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

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

In [1] and [2], Professor Samuel Proctor has given fascinating accounts of the intense competition between Lake City and Gainesville for selection as the permanent site of the new University of Florida created by the Buckman Act of 1905 and of the difficulties involved in actually moving the institution from Lake City to Gainesville during the summer of 1906. For instance, some Lake City residents brought a civil suit against the State charging that the 1884 contract which had located the Florida Agricultural Institute in Lake City would be violated if the University of Florida were relocated to Gainesville. Cawthon continued the packing operations, keeping in nightly telegraph contact with the Board of Control Chairman Nathan Bryan in Jacksonville and with President Andrew Sledd in Gainesville as to whether he had been arrested for violating an injunction against this move. Fortunately, the injunction was dissolved by Circuit Court Judge John Malone on July 19, 1906. A later problem which arose, was the reluctance of the Lake City citizenry to assist in the move. Hence, wagon teams and drivers, as well as laborers to assist in the packing, had to be brought in from Gainesville. Proctor gives a description of the dramatic march out of town on Monday, July 23, in which Cawthon rode at the front of the procession in the first wagon carrying a rifle, with members of the faculty in the other wagons, and the laborers walking behind, while silent and dour crowds lined the streets of Lake City, watching as if at a funeral procession. Proctor has told me that even 50 years later, when he was doing research for [1] and interviewing residents of Lake City, that bitterness still remained against the University of Florida for the choice of Gainesville as permanent site over Lake City, and that the citizens of Lake City would send their sons to college in Georgia rather than to the University of Florida in Gainesville.

In Appendix C of Chapter 2, we have indicated the gloom that possessed our early faculty after their spring tour of the new campus in March, 1906. We will take up this narrative, and detail from President Andrew Sledd's own viewpoint, the move from Lake City to Gainesville during the summer of 1906. At this time, a new technology was introduced into the President's office at the University of Florida. This was the use of a Columbian Letter Copying Book whereby, after a letter had been typed up, it was pressed into a blank page of a 500 page book with some kind of a press, and left an impression of varying quality. So, while I have read correspondence for Chapter 2 to and from President Andrew Sledd during 1904--1905, where actual copies or originals of the letters have been preserved in loose form, beginning with the academic year 1906--1907, we seem just to have the Sledd Letter Books most easily accessed in the Archives, four volumes from this first academic year. The very first book [3] which was brought out for my examination in the Archives happens to cover the time period June 1, 1906--October 12, 1906 exactly when Sledd was involved in moving the University from Lake City to Gainesville in time for the September 26, 1906 opening. As we did in Chapter 2, we will let Sledd himself describe certain of the events of this relocation in his own words.

The first matter dealt with at length in this letter book is the recruitment of a Professor of Agriculture and Horticulture. In July, 1906, Sledd is corresponding with various persons concerning the possible appointment of Professor N. D. Barrow of Louisiana to this post. It appears that Sledd's dealings with Professor Marion as related in Chapter 2 may have impressed Sledd sufficiently that instead of issuing an educational goals statement as he did to Professor Schmidt as recorded in Chapter 2, here we find Sledd writing the following on July 6, 1906 when requesting an assessment of Barrow's fitness for this position.

``... I should be very glad to have information on the following
  1. His training and educational history. Can he do work in both agriculture and horticulture of a fairly advanced grade?
  2. His personality. Can he get on well and pleasantly with students and colleagues? Has he had any difficulties of this sort in his past experiences?
  3. Is he likely to be able to win the affection and esteem of students and the people generally, so as to build up and enlarge his field of work?''

In reading the correspondence concerning this position, we find that applications were received from a fairly wide geographic area, including the University of Missouri-Columbia; the Science Agency in Durham, North Carolina; the Agricultural College in New Mexico; Alabama Polytechnic in Auburn, Alabama; and from the cities of Raleigh, North Carolina; Chicago; Victoria, Texas; Rochester, Michigan; Columbus, Ohio; Woodbine, New Jersey; and Toronto, Canada. In reading this correspondence, we are again reminded of the scale of things in those days, for Sledd writes to Barrow that during the past year, the Department of Agriculture and Horticulture on the Lake City campus had only been dealing with 3 or 4 students. A later letter in the correspondence concerning this position, written on July 26, 1906, reveals that perhaps Professor Barrow has been worrying about the work loads at such a small institution: for Sledd writes

``Replying as to the question as to terms and conditions of your election
to the University I beg to say that as I understand the case you are
elected to the Professorship of Agriculture and Horticulture at a
salary of $1500 for the work of the regular school year, which is
eight months.  Of course, I understand that you will do the usual
committee work, and will be ready to help in any other ways during the
school year whenever emergency arises, or necessity demands.  In other
words, I understand that in accepting the position you will do all in
your power to promote both the special and general interests of the
University, and the University will be neither unjust nor exacting on you.
I will make this point as it sometimes happens, as you are aware, that an
instructor refuses to do any form of extra work, even during the
regular period of his service; and while we shall not probably have
occasion to call on you I think it desirable that we should understand
that I may be at liberty to do so if emergencies arise, provided that the
University calls are neither excessive nor unreasonable. ....''

