Mathematics at the University of Florida in Gainesville, the first 65 years

Author - Dr. Paul Ehrlich - Math Professor - University of Florida - Gainesville

The yearbook for the students of the University of Florida, the Seminole, was first published in 1910. In those days, the yearbook contains photographs not only of the student body, campus buildings, fraternities and clubs, but also of individual faculty members. Indeed, the first such Seminole has the following dedication:

`` Dedication
In grateful appreciation of those who have directed us through our college years, this books is inscribed to OUR FACULTY''

The faculty photographs taken as a whole from the 1909 - 1910 academic year give a vivid impression of a rather young faculty, really with just two exceptions, Farrah and Walker. Especially, Banks, Benton, Davis, Farr, Flint, Hadley, Keppel, Kicklighter, Thackston, Trusler, Vernon, Wilson, and even President Murphree himself are all rather youthful looking. Now Benton, Flint, and Keppel were hired under the previous president, Andrew Sledd, who was president of the current University of Florida from 1905 - 1909, and Farr had been hired already in 1901.

During 1904 - 1905, the academic year just prior to the passage of the Buckman Act of 1905, Dr. Andrew Sledd had taken up the presidency of the Florida Agricultural College in Lake City, which had been in Lake City since 1884. Sledd's predecessor, Thomas Taliaferro, president from 1901 - 1904, was not a renowned success; as Proctor notes in [1, p. 21], apparently he was known to the student body by the sobriquet of hairy old ape. The state legislature in 1903 had voted to change the name of the Florida Agricultural College to the University of Florida, and apparently with this more dignified sounding title, it was hoped that maybe the quality could also be improved.

Among the folders of the Sledd Correspondence - 1904 in the University Archives, Smathers Library, at the University of Florida, are testimonial letters from various professors especially written at the time Sledd was applying for the Professorship of Latin at Emory University in Oxford, Georgia. Most of these letters are addressed to Reverend Warren A. Candler; at that time, Candler was President of Emory. The next year he was elected Methodist Bishop for Georgia and the Candlers moved to Atlanta.

An early letter in this particular folder is illuminating, for it is written in 1894 when Sledd is completing his studies at Randolph Macon College, and preparing to go on to study the Classics at Harvard. It is interesting that apparently the whole faculty signed such a letter in those days, for we find the following [2]:

Ashland, Va. Feb. 28, 1894
...... his work has been characterized by accuracy and
thoroughness not often seen in a student. When he completed the courses in Mathematics and Greek, he won the prizes offered in these departments for the best work in the senior year. After he graduated in Mathematics, he was appointed by the Faculty, assistant to the Professor of Mathematics and he discharged the duties of this position in a manner that was entirely satisfactory to the College authorities .... (Signed) J.A. Kern, Vice Pres. and Prof. of Moral Philosophy Wm. A. Shepard, Chem. and Geology Prof. R. E. Blackwell, Prof. Eng & French R. B. Smithey, Prof. of Math. Richard M. Smith, Prof. of Greek & German John L. Buchanan, Prof. of Latin A. C. Wightman, Adj. Prof. Biology and Physics''

So from this letter, we learn that although we cannot claim Sledd as a mathematical forefather in the sense of having a Ph.D. in mathematics like his predecessor Taliaferro, at least Sledd had taught mathematics! Next we learn from this personnel file that Sledd took two years of work at Harvard in the Classics. He has recommendation letters from J. B. Greenough, Prof. of Latin [I spent my freshmen year in a dormitory named Greenough Hall!], from John H. White, Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of Greek, and Fredric D. Allen, Professor of Classical Philology. White writes on July 6, 1897 that

``Mr. Sledd has spent nearly two years at this University and has impressed his instructors as a young man of much more than average ability and scholarship. He has excelled in his chosen field---the Classics---and has made distinguished attainments in these studies. In my opinion, he is well qualified for a position as Professor of Greek or Latin in a college ....''

Following Sledd's studies at Harvard, he spent a year at Vanderbilt, where the Professor of Greek Languages and Literature reveals in his recommendation letter to Bishop Candler that Sledd had been studying Vedic Sanskrit under his direction, continuing work in that area begun at Harvard.

Reverend Candler and the other powers in the selection process were sufficiently impressed that Sledd was appointed as the Professor of Latin at Emory College in 1898. Sledd took up this position in January and boarded at the home of the Candlers. In that way, he met the only daughter of the family, and a year later Sledd married Annie Florence Candler. In so doing, Sledd was marrying into a family that was to have great prominence in Atlanta and Georgia. Asa Candler, Warren's older brother, had hoped to become a physician, but in the aftermath of the Civil War, higher education for Asa was out of the question. Asa was apprenticed in his late teens to several doctors in Cartersville, Georgia to learn the pharmacist trade. In July, 1873, when he was twenty-one and finished his apprenticeship, Asa Candler traveled by train to Atlanta, and spent the day going round to various pharmacies, searching for employment. Finally, at 9:00 p.m., George Jefferson Howard agreed to employ Asa on a trial basis, starting immediately, without pay. Asa rapidly rose to the position of chief clerk in this drugstore, but then he had to return to Villa Rica, Georgia, where he had been born and raised after the death of his father, to get the farm in a position for sale, and to bring in the crops. At that time, Asa became responsible for his three younger brothers, Samuel, age 18; Warren, age 16; and John, age 12. All three of these brothers were able to attend Emory in Oxford, Georgia with help from their older brother Asa. Warren became a Methodist minister, as we already know, and in 1888 was appointed President of Emory, while in his early thirties. John became a lawyer, and Samuel remained in Villa Rica where he joined in business and farming with an older brother William. Asa returned to Howard's drugstore in Atlanta, but two years later at the age of twenty five struck out on his own, forming in 1887 the firm Hallman and Chandler, Wholesale and Retail Druggists. Asa also married Lucy Elizabeth Howard in January, 1878, despite her father's opposition; Lucy was even sent away to several colleges to try to get her to forget Asa. Warren had married Sarah Cartwright in November, 1877 and the two couples honeymooned together at the family homestead in Carroll County. Then their mother Martha Candler was settled in Atlanta, and both Asa and Warren and their wives moved in and Asa's first son, Charles Howard Candler, and Warren's only daughter, Annie Florence Candler, were born in this home, which was paid for by the earnings of Asa's pharmacy. We will not dwell on the various business combinations and recombinations that went on during those years, just record that Asa Candler came to own what was really primarily a wholesale pharmacy which supplied three products which he either totally or partially licensed to other retail pharmacists. The first product was Botanic Blood Balm, advertised as B.B.B., which was represented as a blood purifier which would cure skin diseases, rheumatism, catarrh, kidney troubles, and other ailments. The second product manufactured was a popular perfume during those days, Everlasting Cologne. The third product was Coca-Cola. The inventor of this product, Dr. Pemberton, felt that it was a tonic which was intended to be offered to elderly people who tired easily. Now in those days, soda fountains were not open in the winter months by custom; that space would be used during the winter to display other goods for sale. Thus, in its earliest days, Coca-Cola syrup was simply sold to various regional soda fountains, where it would be mixed with soda and dispensed at the drugstore soda fountain during the spring and summer months. Asa Candler had first purchased a 1/3 interest in this unknown elixir, Coca-Cola in April, 1888. By August 30, 1888, Asa had decided to buy out the other owners and become the sole proprietor of Coca-Cola. At the age of 38, Asa in 1890 sold out his entire stock of pharmaceuticals just to concentrate on Coca-cola. In 1892, the Coca-Cola Company was first organized as a Georgia corporation and the title to the recipe for Coca-Cola was transferred to this corporation. The rest is obvious to the modern reader; Coca-Cola was successful beyond Asa's wildest expectations, and he became one of the South's wealthiest self-made millionaire's. His philanthropic and religious activities are well detailed in the biography [3] written by his oldest son, Charles Candler, in 1950. In the meantime, his brother, Reverend Warren Candler, after becoming president of Emory in 1888, subsequently left this position in 1899 after his election as Methodist Bishop of Atlanta at about the age of forty. The Candler brothers Asa and Warren were to join together in many Methodist charitable causes in Atlanta and Georgia, including the relocation of Emory College to Atlanta in 1915 after Vanderbilt University was removed from Methodist control during the 1910's. In this venture, Asa Candler himself donated one million dollars to the capital campaign which brought Emory to Atlanta instead of other competing sites.

Unfortunately for Sledd's career as Professor of Latin at Emory College in Oxford, he wrote an article in 1902 in the Atlantic Monthly entitled The Negro; Another View, which was considered far too liberal for Atlanta, and he was dismissed. In the unpublished manuscript Autobiography of a Southern Schoolmaster [4], Sledd reveals that his two years at Harvard greatly altered his views on the issue of race relations. He was astonished to find black and white students dining in the same restaurants and walking together on the Harvard campus.

It is interesting to see in correspondence from W. W. Carroll, the editor and publisher of Monticello News of Monticello, Florida, received after Sledd had been appointed to the Presidency of the University of Florida, that this article had by no means been forgotten.

       " Editor and Proprietor of Monticello, News   August 8, 1904

Dr. Andrew Sledd
   Dear sir,

   I have received a request from Mr. C. A. Finley 
for my editorial endorsement of the choice of yourself as president
of the University of Florida. It will give me great pleasure to do 
what I can for the University and its president provided you will 
do me the honor to comply with a request which I shall make. 
Remembering a fuss which was kicked up about an article written 
by you for a Northern magazine I would be glad if you would kindly 
mail me a copy of the article referred to or a magazine copy 
containing same. I read many harsh newspaper comments on this 
article, and many alleged fragmentary quotations, evidently aiming 
to fasten on you the charge of being in sympathy with those who 
would foment ill-feeling between the negroes and whites of the 
South.  As I have never had the opportunity of reading the entire 
article, I have, of course, never formed any opinion or based any 
prejudice on the same.  I never did nor never will form an opinion 
on hearing merely one side.  I am an Emory graduate, a Delta Tau 
Delta Club man, and know that the Emory students took no part in 
the agitation against you.  However, there is some prejudice against 
you in this section owing to newspaper attacks referred to, and 
your sending me a copy of the article (which I will promptly return 
if you desire it) will aid me in materially helping the school if 
the tone of the article is as I have been led to believe it is. 
   Asking your indulgence for this trespassing on your time and 
patience and assuring you of my desire to do only what is right 
and fair, I remain

                     Yours very truly,
                           Ed. Monti. News W. W. Carroll''

Following Sledd's dismissal from the Professorship of Latin at Emory, Candler helped Sledd complete his graduate studies at Yale, then he obtained a professorship of Greek at Southern College in Greensboro, Alabama, [1]. It is interesting to learn in the Autobiography of a Southern Schoolmaster that Sledd gained great popularity in the North as a result of this article. He was offered the Presidency of Antioch College, which also carried the responsibility of the Professorship of History and Philosophy, but Sledd did not feel qualified in these areas and desired to remain in the South, helping to build up Southern educational institutions. He was also offered an Instructorship in Latin at Stanford, but the salary seemed inadequate to a man with a small family. Sledd felt that offering someone a presidency just on the basis of momentary notoriety such as he had achieved as a result of the appearance of the Atlantic article was the height of cynicism. Based on his educational experiences at Vanderbilt, Emory, and Southern, Sledd wrote the following in his autobiography [4, pp. 55 - 56]:

``Of course the authorities of denominational schools are apt to let denominational considerations outweigh educational in the choice of their faculty, and it not infrequently happens that positions which call for thorough training and acute and vigorous intellect are given to elderly or unacceptable ministers, particularly because of their prominence and conference relationships; and particularly because such places seem to offer the simplest solution of their maintenance so that the educational college, as such, is in constant danger of becoming educationally bankrupted through its efforts to provide for worn-out ministers, or succor denominational feelings and secure denominational support, but a precisely same condition often prevails in state institutions, and they are regarded as either means for building up either political machines, or hospitals and alms houses for the cure and care of decrepit politicians, and it takes a strong executive in a denominational school to garner this educational pressure in the interest of educational efficiency, but in a state institution to rise above political pressure and defy dominant political forces.''

The local powers in Lake City and elsewhere in Florida, were determined to replace the unsuccessful Taliaferro at the end of the academic year 1903 - 1904 as noted above. In the 1904 Sledd Correspondence in the University Archives, we were even able to find correspondence during the time Sledd was considering whether to accept the presidency of the University of Florida. The Board of Trustees accepted the resignations of President Taliaferro and seven other Professors on June 21, 1904. Earlier in June, when it was already apparent that Taliaferro would probably be dismissed, inquiries were made to Sledd at Southern University as to whether he would be interested in the Presidency of the University of Florida, cf. [5, p.~424]. Sledd even felt out a family acquaintance concerning the Lake City University, [5, p. 424], a Lake City lawyer, L. E. Robertson. Robertson wrote to Sledd on June 6, 1904,

``During its years of existence [the Florida Agricultural College, now renamed the University of Florida], it has had its ups and downs, its seasons of prosperity and adversity. The trouble has been, it seems, to get a proper man at the head of the faculty, and that is the trouble at this time. Considerable money has been spent on the building, grounds, etc., and three years ago our State legislature made appropriations amounting to nearly $100,000., for the purpose of buildings, purchases of lands, etc. The buildings are in good condition in the main, there having been one building known as Science Hall put upon the grounds since the last mentioned appropriation, costing, it is said in round numbers something like $60,000. There is a Gymnasium building also, and Mechanic Arts are taught. It is on a safe financial basis, as it is supported by the Legislature, provided it is what it ought to be.''

Then Robertson continues on as follows: ``The present President of the faculty [Taliaferro] has held his position for three years, and from the indications now, has been a decided failure.''

On July 9, 1904, Dr. T. H. Taliaferro on his way out, sent a letter to Dr. Sledd in care of Bishop Candler, from which we learn that Sledd and Taliaferro have been acquaintances for some time, and, indeed, in the first sentence Taliaferro writes

``... yet in the same spirit that I have taken up the cudgels for you regarding the Emory matter, I am writing you regarding that which will follow [in terms of the politicking over the change in command at the University].''

Taliaferro warns Sledd of the propensity for rumor mongering in Lake City, speaks of how a Colonel Robertson ``went up the road with you to tell you how to run the institution,'' presumably when Sledd was visiting Lake City, warns Sledd about the pressures that will be brought to bear, and gives some frank assessments of current faculty members. So apparently, the above lawyer, Mr. Robertson was one of Taliaferro's enemies. Taliaferro mentions to Sledd, that in the aftermath of Sledd's visit to Lake City,

`` ... it is stated by some people that now everything will be under Methodist administration and all of the professors Methodists (I remember our conversation on that point.)'' as an example of the gossiping. When we browse through the Sledd Correspondence of 1904, we find judges, ministers, and state politicians writing him urging him to reinstate all of the former faculty. To try to help Sledd, Taliaferro drafted a letter to send out to all of the current students urging them to return the following year and supporting Dr. Sledd as the new President. However, in a letter of July 13, 1904, Sledd responded to Taliaferro that Sledd judged it best not to send out this letter.

`` ... I regret to have to say that in my judgment such action on your part would be unwise, while I recognize and appreciate your kind intentions in proposing such a course, I am of the opinion that it might rather embarrass than help me in the present situation ....''

Proctor writes [1, p. 21] that Sledd was given full authority to choose his own faculty and reorganize the curriculum. Sledd writing on July 23, 1904 to a chemist from Decatur, Illinois, who had inquired about a possible Professorship in Chemistry opening up, writes the following about recent events in Lake City:

`` ... Owing to some unpleasantness in the former faculty of this Institution, the Board of Trustees has seen fit to accept the resignations of the President and seven members of the faculty. I have been recently put in the Presidential office and am seeking to make up a faculty for the places vacated by the action of the Board ....''

A follow-up letter on July 27, 1904, to this same professor reveals the following about the University in Lake City as Sledd found it:

the maximum professor's salary has hitherto been $1500. I trust to be able to raise that in the course of the next three years to $1800, but there is no definite yearly increase fixed, in as much as we are largely dependent upon legislative appropriations.
Houses may be rented for approximately $300 per annum;
there is perhaps some little difficulty in finding suitable ones, but I do not surmise that that would be a serious obstacle.
unmarried men pay for rooms and board from $15 to $25 per month.
our faculty consists of twenty-two.Our enrollment for the past year was 176, male, only.
I believe that the enrollment will undergo a rapid and steady increase and that the sentiment of the State will be behind the Institution.
we are unable to make any very liberal allowance to the Chemical department, $500 to $1000 being the outside limit. The department is, however, very well equipped, occupying conjointly with Physics, the whole of a two story building.''

Sledd required all of the faculty not already dismissed by the Board of Trustees to re-apply for their positions, if they wished to be considered for employment under the Sledd Presidency. It is fascinating to see evidence of this unfold in the 1904 correspondence files. Many new applications were also received. These were all acknowledged by Dr. Sledd himself, first working from his father-in-law's domain in Atlanta, then later from Lake City. Applications for the Professorship in Mathematics were even received from as far away as Palo Alto, California.

Here is an example of a letter Sledd wrote in which he was reappointing a former faculty member, Professor A. W. Blair.

                                          " Aug. 14, 1904

Prof. A. W. Blair
     Progress, N.C.

My dear Prof. Blair;

   I take great pleasure in informing you that you have been 
unanimously re-elected to your old position on the faculty of 
this Institution, with the title from now on, of Assistant 
Professor of Chemistry.

   I hope that you and yours are enjoying your little vacation 
and will come back to us refreshed in body and mind, with a 
brave heart and a good conscience, to do all that is right and 
best to make this institution what it can and ought, and God 
helping, must be.  Let us pray for His help and guidance and go 
forward to do the right.

   I find myself pretty well worn out and just now suffering 
with a cold, but I keep going and trust to be alright in a day 
or two. Remember me kindly to Mrs. Blair and the baby.

                                          Very sincerely yours,

A more interesting example of correspondence with a re-appointed faculty member is provided in President Sledd's letter to Professor James Farr, who had been at the Lake City Agricultural Institute since 1901 and had received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins. Sledd re-appointed Farr, even though Farr had been one of the Lake City faculty that was dissatisfied with Taliaferro from the outset, and against whom Taliaferro warned Sledd in his cautionary letter cited above. Yet, Proctor [5, p. 420, 422] notes that Farr maintained his neutrality and friendliness toward both Taliaferro and the group of seven faculty members who were also dismissed by the Board of Trustees on June 21, 1904.

                                                 Aug. 31, 1904

Dr. Jas. M. Farr
    Union, S.C.

Dear Dr. Farr;

   I should have answered yours of the 11 long before this, but 
have been so busy that it has been impossible for me to do so.

