He expanded the show to a half hour in 1964 for an ABC affiliate in Pittsburgh.  Eastern Education Network purchased the show for regional broadcasting in 1966, renamed it Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and the show went national on PBS in 1968.  From 1970 until his death in 2003, Rogers was president of Family Communications, Inc., which produces books, cassettes, and videotapes.

The collection contains clippings and memorabilia from the career of Fred McFeely Rogers in children’s programming and documents his association with his alma mater, Rollins College.

The Annie Russell Theater Collection Annie Russell

Born in 1864 in Liverpool, England, leading actress Annie Russell represented the “perfect ingénue”. By the age of 19 she had become a household name on British stage. After moving to the United States in the late nineteenth century, she jump-started her acting career in New York and experienced a period of great creative success, performing in a number of new plays despite her deteriorating health.

After her retirement in 1918 and relocation to Winter Park in 1923, she became involved in the nascent dramatic arts program at Rollins, following the advice of her good friend Mary Curtis Bok Zimbalist. The collaboration of these two powerful friends laid the spiritual foundation of the current theatre program and the literal foundation of one of the most beautiful architectural structures in Central Florida, the Annie Russell Theatre. Designed by the German-born architect Richard Kiehnel in the Italian Romanesque Revival style, the theatre was built and named after Annie Russell in 1932. After briefly appearing on the stage of the new theatre, Miss Russell died of lung disease in 1936. However, the Annie Russell Theatre continues to serve the vision and aspirations shared by Annie Russell and her friend Mary Curtis Bok Zimbalist: collaboration, creativity, education, and discipline.

This collection does not include the personal papers of Annie Russell, but consists of materials collected from the Annie Russell Theatre programs of Rollins College since 1932.

The A. Reynolds Morse Collection of M.P. Shiel Hamilton Holt
The A. Reynolds Morse Collection of M.P. Shiel represents one of the most complete collections of Shieliana in existence. The Collection contains not only the most complete set of all editions of Shiel's writings and some Shiel manuscripts, but also reference materials and classic works of science fiction, detection, fantasy, and mystery, including the writings of Louis Tracy and John Gawsworth. Also included in the Collection are some of Mr. Morse's correspondence and research notes concerning M.P. Shiel.

Ren Morse read his first novel by M.P. Shiel in 1942. After five years of reading, studying, and collecting, Mr. Morse published The Works of M.P. Shiel: A Study in Bibliography in 1948, one year after Shiel's death. Innovative in concept, the Shielography contained not only the most complete listing of Shiel's known works at the time of publication, but also comments, insights, and evaluations by Morse.

In 1977, John D. Squires wrote to Mr. Morse to ascertain whether or not he was the author of the Shielography. As Mr. Morse recounts, it was Mr. Squires who "lured me to re-examine this redoubtable author whose first editions and other memorabilia had meantime slept peacefully in the attic!" The letter began a collaboration between the two to revive interest in Shiel. This resulted in the publishing of four massive volumes about the life and work of M.P. Shiel, the re-issuance of one novel and the publicating of Shiel's last, unpublished novel, The New King.

The William Sloane Kennedy Memorial Collection of Whitmaniana Kennedy Collection
William Sloane Kennedy (1850–1929), son of a minister from Oxford, Ohio, graduated from Yale University in 1875 and attended Harvard Divinity School. In 1879 he joined the staff of the Philadelphia American and began a career as a journalist and literary figure. In the 1880s he worked for the Boston Evening Transcript, where he developed a friendship with Walt Whitman that led to many visits and an extended correspondence. Kennedy became a prolific writer, publishing biographies of Longfellow and Whittier, studies of Ruskin and John Burroughs, a small anthology of his own poetry entitled Breezes from the Field (1886), and a collection of nature essays, In Portia’s Gardens (1897). His most important contributions, however, were his studies of Whitman, including Reminiscences of Walt Whitman (1896), an edition of Walt Whitman’s Diary in Canada (1904), and The Fight of a Book for the World (1926).

During the later years of his life, Kennedy escaped the northern winters in Winter Park, Florida, where he met and befriended Edwin O. Grover (1870-1965), Rollins Professor of Books and College Library Director. Grover persuaded Kennedy to leave a legacy to memorialize his friendship with Whitman by donating his personal collection and establishing an endowment fund for Whitman materials at Rollins. The William Sloane Kennedy Memorial Collection of Whitmaniana was processed and described in 1996 by Kathleen J. Reich, Professor Emerita and Head of Archives and Special Collections of Rollins College.

The Clare Benedict Collection of Constance Fenimore Woolson Memorabilia Benedict Collection

The collection consists of papers preserved by Clare Benedict in memory of her aunt, the American author Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840 – 1894).  The contents partially document Woolson’s literary career, through original manuscripts and reviews of her work, but also documents the literary ambitions of her family, particularly those of her niece, Clare Benedict.  Very well documented is Benedict’s gift of the Woolson House to Rollins College, largely expressed through the correspondence between Benedict and the College’s president at the time, Hamilton Holt.  The formation and development of a literary society in Woolson’s honor is similarly well recorded.  Though personal correspondence does exist, the collection does not thoroughly record Woolson’s personal relationships.  In contrast, Benedict’s are particularly well documented, and it is worthwhile to note that she shared many of her aunt’s acquaintances, such as Henry James. 

The collection consists of Woolson’s literary contributions; family information, including genealogy and correspondence; documents illustrating the connection between Benedict and the College (particularly in regard to their joint venture, the Woolson memorial); materials related to the Woolson Society; photographs of the collection’s inventory, places of significance to Woolson and her family, and the conferences of the Woolson Society; and media documenting the Society’s events, including both VHS cassettes and DVDs.