The Seminole Wars Authority is offering an exciting allotment of internship opportunities for multiple students interested in military, oral, public, or Seminole Wars history. Each opportunity detailed below is available for 1-2 interns for the Spring 2023 semester.
- Veterans History Project: Private John Thomas and Unidentified Negro Servant
Private John Thomas has been discounted by historians past who believe his survivor account is implausible due to an injury sustained at the Dade Battle. Private Thomas, after injuring his back, appeared back at Fort Brooke with his testimonial. Upon receiving this injury, Thomas would go on 3/4s disability and die serving the Florida Territorial Militia in St. Augustine. The intern(s) would do research into Thomas’ family and backstory, his claims regarding the Dade Battle, and assist the Foundation in researching where his remains could be. The Foundation hopes to reconstruct the circumstances surrounding his death once his remains are found – his final resting place is unknown. The Foundation wants to honor is death, bring him home, and provide a historical account of his contributions.
Unidentified Negro Servant was killed in Dade’s Command, listed among the dead. Was he someone’s slave, or contracted out for the mission? If he was considered property, someone would have filed with the government for compensation. If somebody filed for compensation for Gardiner’s bill, then whomever owned this unidentified Negro servant would have filed a claim. Where is that claim and how was it dispatched? Were any of the officers wealthy enough to afford the services of a Negro servant fulltime? Did the officers chip in to hire the Negro servant — as possibly a cook? What were the Army standards at the time for troops on the march for several days? The intern will undertake traditional research to assist in finding the name and status of this man to remember him properly. The Foundation would, additionally, seek to hold a service honoring this individual at the annual Dec 28 living historian ceremony.
- Period Map Project
The Seminole Wars Authority currently maintain a collection of maps from the Seminole Wars era that are not originals. This internship would consist of the intern going through the collection and organizing materials, making note of what is there, with recommendations on what to keep, what to toss, what to cross-check, what to digitize, and assist in an organization method for the materials. The intern will work on a way to make the physical copies accessible both virtually and physically, without causing harm to any of the maps themselves.
- The Seminole Wars and Entertainment Public History Project
The Seminole Wars Authority currently maintains a series of different pieces of entertainment that depict the Seminole Wars, including movie posters, playbills, cartoon images, paintings, postcards, etc. The intern will devise a name-and-number scheme for these materials for easier access, finding, and organizing within the organization. The intern would then analyze this collection to determine how it would be used to educate the public on the Seminole Wars.
- Photograph and Media Finding Aid Project
This project is vast and would require multiple interns for different aspects of the project.
- One intern would create a finding aid and file naming scheme for photographic prints in the collection. The intern would then assess these photographs to determine how a researcher could find them useful in their work. These photographs would need to be organized by event, date, or another useful name to better identify them. This intern would additionally digitize them.
- One intern would create a finding aid and file name scheme for newspaper and magazine articles of Frank Laumer during his active years researching. This intern would additionally digitize them.
- One intern would create a finding aid of microfilm and use additional resources at UCF to examine the content of the film. This film would then be, if safely able, scanned to PDF films on a digital hosting platform. The intern would then organize the microfilm online in a manner that is sensible and easy to access. The intern will learn the now “old school” techniques for making available rare and fragile documents photographed as microfilm and compare that to where available, similar documents have already been scanned and made available online as pdfs. The exercise will also be instructive. These have served as a “backup copy” to old documents. As with beta and then VHS tapes, this medium is obsolete, however.
- One intern would create high-resolution images scanned from original book or newspaper sources from within the Foundation’s rare and antique book section. Each illustration will have a name, year if known, artist/illustrator, and page to the book listed in standard bibliographic source format. These can be scanned high rez but also in the various gradations going to tiny avatar thumbnail size. The intern will experience the thrill and anxiety from handling books two centuries old and that seem to be crumbling in her hands.
These finding aids and file naming schemes would help organize the Authority’s primary source collection, while also making it easier for future researchers to root through sources for their work. This is a major project that would give interns excellent experience in caring for old items whilst learning how to make it public-accessible in a modern world.
- Document Organization Project
This intern will consolidate and compile individual digital scans of historic documents, such as military reports, official letters and other correspondence. The Foundation has a dedicated hard drive that contains scans of hundreds of these documents regarding the Florida War(s), but they are not organized or catalogued for search purposes or for access. The intern will learn or hone skills regarding handling old/rare documents that are already scanned but not assembled in a useful means for researchers. Some of these hand-written documents have been transcribed, so the intern will devise a means so that those typed documents in Microsoft Word are attached or affiliated to the original hand-written documents for finding purposes. The intern will learn how such correspondence was crafted in cursive writing – often hard to interpret – and how it was transcribed, with discovery of transcription errors and lacuna issues. A finding aid will culminate this project.
- Bibliography Organization Project
This intern will create a bibliography and a finding aid for the assorted digital journal articles on the Seminole Wars to update our list of Florida Historical Quarterly, Tequesta, and other related journals with information on our subject. This will include renaming the journal articles with standard identifying conventions and ensuring the meta information is included for individual article PDFs. The exercise confirms that even this obscure war period provides heuristic value for research and further scholarly treatment. The intern can report on the variety of topics considered in these journal articles and what they reveal.
- “Keep On Keepin’ On” Continuation Project
This intern will evaluate and create finding aids for the remaining Seminole Wars-related files and folders begun by previous interns. Examine how a self-taught public historian conducted his business through consideration of his files and folders. What should be retained? How should one handle duplicate or extraneous materials? What should be scanned for ready online access? What should be moved to a different collection? The intern will report on how the files/folders were assembled and how that differs from standard academic practice, to determine how to reconcile that for a finding aid. There is much to discover and reveal in these primary and secondary source documents, some about the Seminole Wars and some in how a public historian researches the Seminole Wars compared to today.
Any of these will provide an extraordinary opportunity to practice the public history craft. Interns will receive an access code to the Foundation homestead for on-site use; however, many of the materials in Bushnell can be taken to remote sites (interns’ homes) for in-depth examination and use.
Those interested should contact [email protected] for more information.