   With reference to the English and German work for the coming 
year, I have not at present any specific suggestions to offer. 
(And you will let me thank you, in passing, for your great 
courtesy in giving me such an opportunity. I know that that is 
the highest compliment an instructor can pay the executive, and 
I appreciate it in proportion.)

   I can give you this much of an idea as to my attitude and 
wishes in the matter of our curriculum, and this may help you 
some in the ordering of your work: I think that our literary 
work has been sacrificed to the scientific and practical, and 
as far as I am able to form an opinion on the basis of my very
limited information, the latter class of studies have been 
developed out of due proportion to the former.  If this view 
should prove correct, it is my desire to advance our literary 
work, and particularly English and German [Farr's specialization], 
certainly to a parity with any other work in this institution,
and I am rather inclined to think that the work in these two 
languages ought to be first and foremost, both in this institution 
and in any other institution among English speaking people.

   With reference to the elocution work, I think, as you suggest, 
that it would be well for Mr. Wharton to have charge of the 
preparation of the speeches.

   Mr. A. H. Jackson has been awarded a fellowship of $150 for 
next year, in accordance with the recommendation of yourself and 
other members of the faculty, and he will, of course, be expected 
to do some little work for us, but that can better be arranged 
when we all get together.

   Last, and most imperative, I have to inform you that we are 
to hold the competitive examination for West Point Cadetship in 
this Institution, on Wednesday, the seventh of September.  A 
large part of that examination, as you know, falls in your own 
department.  I did not know whether it will be convenient for 
you to come to Lake City in time for you to give that examination 
in person or not.  If you could do so, I think it would be very 
well indeed for you to be here. But if it is inconvenient for 
you to come on such notice (for in fact I overlooked notifying 
you, as I intended about a week ago) I should be very glad, indeed, 
to have you make out and send to me by return mail the examination 
paper that you would like to give and I shall either give it myself 
or request that some of the Professors who are present do so.  
That you may know about the type of examination that is given and 
the subjects that are examined on, I enclose a copy of the official 
information issued by the War Department on that subject.

   Do not feel that it is imperative that you should be here in 
person to give this examination, and do not put yourself to any 
serious inconvenience in this matter, but please let me have the 
examination paper by return mail, if you cannot well be present.  
In any case, notify me, if you please immediately.

   I thank you very much for your kind works and I am anticipating 
an exceedingly pleasant and profitable season, and look forward with 
great pleasure to an acquaintanceship and association with yourself, 
both in our official and in our private relations.  I want us to 
have a tennis club and I want to play tennis with you whenever I 
get a chance.  I am not much of a player, but I can bat the ball 
about as far as any man I have ever seen.  Give my love to 
Mr. Ferren [a Lake City minister] and tell him 
that I preached for him on Sunday and the people were very kind. 

                                               Very sincerely yours,

We learn from another letter in the Sledd files, that Unites States Senator S. R. Mallory on August 9, 1904, had written to Sledd requesting that the Lake City Institution give these cadetship examinations.

From the viewpoint of our own special interests in the early history of the Department of Mathematics , we find the following correspondence concerning the duties of the Professor of Mathematics.

                                           July 23, 1904

Col. Jno. D. Letcher
    3804 Second St., Des Moines, Ia.

My dear Sir;
   Your letter of the 15 to Dr. Taliaferro has been put into 
my hands.  In reply permit me to say that I am informed that 
the Professor of Mathematics does no teaching below the freshmen 
class that his only other college duty is to give the elementary 
instruction in astronomy, laid down in the catalogue.  His term 
of service is nine months, and while the college might request 
some slight service during the vacation, it would not lay any 
imperative claim upon your time.

                                                   Yours truly,

Unlike the case of the Professorships of Business, Chemistry, and Entomology, we unfortunately did not find extensive correspondence in which our first Professor of Mathematics Karl Schmidt applied or was nominated for a position at the University of Florida. We do find Schmidt mentioned in a letter Dr. Sledd wrote to E. D. Beggs of the Board of Trustees as we will detail below. But even better, perhaps, President Sledd's letter to Schmidt encouraging him to join the faculty and laying out a bit of Sledd's vision for the future has been preserved.

                                             "  August 18, 1904

Dr. Karl Schmidt
    Flatt Hill, Lunenburg, Mass.                   

Dear Dr. Schmidt:

As I had the pleasure of wiring you, you have been unanimously 
elected to the Professorship of Mathematics in this Institution, on 
the terms agreed by us, viz:

      $1200 for the first year and $1400 for the second year.
   Our Institution here is in a transition stage and I look forward 
to great progress and prosperity during the course of the next few 
years, if we can be wise and discrete in our conduct of the school.  
Up to two years ago, the Institution was known as the Florida 
Agricultural College, when the Legislature changed our name to the 
University of Florida, with the idea that we should as rapidly as 
possible develop into an actual university.  At present we are a 
hybrid, part Preparatory school, part college, part technical school 
and part---a small part---university, and it is our task to make of 
this hybrid (if you will allow me to mix my figures) a homogeneous 
and vigorous institution along university lines. Rather a difficult 
task, as you will perceive.  The Legislature, however, is very 
favorably inclined and I think they will be liberally disposed 
towards us, and I think they will sustain us in any reasonable and 
intelligent effort, to cut off as rapidly as we can without bleeding 
ourselves to death, all of the elementary classes and to encourage and 
further foster in every sense in our power all the advanced studies.  
With this end in view, I have selected for our new faculty a group 
of young men in whose scholarship, character, vigor and enthusiasm 
I have absolute confidence. You will of course be interested in 
knowing who they are. Not to go into detail, I may name and describe 
them thus:

Professor of Chemistry, Edward R. Flint, B.S. Mass. Agricultural 
   College, Ph.D. Goettingen, M.D. Harvard; 39 years of age.
Professor of Zoology, E. H. Sellards, M.A. 
   University of Kansas, Ph.D. Yale, about 30 years of age.

Head of Business Department, E. R. Dickenson, 
   LL.B. University of the South, M. Accts. Washington Business 
   College, Washington, D.C., about 30 years of age.

Professor of Mechanical Engineering, M. T. Hochstrasser, 
   B.S., M.E., Georgia School of Technology, about 30 years of age.

I am myself, a young man of 34, an M.A. of Harvard and a Ph.D. 
   of Yale.

   These are the new members of the Faculty. In addition, we have 
about a dozen old members still on the force; These, also are 
mostly young men between 30 and 40 years of age.

   It is with this force that we hope and intend to achieve great 
things for the University of Florida.  I know that we shall have 
your hearty and whole-souled cooperation in every progressive 
   We are to hold examinations for the cadets in West Point [i.e., 
applicants to West Point] at this Institution on the seventh of 
September. If you can possibly do so, I should like very much 
indeed to have you come down in time to give the examination in 
Mathematics on that date. If you can get here, any Friday or 
Saturday before, it would be well, both for this specific purpose 
and in order that you might become acquainted with the people and 
the work.  I shall have the Auditor send you the first installment 
of your salary by the first of September. If you would prefer to 
have that installment a little larger than the average, so as to 
help you in the long and expensive move, please let me know and I 
shall take pleasure in having what you desire sent to you.  Please 
inform me immediately if you  can be on hand by the time mentioned.

   If you wish me to look around for a home for you, please notify 
me and I shall be glad to do so.  Houses are rather scarce in town 
and it might be well to make an early start in order to get a 
satisfactory location. 

   Anticipating an exceedingly pleasant acquaintance and association
with you, both personally and professionally, I am.


Copy of the above sent with slight, necessary variations to 
Profs. Flint, Sellards, Hochstrasser and Dickenson.''

Thus from this letter to Schmidt, we see that our observation of such a young looking group of faculty in the early Seminole yearbooks stems from deliberate recruiting policies of Sledd, probably later continued by Murphree. With the low salaries available, Sledd could not afford established mature stars, so he choose instead to recruit promising younger men, cf. [5, p. 425].

Fortunately, although no correspondence from Schmidt to Sledd seems to be available in the Sledd Papers at the University of Florida Archives, Professor Samuel Proctor was able to locate the following correspondence for me at the offices of the Center for Florida Studies at the Florida Museum of Natural History. First, Dr. Schmidt replied to Sledd's telegram informing him of the selection to the Professorship of Mathematics and Astronomy in Lake City as follows:

``President Andrew Sledd,

 Dear Sir,

   Your telegram informing me of my election to the 
Professorship of Mathematics and Astronomy at the State 
University of Florida was received this afternoon. I 
accept the appointment and enclose the short biography 
for which you have asked.

                                           Yours truly,
                                           Karl Schmidt

Lunenberg, Mass.
  Aug. 15, 1904"

Schmidt composed the following informational sketch for Sledd's inclusion in the catalogue:

Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy
Graduate Student at the Universities of Marburg, 1893-94, Berlin, 1894-97; and Marburg, 1897-98, Germany; A.M., Ph.D., University of Marburg 1898; First Assistant in Physics, University of Marburg, 1900-01; Licensed Lecturer, Harvard University, 1901-03; Substitute for Professor of Physics, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine, 1903-04

Here is Professor Schmidt's reply to Sledd's ``vision letter'' of August 18, 1904 which we quoted above:

"President Andrew Sledd,

    Dear Sir

   Your letter was received yesterday; it is full of that 
spirit of progressiveness for which I hoped.  Be assured 
of my enthusiastic cooperation in your efforts to advance 
our Institute to a real University.

   I shall be at Lake City in time to hold the examination 
in Mathematics for the cadets in West Point on the seventh 
of September; I expect tomorrow to receive information in 
regard to the dates of sailing of the steamers to Jacksonville 
and will let you know as soon as possible when we expect to 
arrive in Lake City. It would perhaps be advisable to 
instruct the Auditor not to send the first installment of 
my salary, as it would probably not reach me in time. Could 
you please find a good boarding house (or private family), 
where I might engage two rooms (connecting or adjacent) and 
board for myself, wife and Baby until we get settled?

   You kindly offered to look around for a home for us; it 
would be a great accommodation if you could get the refusal
of a house, if possible in a good secluded location, 
containing about seven rooms---besides kitchen, bath, and 
room for the maid; we expect to have Mrs. Schmidt's mother 
live with us after we get settled.

   Thank you for the pleasure your letter gave me and 
believe me that I greatly anticipate to meet you and to have
a share in the task that you have set yourself.

                                            Sincerely yours,
                                                Karl Schmidt

Lunenburg, Mass.
Aug. 23, 1904."

Since we find so many references to the cadetship examinations in Sledd's correspondence with the old and new faculty, we will not keep the reader in suspense but reveal that in a letter of Sept. 10, 1904 to Senator Mallory, Sledd reported that exactly two Florida young men had shown up to be examined, one from Palatka and one from Key West. Professor Schmidt had indeed arrived in Lake City on time to participate in this procedure, examining the candidates in Arithmetic, Algebra and Geometry. It is amusing to note that one of the candidates received marks of 20%, 0% and 0% in these three subjects from our predecessor Dr. Schmidt. The other applicant at least did better, scoring 80%, 20% and 20%.

From the viewpoint both of our interest in the development of the Mathematics Department, and also as an example of the sorts of pressures that were brought to bear on Sledd in terms of making the new appointments, we now detail the case of the applicancy of William N. Sheats, Superintendent of Public Instruction at the Educational Department of the State of Florida in Tallahassee. Sheats wasted no time contacting every member of the Board of Trustees and other prominent people in the State, and importuning them to flood Sledd with letters favoring his appointment as the new Professor of Mathematics. Apparently, the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction was an elected position, and Sheats had recently lost a primary election, so that he was seriously looking for another position. Indeed, he had even hoped to become the next President of the University of Florida after it was clear that Taliaferro was on rocky ground, but this was apparently never taken seriously by the Board of Trustees. Already by July 9, 1904, Sheats has written to the Trustees requesting that they support him in finding a position under the new Sledd Presidency. Here is his letter to the Trustee C. A. Carson in Kissimmee.

" Educational Department, State of Florida
Office of W. N. Sheats, Superintendent
Tallahassee, July 9, 1904.
Hon. C. A. Carson, Kissimmee, Florida. My dear Sir:- Yours of July 8th notifying me of the election of Dr. Sledd as President of the University came duly to hand. I notified Mr. Harris [another Trustee] that as I was entirely without a position that I might accept a Professorship in Latin, Greek, or Mathematics, or the Directorship of the [Agricultural Experiment] Station. Would you object to letting me know if all of these positions are filled, or when they will be filled? Or if you think it would be useless for me to apply for any position in the institution, will you please do me the kindness to say so, in order that I may not waste any time in annoying your Board any further, Yours truly, Wm. N. Sheats"
and at the bottom is a handwritten note,
``Dr. Sledd,
           Please note 
                   C. A. Carson"

Sheats did not wait too long to contact Sledd himself, at Bishop Candler's in Atlanta. Sledd was sent the following letter on July 13, 1904. In Appendix D taken from [4], the reader may learn in Sledd's own words how Sledd regarded this inquiry, especially in light of his views quoted above on the use of Southern educational establishments as dumping grounds for elderly clergy or politicians.

    "I congratulate you upon your election to the 
Presidency of our State University.  I was an applicant 
for this position myself, to which I was elected five 
or six years ago, but found it necessary at that time 
to decline on account of obligations I was under to 
those who had supported me for State Superintendent 
of Public Instruction.  As I was defeated in the 
recent primary by very foul means I was induced to 
apply for the presidency of the University.  I heard 
today that there were several vacancies in the faculty, 
and that it was left to you to nominate persons for 
these vacancies.  I wired you this evening that I would 
like to have the Chair of Mathematics.  I now say to you 
that I believe I could fill acceptably either Mathematics,
 Latin, Greek, Political Economy, Moral Philosophy; in 
fact, most any Chair except Natural Sciences.  I am also 
an amateur farmer and could fill, withdelight, the 
Directorship of the Experimental Station.  I can 
produce all of the testimonials you desire from 
Florida, and again refer you to Bishop Candler and Doctor
Dowman, Doctor Dickey, and Robert Park, your State 
Treasurer, all of whom have some knowledge of my ability 
and work here in Florida.

   I wish to say, with modesty, that I believe I could 
attract more students to the University than any one man 
in Florida, and no man can charge that I have ever been 
disloyal to my ranking officer, or to any trust committed 
to me.

   Trusting that I may have the pleasure of receiving 
a prompt reply,

                             I am,

                                       Very truly yours,
                                         Wm. N. Sheats"

On July 19, 1904, Sheats wrote to Dr. W. F. Yocum, who had been a Professor at the Lake City Institution, in Monticello, Florida, requesting a recommendation to Sledd for the position.

    "I want the professorship in Mathematics in the State 
University, Dr. Andrew Sledd will be in Lake City Thursday of 
this week to make nomination of teachers for the several 

   Mathematics was my strong point in College, making 100%
on every branch from Arithmetic on through Calculus and 
Mechanics, since I have been in office I have had no use 
for my Mathematics beyond Geometry and Trigonometry, am still
well up that far, and would soon brush up on the texts beyond.

   I believe I can excel nine-tenths of the professors in 
teaching that subject.  My only disadvantage is, that I have 
not been in the school room for twenty years, but I have been 
inspecting schools and examining teachers on the Mathematical 
Course during that entire period.

   Will you not write Dr. Sledd in Lake City, endorsing me for 
the place.

                                              Yours truly,
                                                Wm. N. Sheats"

By July 20, 1904, Trustee C. A. Carson, writing from the State Bank of Kissimmee, where he was President of the Bank, has written Sledd on behalf of Sheats as follows:

    "As to Mr. Sheats, I believe he is thoroughly qualified for
a chair, and would like to see him have it.  He is strong and 
vigorous, is widely known and would help greatly.

   The only question is as to whether it is wise to choose him 
as he was an applicant for Presidency.

                                               Yours truly,
                                                 C. A. Carson

Were you a fraternity man if so what."

It is clear that Sledd was less than thrilled with the prospect of having Sheats as Professor of Mathematics, especially in view of Sledd's aspirations for raising the educational standards which are revealed in his later letters to his new faculty, as quoted above in Sledd's letter to Dr. Karl Schmidt. But in any case, Sledd must have asked Sheats to furnish more details about his teaching and other credentials, for on July 20, 1904, Sheats mailed a somewhat plaintive sounding four page letter to Sledd.

                              Tallahassee,  July 20th, 1904

Dr. Andrew Sledd
    President University
       Lake City, Florida

My dear Sir:-
   Yours of July 14th from Atlanta received.

   The time is so short that I hardly know how to get up any 
testimonials of my teaching ability.  In fact, I have been out
of that business for twenty-four years, I being called upon to 
give such things.

   As I wrote you, while my preference is Mathematics, I am 
equally as well up in Latin, or Greek with a little time to 
brush up in the latter. I have not had the privilege of 
examining teachers on Greek as I have on Mathematics and Latin. 
I am well up in Mathematics on Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and 
Trigonometry, but would have to brush up on the subjects beyond.  
I completed the whole course in Mathematics, and was reputed to 
be the best natural Mathematician in College, up to my graduation 
in 1873, after the Civil War.

   I have kept up my Latin very well.  Dr. Dowman and I both made 
an average of over 99% in that subject throughout the College 

   The last year my class studied Greek, Professor Doggett gave 
me a mark of two full units higher than any one in the class.

   I have read Political Economy and Moral Philosophy very 
carefully several times during the past few years.
   It has been so long since I taught regularly that I hardly know 
where to go to get up testimonials of my teaching ability on either 
of the subjects mentioned. My inspection of schools and the method 
of instruction of hundreds of teachers during the past twenty years 
makes me infinitely a better instructor than if I had been simply 
practicing my own methods.

   I received some very complimentary letters with regard to the 
preparation of pupils on both Latin and Mathematics sent to five 
different Colleges and Universities during the same year, but I did 
not keep these, and I do not think a single professor holds the same 
position now.  Of this number of pupils, James A. Brandon went to 
Vanderbilt University and took the Latin Medal at the close of the 
first year; Joe Twitty went to Mercer University from me and 
graduated in two years, sharing First Honor with the son of a 
professor in the College, who had been educated entirely in that 
institution; the same year I sent Alice Brimberry and four other 
girls to Wesleyan Female College.  Miss Brimberry entered the Senior 
Class and graduated in one year with the Latin and some other medal.  
The other girls entered the Junior Class and all stood well. 
Professor Bizian and Cosby Smith both told me that they were the 
best prepared girls on Mathematics and Latin that had entered that 
institution in years.  Now, they are both dead, I believe.  Miss 
Brimberry is now Mrs. J. B. Bussey of Cuthbert, Georgia, and will 
cheerfully tell who prepared her for College, and of the compliments 
paid on each of the girls on their preparation.

