People flocked to Jacksonville Beach in its heyday to enjoy the boardwalk, amusements and Ferris wheel. Postcard Collection ca. 1945-50
Researchers, genealogists, and lifelong learners have long turned to Special Collections at the Main Library—and online—to search for authentic documents, acquire valuable information or just satisfy curiosity. With thousands of unique reference and research resources, including many rare and archival-quality items, customers can dig deep into family, neighborhood and local history, Florida history, African-American culture, the Holocaust and much more.
Before the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, big concerts and sports events were held in the Jacksonville Memorial Veterans Coliseum. Loyd Sandgren Collection, 1961
Special Collections also includes the unique Digital Library Collection, which can be accessed on the library’s website anytime. Here you can explore rare books, maps, prints, illustrations, historic photos and slides, postcards, ephemera, newspaper indexes, stereographs, manuscripts, directories, black history calendars and videos. Full descriptions and historical notes are included.
Known for good seafood and recommended by Duncan Hines, this Howard Biser’s Restaurant was located in the San Marco neighborhood.
The Digital Library Collection continues to grow as holdings increase and library staff digitize more items.
Recently, the Jacksonville Public Library Rare Books Collection, New Stanton High School Scrapbook Collection, Cross Florida Barge Canal Photo Collection, Hamilton Jay Scrapbook and Emerson Jones Photos Collection were added to the collection. Digitization of these precious resources not only aids in preservation but also allows convenient access of rare and fragile materials for everyone to enjoy now and in the future. Topics of interest from the newly acquired Florida Times-Union Editorial Archive Collection, which comprises 130,000 folders of news clippings and 8,000 folders of negatives, will also be digitized, preserving valuable photo and journalism archives for generations.
The intersection of Bay and Laura streets flooded during Hurricane Dora in 1964. Loyd Sandgren Collection, 1951
You don’t need to be an educator or scholar to appreciate the Digital Collection. Anyone can take a trip down memory lane by browsing part of the Loyd Sandgren Photography Collection, which features commercial photographs taken in Jacksonville from the 1940s – 1990s. Read actual telegraphs about and see historic images from Jacksonville’s Great Fire of 1901. And look at vintage postcards that evoke memories of Old Florida from yesteryear.
People flocked to Jacksonville Beach in its heyday to enjoy the boardwalk, rides and Ferris wheel. Postcard Collection, ca. 1940-50
Library staff are always happy to assist with any questions about Special Collections. If you’d like more information, please call 630-2409 or visit Special Collections at the Main Library. Seeing the map room alone is worth the trip!