The Central Florida Historical Newspaper Project emerged from the discovery of several, previously unavailable historical newspapers in local historical archives. After the discovery, the UCF History department began to recognize important connections between them and the decision was made to digitize and collect them in a repository – with the intention of publicizing their existence. Each of the newspapers was produced by the local African American community during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the collection forms a useful source-base for historical study of the community.

The project began with the discovery of a late nineteenth century issue of the Eatonville Speaker at the Maitland Art and History Museum by University of Central Florida historian Dr. Scot French. The only extant/surviving issue of the paper, it was discovered encased in a frame. After the frame was opened, Dr. French located all four pages of the paper, previously hidden by the frame, that were contained inside. Upon reading through the paper, He recognized that it contained a “call to black residents” to engage in civic and political action. Dr. French proceeded to scan and digitize the paper, and upload it the internet. All four pages are now easily accessible, for scholars and the public, through a quick google search. Dr. French also used the paper as a primary source in an academic article published in the journal Change Over Time, as well as a published article in Winter Park Magazine. Dr. French also created a full-size poster of the paper and showcased it in an exhibit at the National Museum of Fine Arts.

Dr. French later discovered several more, previously unavailable papers at the Maitland Art and History Museum, the Maitland Public Library, and the Winter Park Library. Rawlings College Special Collections supplied two pages of microfilm containing previously unavailable newspapers. Dr. French would eventually use some of these sources in a public history course at UCF. Interns also assisted in the digitalization and archival process, and built several skills useful for the study of public history.

Newspapers in the Collection
• Eatonville Speaker, June 22, 1889
• Gate City Chronicle, March 11, 1892
• Lake Maitland Advertiser, January 2, 1890
• Winter Park Advocate, October 31, 1896

Issues Awaiting Induction into the Collection
• Orange County Citizen, July 25, 1911
• Maitland Currier, December 24, 1885
• Winter Park Herald (Maitland Edition), June 10, 1926
• Celery Fed, vol 10 – no 2, December 10, 1945

Principal Investigators
• Dr. Scot French

Student Involvement
• John Settle
• Laura Cepero
• Trevor Colaneri
• Tiffany Owens
• Samantha Levy

• AMH Seminar in Community and Local History – AMH6429 – Spring 2013

Winter Park Public Library
Maitland Public Library
Maitland Art and History Museum
Rollins College
Sanford Museum

In the News
• Kelli Ordonia. “UCF’s Public History Center Gathers Artifacts at History Harvest.” UCF Today, March 8, 2003.

Scholarship Generated by Project and Related Collections
• Scot French. “The Historic Black Township of Eatonville, Florida as a Late 19th-Century Case Study in Social Preservationist/Moral Capitalist Ideology and “Reverse Gentrification.” Change Over Time, (forthcoming, Spring 2019).

• Scot French. “Moral Capitalist: In the Aftermath of Reconstruction, Winter Park Pioneer Lewis Lawrence Brought his Crusade Spirit South.” Winter Park Magazine, (Spring 2018).

• Exhibit on Eatonville, FL at the National Museum of Fine Arts