   I could continue on this strain and make a long story telling the 
history of the pupils that I taught.  Col. E. P. Cater, 
who taught with me in the East Florida Seminary, of which he was 
Principal for twenty six years, is now dead, and I do not know where 
a single one of the professors who were associated with us is now.  
You can now see the difficulty of me giving testimonials to my 
teaching ability, after doing nothing but supervising schools for 
over twenty years. I can refer you to one hundred successful men and 
others who went to school to me, but I have not time to get up 
testimonials from all of these, and I really do not suppose that you 
want them, but if you will wire Col. A. H. King, of Jacksonville, or 
Hon. W. R. Thomas, of Gainesville, [ed., who was the Mayor of Gainesville 
when the Buckman Act was passed and one of the forces who lobbied for our current 
institution to be in Gainesville instead of Lake City] old pupils of mine, 
and they will tell you the kind of teacher I am.

   Prof. Tom F. McBeath, of the East Florida Seminary, at present 
in Orlando, did some Summer School teaching with me since I have 
been Superintendent, and will cheerfully tell you of my teaching 

   I do not know what else to do in the short time I have, in fact, 
it looks hard that one who has devoted thirty-two years to teaching 
and supervising schools in this State and just across the line at 
Thomasville, Georgia, and who is reputed to have done as much for 
the educational uplift as I, should now be put to the  necessity of 
getting up testimonials as to what I know, and my teaching ability 
right here in the State where I have worked so long and am so well 
known. It is like calling upon Bishop Candler to get up testimonials 
in Georgia that he has been a successful church worker and a 
capable minister of the gospel.

   I leave the matter in your hands and am willing to furnish 
any number of testimonials if time be given me.

                                             Very truly yours,
                                               Wm. N. Sheats"

By this time, however, Dr. Sledd is getting a good bundle of recommendation letters for Mr. Sheats, for we find that on July 23, 1904, Sledd sends out over a dozen notes acknowledging receipt of testimonial letters written for Sheats. One letter writer, Howard Key, of the Agricultural Experiment Station sends his letter back to Sheats by mistake, so then on July 30, 1904, Sheats forwards Key's testimonial letter to Sledd appending the following note at the bottom:

"July 30, 1904.

Does it not seem a little hard that one who has given 28 years
of his life to educational uplift in his State, and every one,
friend and for [sic, foe], admits to his valuable service and 
ability, has now to beg for something to do for the  first time 
in his life, when not a single damaging charge can be sustained 
against his character or work as teacher or supervisor?"

Now Sledd also needs to start dealing with the Board of Trustees in connection with Mr. Sheats' battle to gain the Chair of Mathematics. We find several frank exchanges of correspondence preserved in the Archives. First to Hon. George Wilson, President of the Board of Trustees,

                                July 27, 1904

Hon. Geo. W. Wilson
   Jacksonville, Fla.

My dear Mr. Wilson:

   Yours of the 26 at hand.  I shall be very glad to adopt your 
suggestion and purchase the horse and outfit of Dr. Taliaferro, 
for the Station, at a total cost, as indicated in my last 
communication, of Two hundred dollars.

   With reference to the application of Mr. Sheats, permit me 
to say that I have been giving the matter long and serious 
thought, and while I may say to you, confidentially, that in my 
judgment, to give him a position on the faculty would be inviting 
disaster to myself, introducing a constant element of friction and 
practically tying the hands of the new administration, I 
nevertheless realize the strength which might be brought to us 
by his connections with us, and it is there that I find the only 
ground at all for hesitation in the matter. Dr. Sheat's capacity 
and qualifications are conspicuously below those of the other 
applicants for the position, and it is my honest judgment that 
to put him upon the faculty at this time would be to inject into 
the Institution, at the very outset of the new administration 
that political element which we deplore and desire most earnestly 
to avoid. Neither do I believe that the University of Florida 
should be used as a means of support for defeated political 
aspirants or worn-out educators.  I have many letters in 
commendation of Mr. Sheats and I notice that both they and his own 
letters seem to predicate the existence of some claim that he may 
have upon us for consideration, due to his long public service. 
Few, if any, of them could venture to assert that  this gentlemen's 
intellectual  qualifications or educational history are in the same 
class with others who desire the position. The predominant idea 
seems to be that Mr. Sheats has done something for education in the 
State, therefore, the State ought to take care of him, and this 
office of care-taking is supposed to fall logically upon the State 
University.  I need hardly say to you that the recognition of any 
such policy on the part of the University would be both insane and 
suicidal.  If we are to have a University we must make it along other 
lines than these.  If our so-called University is to be a dumping 
ground for defeated politicians or worn-out public school men we had 
as well give up any aspirations for larger present usefulness and a 
finer future.  I do not hesitate to say to you (this whole matter 
being entirely confidential, of course,) that I believe the department 
of Mathematics in this Institution would be entirely unsafe in the 
hands of Mr. Sheats, and that I anticipate further that he would 
assail the administration with or without excuse whenever and wherever 
he thought the administration vulnerable or his assault likely to 
promote his defeated ambition to occupy the Presidential chair.  This 
is a frank assessment of my judgment in the matter.  I shall, however, 
adopt your suggestion and write to the other members of the Board of 
Trustees, and consider with due care, their views in the premises, but 
I would still reserve my liberty of action in accordance with our 

                                            Very sincerely yours,

A few days later, Sledd received correspondence from another member of the Board of Trustees, the attorney F. M. Simonton of Tampa concerning the Sheats' case.

``F. M. Simonton
  TAMPA, FLORIDA                                 July 29, 1904
Dr. Andrew Sledd, Pres.,
     Lake City, Fla.

My dear Sir:-

  I am in receipt of your favor of the 27th inst. in reference to
the application of Hon. W. N. Sheats for the Professor of the Chair of
Mathematics in the University, and asking my opinion as to his
character, ability, and fitness for this  place; and I have just wired
you as follows:

`Sheats' character and ability excellent.  See letter from me this

   I have known Mr. Sheats a good many years, and he has been 
Superintendent of Public Instruction of our State, as you know, for 
three terms.  He is a man of great ability, and of high character 
and standing.  Mr. Sheats' ability readily entitles him to a better 
position than a professorship.  He is a man who is accustomed to  lead 
and control, and I am somewhat apprehensive that he would not relish 
serving in a subordinate capacity.

   He was, as you probably know, an applicant for the Presidency of the
University, and was endorsed very strongly by nearly all of the various
County Superintendents of our State, as well as practically all of the
state officers.  There was very strong pressure brought to bear in his
behalf on the Board of Trustees; and, being  an ambitious man, I do not 
know whether he would be content to follow while others lead.

   These are the facts that I feel you should be fully acquainted with 
in making your selection.  There is no man in the State that I 
entertain a higher opinion of in educational matters than Mr. Sheats; 
and it may be that everything would go along smoothly with him.

                                               Yours very truly,
                                                 F. M. Simonton''

Next, Sledd received a letter from Trustee E. D. Beggs, an attorney in Pensacola.

  Pensacola, Fla.

                                                     August 1st, 1904.

Dr. Andrew Sledd
   Lake City, Fla.

My Dear Sir;

   Your telegram of the 29th stating that you could not reach 
Pensacola Sunday was received Saturday morning.  I trust, however, 
that you will soon be able to visit our city and West Florida 
as I think it would be of particular value to the University 
in holding old students and inducing new ones to enter there.
I was exceedingly sorry not to have been at the meeting of our 
Board of Trustees when you meet with them and was elected 
President of the University, but I now desire to extend a hearty 
welcome to you and to assure you of my earnest support in the 
work.  It will give me great pleasure to meet you and learn 
of your plans for the institution.  It is very gratifying to 
hear of the encouraging news relating to what you are already 
doing in this work.  

   Regarding the application of Hon. W. N. Sheats for appointment 
to the chair of mathematics I presume you have ere this learned 
from the other members of the Board, and perhaps others, of his 
work in this State.  I really do not know but little, if anything, 
of his work as a teacher as he was Superintendent of Public 
Instruction of Alachua County a number of years, following which 
he became State Superintendent and has held the position ever 
since.  I feel quite sure he taught in his own county before 
becoming county superintendent, and I presume was successful.  I 
understand he is an A. M. of Emory College and if so, that coupled 
with his experience since attaining the degree, should qualify him 
for the position. He is a strong personality and has undoubtedly 
materially improved and advanced the educational system of State, 
but his methods have at times evoked strong criticism and aroused 
antagonisms.  The recent contest between him and his successful 
opponent for re-election to his present position was very bitter. 
Having been engaged for so long in executive work the question is 
whether or not he would readily and easily be adaptable to a 
professorship with all that implies of routine class-room work and 
subordinated in matters of administration.  These were the things 
that I would have desired to discuss with you had you come to 
Pensacola at this time but owing to the delaying of your visit 
thought it best to write you. As you doubtless know he was 
strongly urged by his friends for the presidency of the University 
before your election.  Summing up the matter, however, I will state 
that if you should decide to recommend his appointment I for one 
will be pleased to endorse it.

   With kind regards and hoping I shall have the pleasure of soon 
seeing you believe me to be

                                                  Sincerely yours,
                                                      E.D. Beggs''

This letter of Beggs' drew the following response from Sledd on August 3, 1904, most fully explaining his decision to select Dr. Schmidt over the Honorable William Sheats and also providing us with our second mention of who was to be our first Professor of Mathematics in Gainesville, the same Dr. Karl Schmidt.

   `` ... One difficulty, however, I perceive that you are not 
aware of: that I will state to you as a matter of personal 
confidence.  It is this. Prof. Sheats did not hesitate to inform 
me in a personal conversation that he acknowledged himself 
incompetent to teach the Calculus, which is the junior 
work in mathematics at this Institute.  I may add that I entertain 
doubts of his competency to teach sophomore math as he has not had 
to do with the conic sections for a number of years; but you will 
see at once that a man who acknowledges himself incompetent to teach 
the junior mathematics is certainly not qualified for the position of 
Professor in  this Institution ....

   These facts have decided me not to recommend Mr. Sheat's nomination, 
but I am recommending instead of him a young man who is an A. M. of 
Harvard University, a Ph.D. of Marburg, Germany and who has a most 
brilliant record as a student and a teacher and an absolutely, 
unimpeachable moral character.  There is in fact, no possibility of 
comparison between himself and Mr. Sheats ....''

In a letter written August 6, 1904, Trustee Beggs concurs with Sledd's decision ....

   ``I note what you say in reference to Mr. Sheats and the chair 
of mathematics, and also of the gentleman whom you have decided to 
recommend, and am sure you have done the best thing in taking the 
action you have ....''

On August 5, 1904, Dr. Sledd sends out the following letter to all the unsuccessful applicants (with appropriate name changes):

``                                     Lake City, Fla. Aug. 5, 1904.

Hon. W. M. Sheats,
     Tallahassee, Fla.

Dear Sir:

   I regret exceedingly to have to inform you that after long 
and careful consideration of the case in all its bearing I do 
not think that it would be advisable  for me to present your 
name to the Board of Trustees for election to the professorship 
of Mathematics in this institution.  We are returning your 

                              Very truly yours,

Then we have the final letter in the folder of correspondence with Sheats, his reply to Sledd's letter of August 5, 1904.
``                                       Tallahassee, Aug. 10, 1904.

Dr. Andrew Sledd,
   Lake City, Florida.

My dear Sir:-

   Your very kind letter of August 5th, informing me of your 
regrets that you did not deem it advisable after long and 
careful consideration to present my name to the Board of 
Trustees for election to the principalship in Mathematics 
in the Florida University, is received.

   I knew very well from the time I saw the first line from 
you that I would not receive the appointment, and I regret 
that my friends kept annoying you about the matter.

   I do not think it out of place to make the following 
request: I will thank you to furnish me all the letters of 
endorsement written you in my behalf.  I do not think they 
can be of any service to you or that you care to keep them. 
I will cheerfully pay the cost of transmission.  They may 
serve me as testimonials in the future.

   I do not make it as a request but I will be very grateful 
to you, if you will let me know of the persons and their 
chief arguments against me which prevented my appointment, 
after the very liberal endorsement, I hear, from prominent  
educators and individuals in and out of the State.  You 
know it is a great help  to a man to know his enemies and 
their means of attack. If you will do me this  kindness, I 
assure you that no one but myself shall know that you have 
been so generous to me.
                                            Yours truly,
                                               Wm. N Sheats,

Dict. WNS/MVV.''

Before we leave William Sheats, let us offer up a little bit of earlier Gainesville history in which Sheats played a role and which shows him in a kinder light. Now Sheats was in Gainesville, first as a Professor at the East Florida Seminary, as we have learnt from the above correspondence, then as Superintendent of Public Instruction for Alachua County Schools, prior to his election to the position of State Superintendent of Schools. During his time in Gainesville [6], Sheats was active in the formation of what is now called the First United Methodist Church on Northeast First Street. In 1886, the cornerstone of the Kavanaugh Memorial Church, named to honor the Methodist Bishop Kavanaugh, was laid. Among those active in the building of this church, who play a role in our own narrative, are William Sheats and also several ancestors of Mayor Thomas of Gainesville. The building of this church progressed slowly, as a result of a lack of funds. It was decided that the work would be done as money became available for this purpose. During one week in which funds were not even available for the weekly payroll, the stewards called a meeting to discuss what to do about this situation. This was during the time that Sheats was Superintendent of Public Instruction for Alachua County. When no one else came forward with any suggestions about how to get money for the empty treasury, Sheats rose and announced that he would sell one of his horses to raise some money for construction of this church. With his background of faithful Methodist stewardship, Sheats must have found Sledd's refusal to grant him a position at the Lake City Institute a bitter pill indeed.

(Interestingly enough, we can find on our current campus testimony to Sheat's later electoral success. Nathan P. Bryan Hall, which originally served as the Law School building, was put into service in 1914, being named for the Chairman of the Board of Control during the early years of the Sledd Presidency, whom we will encounter later in this and in subsequent chapters. The usual plaque in the wall reveals that in 1914, P. K. Yonge was Chairman of the Board of Control and the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state of Florida was none other than W. N. Sheats!)

Sledd received other correspondence from those not appointed to these professorships described above, or from those not re-appointed to their former positions at the Lake City Institute when he informed them that they had not been selected and returned their application materials. In particular, one mathematics instructor, with eight years experience teaching in colleges and high schools, who was a graduate of the University of Virginia, but with only the masters degree, requested that Sledd reconsider his decision and also had the following frank comments about Ph.D. recipients in his own defense:

`` ... I cannot boast however of holding the degree of Ph.D. of any of our great universities attesting to the holder's ability on theories and technicalities and his unfitness usually on the ordinary duties of the lecture-room. A man educated on the whole curriculum course and especially gifted on one subject is more likely to be more successful as a teacher than a one-sided educated man.''
Sledd replied to this rather unusual letter with a rather stern tone, informing the writer that such lack of grace on not receiving the position certainly did not help farther advance his case in the slightest degree.

It is also interesting to read the much more extensive correspondence we have between Sledd and the other newly appointed Professors mentioned in the above letter to Schmidt, namely, Professor Sellards, Flint, Dickenson, and Hochstrasser. First, the correspondence with the new Entomologist, Professor Edwin Sellards:

``                                            Marion, Kansas
                                              August 4, 1904

President Andrew Sledd
      Lake City, Florida

Dear sir: -

   Your telegram stating that you have nominated me received 
this morning. Kindly write me when the election is confirmed.  
I will plan to come to the University one of two weeks before 
the beginning of the classwork in time to get the Department 
in order. Any catalogue or other general information that
can be forwarded to me will be appreciated.

   Thanking you for the nomination and anticipating pleasant 

    Very truly yours,
        E. H. Sellards''
Sledd replied,
``                                               Aug. 9, 1904

Dr. E. H. Sellards
     Lawrence, Kansas

Dear Dr. Sellards:

   I am in receipt of yours of the 4.  I have already heard 
from three members of the Board of Trustees who vote for 
confirmation of the nomination for the Professorship of 
Entomology in this institution.  I have no doubt that the 
other members will concur in this action. Just as soon as I 
know finally I will notify you. Meanwhile, I am sending you 
under separate cover a copy of our catalogue, from which you 
will get some idea of the work that has hitherto been done in 
your department.  Let me call your attention especially to the 
fact that economic entomology must be strongly emphasized, as 
we are frequently called upon to consider and decide practical 
entomology questions for the fruit growers of the State. May I 
venture to suggest that if your reading has not been especially 
along this line,  you would devote particular attention to it 
between now and the opening of the term.

   I should be glad for you to be on hand by the first of 
September, in case, as I confidentially expect, your nomination 
shall be finally confirmed by our Board.  I join you in 
anticipation of pleasant association and work together

                                         Yours very sincerely,''
and this drew the following response from Sellards:
``                                             Lawrence, Kansas
                                                  Aug. 22, 1904

President Andrew Sledd
  University of Florida
     Lake City, Florida

Dear President Sledd:

Your letter of August 18th received this morning.  I am most 
pleased at the encouraging outlook for the new university.  You 
may certainly count on my earnest cooperation in every advance.  
I am delighted to learn that so much energy is being put into 
the organization of the institution. You may expect me at Lake 
City during the first week of September. The regular installment 
of my salary will be sufficient.  I greatly appreciate your sending 
it as well as your offer to make it larger than the average if 
necessary. Anything you find it convenient to do towards finding 
a location for me will greatly assist me in getting quickly settled.  
I am unmarried and shall not be difficult to satisfy.  My first 
preference would be for (furnished) rooms at a moderate distance 
from the University, and if possible not too much isolated from 
other members of the faculty.

                                             Very sincerely yours,
                                                  E. H. Sellards''

The correspondence preserved between Sledd and Flint comes at a later point in time in the hiring process. From what has already been read, it should be self-evident that President Sledd would be busily preparing a new catalogue to showcase the Institution as he wished to mold it and reflecting the new faculty hires. Evidently, he sent Flint an urgent message for some data along those lines, for the first item preserved is a telegraph sent on August 8, 1904 briefly giving Flint's degrees and church affiliation. Perhaps we should not lay the full responsibility for the query about church membership on Sledd's shoulders, for in reading correspondence between Sledd and individual members of the Board of Trustees, we find that the banker, C. A. Carson, writing from the State Bank of Kissimmee to Sledd on August 5, 1904 among other matters informs Sledd that he would like Sledd to send him the

``church relationships of all of these gentlemen''
which Sledd had appointed as the new professorial staff.

From the following correspondence, one might almost wonder if Flint stopped being an academic chemist and attended Harvard Medical School because of low academic salaries in the 1890's.

``                                     Salem  Aug. 25 '04

President Andrew Sledd
     Lake City, Fla.

