Jacksonville History

Jax Bicentennial Special Guest Speaker

Jacksonville Origins: A Talk with Emily Lisska June 11 1-2pm Conference Center at the Main Library
The countdown to our City’s bicentennial has begun! How will you celebrate Jacksonville’s 200-year anniversary? The Library’s doing what it does best: sharing and collecting stories! We hope you’ll join us for "Jacksonville Origins: A Talk with Emily Lisska" on Saturday, June 11 at 1 p.m. And leave your mark on Jacksonville's history: Add your story, your family history, and your vision for the future of this Bold City to the Library's permanent collection!

Jacksonville's First Black Lawyer

Joseph E. Lee, Jacksonville's first black lawyer

Joseph E. Lee is a prominent figure in Jacksonville history. He holds the distinction of having been the City's first Black lawyer as well as having left a legacy of commitment to public service and community. Jacksonville Public Library was recently able to digitize an extensive collection of Joseph E. Lee's professional and personal correspondence, dating from 1877 – 1882. These papers help paint a clearer picture of the man and his accomplishments.

Be a part of Jacksonville's Story

Be a part of Jacksonville's story

What do you like people to know about you another 80 years from now?

How have you shaped – or been shaped by – this Bold City?

To celebrate the City's upcoming Bicentennial, the Jacksonville Public Library will be doing what it does best: Collecting stories, preserving history, and sharing what it finds with the community. But we need your help!

Jax Student Poetry Contest

2022 Jax Student Poetry Contest Call for Entries

It's Jacksonville's 200th birthday! Add your voice to the celebration... and to history! Jacksonville Public Library invites youth in grades 4-12 to submit an original poem, not to exceed one page in length, celebrating Jacksonville's upcoming Bicentennial. Entries will be accepted online through April 30, 2022 and top winners from three age categories will win a cash prize!

Rainbow Reads for Pride Month

Rainbow Reads

Pride Month is celebrated each year in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising. Among other things, it’s a great time to learn more about and honor key figures in the LGBTQ+ Rights Movement and the fight for full equality. For those in the community, it can also be a personal or even communal celebration of self-worth, dignity, and visibility. For more, including a few highlights in Jacksonville's own LGBTQ+ history, read on! Happy Pride!

Beyond the Four Walls of a Building

Library Book Truck from 1928

What we do and where we do it can change from time to time. Library service doesn't always happen at the library and it certainly doesn't always occur inside the four walls of a building. Our job is about meeting, you, our customer, where you are. Sometimes, we have to take that show on the road! In the past, one of our more "novel" approaches to library service was our bookmobiles.

They Called Her Harry

Henrietta C. Dozier, a.k.a. "Harry"

Recently, there has been some discussion about and renewed interested in Jacksonville’s first female architect, Henrietta Dozier aka “Harry.” This Women’s History Month, the Library dug into its Special Collections and a few old Florida Times-Union articles as well. Just what was there about this woman’s story that’s so compelling that we come back to it, decade after decade? Was it her determination to succeed in a field dominated by men? Was it her approach to life or the boundaries she pushed? What more can we learn from her?

When Jacksonville Hosted The Super Bowl

Remembering Super Bowl 39

The Super Bowl is one of America’s most-watched and most popular sporting events for one of our all-time-favorite pastimes. Even if you’re not a football-fanatic, you might look forward to the half-time show and the Super Bowl commercials. In this “year like no other,” with COVID-19 mostly keeping spectators out of stadiums and live broadcasts having to pump in “crowd noises” to make it all sound and feel a little less weird, fans and players have had to make some major adjustments. You may even be forgoing the traditional big parties with family and friends in an effort to be safe and social distance... For our part, the Library decided to take look back to a different Super Bowl and one that's particularly close to our hearts.

Jacksonville Lights and Luminaries: Dorcas Drake

Lights and Luminaries: Dorcas Drake

Jacksonville judge, justice of the peace, and philanthropist Dorcas Drake was perhaps best known for starting the Dorcas Drake Christmas Party and Toy Drive, which made the holiday season a little brighter for Jacksonville’s children from 1957 until 2003. This special "Throwback Thursday" celebrates this remarkable and kind woman. The toy drive and party was eventually replaced by the Children's Christmas Party of Jacksonville (which was first held in 1999). But Dorcas Drake's light and legacy is undeniable.

International Human Rights Day

International Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day is observed every year on December 10 — the day the United Nations General Assembly, in 1948, proclaimed the inalienable rights to which everyone is entitled as a human being and adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The purpose of the document was to create equal opportunities for all - regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status - and to re-build the world through this lens of interconnectedness and shared humanity.

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