   Yours of the 18th received and read with much interest, 
and I assure you that it will give me great pleasure to 
cooperate with you in every way possible in the interest 
of the University, and I feel sure that any connection 
there will be a very pleasant one.

   I note your kind offer to sent my first installment of 
my salary, and I shall start on the first boat down from 
New York, after its receipt, arriving in five or six days 
after. I think the regular amount will be sufficient.  

   As my family may remain up here for three or four weeks, 
I think I will wait a short time before I engage a house.

With many thanks for your kindness,
     Sincerely yours
       Edw. R. Flint''

This letter is followed in the archival material with the vita that Flint himself wrote for Sledd's use:

``Edward R. Flint

Born in Boston, Mass. in 1864.  Attended the public schools 
of Boston, graduating from the English High School in 1882. 
The same year, entered the Mass. Agricultural College, at 
Amherst.  Graduated from there in 1887 with degree of B.S.. 
Served as assistant chemist at the Mass. State Agricultural 
Experiment station for three years.  In 1896, went abroad 
and attended the University of Gottingen, Germany, for two 
years, receiving the Ph.D.. On returning to this country in 
1893, opened an office in Boston as an analytical Chemist for 
one year, and then accepted the position of Assistant Professor 
of Chemistry at the Mass.Agricultural College, remaining there 
six years. Resigned that position to enter Harvard Medical 
School and  studied there for four years, receiving the 
degree of M.D. in 1903.  Has since been one year in medical 

The next Flint document concerns correspondence with the Internal Revenue Service concerning the question of how to actually go about obtaining some alcohol for use in the laboratory work. Then finally, we find a handwritten memo on departmental stationary concerning the job performance of one of the three staff members in Flint's department at the time.

"Department of Chemistry             THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
   E. R. Flint,                  Agricultural Experiment Station
   A. W. Blair
   Robt. A. Lichtenthaeler
       Assistant Chemists

                          Lake City, Fla.            Nov. 29 '04

Pres't Andrew Sledd

Dear Sir:-

   I regret to have to report that Mr. R. A. Lichtenthaeler is not 
prompt and regular in regard to his time, in the station laboratory, 
and that he is not accomplishing the amount of work that should be 
reasonably expected of him.

                                                   Edw. R. Flint"

It is amusing to see that Flint's M.D. from Harvard was put to good use in his position as Professor of Chemistry, for Sledd was able to write to parents encouraging them to entrust their sons to him, as in this letter of September 1, 1994:

"... In addition to this, I have a regular physician placed on the faculty as Professor of Chemistry, and I propose to have a regular medical inspection and to pay the most careful attention to the health of the students, so that any case of sickness may be taken and treated in its earliest stages before it becomes severe ...."

However, when we read about all the diseases which swept through the Lake City University during the 1903 - 1904 academic year in Taliaferro's yearly report, we can better appreciate the urgency of the question as to whether the University should employ an on-site physician.

The next series of correspondence over a new appointment at the University which we found, occurred between Dr. Sledd and Edwin Dickenson. In the case of this appointment, correspondence has also survived in which the Tampa member of the Board of Trustees, F. M. Simonton, draws Dickenson to Sledd's attention.

Attorney and Counselor-at-Law                  July 11, 1904

Dr. Andrew Sledd
 c/o Bishop Candler
     Atlanta Ga.

My dear Sir;-

   I am very glad you have been selected as President of the 
University of Florida.  I sent Senator Carson [a Board member] 
some testimonials a few days ago on behalf of Prof. E. R. 
Dickinson [sic.].  I will say that I have known Prof. Dickinson 
since he was a boy; he formerly lived in Marion County near
where Hon. George W. Wilson [President of the Board] and myself 
both resided; he is also well acquainted with Hon. F. E. Harris 
[another Board member]. Prof. Dickinson is a young man of marked 
ability, and if you select him as one of your faculty I believe 
he will be of good service to the Institution.

                                              Very truly yours,
                                               F. M. Simonton"

Then followed a series of letters between Dickenson and Sledd.

                                "  Atlanta, Ga.  July 18, 1904

Prof. E. R. Dickenson
     Winter Park, Fla

My dear Sir,-

   Mrs. M. C. Vickers has just suggested 
your name to me as a good man for our Business Department in the
University of Florida.  I write to suggest that you inform Mrs. Vickers
that you were already in correspondence with me prior to any
action on her part.  If you do not do this she might, in case of your 
election, claim her full commission.

   You must not regard this letter as committing me to your 
nomination even by the remotest implication. I emphatically 
disavow any such inference.  I do not commit myself: but, in case 
you should be elected,  I should like to save you this expense---

                                                 Very truly yours
                                                       Andrew Sledd

P. S. --- Are you a church member? "

A week later, Sledd sent the following letter to Professor Dickenson.

                                        "  July 25, 1904

Prof. E. R. Dickenson
     Bradenton, Fla.

My dear Sir:

   I am in receipt of your letter of July 25, and in reply 
permit me to say that I have given your application careful 
consideration and am so favorably impressed that there is but 
one thing that keeps me from tendering the position at once. 
You may be aware that the former incumbent is applying for a 
reinstatement.  I must investigate his case and claim a little 
more closely before I can speak definitely as to whether I 
tender the position to him or to yourself.   You will perceive 
that the situation is so far narrowed down that it is only 
a question between yourself and the former incumbent.  Under 
the circumstances I think it would be wise for you, and that 
it is not a presumption on my part for me to request you to 
wait until  Saturday of this week or Monday of next week to 
hear my final decision in this case.

                                              Very truly yours,

P. S. --- Please inform me by wire what is the lowest salary 
you would accept for the first year's service, with an increase 
a subsequent year, in case of satisfactory work.''

Finally, we have a letter from Dickenson to Sledd in this exchange of correspondence. Apparently, Dickenson had accepted the position, and as with Flint, Sledd had requested some biographical details in order to aid in his preparing the new catalogue.

"Rollins College Business School
   Edwin R. Dickenson, LL.B., M. Accts., Director
                                      Tampa, Fla. Aug. 20, 1904

Dr. Andrew Sledd
     Lake City, Fla.

Dear sir;

   Your telegram to me at Palmetto was sent to Bradenton and 
Manatee and afterward forwarded to me here; hence the delay
in replying. If you have further cause to write to me before
the opening of the college term, address me here. Please send
me several catalogues of the college.

   A brief biography of my life is as follows.

   I am a native Floridian.  My early education was obtained 
from private tutors, until the age or 14, when I attended 
Florida Conference College at Leesburg, entering the Freshmen
class.  I attended the Florida State Agricultural College,  
now the University of Florida, in 1898--1899. 
   I attended the University of the South, Suwanee, Tenn in
 1901--03, graduating with degree LL.B.

   I have two diplomas from the Tampa Business College, and two
from the National Commercial Institute, Washington, D.C., 
the last two conferring respectively the degrees B. Accts.
and M. Accts.

   I held the chair of mathematics in the Tampa High School
1901--02, and have been Director of the Business School 
of Rollins College, and Professor of Commercial, Constitutional,
and International Law in the same institution, until the 
present time, resigning to accept the proffered chair in 
the University of Florida. ..."

Then Dickenson sends Sledd a follow-up note on a colorful letter head of a Tampa cigar factory.

      " Leonard & Co., Manufacturers of Clear
       Havana Cigars
       Factory No. 194                             1401 Marion Street

Dr. Andrew Sledd
    Lake City, Fla.

Dear Dr. Sledd;

   Your kind letter was forwarded to me here. My home is in Tampa, not

   My business connections give me peculiar advantage in securing
  positions for the commercial graduates I turn out---I am a member
  of a Tampa corporation in  addition to my interest in this factor
  ---but constitute a drain on my time as  well.

   Therefore, I think it will be impossible for me to come to Lake City 
 as early as you suggest; but I will certainly be in attendance a 
 few days before the University opens.

   I heartily concur in the opinion that we should curtail
 the elementary work, and enhance the value of the institution
 along university lines. In addition to  the Business Department
 in Rollins College, I held the chairs of Commercial, Constitutional,
 and International Law.  I should be glad to see instituted in the 
 University a similar course of study, believing it would be an 
 excellent stepping  stone to the full Law Department which I hope
 to see in the near future.

   I would be greatly pleased if you would make a visit to Tampa before
the University opens.  We should have a great many students from here.

   If you can come down, I will arrange with Brother Thrower for you to 
preach in the First Methodist church, as an introduction to our people.
 Of course, if you come you will be my guest during your stay in the city.

   I will be obliged if you will have the Auditor send me $150.00 on
 the first of September.

   Thanking you for your cordial assurances, and anticipating an
 exceedingly pleasant year, I remain

                                                Very sincerely yours,
                                                  E. R. Dickenson

Dic. to C. F."

Unfortunately, by this time, Dr. Sledd was apparently getting bogged down enough in administrative details that he felt unable to do any preaching outside of Lake City.

                                                      "Aug. 24. 1904

Prof. E. R. Dickenson
    Tampa, Fla.

   I find yours of the 20 awaiting me on my return to this office
 and thank you for the same. 
   I have not been able to satisfactorily fill the position of
 Instructor in Shorthand and Typewriting in your department. 
 If you know of any good man, or have any friend with whom you 
 have worked and whom you would like to have in the place,  
 I should be very glad to have his name and address and a
  little account of his work, at the earliest possible moment. The 
  place pays only six hundred dollars.

   I should be very glad indeed if you will do what you can 
 between now and the opening to get us students.  I had hoped 
 to be able to come down to Tampa, Punta Gorda, Key West, and
  soon, but find myself so crowded with office work 
that I do  not think that I shall be able to do so. I should be
 very glad indeed if you would  do a little canvassing
 in our interest in that section of the State.  We will, of
 course, pay all your expenses and you can attach your expense
 account to a sight  draft on us at any time you see fit.

   I look forward to a very pleasant and profitable year, and 
anticipate great pleasure in your acquaintance and association with us.

                                            Very sincerely yours,"

Apparently, filling the position of the instructor of stenography and typewriting had indeed been giving Sledd trouble, because we find the following written to Robert McCay of Chicago, Illinois earlier on August 11, 1904.

                                                          "  Aug. 11, 1904

Mr. Robert McCay
  269 N. 55 St., Chicago, Ill.

Dear Sir:

   In reply to your letter of the 8 I have filled out and returned a notice
of a vacancy in this institution.  As you see, we desire a teacher of
Stenography and Typewriting.  We prefer a young man of about 30 years
of age and a Baptist. Salary $600 for nine months.  Living expenses
may be kept quite low. Please send by return mail, if possible, the names of 
one or two men you think would suit this place.

                                                           Very truly yours,

So here is concrete evidence that Sledd was not going to appoint all Methodists as had been rumored by the gossips of Lake City.

Finally, Sledd writes Dickenson about his arrival in Lake City.

                                                          "   Aug. 26, 1904

Prof. E. R. Dickenson
   Tampa, Fla.

Dear Prof. Dickenson:

   Yours of the 23 at hand.  It will be quite agreeable for you to come to Lake
City for five or ten days before the opening of school.  I shall take pleasure
in instructing the Auditor to send you $150 on the first of September.

   It was my intention, when I nominated you for your present position, to 
suggest that you should formulate and offer such a course in law as you have
indicated to me.  I do not know whether it would be possible to offer
that course the present year or not, but if it be found possible I am
very anxious to have it done, and wish it to be made a regular part of
our work from now on.  I also had in view in nominating you the further 
development of that line of work, as I see you have already surmised. I 
should be pleased to speak to you more fully about that when you reach Lake 

   I thank you for your kind invitation to come to Tampa.  I am afraid, 
however, that it will not be possible to do so, owing to the great amount of 
work I have on hand just before the opening.  If I find that I can come I 
shall be delighted to stay with you and shall give you due notice in advance. 

                                                       Very sincerely yours,

A last series of letters between Sledd and one of his new faculty members is with Hochstrasser. This correspondence is more concerned with curricular matters.

                                                   " 87 Merrits Avenue
                                                     Atlanta Ga.  July 30, 1904

Dr. Andrew Sledd
   Lake City, Fla.

Dear sir;

   I was not at home when your telegram arrived.  That was the cause of the
delay in answering the same and my reason for saying that I would write.

   Supposing my application has been considered favorably, I ask for the
following information.  The date of the opening of the school, the titles of
all books used in the M.E. and drawing courses, and whether or not Calculus is
finished in the Junior year.

   Would like to know what latitude I would be allowed in laying out the

                                                        Very truly yours,
                                                          M. T. Hochstrasser"

Sledd sent the following reply:

                                                           "  Aug. 1, 1904 

Mr. M. T. Hochstrasser
   87 Merrits Avenue, Atlanta, Ga.

My dear Sir:

   I am in receipt of yours of the 30, inst. In reply permit me to say that I
expect to put your name in nomination before our Board and have no doubt that
that nomination will be endorsed by them.  As to your questions:

   First, the entrance examinations take place on the 20th of September,
but in case, as I expect, your nomination is confirmed by the Board it would
be desirable for you to be on hand at sometime during the first week of the 

   Second, as to the books taught in your course, you will find them mentioned
on page 80, following, in our catalogue, a copy of which I am sending you under
separate cover.

   Third, my information is that no mathematical instruction is given by the 
professor of Mechanical Engineering and that Calculus, according to our 
information, is finished during the junior year.

   Fourth, with reference to the latitude allowed you in laying out and 
controlling your course, I may say that this year, if your work is successful, 
that matter will be entirely in your hands.  For the present year, you will of 
course, be in control but will necessarily be somewhat limited by the
situation, as you will find it, for the preceding work done by the students 
and the work laid out would be necessary to round out a course which they 
have already had. Aside from the determination of the course, it is both now 
and in the future a matter for your own best judgment.

                                                        Very sincerely yours,

With Hochstrasser as with the others, Sledd requested biographical information as he was drawing up his new catalogue:

``                                            87 Merrits Avenue
                                                Atlanta Ga., Aug. 18th 1904

Dr. Andrew Sledd
      Lake City, Fla.

Dear sir;

   Your telegram received.  You requested a short biography for the
catalogue.  Would suggest the following:

   Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Georgia School of Technology,
   1902; Adjunct Professor of Mathematics, G. S. T., 1902--1903; Drawing and 
   Construction Work, 1903--1904.

   In the 1902--1903 catalogue of the G. S. T., my name appears in the
list of the faculty as follows.  M. T. Hochstrasser, M. E., Adjunct
Professor of Mathematics.

   I would appreciate it if you would send me the following books, as I
would like to look over them.

   Elementary Mechanics, Stahl + Wood.
   Graphical Statistics, Herman + Smith.
   Applied Mechanics, Church. 

   You can send them by Express at my expense.

                                                   Very truly yours,
                                                        M. T. Hochstrasser''

Thus, also Hochstrasser had had a position within a Mathematics Department. By this time, Hochstrasser had received the recruitment letter sent out to all the new faculty and replied as follows:

``                                                 87 Merrits Avenue
                                                     Atlanta, Ga., Aug 23, 1904

Dr. Andrew Sledd
   Lake City, Fla.

Dear sir;

   Your favor of Aug. 19th received.  I would like for you to make the 
first installment of my salary, one hundred dollars ($100.00).

   I thank you very much for your offer to look out for a desirable house
and would appreciate it if you could find a modest seven room house, in good
repair, at reasonable rent.

   I can come the first week in September if necessary, but if it is agreeable
to you, would prefer not to come until Sept. 9th or 10th.

                                                      Very truly yours,
                                                         M. T. Hochstrasser''

Now we may see how the new Lake City Library mentioned by Taliaferro as being established just the past academic year, in his June 1904 report to the Board of Trustees, fared in terms of Hochstrasser's prior request for the three engineering textbooks.

``                                                                Aug. 26, 1904

Mr. M. T. Hochstrasser
   Atlanta, Ga.

My dear Prof. Hochstrasser:

   I have your two letters.  In regard to the books you asked for, I have
them looked up, but the librarian is not here and we cannot find them.  I shall
ask the librarian, on his return, and if they can be found here, I shall send 
them by express immediately.  I fancy, however, that you had best order them 
at once from the publisher.

   I shall take pleasure in trying to find a house for you, but cannot give any
guarantees as to what I can do, but will do the best I can.

   I shall instruct the Auditor to send you $\$$100 on the first of September.
It will be quite satisfactory for you to come on the ninth or tenth of 

   With pleasant anticipating of association with yourself, I am,

                                                         Very sincerely yours,

The final letter in this series of correspondence with Hochstrasser was the following:

``                                                  87 Merrits Ave,
                                                   Atlanta Ga., Aug. 28th, 1904

Dr. Andrew Sledd
    Lake City

Dear Sir,

   Your favor of Aug., 26th received.  I know it is unsatisfactory business to
attempt to find a house for any one, and if you can find a place for us to 
store  our furniture my mother will come down, when I do, and look for a 
house, but if you find a nice house and can get the refusal of it until we 
arrive, would like very much for you to do so.  Thanking you 
for your kindness, I remain

                                                   Very truly yours,
                                                     M. T. Hochstrasser''

During this period Sledd was busy with his recruitment and reorganizing the curriculum. During July and August, Mrs. Sledd and their children remained in Atlanta with the Candlers. Several letters from Mrs. Sledd to her husband are preserved in the Sledd Correspondence of 1904, including this paragraph from a letter of July 30, 1904:

``However you are constantly in my thoughts & prayers.  I pray to God daily
to direct you in selecting your faculty & in all your work & to give
you health & to keep your soul good & strong & true....

                                                            Your own
                                                            `Little Wife' ''

We also found a letter which Sledd wrote to his father-in-law on the difficulties of selecting a faculty and also asking for his help with student recruitment in Cuba. (The 1900 yearbook of the Lake City Agricultural Institute shows that one of the 16 members of the freshman class, Albert Bartlett, was from Cuba.) After discovering all of the correspondence concerning Prof. Sheats, we can certainly understand why Sledd would write that the ``faculty matter is the main source of my present perplexity'' in his letter to Bishop Candler.

``                                                             July 25, 1904

Bishop W. A. Candler
  Atlanta, Ga.

My dear Bishop:

   As you perceive, I am here and hard at work.  The faculty matter is the main
source of my present perplexity, but I expect to settle that, one way or 
another by the end of the week,  then I expect to set out on my travels and 
be away from here most of the time until I return for my little family.

   Our agent, Mr. Jnc. V. Wideman, is going off to Cuba to canvass
[i.e., recruit students] for a while, and I should be exceedingly glad if you 
would send him three or four letters of introduction to prominent people in
Havana or other Cuban towns.  Mr. Wideman will be expecting these
letters at Miami, Florida. If you can do so, please send them to him
at that address by the end of the week. I am very well, and glad to hear, 
through Florence, that her mother is improved, and trust that the rest of you 
continue in good health. With love to all,

                                                         Affectionately yours''

From this and other correspondence in the Sledd file, we learn that it was common practice for the presidents and faculty to fan out across all nearby regions in late summer and canvass for students. A letter to Sledd from a friend at Southern University speaks of various faculty being currently engaged in canvassing. Also, Proctor [5] notes that it was not uncommon for educational institutions in those times to hire an agent to do recruitment work for them. In our own case, Professor Marion, one of the re-appointed members of the Lake City Institution was busy canvassing in Florida and filed this report, concerning competition with Tallahassee, i.e., Florida State College, earlier called the West Florida Seminary.

``                                                Central Hotel
                                                   Manatee, Fla. Sept. 14, 1904

Dr. Andrew Sledd
    Lake City

Dear Dr. Sledd,

   Please write M. C. Davis of Braidentown concerning the course in electrical
engineering.  His son will probably be with us to take that course.

   Mr. Rowlett and one other young man will start to Lake City Saturday.

   The Tallahassee people have covered this country like the dew, but I am
following with our side of the question, and am doing good.

   I hope to reach Lake City Saturday.

                                                          Sincerely yours,
                                                             M. C. Marion''

Apart from learning about our earliest faculty members through their correspondence with President Sledd, it is fascinating to see the range of correspondence that University Presidents were expected to handle in those days. First, we see that President Sledd wanted to get off to an auspicious start in his program to build the quality of the University by setting up an appropriate ceremony to mark the change in administration from Taliaferro to Sledd. Thus Sledd wrote the following letter to the Governor of Florida.

``                                                               Aug. 18, 1904

To His Excellency, The Governor
   Tallahassee, Fla.

Dear sir;

   As you are doubtless aware, I have recently been elected to the Presidency
of the University of Florida.  It is my desire to have a somewhat formal 
opening of the Institution at the beginning of the next term, September 
twenty-first. I wish to prepare a program that shall command  attention and 
respect from the entire State at large, and having prepared such a program I 
wish to send you a copy of it with a special invitation to be present to 
every member of the General Assembly of the State, to our leading educators 
and to other prominent men.

   The program that I had projected is as follows:

Opening Exercises, University of Florida, Sept. 23, 1904
Geo. W. Wilson, Chairman Board Trustees 
Prayer, H. C. Ferren
Address                                              Address
   Gov. W. S. Jennings                                  Gov-Elect N. B. Broward
Address                                              Address
   Hon. Frank Clark                                     Hon. F. A. Blount
Installation of Dr. Andrew Sledd, President of the University
Inaugural Address
    By the President
Conferring of Honorary Degrees

for you to take chief place upon this program.  Indeed, it seems to me
that there is no one else who ought to or could fill your place on the
rostrum of our State University.  If you will come, I am sure that I
personally, and the authorities of the University connectively, and
the State at large will be much gratified by your courtesy, and this
manifestation of interest in our Institution, and I am sure that the cause of 
higher education in the State would receive a great upward impetus, both by 
your presence and by your address.  I shall be very glad indeed if you will 
give me the pleasure of entertaining you at my house during your stay in Lake 
City, and I assure you that I should deem myself and my home honored by your 
   It is my intention to collect the addresses delivered on this occasion
and print them in pamphlet form for gratuitous distribution.  Of
course you will notice that with such a program addresses ought to be
limited to about twenty minutes, but we shall be glad for you to take as much 
time as your subject may demand.

   Please let me hear from you at your earliest convenience and you will 
greatly oblige,

                                                         Yours respectfully,

We do not know exactly who spoke on this occasion, as a letter from a lawyer in Pensacola indicated he could not be present as desired as a result of a court case coming up close to that date, and Governor-elect Broward writing from Jacksonville indicated that he could not be present as previously promised, since he had just received a schedule of conflicting appointments made for him by the State Democratic Executive Committee. Also, writing to Board of Trustee member E. D. Beggs on September 3, 1904, Sledd notes that the Governor Jennings is unable to attend, Broward has a scheduling conflict, Blount thinks he cannot attend, and Dr. Frank Clark of Gainesville is off on a political campaign somewhere up North. Thus

``All of this seems to knock my plans into a cocked hat.''

But some faculty correspondence refers appreciably to the quality of this inaugural ceremony for the new administration, so Sledd managed to get some program together for the opening of the new semester.

This is not the last we find of Broward in the Sledd correspondence for 1904. There is a bit of correspondence between Sledd and various Bryans, including W. J. Byran of the law firm of N. P. Bryan & W. J. Bryan of Jacksonville. According to Proctor [1, p. 23], the latter Bryan was not the famous William Jennings Byran, who ran for President of the United States and campaigned for free silver, but rather a cousin, William James Bryan. Sledd had met these Bryans through the Candler family, and Bryans were related to Napoleon Broward, just mentioned, as being the governor-elect; also the Bryans had been Broward's campaign managers during the Democratic primary of 1904, cf. [5, p. 471]. Thus it should not come entirely as a surprise to read the following in a letter from William James Bryan to Andrew Sledd on November 12, 1904:

``In pursuance of conversation with you, with reference to
recommendations to be made by Governor Broward in his inaugural address
in regard to educational matters, I had a conversation with him, in
which he said he would be highly pleased for you to make any suggestions that 
you desire on that subject and submit them in writing and discuss them with 
him at some date convenient to you both ....''

On the back of this letter, written in pencil are various ideas pertaining to higher education, which thus might have been Sledd's own reaction to this letter from Bryan. The notes lead off with

	New dorms
	New lecture rooms
	New teachers---state must provide''

and another column includes

``Increased attendance means increased expenses---no tuition---this must be 
met by State.''

A more amusing letter from Byran to Sledd on September 7, 1904 concerns the topic of Sledd's preaching in Jacksonville as a means of getting to know the people of this city better and contains the following frank assessment of the usual quality of preaching in Jacksonville:

``   ... Answering your favor of the 5 inst. desire to say that I called up 
Dr. Poage over the telephone as soon as I got your letter, and he informed me 
that he had written you on yesterday asking you to preach here next Sunday, so
I trust you will be able to be here and let the people of Jacksonville hear a 
good sermon, as they rarely do ....


   While I think of it, my father is going to send a younger brother of mine
to the University of Florida on your account ....''

A further instance of Sledd's attention to political matters is revealed by a letter of November 18, 1904, from United States Congressman Robert Davis, in which Davis indicates that Sledd had written him to urge him to support the Adams Bill

``To provide for an increased annual appropriation for the Agricultural 
Experiment Stations.''

In 1904, anyone with an interest however casual in the Florida Agricultural Institute, now renamed the University of Florida, felt perfectly free to correspond with the President himself, even in so small a matter as requesting a catalogue. Sledd answers many inquiries in great detail, especially detailed letters from parents concerned about their children's eligibility to study at Lake City, whether appropriate programs exist in Lake City for their children, or even concerned for their children's moral welfare. In addition to answering such letters, President Sledd also wrote letters to parents that had come to his attention, encouraging them to entrust their children to this reconstituted institution. In several of these letters, Sledd advises parents of the best train connections to Lake City, and always ends with a promise to have the prospective student met at the train station and safely taken to the campus.

``                                                          July 30, 1904

Rev. C. W. Smith
   Jasper, Fla.

Dear Sir and Brother:

   Dr. Tompkins informs me that you have a son whom you are thinking of
sending to college this fall.  May I request that you send him over to me?
If you will do so we will do our best in his behalf as to his body his mind
and most of all his soul.  I may say to you that it is my purpose to do all
in my power to inculcate in the students of this Institution, both by precepts
and example, the highest sense and most consistent practice of right and truth
and honor; that I lay, as the foundation stone of my administration.  On it I
propose, God helping me, to build a high and righteous education in and for 
the people of this state.

                                                           Fraternally yours,

Perhaps, Sledd felt that there might be a question in some parents minds about sending their sons to the University of Florida in Lake City after the turbulent ending of the Taliaferro Presidency, for Sledd wrote the following on September 13, 1904 to a parent living in Orlando. (Indeed, after reading of the events during that past academic year in [5, Chapt. 16], it would be a matter of great surprise if parents were NOT apprehensive about sending their sons back to Lake City for the 1904--1905 academic year.)

``   ... I am aware that there has prevailed a sentiment throughout
portions of the State that we have no government in this institution
and that the morals of the students is poor.  Mr. Macelroy, I do not
know what were the exact conditions prevailing here before I was
elected to the Presidency here, and I cannot be  responsible for the
same, but I wish to assure you that so long as I retain my place it
shall be my consistent desire and labor to lift the morals of this 
institution to the very highest possible place and I should leave nothing 
undone to make each and every student a better young man, in body, mind and
morals.  It is my firm belief that our civic institutions rest upon the
morals of our people, and I shall insist upon the integrity of our
boys and their strict obedience to every injunction of the regulations
of this institution and our military will aid me effectively to do so

In another letter, Sledd comments on the motto he has adopted, basically the same as our current Latin motto for the present University of Florida:

``                                                           Sept. 2. 1904

Hon. P. H. Cason
     Tampa, Fla. c/o Tampa Bay Hotel

My dear Sir;

   I understand that you had a son in this Institution last year, and I take
the liberty of writing and requesting you to send him back to us.  You know,
of course, that there have been considerable changes in faculty of the 
institution and its policy and purposes are greatly modified. I am taking the 
liberty of sending you a copy of our catalogue which will show the new members
of the faculty, and I would respectfully call your attention to their history
and degrees, as therein outlined.  This administration proposes to do the 
utmost to make men of students of this Institution.  To this end, it proposes
to regard their bodies in order to forward their development, to keep them 
sound and to keep them healthy and pure.  Their intellects will receive the
most careful and efficient training, under instructors whose competency and
character cannot be questioned. And we have adopted for our motto,

		`Sound morals, the basis of good citizenship',

and it is our intention to surround our students with every strengthening and
 stimulating moral influence, and both by precept and example fit them for a
 high and vigorous activity in any department of worthy effort ....''

Apparently, after Sledd had written enough letters to prospective students encouraging them to enroll, while at the same time Sledd was busy hiring faculty and re-organizing the curriculum, he settled on the following paragraph which is repeated with minor variations, in most of Sledd's letters answering prospective students.

``   ......, I wish to assure you that we shall be very glad to
have you with us, and can say with all sincerity, that we shall do all
within our power to advance your best interests, mentally, physically,
and morally.  It shall be our constant endeavor to build up this
institution into one of the best in the South, and we
expect to constantly labor to that end, and solicit your kind aid in
this endeavor.''

In several instances, Sledd almost seemed to go far beyond what we would now consider to be the call of duty in answering these inquiry letters. One correspondent describes herself as a poor girl who has been working to save up money to attend an institute of higher learning, and believes that she can just about scrape up $150 per year, coincidentally enough, the lower cost estimate Sledd uses for the cost of a year's study at the University of Florida when writing to parents or prospective students. She asks Sledd to advise her on what she should do. Sledd responds with a letter of several pages, in which he first informs her that unfortunately, his own institution is no longer admitting women, but then Sledd follows with a listing of colleges and seminaries in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina,and North Carolina which she might consider, and his opinion of each of these institutions. Another student writes from Carnegie, Pennsylvania, worrying about whether the incidental expenses, such as the breakage fee of $5 per session, payable in advance, will be enough money to cover all possible contingencies that could arise during the academic year. This prospective student is obviously worried about the costs. Sledd replied on August 27, 1904 to this concern as follow:

``Dear sir,

   Yours of the 22 to hand.  In reply permit me to say that I think you need 
not have any uneasiness whatever with reference to incidental expenses 
attending your residence as a student in this institution.


   ... it will be of interest to you to know that most of our students are 
young men here, distinctly poor, or of quite moderate means.  It is no giddy 
whirl of dissipation here, and no very large expenditures on the part of our 
students.  This is rather a democratic community, and no honest, intelligent 
and diligent student is apt to be embarrassed and will certainly never be 
ostracized because of limited income.  Indeed, some of our leading and most 
influential students work for the Institution a part of their time in order 
to help pay their University expenses.  You may set your mind at rest as to the
idea that we have any rich and snobbish social set.  We have not, and further,
 we do not desire to have them.  With us now, and as far as my influence and 
authority can make it always 

		`The man is the man, for a' that'

and a good and conscientious student need not through any fear of being 
snubbed or ostracized by reason of clearly limited means ....''

While we are on the subject of students, it is amusing to record a description of hazing of one of the freshmen, then called rats, which drew forth correspondence between Sledd and Professor Rolfs at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Miami concerning how to handle this incident. The student had sent a letter to his parents about the hazing, who then apparently contacted Rolfs. Notice that this letter is written just a few days after the beginning of the fall semester.

``                                Lake City, Fla. Sept. 23, 1904

Dear Momma and Papa,

   I intended to write yesterday, but I wanted to find out a few more things
first, and when call to quarters came, I had to study, and before I got through
studying, a whole crowd of boys from all the classes above the freshmen, came 
into my room and proceeded to extend the initiation. The night before they 
made one stand behind a chair and bend over and let them strap me with 
anything from a razor strap to a belt, and some had sticks.  I did not have 
anything but those linen pants, and it hurt like the mischief. Last night 
they blindfolded me, and then put  indelible ink on my forehead, with a brush 
they wrote ``RAT'' on it. I got the most of it off, but the rest of the new 
boys have not gotten very much of it off. After they did that, they took a 
pair of scissors and cut four or five chunks of hair out  of the middle of 
the top of my head.  There were about 25 or 30 got such treatment. If they 
come again tonight, I will either go to Prof. Marion, or else
knock a couple of them down with a chair.  Last night Prof. Wharton
was on the porch while it  was going on, but he did not want to stop it.''

Rolfs reply to Sledd about this matter from Miami on September 27, 1904 was

``The young man feels somewhat hurt in regard to this matter, but I
think that it is merely a student's prank and that in the course of
another year that young man will enjoy the fun on someone else ....''

Student complaints about final grades were already going on in 1904. First, Sledd got letters on issues left over from the Taliaferro administration. One student, going off to study at Columbia University in New York, the son of a Dry Goods, Clothing, Notions shop owner in Kissimmee writes to Sledd that en route to New York, he wishes to stop off in Lake City and complain about the grades

		``which Taliaferro sent home''

Apparently, this student needed to take a transcript to Columbia University detailing his studies, so we thus obtain a listing of all courses taken by this particular student during the Sessions of 1903, and 1903--1904:

  • General Chemistry
  • Eng. Literature and Rhetoric
  • First Yr German
  • Second Yr German
  • Solid Geometry
  • College Algebra
  • Plane Trigonometry
  • Analytic Geometry
  • Elementary Mechanics
  • Power + P. Transmission
  • Ele. Mechanism
  • Graphical Statistics
  • Machine Design
  • Physics: First + Second Semester
  • Debating
  • Mechanical Drawing
  • Pattern Making + Mould
  • Forging + Foundery
  • Chipping + Filling
  • Machine Tool Work
  • Testing Materials

Later, Sledd receives a letter from another student bemoaning his mathematics grade of 50% and arguing that this could not possibly be right, since the instructor had made the comment in class toward the end of the semester that only 4 students were passing, and he was one of the four so named, could he come up to Lake City and discuss this matter personally with Sledd.

Of course, the Lake City University was, after all, also an Agricultural Experiment Station, so correspondence from farmers is to be expected. President Sledd received one letter from a southern Georgia farmer who told Sledd that he had heard such wonderful things about the work being done at the Lake City Experiment Station, and that he found the agents in the Georgia Experiment Stations close to his farm not to be very helpful or knowledgeable. This farmer sought advice on train connections from his farm to Lake City to consult with the Experiment Station personnel. Here is a letter Sledd wrote to a Lakeland farmer which I enjoyed reading.

``                                                          Sept. 1, 1904

Mr. W. B. Bonacher
     Lakeland, Florida

Dear sir;

   In reply to yours of the 31.  Permit me to say that I take pleasure
in referring your letter with a package of grape fruit leaves to our 
Horticulturalist, with the request that he give you a full and immediate 
reply. I trust that his reply will reach you promptly and be of service to 
you. If I can serve you in any way, pray command us.

                                                          Very truly yours,

Sledd also had direct correspondence with various suppliers to the University. There were unpaid bills left over from the Taliaferro administration to deal with. He dealt with the Record Co. of St. Augustine in connection with printing up the newly written catalogue and reports of the Agricultural Experiment Station. This correspondence reveals that Professor Sledd himself corrected the proofs for the catalogue and for the publications of the Agricultural Experiment Station. There is correspondence with a supplier of provisions for the dormitories concerning the fairness of a supplemental charge for lard delivery, and on, and on. Bills were all referred to the Auditor for payment, but Sledd himself first received all this correspondence and decided what to do about it, before directing the Auditor to make appropriate disbursements.

From the viewpoint of the historical development of science and engineering on the Gainesville campus during the early years, perhaps the most interesting correspondence in the Sledd materials in the Archives occurs during Sledd's first academic term as President, when he is corresponding with Dr. Robert Benton, who was to become the first Dean of Engineering on the Gainesville campus once that position was established in 1910, and serve until his death in 1930. First, we see Benton mentioned in a letter of recommendation which Sledd received on November 11, 1904 for another candidate for a position, but where Benton was mentioned as follows in the last paragraph:

``Dr. J. R. Benton of 1001 M. St., N.W., Washington, D.C., is another strong candidate. He is a graduate of Trinity College and Gottingen Univ., and has taught in Trinity College (Hartford, Conn.) and in Princeton Univ. He also taught a year at Cornell Univ. He is a very strong teacher and a man of splendid character and good personality. I hope you will correspond with him.''

We do not have the correspondence from Sledd to Benton, but most interestingly, we do have the following long letter from Benton to Sledd in which Benton gives an outline of his past experiences and candidly speaks to the issue of whether someone with a Ph.D. in physics could be the Head Professor in Engineering.

``                                      1103-13th St, NW, Washington, D.C.
                                            Dec. 4, 1904

Pres. Andrew Sledd,
   University of Florida
     Lake City, Fla.

Dear sir;

   I have received your letter of Nov. 22, and beg to apologize for the delay
in answering it, caused by a short absence from the city.  I am very
much obliged to your telling me so frankly what the prospects are for
the future of the position about which we have been corresponding.

   Regarding my fitness for the position, I would say that I believe I am amply
equipped with theoretical and book knowledge of Civil Engineering, but
I must say quite frankly that my practical experience in engineering
work has been rather limited.  Also, what is perhaps a more serious objection,
I do not have an engineering degree.  At the beginning of my career I started 
out as a physicist, and the particular branch of physics in which I 
specialized is Applied Mechanics, especially Mechanics of Materials and 
Hydraulics.  These subjects in their various applications form the science of 
Civil Engineering; on account of my proficiency in them I feel I am well 
equipped in the theoretical side of Civil Engineering.

   The following is an outline of my past history.  I am a graduate of Trinity
College, having received the degrees of B.S. and B.A. from that
institution.  After graduation I was employed for a short time in
electrical construction work by the Hartford Electric Light Co.; then
I took a position as assistant in Physics and  Astronomy at Trinity College, 
which I held for one year.  After that I was employed for a short time in 
structural engineering work with the Carnegie Steel Co. in
Pittsburg, Pa. Then I went to the University of Gottingen (Germany),
from which I obtained the degree of Ph.D. in Physics. Upon my return to
this country I obtained a position to teach Applied Mathematics in the Civil 
Engineering Course of Princeton University.  After that, I taught Physics in 
Cornell University for one year, but gave up that position on account of the 
lowness of the salary. After that I was engaged in technical work for a short 
time, in the laboratory of Thomas A. Edison, and then I came to Washington, 
where I served as a computer in the United States Naval Observatory for 
several months, after which I was connected with the Bureau of Standards
for one year, until last July 1.  At present I am engaged in research work 
on elasticity and the mechanics of matter, under a grant from the Carnegie 
Institution.  This work is carried out under the Geophysical Laboratory of 
the Carnegie Institution.  My engagement terminates next July.  It may happen 
that the Carnegie Institution will make a further grant to continue the
work; but about that I can say nothing as yet.  If if fails to do so, my former
position at the Bureau of Standards is open to me by promise; but I should much
prefer to take such a position as the one with you, for several reasons, one
being that I am fond of teaching.

   I am twenty-nine years of age, nearly.

   Regarding character and general ability, I should prefer not to speak for 
myself, but to send you some testimonials, in case you wish me to do so.
I should  like also to send reprints of my publications, if agreeable
to you.

   If, in your opinion, my lack of an engineering degree and limited experience
in practical engineering work are counterbalanced by thorough
technical knowledge and successful experience in teaching scientific
subjects, then I would be glad to be counted a candidate for the
position next autumn or summer.  If I fail to meet your requirements, then 
permit me to wish you success in finding just the right 

                                              Very respectfully yours,
                                                   J. R. Benton'' 


  1. Proctor, Samuel and Langley, Wright, Gator History: A Pictorial History of the University of Florida, South Star Publishing, Gainesville, Florida, 1986.
  2. This letter and all subsequent correspondence quoted was obtained from files from the University Archives, Smathers Library, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida during May, 1994.
  3. Candler, Charles Howard, Asa Griggs Candler, Emory University Press, Emory University, Ga., 1950.
  4. Sledd, Andrew, Autobiography of a Southern Schoolmaster, unpublished manuscript, University of Florida Archives.
  5. Proctor, Samuel, The University of Florida: Its Early Years, 1853--1906, Dissertation, University of Florida, February, 1958.
  6. Bloodsworth, Bertha, ``That Certain Century: 1886--1986,'' Florida Living Magazine, December, 1986.

Appendix A

The Normal and Industrial School in St. Petersburg

One of the pleasures of looking through the Sledd correspondence in 1904 is to admire all the fine letterhead used by various correspondents. In particular, the letterhead of the Normal and Industrial School of St. Petersburg, which was to be shortly abolished by the Buckman Act of 1905, sports the following fine description of this institution at the top of the page.

THIS SCHOOL has a Faculty of Twenty-one Teachers, four fine
School Buildings, with Modern Equipments, a Normal Department, a High
School Department, a Model Graded School, a finely equipped Shop for
Manual Training, fine equipment for Teaching Cooking and Sewing, a
good Library, a fine Laboratory, a magnificent Gymnasium and Drill
Hall, a Physical Culture Department for Young Ladies, a Cadet Company,
an excellent School of Music, good Literary Societies, a School
Orchestra, and a fine location on the west shore of Tampa Bay, in one
of the most progressive and beautiful towns in Florida.  A postal card
will bring a fine catalogue.

Our Special Six weeks Term for Teachers Will Open April 10th, 1905

On November 17, 1904, the Principal of this institution wrote the following letter to President Sledd.

``Pres. Andrew Sledd,
      State University
            Lake City, Florida.

Dear Sir.- 

   Your letter of Nov., 2nd has been received, and should have been answered
sooner.  You are correct in believing that it is my opinion that every school
in this State should have its proper place in the great unit scheme.  It seems
to me that the Academic department of our school here should prepare students 
for entering the Freshman or Sophomore class of the State University.
I will not write you further about this as I suppose I will have the
opportunity of seeing  you during the South Florida Fair at Tampa or
at the meeting of S. E. A. [Southern Educational Association] at
Jacksonville, and we can then discuss this matter.  I shall be glad to become 
personally acquainted with you.  I thank you for your  kind invitation to 
visit Lake City.  We shall be very glad to have you come here at anytime.

   If you intend to come to Tampa during the South Florida Fair please let me
know the date of your arrival in Tampa and how long you will remain.

                                                    Yours very truly,
                                                          Jos. E. Gutsinger''

Appendix B

The Board of Trustees in 1904

Here is a list of the members of the Board of Trustees of the University of Florida in Lake City in 1904.

George Wilson,
President, attorney Jacksonville
Fred L Stringer,
C. A. Carson,
President of the Bank of Kissimmee, Kissimmee
J. R. Parrot,
businessman Jacksonville
E. D. Beggs,
attorney Pensacola
Frank E. Harris,
publisher of the Ocala Banner Ocala
F. M. Simonton,
attorney Tampa

It is especially interesting to a Florida history buff to see the name of J. R. Parrot on this Board, because Parrot was a business associate of the legendary Henry Flager. In his association with the Florida East Coast Railroad, Parrot also received correspondence from Sledd about issuing passes for various employees of the University and also of the Agricultural Experiment Station in Lake City, who were required to travel extensively in their jobs. One of the perks of the Presidency of the University of Florida in Lake City was to also receive a permanent pass for travel on the East Coast Railroad.

Appendix C

A Tour of the New Campus in Gainesville in 1906

A graphic description is given of the reaction of our Lake City predecessors, as they toured the construction site of what was to be their new location during the second academic year of our current institution, in Professor Samuel Proctor's dissertation, The University of Florida: It's Early Years, 1853--1906, Ph.D. Thesis, University of Florida, February, 1958, pp. 521--522.

``On a Saturday morning early in March, 1906, President Sledd, Vice- President Farr, and a group of the faculty arrived in Gainesville to inspect the campus site and to check construction progress. Enroute to the girl's dormitory at the East Florida Seminary, where a luncheon had been prepared by a group of ladies, the group was intercepted by a boisterous crowd of some two hundred boys, waving banners and shouting,

`We are going to be University boys!' 
After luncheon the committee drove out to the campus site. The town practically ended at the Tampa and Jacksonville Railroad tracks. Farr described the approach to the new campus as follows:
`Beyond stretched a rough country road---on each side
weed-covered fields, with here and there a Negro hut. 
 About half-way out was a handsome new two-story residence,
 the home of Congressman Frank Clark ....
Finally we came to the intersection of another road, leading south to
Ocala.  Before us, bounded by the two roads, stretched a sweep of pine
woods, the part nearest to us low and water-covered---a
desolate and forbidding scene.  Beyond we could see signs of building
activity.  We drove up and found the foundations and part of the walls
of the two dormitories, Thomas and Buckman, growing under the hands of
the masons.'

All members of the group, Farr remembered, were depressed with their visit, and several of them wondered whether it would ever be possible to secure the `large sums necessary to convert this bare spot into a plant commensurate with our ambition for the future great University.' The committee returned to Lake City `feeling chilled and discouraged.' ''

The quotations in this passage are taken from a book authored by Professor James Farr entitled, The Making of a University: The Personal Memoirs of one Associated with its Growth, manuscript, University of Florida Archives.

Appendix D

Autobiography of a Southern Schoolmaster

The University of Florida Archives of the Smathers Library contains a typewritten version of the apparently unpublished autobiography written by Sledd at some time after the passage of the Buckman Act of 1905. Indeed, what we have in our possession in the Archives ends at this point in time. The autobiography first describes Sledd's interesting problems with student discipline in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, while he was working as a teacher and principal to raise funds for his college education. (Sledd states that his father, a Methodist clergymen, was ruined by the Civil War as were many other Southern gentlemen). Then Sledd describes going to Harvard to study the Classics after receiving his undergraduate training and a masters degree from Randolph Macon College in Virginia. He describes how his educational standards and his views on the need to drastically improve Southern standards were formed from his experiences at Harvard and the subsequent contrast in his teaching experiences at Vanderbilt, Emory and Southern, prior to receiving the appointment as the president of the Lake City University in the summer of 1904.

First, we will quote portions of [4, pp. 1, 3, 9--13, 16--24] which graphically reveal the challenges of teaching in the late 1800's.

``As this is to be the autobiography of a Southern schoolmaster it need not be burdened with the story of my childhood; though, certainly, the story of a childhood of a Southerner born just after the Civil War was not wholly without event of interest. Still, for our present purpose, it will be sufficient to say that I was born in Virginia of a good cultured family shortly after the close of the War. My childhood was spent in the shadows that were still darkening our South land after that terrific struggle, and I imbibed all the traditions of an ardent and patriotic Southerner, and grew up in the nurture and admonition of my people. I received my early education under W. Gordon McCobe of Petersburg, Virginia, whom his former students will all remember as a firely unconquored captain in the armies of the lost cause. I later attended Randolph-Macon College at Ashland, Virginia, where the same strongly Southern influences surrounded me in my college career.

As my father was a poor man the consequences of the war came to him, with the majority of other Southerners who had cast their fortunes with the cause of their people, it seemed desirable, as I learned later it was too necessary, that I should break into my college career by engaging in some employment which would enable me to pay the further expenses of my education, and so it came about in 1891 or '92 that I sought a position as professor of the public school in the little Mississippi town of Durant. I was, at that time, in my 21st year, and my only previous experience as a teacher, or, in fact, in any occupation of importance had been as a tutor in Mathematics in the Institution which I was attending.

I had not, up to this time, left Virginia, my native state, nor been separated at any great distance or considerable interval from my family or immediate friends; so that it was with a heavy heart and with many misgivings that I set out for my new, and as it seemed to me, responsible and honorous field of labor. I reached Durant about mid-day and immediately secured a private boarding house, as my meager salary would not justify a long continuance in the single hotel of the town.

... for a company of my schoolboys who had run my predecessor away in disgrace determined to try a like humorous experiment with the young man from Virginia. Fortunately for me parts of their conversation were overheard by a man in the town who seemed to have taken a fancy for me, and who told me what was brewing. I was frightened because I did not know what I might expect, particularly as my informant assured me with the story of their treatment of my predecessor. I determined immediately, however, to put a bold face upon the matter and to fight for my place; and so I told my friend that if the boys tried anything of that sort I would not be responsible for the consequences. They might very well succeed, but I intended to fight, and somebody would be hurt before they accomplished their purposes. Strangely enough, or perhaps naturally enough, when this information reached the leaders of the school rebellion they decided not to risk a breach, and after I had made good in the boys' estimation in one or two minor engagements I was accepted by the student body and had no further trouble. Compared with my initial experiences the first week of my stay in Mississippi the remainder of my stay there was placid and uneventful. Occasional disturbances and occasional fracases, sometimes a little bloodshed, but all in all the days were fairly peaceful, and their memory is not without its pleasures.

From Mississippi I went to Arkansas to the town of Arkadelphia. The school there had been in a condition bordering on anarchy. Certain of the rougher element had knocked the principal down, and the morale of the school, which had never been of the best, had not recovered from that pugilistic experience. I found fighting one of the chief diversions of the boys, and either side in a physical encounter felt at liberty to reinforce his fists with stones or sticks, and even knives, and sometimes revolvers (though so far as I know, this latter never actually occurred during my regime). The school numbered about 300 students, and had four lady teachers in addition to myself who superintended the work and taught all of the so-called high school classes: and supervised, in a general way, the work of the negro schools of the town. Useless to say, that under such conditions really good work was impossible. It is not uncommon for laymen to accuse your public schools in the South of the grossest inefficiency, and it is certainly true, many, perhaps most of them, fall far short of being what they should be. And when you consider that the average pay of the Southern Schoolmaster is about $40 a month; and that of the Southern schoolmistresses about $30 you will not be surprised if no very high grade of talent could be secured at such figures. Indeed, the cause for surprise is rather in the fact that our Southern Schoolteachers are as good as they are, then .... It makes little difference what sort of man you employ, if having once employed him, whether at $40 or at $100 you proceed to give him a continuous series of recitations from eight o'clock in the morning until noon; and from one o'clock until four in the afternoon. It is hardly possible for flesh and blood to render any creditable service when through six or seven hours of the day the grind of teaching must be endured; adding to this the amount of recitations, the great variety of subjects taught, and the wonder is that the teacher's inefficiency, or rather, that he escapes the insane asylum. Fifteen minutes of spelling, followed by twenty to arithmetic, and twenty to Latin, and twenty to Algebra, and twenty to Physical Geography, and twenty to Sociology, and Botany, and Chemistry, and Physics (save the mark); with a sprinkle of periods for Grammar, Composition and Rhetoric, and perhaps Greek or modern languages, and the only wonder is, as I have said, that the work is as well done as it is ....

Of course we must recognize that the South is poor; and consequent comparison between her section and wealthier section are even deceptive. It means a great deal more for a people whose average wealth is $500 per capita to put a dollar in the public schools, than it means for a people whose average wealth if $1000 per capita ....

......Nevertheless we are supposed to maintain a discipline even better than that at home (which, by the way, is not difficult to do in some cases), and it frequently happens that parents send their children to the public school, it was certainly true of my school in Arkansas, either to get them out of the way at home when they are young and troublesome, or because they have gone beyond parental control; and they hope to have them broken in by the discipline of the public school. And when, by the way, a public school teacher fails to break in such a boy, one of his promptest and severest critics is the parent who had already made a failure in discipline in the home. When I took charge of the school in Arkadelphia the first difficulty that presented itself to me was the one of discipline, and I devoted myself to it with enthusiasm. I did not indulge in any pyrotechnics at the opening or set forth any elaborate scheme or rules and regulations, but when the first fight occurred, I gave notice that such conduct would not be permitted. It happened that one of the most pugulistic of my boys was Roy Salter from Illinois, a large strong and boastful youth, but not bad at heart, and by no means dull, as was afterwards developed. Roy had two fights within the first week. After the first I gave him notice that such practices must discontinue; after the second I sought a personal conference with Roy that my notice applied to him as well as to the smaller boys; that it was a notice that should certainly be enforced and I hoped he would give up his battling principles and join me to establish discipline in the school. He thanked me rather impulsively, shaking hands with me as an evidence of his appreciation and purpose to fall in with my plan. I heard later, however, that he was talking among the boys, particularly among the younger boys who he could impress, to the effect that,

`if that young fellow undertakes to whip me I will knock him in the head with
 an axe;'
that he would not be whipped by the spectacled upstart from Virginia or anywhere else. Perhaps in pursuance of this belligerent scheme he picked a quarrel and had a severe fight before the close of the first of the week. I was both surprised and angered, as I may be free to say, alarmed. Surprised because I had thought the boy's previous protestations were genuine; angered to be so deceived and treated at naught; alarmed because I knew that such instances not infrequently proved a crisis in the school,---a crisis that might end in victory for the teacher or in humiliating defeat, and personal violence, as in the case of my predecessor; and more as in the case of another teacher a few miles away who had whipped one of his students and had later been shot dead at his desk by the angered boy. And I will say in passing, that my successor in Arkadelphia for the following year is reported to have had an illuminating experience. He whipped one of the students who had also been one of my own, and the next day the student's older brother and father came out with a cow-hide and club to punish him for his presumption, whereupon my successor drew a convenient pistol and shot the belligerent elders full of holes. In the light of these events and my Mississippi experiences it was not unnatural that I should feel some trepidation in the crisis which was presented to me by the defiance of Roy Salter.

The fight took place in the morning. I waited till afternoon to inflict my punishment. As I returned from my dinner I cut a stout cedar switch, purposing to lay on it the burden of my success or failure in the conduct of this school. I then sent for Roy, and invited him into the coal shed where I generally kept an axe,---used for breaking the larger lumps for the stove. We went somewhat sullenly, but without demur.

`Well, Roy,' I said, `I understand that you say that if I attempt to whip you,
you are going to knock me in the head with an axe.  There's your axe.'
`I never said it,' he replied.
`Well, take off your coat.'

And I thrashed him in a way which seems to me to be almost unmerciful, but from that day forth Roy Salter was my loving and loyal friend; and from that day forth I had, at least, a grip upon the situation in that school.

The fighting problem, however, was not settled so simply. A few days afterwards three boys of a much lower and vicious type than Roy Salter, engaged in altercation which threatened to end in rather serious difficulty. The immediate trouble was between Jake Davis and Bob Saunders, but the larger Davis---the largest and most vicious boy in school---Jake's older brother---was aiding and abetting Jake in the effort to precipitate the difficulty. I told them to wait till after school (which they did) and then called them before me, and said that if the young boys had any just cause for fighting the older Davis boy and myself would act as referees and give them a fair quiet chance to settle the difficulty. This in a measure appealed to their fighting blood, and won me somewhat of their favor. But I said,

`If you have just cause for fighting I must be judge of what
is a just cause for fighting, and I will thrash you and any others who
break the regulations along this line.' 
With that I dismissed them, and they came to terms.

It was not to be expected, however, that such boys as the Davis boys then were would be very long out of mischief of one sort or another, and so it happened a few days later that Jake engaged in a fisticuff in apparent indifference to threatened consequences. Jake was a worse boy than Roy Salter; and he and his brother had knocked my predecessor down the year before, so I anticipated difficulty in his punishment. I went down town, therefore, and purchased a small but substantial rawhide, with a girdle for my wrist, so that in case of difficulty I could not easily be disarmed. When I got back to school I sent for Jake and talked to him and told him that I proposed to thrash him.

`Now,' I said, `take off your coat.'
He folded his arms across his breast and said
`You can't make me.'
(I may say that I had been playing football upon the college team, and so was not entirely without training and experience in pugulistic encounters). With a quick motion I seized Davis' wrist and twisted it sharply out from his body.

`Do you want me to break your arm?'
`No,' he said, `you would not break my arm.  You knows that they would make
you pay for it if you did that.'
`Well,' I said, keeping his arm in somewhat painful position, and taking my
watch with my other hand. `I will give you three minutes now, to get off your

I gave him five, of course; and would have been glad to give him thirty, or any indefinite period, but when the five was up I dropped his arm; tackled him low, and lifted him with my shoulder and threw him on the floor so quickly and suddenly that he had no chance to know what was going on, or to offer any resistance. Then I grabbed him by the collar, and twisting it pulled him to his feet.

`Let me go,' he said, `I wants to throw up.'

But I knew I had him, for he was not armed, and I did not propose to let him go until he was throughly submissive. So I hauled him over to the coal box, and told him to go ahead which showed me that he was merely seeking some device to escape my throttling grip upon his collar; and saw also that he was either unarmed or had not the nerve to use his weapons. After a minute or two I let him go, and said

`Will you take off your coat now?'
And he did with alacrity. I then thrashed him with my rawhide, and sent him home for the balance of the day. Needless to say that I saw visions of all sorts of trouble ahead; and when late that afternoon as I was starting from the school house, Jake's older brother came up in what seemed to me a rather belligerent attitude, and handed me a note. I felt at the very least that that would be notice to leave town at once, or to be shot on sight; and so I was congratulating myself upon the consideration shown me. I tore open the note and read with amazement:
`Dere Sur i am glad you waloped Jake, he neded it and i hop 
you will do it agin.

    Very respectful, B. Davis.'

And so I won the heart of the father, if I cannot say as much for the son, and so escaped what would have been a certain chastisement when some weeks later I did flog both the Davis boys at the same time. It appeared that Jake had played truant, and had presented to his lady teacher an excuse which was manifestly forged; and which later development showed, was forged by Jakes' older brother in a fraternal desire to promote the holy cause of hooky. When the lady teacher found out the circumstances and presented the case to me she was in a quiver of excitement and alarm, and exhorted me tearfully

`to be careful and not run any unnecessary risk. They are bad boys.'
she said,`they will stab you, or like as not they will even
kill you.'

On that occasion I took counsel with an older brother who was then a professor in a so called college in the town; and he kindly offered me to send me several steady young men from the college---ostensibly as visitors to the school---at or about the time I proposed to thrash the boys. This offer I sadly declined, my pride would not permit of its acceptance. I did, however, slip into my pocket an old Sharpe pepper-box pistol; one of those like Mark Twain describes in Roughing It; and I thought with the possibility of a general volley on one pull of the trigger, I might be able to cripple one or both of my perspective assailants, but when I reached the school I gave over that idea, and decided that it was a dangerous thing for me to have a deadly weapon in such an encounter, as I had no desire to seriously injure the boys. So under the guise as a message home I sent one of the young boys back to my rooms with the curious little pepper-box, and then sent for the boys. I may say frankly that I sat upon the edge of my chair some ten or fifteen feet away from them at our interview, as I confidentially expected them to rush upon me; and I proposed to use the chair as a cudgel to break their rush. I talked with them a little about the case; pointed out the seriousness of the offense, and the necessity for punishment; expressing my regret for its necessity,---a regret which was not altogether ??? or altruistic. I then called on the larger boy to step up and take his trashing. To my surprise he did so; and after the example of his older brother Jake meekly rose and submitted to his chastisement. The elder boy never returned to school---a loss which I did not deeply deplore. But after that I did not have any further trouble in the way of discipline. The school was mine by right of conquest. I knew it; the pupils knew it; the citizens knew it; and I literally enjoyed the reputation of being a holy terror, not only among the boys, but among the elders.''

With such experiences under his belt in his early twenties, we can now appreciate how it would have seemed like childs' play by comparison to Sledd in the early years in Gainesville to round up a group of the students in the summer of 1908, and construct a small building for the Electrical Engineering Laboratory with the aid of these volunteers, when State funds were not available for this purpose. After the previous description of his disciplinary experiences in Arkadelphia, Sledd goes on in his autobiography to write about his studies at Harvard and his subsequent teaching experiences at Vanderbilt University and Emory College, his dismissal from Emory following the controversy stirred up by the Atlantic Monthly article discussed earlier in this chapter, his work for the Ph.D. in Latin at Yale, then his teaching at Southern College in Alabama, just prior to his taking up the presidency in Lake City.

We will allow Sledd to give his (possibly biased account) of his experiences in Lake City in his own words as written in [4, pp. 123--144]. In this material, we learn that insubordinate faculty were not above endeavoring to thrash college presidents in those times.

``In the spring of 1904 I received a letter from the Vice-President of the Board of Trustees of the University of Florida inquiring whether I would consider a proposition to take charge of that institution. After some further correspondence I presented my record and testimonials to the Board of Trustees and was invited by them to a conference in Jacksonville at which time I was elected to the Presidency of the institution. I found the institution was in a chaotic condition, consequent upon one of its periodic upheavals. The President and six or eight of the members of the faculty had been forced out of office, so that at the time of my election the institution had but a small part of the faculty remaining. It therefore, became one of my first duties to provide men to fill the vacant places, and in, the discharge of this duty I made my first acquaintance with practical difficulties of my new position, and with what after several years of experience seemed to me to be common difficulties in the state of Florida.

I found the financial situation of the institution in a general unsatisfactory condition and particularly I found that it would not permit payment of more than $1,200.00 to $1,500.00 as maximum salaries for the positions to be filled. This financial limitation did not at that time, however, work any very serious embarrassment, as I found that the Institution and the State were not prepared for men of already established reputations and commanding high salaries, and I knew that I could secure young University men with some experience and first-class training for those salaries as a starter. I, therefore, laid down this principle to guide me in the selection of the new faculty, namely, that I would secure the best men that I could find, both in education and in character, and with some successful experience in teaching for the amount of salary available. I determined further not to be influenced by family or political relationships or affiliations, but to seek purely from the standpoint of education and character, the best fitted for the work in hand.

Judging from my experience on that occasion and since this principle of selection seems to have been a novel one, and not altogether approved in the State, for among the numerous applications which I then received, were not a few whose chief claim to consideration was their connections and their influence in the state, and not their educational qualifications or experience and ability as teachers. One of these cases may serve to illustrate.

It appeared that the Honorable W. N. Sheats, at that time State Superintendent of Public Instruction, had just been defeated in the Democratic primaries to re-election to that office by the Honorable W. M. Holloway,---a defeat, it may be said in passing, brought about largely by the malicious and mandatious agitation of the negro question, and the usual frantic assertion that Mr. Sheats was unorthodox in this particular. After his defeat for reelection he had been a very active candidate for the presidency of the Institution, and having failed of election to that office now sought a professorship under myself,

After my election it was necessary for me to return to Alabama to make provision for the removal of my goods and to visit my family in Atlanta. While in Atlanta I received the following telegram from Mr. Sheats:

Professorship of Mathematics in the University, Wire if application 
is desired.'

It seemed to me that I could not wisely give a categorical answer to this peculiar application, and I therefore wrote Mr. Sheats that if he would file his application and endorsement in due form I should be glad to give it consideration at the proper time. This letter brought a perhaps not unnatural protest, that a man of his years and prominence should be expected to furnish evidence of his fitness for the position which he sought, but unfortunately, though perhaps with a view toward strengthening his chance for the same position, he indicated to me that he was equally competent to fill any chair in the institution `except Greek and the Natural Sciences.'

After some further correspondence and the receipt by me of many letters in Mr. Sheats' behalf he called on me on one occasion in my office and during the course of the conversation impressed me with his age and with my own efident [sic, evident] youth and inexperience. He further said that he could teach mathematics through plane geometry, and was a graduate of Emory College at some time in the '70's. It seemed to me amazing that a man should venture to apply for a position, and acknowledging at the same time that he could teach no higher that the work of the Freshmen class, and I had the temerity to call his attention to the situation. This naturally further added to my offense, and as he rose to leave he said:

`I do not wish to threaten you, but the new Governor is my friend, 
and if I don't get a position on this faculty this institution will
 be without a head.'
`That's all right, Mr. Sheats,'
I replied, 'it is not my business to take care of him, and I do not
 propose to assume the obligation.  I intend to get the very best
  men I can for this position, and so long as I hold my present place
 I shall run the institution on that basis.'

As a young man without experience in such a position, and largely ignorant of the game of practical politics, I was both astonished and alarmed at such a threat, and I determined to put myself on record fairly with the new Governor, and to learn, if I could, what was the nature of the position which I had undertaken to fill. I consequently went to Jacksonville and called on Governor N. B. Broward, and told him plainly that I proposed to run the institution as an educational one and not as a political machine; and I wanted to know whether I was to go up against such political bluffs and bultizing or not, and if he wanted to make a political machine of this institution he had better get somebody else to take charge of it; that I could not and would not undertake to administer it in any such way; but that if he wished to make it a purely educational institution I would endeavor to do my best and make it a success. To his credit it should be said that the Governor endorsed my position and said at the conclusion of our interview

	`If any place in the state should be free from politics either directly or 
indirectly, that place should be the state university.'

After this interview I returned to my work with a renewed determination to adhere to my original plans.

In pursuance of this policy I secured six or seven young university men, mostly with their third degree, and in all cases with some experience in college teaching; and with them entered upon the task which still sometimes seems so overwhelmingly discouraging of building a decent institution of a creditably high grade in the State of Florida.

The first step of the work was to make the institution honest and self respecting in its own organization and conduct. To this end three things were immediately necessary: First, the establishment of a reasonably high and rigid curriculum, and the honest enforcement of its requirements; second, the establishment of decency in discipline in the student body; and third, a careful and conscientious administration of the finances of the institution.

In the matter of curriculum it was necessary to reconstruct it from the ground up. The old curriculum had been irregular and unsatisfactory in many particulars; and we decided to make it over according to the average standard of Southern universities. Under the former administration, moreover, the president had taken the liberty of choosing passing grades according to his personal opinion in the matter and without regard to the professors reports; so that students were passed from class to class and grade to grade according to the views and judgment of the president and not according to the educational standards of the various departments. It can easily be seen that this practice would not be without its temptations and possible abuses; so that I found it necessary very strictly to maintain the dignity of the several departments and to emphasize the supremacy of the professors in charge of his particular realm.

In the matter of discipline I found that the race for numbers had led to an overvaluation of the students presence, and a hesitation to administer any discipline which might give offense or cause the voluntary withdrawal, much less such discipline as might request or demand his leaving the institution. Consequently not a few students and patrons of their institution felt that the student was conferring a benefit upon it by his presence there, and that he might do as he pleased in the matter of his work and his behavior; and that the authorities would not venture to jeopardize their interests and the funds of the institution by reducing the number of students through the enforcement of law and order. I did not then realize the force of this situation, but I set out firmly and emphatically to insist upon gentlemanly conduct and fairly decent work upon the part of the students. As a consequence we requested a few to withdraw, and dismissed and expelled not a few others, with the result, of course, at once of reducing our numbers and improving the quality and the tone of those who remained.

I have said that I did not then fully understand the elements in this situation. I realize them better now after three years experience, and it is my opinion that one of the most serious difficulties in the way of honest education in Florida will be found right here. First in the question of politics, second in the question of numbers. The institution has been and is, and perhaps as a state enterprise must in a measure always be, subject to political influences, and the executive who ventures to live independently of that influence, far less to bid it deviance, has a difficult road to traverse, and continually jeopardizes the permanence of his administration. Again the legislature, in whose hands the destiny of the institution lies, measures the success and effectiveness of the institution almost, if not solely, by the number of students enrolled, so that the executive whose hardihood in the enforcement of discipline and the maintenance of standard, reduces those numbers is continually inviting antagonism and possible defeat. It may be that the average legislator can have no other standard by which to measure the status of the institution of learning; it may be that educational honesty and high educational standards are too vague and abstruse for their consideration, and certainly I have found in Florida that the authorities, even the Board of Control ask chiefly what is the size of your enrollment, and not, what is the grade and thoroughness of the work which you are doing}.

This situation has led first to a race for numbers, and as a natural consequence to educational inefficiency and dishonesty, and has in fact put a premium on educational fraud. So that if you should inquire concerning the public institutions of the state you would find that those were held in most esteem which had the largest number of attendants, and that those which in opposing this damaging educational policy reduced the numbers of their students by the maintenance of discipline and of grade, were regarded either as failing or as already failures. I have felt the pressure of this situation ever since I have been in the institution, and under it I have weakened somewhat in my insistence upon a reasonable grade of work for continuance in attendance,---a confession which I make with much humility, though I am proud still to be able to say that I have not weakened in any particular in my insistence upon the decency of character and behavior in the student body. On the contrary I have expelled during the current year the son of the Congressman from this district, and the brother to a member of the Board of Control, in addition to others of less note and less influence, and I think it quite possible in doing this I have incurred ......... and powerful antagonism. Nevertheless I hold it as a fundamental necessity in such an educational situation as prevails in Florida, especially to maintain a high grade and give no cheap degrees; and to insist upon decency of conduct upon part of the students in the institution.

In the matter of financial situation of the institution I found that most of the funds available were drawn from Federal source, and that during the preceding year and half of my predecessor's administration, a deficiency of about six thousand dollars had been accumulated, and this I undertook to reduce as far as possible during the first year of my administration, and I was able to cut this down by three or four thousand dollars by a rigid economy, amounting almost to niggardliness.

CHAPTER .........

During the first year of my presidency of the University of Florida there was but one unpleasantness within the faculty that perhaps is worthy of a detailed description. Among the members of the faculty who were not forced out in the presidential disturbance which culminated in the change of administration, was the professor of history, and the head of the Preparatory Department, Professor M. C. Marion. He had received me with the most emphatic and intense protestations of loyalty to the administration, and had declared that that was the first principle of his conduct; but it very soon appeared to me that he was without either competence and the character necessary for our work, and I began to feel that the best interests of the institution demanded his resignation. This feeling was brought on and emphasized by various minor matters throughout the year, thus, during the vacation before the opening of the institution a young man had applied to me for a position as assistant in the machine shop, and I had requested him to bring me letters from some of his professors and others who might be able to speak concerning his ability and character and fitness for the work. Among others he presented me one from Professor Marion commending him for the position. I could not, however, offer him the place, and shortly after I had notified him that I could not use him I said to Mr. Marion,

	`I am sorry that I could not accept your recommendation in the case of
Mr. Kirkland, but I did not feel that he was the right man for the

	Whereupon he said to me, `Is the matter settled ?'


	`Is there no chance of its being reopened.' Then said he, `I think 
you acted very wisely.'

Naturally I could not harmonize his recommending a man with his approval, and on my rejection of that recommendation I could not find in this any evidence of either honest or intelligent loyalty to the administration of the school. When further he threatened to punch the head of a young assistant, and after the opening of the term repeatedly and grossly sought to bully and insult several of his colleagues, I could not but feel that he did not possess those elements of character which would fit him for his work. Added to this there was the growing conviction of his scholastic incompetence, so that by the spring of the year I had concluded that he must be removed. Consequently at the March meeting of the Board of Trustees in Tallahassee I requested his removal at the close of the year, which request was kindly and unanimously approved by the Board. About the middle of April I felt that I should notify Mr. Marion that I did not propose to recommend him, and I consequently wrote him a courteous note to that effect. It was then my privilege to experience his character. He took no notice of my communication, but as I learned afterwards undertook first to start up a division in the faculty against me similar to that which had resulted in the overthrow of the former president, and at the same time began to speak in the most bitter and insulting terms concerning myself, my character and work, both in the town and even in his classroom. He charged me with various deliquencies, and possibly remembering that the negro is the most effective club with which to slay a man in the South, he did so (I am reputably informed) secure several copies of the Atlantic Monthly for 1902 containing an article on the negro question which I have alluded to in a previous chapter, and distributed them in the town and discussed the article in his classes with a view to causing my dismissal for supposed heresies upon this question. I knew that something of this sort was going on, but I did not have very or exact information, and in fact did not seek it, as I was my desire to maintain peace and dignity within the school until his term should naturally expire. Some weeks later, however, I believe in May, Mr. Marion came into my office (I may say that at this time I was crippled with an injured foot) and after closing the door requested permission to leave the institution at once, and not wait until the close of the year. Now it was customary in the United States that when a member of the faculty was requested to withdraw to give him either two months' notice or two months' pay in lieu there of; and when he requested to be relieved it was expected that such request should be given two months in advance, consequently I said to Mr. Marion,

	`Under the circumstances, since you request to be relieved, you would
 not, of course, expect to receive any salary for the remainder of the

	`Yes,' he said, `that is just what I had expected.'

	`Then,' I replied, `I refuse your request.'

	I saw that he was fast losing control of himself, and he said,
I have tried to stay on without telling you what I think of you, but -----

	Where upon I arose and said to him,

	`It is a cowardly thing for you to come into this office, knowing that I am
a preacher of the gospel and crippled, solely with the idea of
insulting me.'

	Whereupon he said in great excitement,

	`Hit me, hit me.'

	`No,' I replied, `I do not want to hit you but you must leave the office,
 and leave at once.'

	Whereupon I stepped over to the door, and he stepped to the middle of
the room, and said,

	`I will leave when I get ready.'

	`No,' I said, as I opened the door, `you will leave right now.'

	After a moment's hesitation he took a head for the door which I held
open for him. As he reached the porch he turned and shook his fingers
and said,

	`You have lied to me, sir.'

Whereupon without anger or malice, but as a preventative measure, and to protect my administration I struck him on the check. He struck back, and we tussled for a moment or two and staggered upon the steps. In the course of thus struggling we fell apart and struck the ground some feet the one from the other. By this time one of the professors and two or three boys came up to interfere. I then returned to my office and Mr. Marion went to his home.

Shortly thereafter the Board of Trustees held a meeting to investigate the case, and exonerated me fully in the premises, and Mr. Harris went so far as to declare

	`We will put a silver star in this porch where you smacked the bully
who called you a liar.'

With the boys I was a hero, and as they passed my house that night, and for one or two following nights, they gave enthusiastic yells terminating in my name. The faculty sustained me unanimously, and presented their approval in the form of a communication to the Board of Trustees.

Mr. Marion, however, became naturally more active and vindicative than before. At least this is my surmise, as our official relations were terminated by my dismissing him the day after the events above described. The pastor of the Presbyterian church in Lake City told me later that Mr. Marion declared that I should never preach again in that church, and that if I were invited to do so he would station himself at the door with a shot gun and kill me before I should enter the door; and other threats came to me vaguely, which, however, were never realized in fact.

At this time the legislature was in session, and the incident above naturally afforded the enemies of the institution and myself an opportunity of increased CHAPTER ..........

The members of the Legislature of 1905 from Columbia County were Dr. A. J. P. Julian, of Lake City, Mr. R. F. Persons of Fort White. My acquaintance with both of these gentlemen had been comparatively slight. Dr. Julian had said to me when I was first introduced to him by my predecessor, Dr. Taliaferro,

	`We have see[n] what me[n] with records above criticism have been able
to do in the institution before your time.  They have failed, and now we shall watch
with interest what a  man with your record will accomplish.'

(This was, of course, alluding to my experience in Georgia in consequence of the negro article mentioned above.) Dr. Julian, was, however, a man of parts and training, and it was my intention to ask him to have the practice of my family, which intention I indicated to him, but later abandoned upon the election of a physician as well as a chemist [ed., Prof. Flint] to the chair of chemistry in the University. I think it possible that this action on my part may have offended him, and I have been informed also that he expected to be University physician, and my failure to have him appointed to that office may have added to this offense. Later in the year when Mr. Marion sought to bring me in disfavor and have me dismissed from my office, he consorted with Dr. Julian and had the Atlantic Monthly with my article on the negro question on exhibition in Dr. Julian's drug store.

Mr. Persons had a son in the University on my taking charge, and had indicated that he expected to favor appropriations in the legislature for the upbuilding of the institution. It appeared later, however, that he fell under the dominating influence of Dr. Julian, which may perhaps explain events which transpired during the session of the legislature. ...

Appendix E

Religious Considerations in the Early 1900's: William Henry Belk

We have noted in this chapter that the Board of Trustees member C. A. Carson inquired of Andrew Sledd about the religious affiliations of the proposed new faculty members Sledd was appointing for the academic year 1904, and that Sledd himself inquired of candidates for positions about their church memberships.

Quite by chance, C. E. McLendon supplied me with a book H. Covington, Belk, A Century of Retail Leadership [1] which shows that this was apparently far from an isolated practice in the early 1900's. This book was commissioned by the Belk department store chain to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the first Belk store in the rural community of Monroe, North Carolina in May, 1888, in a rented store by the then twenty six year old William Henry Belk. He had started working in another Monroe store, Heath's, at the age of 14. But by the time he was in his late twenties, he was eager to open his own business, which he did with $750 he had saved, $500 lent by an acquaintance, and taking over the goods from another failing merchant to stock up his store, [1, p. 13]. At the time, it was common for merchants to extend credit to farmers, thus exposing themselves to the vagaries of the rural economy. By contrast, Belk's basic business philosophy consisted of selling on a cash basis only and more cheaply than the surrounding merchants, the basic goods needed by rural customers. Especially, he stressed stocking dependable work shoes and working clothes sold at extremely reasonable prices to draw in the laborer or farmer for his own needs, hoping that he would then return to buy for the rest of his family. As a result of several factors, in 1895 Belk decided to open a second store in the much larger city of Charlotte, which then was the second largest city in North Carolina with a population of approximately 15,000. For comparison purposes, it is interesting to note that Davidson College was projecting a fall enrollment of 160 for the 1895--96 academic year.

In 1891, Belk had persuaded his brother, Dr. John Belk to give up his medical practice in the rural town of Morven, North Carolina, thirty miles from Monroe, and join him in building up a group of stores. According to [1], the Belks used the following system to build up their group of stores in those times. They would take on promising young men, train them in their retailing philosophy,and observe their working habits for three or so years. Then if a young man seemed promising, they would offer him the opportunity to open a store in a new community, with the Belk brothers usually taking 2/3 of the stock in the new store and the promising young employee taking 1/3 of the stock and thus becoming a partner in the enterprise with the Belk brothers. The store would be known by a hyphenated name, such as Belk-Legget, Belk-Hudson, or a name more familiar to those of us in Gainesville, Belk-Lindsey.

Now in [1, p. 63], we read the following description of the typical Belk employee in the early days. The entire Belk family themselves, inspired by their mother Sarah Belk, widowed after the Civil War, were strong Presbyterians.

`` ... Working in the Belks' stores were a number of young
clerks, department managers, and eager merchants-to-be. They were a
hard-working and steady lot, all churchgoers, and most of them
Presbyterians. Henry Belk was partial to Presbyterians and often
checked on a newcomer's background with his local minister. The young
 men were loyal and dependable, honest, respectful, and deeply grateful
for the chance to get a job in the Belks' store in Monroe or Charlotte.  To be
accepted into the Belk fold spoke well of them and their families back on farms
in counties around Charlotte, especially Union, Mecklenburg, and Anson
counties, where an informal recruiting network had emerged.  At one
time or another, one small post office in rural Anson County had
delivered mail to John Belk when he was a county doctor and to the
families of Hudsons and Leggets, who later emerged as leaders within
the Belk organization.''

Yet in this same time frame, it is interesting to read on [1, p. 63] that

``The brothers taught courtesy and respect for any and all customers.  While
North Carolina had gone through racial retrenchment, thoroughly
disenfranchising blacks, the Belks permitted no color lines on the
sales floor. Whites and blacks bumped and jostled one another to reach
the bargains Henry Belk had laid out on his tables on sale days.''

It is also interesting to read in [1, pp. 59--60] about Belk's methodology in selecting new communities for additional Belk stores.

``In late 1909, the [Belk] brothers paid a call on their old schoolmate from Union County, Hugh McRae Williams, who owned a dry-goods business in Sanford. `Mack' Williams's son, Jim, had worked in the Belks' Waxhaw store for three years before going to work for his father in 1906 when the elder Williams opened his store. The Belks had heard the father-son team was doing well.

Emma Hart, then a young seamstress, was working in the Sanford store when the Belks came in to talk business with their old friend and she overheard the conversation of the three businessmen. Recalling the meeting years later, she said the three talked about their childhood, about local crops, about business and payrolls in the town. Henry Belk looked Williams's store over. Then, in the midst of Henry's questions about the economy, he abruptly changed his line of inquiry.

	`Never mind all that,' Henry Belk said. `Mack, how many churches are
 there around here?'

Williams told him and Belk followed with another question.

	`Do the people here attend church services pretty well?'

Williams assured him that Sanford was as fine a Christian community as the Belks would find anywhere.

	`In that case,' Belk said turning to his brother, `I don't think we can
 go wrong by coming to Sanford.'

More of the Belk business philosophy is described in [1, pp. 65--66, p. 68, p. 29].

	`` ... Although the Belk name lent prestige and let those
familiar with a Belk store know what to expect in a new location, the
Belks believed that a new store would succeed based on the reputation
of the local manager. He came first.

	A solid reputation was important to Henry Belk, and he passed that along to 
his partners.  Belk admonished a young man who left for a store of his
own to be  mindful of his position in the community and remember his
Christian upbringing.  Join a local church, he said, before getting
involved in anything else.  After building a reputation as a churchmen,
then the young man could consider other civic involvement. Actually, a
new merchant had little time for anything more than building his business.
And a little prayer for divine guidance was helpful on days 
when the cash box held just a few dollars.''

``The Belk's trained their partners to buy cheap and sell fast, turning over goods that could be purchased as mill ends, closeouts, or odd lots at low prices. The stores opened early to catch farmers on the way to market and clerks stayed late to give factory workers a chance to shop. The lights were on late at Hudson-Belk most every night except Wednesday, when the Hudsons and many of their employees headed to prayer meeting.''

``... Belk's philosophy set his managers apart from the chain store managers who often rotated in and out of towns with no time to establish any relationship with a community. A Belk manager was not merely accepting a temporary assignment when he left Belk's office to take over his first store; he was expected to extend the same service to the community, particularly the church, that Belk practiced himself. In 1939, Belk dispatched Norman Scott to Columbia, S.C., with more instructions on the affairs of the Presbyterian Church in South Carolina than on store management.

	`After I came here, he kept asking about the presbytery,' Scott told a
 group of churchmen years later. `I thought I was sent here to run the store.'

He said he did not find relief from Belk's repeated questions and directions for church work until the local presbytery was reorganized and the church hired a full time executive secretary.''

On the other side of the issue, we find in [1, pp. 103--104] that Belk also benefited from his attention to the affairs of the Presbyterian Church.

``Belk often heard about new business opportunities, particularly about towns where a Belk store might thrive, through his contacts in the Presbyterian Church. Belk was a leader within the Mecklenburg Presbytery, which covered the counties around Charlotte. When he went to synod meetings, one former associate said, a preacher would tell him about a town where a merchant was going out of business or where a building was available for a new store. Belk would follow these leads, traveling to the town on Saturday, to measure the volume of the trade and then remaining for church services with the preacher's congregation on Sunday. If both the depth of the business and the depth of the religion were to his liking, then he would arrange to sign a lease or purchase a building on Monday.''

In Chapter 8, we will read of Professor Franklin Kokomoor's vivid recollections of the difficulty of traveling to the University of Florida by automobile in the late 20's. Here it is interesting to read that the Governor of North Carolina had decided by the early 1920's to embark on a road-building program and the consequent opening up of more of North Carolina as fertile territory for new Belk stores, ending primary dependence on the railroads for moving goods and determining store locations, [1, p. 75].

``North Carolina, long stuck in the mud, embarked on an ambitious road-building campaign. When Charlotte's Cameron Morrison reached the governor's office in 1921, he pushed through a program to link the county seats of the state's one hundred counties with hard-surface roads. One observer reported that

	`good roads became the third god in the trinity of Southern progress'
after industry and education.  No doubt Henry Belk subscribed to Morrison's
ambitious plans, ...

	The road program of fellow Presbyterian Morrison literally paved the
way for the future of the Belk network of stores. The Belk brothers
had chosen the location for most of their early stores based on access
to the railroads. During the first twenty-five years, they picked
towns close to the Southern Railway line that cut through the Carolina
Piedmont. Stores opened in Greensboro, Salisbury, Concord, Kannapolis,
and Charlotte.  Governor Morrison's road program would pave roads to
every county seat and every state institution, from the mountains to the
coast.  As a result, the North Carolina road-building campaign, and
similar ones undertaken in other Southern states in the 1920's, would
open hundreds of opportunities to Henry Belk.''

In Chapter 5, we will write briefly about the effect of the Depression on the University of Florida, drawing from the University of Florida Oral History Project interview [2] with Mrs. Mabelle Benton, and also on information from [3]. Here, [1 , p. 99--101] give us a description of the Depression in the South as seen from the vantage point of North Carolina.

``Long before the rest of the nation, the South began experiencing the economic problems that would become even more severe and be known forever as the Great Depression. By the time of the stock market crash in 1929, Belk's stores were ending their second year of little or no growth in sales, despite the addition of fifteen new locations. Cotton prices had fallen from their 1927 high, tobacco prices were down, and Southern textile mills, rocked by violent strikes and declining demand, were slowing production. Everywhere Belk looked, there were fewer dollars available for people to spend in his stores. The governor even encouraged North Carolinians to live off their own land as much as possible, by planting vegetable gardens.

Bad weather, particularly a drought that dried up the South, complicated matters. Eggs dropped to twelve cents a dozen, and every merchant in town had two or three bales of cotton in front of the store marked, `Buy a bale---5 cents a pound.' Watermelons sold for fifteen cents, butter was twenty-five cents a pound. The few mills that were in production paid subsistence wages. As agricultural prices plummeted, businesses found themselves in trouble. The collapse of Asheville's Central Bank and Trust Company, a casualty of the failure of booming resort development business, was the first of 215 bank closings that hit the state between 1929 and 1933.

Henry Belk was first and foremost a merchant, but he had invested in many other businesses as well, including the Charlotte National Bank, which in 1938 merged with the Wachovia Bank and Trust Company. When Sam Scott told Belk he had recently heard from a friend in Lynchburg, Va., about traveling bank examiners checking banks in the Southeast, Belk had confidently replied,

`Mr. Scott, there is not a bank in Charlotte that is not in excellent

He expressed full confidence in the future. Some weeks later, however, Scott was in the store when Belk, his blue chambray shirt dripping with perspiration, came running up the steps, taking them two at a time.

	`Come back to my office,' he told Scott. `I want to talk to you.'

	In the office, Belk said that he had just come from the witness stand
and a grilling by the same bank examiner Scott had told him about.

	`He even had Cameron Morrison [the Governor of North Carolina] on the
stand,' Belk said. The bank survived. 

Like everyone else, Belk and his employees took in their belts as conditions grew worse. Salaries were cut, and managers watched every penny to keep bills paid. They struggled to meet payrolls. Karl Hudson in Raleigh, N.C., had to postpone every payday when the bank with his deposits closed and never reopened. Hudson called employees together and told them they would have to generate enough sales during the week to raise money for their salaries. Hudson made the payroll, though several days late.

Some Belk managers found themselves having to sell goods at less than they had paid for them. Their customers just did not have any money, and the refrain sales clerks heard most often was,

	`Don't you have something for a little less?'

Store managers postponed repairs and renovations of their stores, despite the cramped quarters and dated appearance. It was hard to think about the future when there were only a few dollars left in the box each day. Despite the severe conditions, Belk stores remained open. In fact, Henry Belk was soon taking over new locations from owners who could not weather the storm. Belk opened twenty-two stores in 1930 and 1931, most of them in small North Carolina towns connected by the state-financed road system begun by Governor Morrison.

With sound credit and available cash, Belk was in a position to buy goods at cut-rate prices. Just before the federal government's first round of economic recovery legislation went into effect, Scott went to New York, scoured the market, and returned home with first-class merchandise for one-fourth to one-third of the original price. Back home, he made a 2,000 mile swing through the South, visiting mills. When he returned to Charlotte, he had put together the largest purchase of goods that he would ever see.

	`Shortly afterwards,' Scott later recalled,  `we went under the NRA 
and the value of the goods doubled overnight.' ''

Throughout these hard times, the Belk organization tried to help out the regional economy by placing orders at local mills or factories, in such quantities that these facilities were sometimes re-opened and could re-employ their workforces.

Here are two examples from [1, pp. 102--103].
	`` ... Take the example of a rocker Scott ordered from the
Thomasville Chair Company in Thomasville, N.C.

While visiting his sister in Lynchburg, Va., Scott saw a rocker that struck his fancy. Though it had originally been priced at $79, she had bought it on sale for $39. Scott turned it over to find out who made it, and he copied Thomasville's name, and the model number. When he returned to Charlotte, he called the company and asked them to send a salesmen by. The next day, a man was there to take his order for the chairs at $14.75 apiece. That salesman thought he had

`met the biggest fool he had ever seen in his life,'Scott said later.
The salesman returned to the factory and told his boss, `We have never sold
more than twelve of these chairs to anybody, and he gave me an order for 400
and said he probably could use 1,000.'

Scott added just enough to cover freight and the expense of handling these chairs and advertised that any woman who could show she had brought $50 worth of merchandise in a Belk store could get one of these chairs at cost. By the time he finished the promotion, Belk stores had ordered 7,500 of the chairs.

No one was happier about the success than the people in Thomasville. With the Belk order in hand, the factory re-opened. Townspeople and workers were so happy that they marched in a group to the Thomasville store to thank the Belk organization for putting them back to work.

On another occasion, Belk and Scott heard about yards and yards of gingham available at a mill near Charlotte. They bought all the owner had and asked if he could produce more of the gingham and other yard goods that Scott would send samples of. The man

`broke down and cried like a baby,'Scott said, recalling the visit.
`He said he was broke and did not have enough money to buy groceries for
 the family.'

Starting production was out of the question in his financial condition. Mr. Belk told him,

`I want you to go today, and I don't mean tomorrow, to Charlotte
 and buy enough looms to fill this mill to make the kind of goods that Mr.
 Scott will send you samples of.'

The plant went back into production and Henry Belk joined another board of directors.''

Now let us learn how our own Belk-Lindsey stores in Florida first came into being, [1, pp. 104--105].

``Some new locations were the result of sheer chance encounters. In 1934, Belk was returning from a Florida vacation when he stopped in Ocala, Fla., to cash a check. He went to a bank that he thought was managed by an acquaintance from the Presbyterian Church, but he got the wrong one, and the teller refused to take his check. He left the bank and was walking down the street when he bumped into Colin Lindsey. Lindsey had once worked for Belk in Charlotte, selling shoes and serving as Belk's chauffeur in his off hours. The two men fell into conversation, with Belk telling Lindsey about his troubles at the bank. Lindsey finally helped Belk get his check cashed at the right bank, and during their chat, Belk asked Lindsey if Ocala would be a good spot for a store. Lindsey said he thought there was a building available, and the two set out to find it. By April of the following year, Belk-Lindsey was open for business on $18,000 in capital. Belk put up $12,000 and Lindsey $6,000. Belk had added another state.''

Belk frequently visited in Florida, where members of his mother's family had resettled around the turn of the century on land Belk had purchased. He had heard as a young man that a grower could make $1,000 an acre from orange groves, and he had snapped up fifty acres at a ridiculously low price. The groves proved to be a source of income for the Walkup branch of the family, who managed the property for Belk, and a source of oranges for Belk, who shipped them to his favorite partners and relatives. The Belk family always stopped in Macintosh, a small town not far from Ocala, where he had always paid a lengthy visit to his cousin, Ginnie Robinson. She was disabled with arthritis, and the Belk visit offered the only relief for her daughter to get away for some time to herself. The Belks, with their maid and chauffeur, would perform the chores.

During the stay, Henry Belk would sit on the porch of his cousin's house and visit at a nearby country store. M. C. Quattelbaum's father owned the store. As a teenager, Quattlebaum always like to see the Belk family arrive because he knew he would have cash in his pocket by the end of the day. Belk gave children a dollar if they could recite the abbreviated version of the Presbyterian catechism. If a youngster could recite the Shorter Catechism---named for its writer, not its length---then he would pay five dollars. Quattlebaum learned them both and, he said years later,

	`I'd hit that old man up for six bucks every year.'

In 1941, when Lindsey brought Quattelbaum to Charlotte to check with Belk before setting him up in a store, Belk gave his complete endorsement to the new manager.

`He's OK,' he said. `He knows the catechim.'

Lindsey was a nimble merchant. He filled his store with the standard order of goods for a small town store and with items not often found in Belk stores farther north. Lindsey sold venetian blinds, for example, installing them himself. He also established a delivery route of sorts, taking orders in his home-town of Macintosh and filling them weekly when he returned for the weekend to visit his family.''

Our faculty colleague Professor Kermit Sigmon grew up in North Carolina so I questioned him about his recollection of the Belk stores. He replied that in Lincolnton, North Carolina, the town nearest the Sigmon farm, there was a Belk-Schrum store. In eastern North Carolina, near where his wife Ruth grew up, was located a Belk-Tyler store. For major clothes shopping, Kermit was taken regularly to the much larger Belk store in Charlotte, however.


  1. Covington, Howard E. Jr., Belk, A Century of Retail Leadership, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1988.
  2. University of Florida Oral History Project, transcript of interview with Mabelle Benton.
  3. Proctor, Samuel and Langley, Wright, Gator History; A Pictorial History of the University of Florida, South Star Publishing, Gainesville, Florida, 1986.