Apparently, Barrow was not sufficiently enthused by such terms of employment, for we find in the University Record for 1906--1907 that the position is filled rather by

R. W. CLOTHIER, B.S., M. S.,
Professor of Agriculture and Horticulture
B.S., Kansas State Agricultural College, 1897; M.S. Kansas State Agricultural College, 1899; Assistant in Chemistry, Kansas State Agricultural College and Experiment Station, 1897--1901; Professor of Agriculture and Chemistry, State Normal School, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, 1901--1906; Assistant in Agronomy and Graduate Student, University of Missouri, 1906; present position, 1906--

Now when I was considering whether to relocate from Columbia, Missouri to Gainesville during 1986, one of my concerns was whether the summer temperatures in this state were humanly bearable to a Northerner. I had attended a weeks conference at the University of Florida during August, 1982, and was extraordinarily impressed with the shortness of the shorts of all of the students, and also the uniformly hot and humid temperatures. Unfortunately for me, in the fall of 1986 the only people I knew on the staff were the new chair, Professor Gerard Emch and a new Professor Michael Fried, who had been one of my teachers in graduate school, and both of these men were experiencing their first academic year in Florida. Thus I was unable to get any first hand information about the Florida summers. Hence I was mildly amused to find the following letter which Sledd wrote to Clothier trying to recruit him to Gainesville, in which Sledd was trying to put the unpleasantness of the climate here during the summer in the best possible light. [I showed this letter to my charming wife Norma and she expressed the opinion that maybe I was being too hard on President Sledd and that the climate had changed for the hotter since 1906.]

``                                                           September 13, 1906

Prof. R. W. Clothier 
  Columbia, Mo.

Dear sir;

I have received yours of the 10th and take pleasure in answering the
questions you ask. 
The University and the Experiment Station were for a long time
united; the President of the University acting also as the Director of
the Station.  This continued until the present year when the President
got the Board to appoint Prof. P. H. Rolfs as Director of the
Station. The Station, will, however, follow us to Gainesville just as
soon as practicable.  Prof. Conner is going to leave the station for
North Carolina, and I do not think that the Director Rolfs has as yet secured 
a man for the work.

You will observe from this that the work of Agriculture and Horticulture in the
University is entirely separate from the Experiment Station work, and
is devoted to instruction in these two subjects.  We shall have ample
ground in our new domain, though we shall be much hampered for funds during the
first year owing to the removal of the Institution from Lake City to
Gainesville, and the necessary heavy expense attending the effort to
make preparation for it in its new location.

The Professor of Agriculture in the University would be on duty eight months,
for which he would receive a compensation of $\$1500$.  The Experiment
Station workers, as you know, are on duty for 12 months.

The amount of money available would be small during the first year. We shall, I
think be able to give you what was absolutely necessary in the way of
laboratory facilities, but could promise you little beside that for the
first year.

I do not think that you will find the weather nearly so hot here as in Kansas.
I was myself born and raised in Virginia, and I get along in the
climate very well indeed.  We generally have a breeze at night, and
the temperature in the shade, I should surmise seldom goes higher than
96 to 98. I think you should find the  climate to be altogether

I should like very much indeed to know whether these statements are 
satisfactory to you, as my choice of man for this place is narrowed down to 
yourself and possibly two others, so it is very desirable for me to know 
whether you could be reached and could accept at once.

                                                       Very truly yours

Another issue that arises in the move from Lake City to Gainesville is the following. As the Lake City institution was no longer co-educational after 1904, apparently enrollments of those interested in teaching careers were not sufficiently large to justify the continuation of the Normal School, which had been in operation during the first academic year 1905--1906 of our institution, spent in Lake City. Thus we find correspondence pertaining to Professors Cawthon and Floyd, in connection with this structural reorganization. For instance, this letter on June 5, 1906 written in connection with Cawthon's application for a position at a high school in Savannah, Georgia, reveals Sledd's own style when writing letters of recommendation!!

``Prof. Cawthon has taught Mathematics in the Normal Department of
this Institution during the past year, but owing to serious
modifications in the constitution of the University his position has
been abolished.  The fact is, that the effort to run a Normal
Department for men only as could easily have been seen has not proved a
success and has necessitated changes in the scheme.  In these changes Mr.
Cawthon's place was abolished and the Normal Department was made into a
department of pedagogy in the University proper.  Mr. Cawthon thus leaves
us with no discredit to himself, but in fact with an excellent reputation with
the authorities of this Institution as a Christian gentleman and an
effective teacher.  I think that you will find him particularly strong
as a teacher and disciplinarian. [ed., remember 
Arkadelphia?.] His scholarship is adequate for the work involved, and
I believe he would prove an effective and satisfactory man for the

As fate would have it, Cawthon apparently was not awarded this position, and in fact he is listed in the 1906--1907 Record with the position of Librarian. We learn more about Cawthon in a letter of Sept. 20, 1906 written to a prospective student from Norfolk, Virginia inquiring about the possibilities of part time work; recall that the semester did not begin until Sept. 26. Sledd writes

``... We employ students in sawing wood, firing furnaces, and
sometimes as janitors and assistants in the shop. This work is not
looked down upon in the Institution, but brings but small compensation---say,
from $5 to $10 per month.  I believe that our Librarian is going to use an
assistant in order that he may study for his Master's degree, but he would not
expect to pay the assistant more than $6 or $8 dollars ....''

It is interesting that W. S. Cawthon's name appears on the dedicatory plaque for Walker Hall , dated ``A.D. 1926 ... Rudolph Weaver, A.I.A., Architect'' on the listing of the members of the State Board of Education as

``W. S. Cawthon, Sup. Pub. Inst.,

Thus we find that Cawthon attained precisely the same office that William Sheats had held in Chapter 2 prior to his defeat for re-election. Margaret Rice recalls a trip during her childhood to Tallahassee with some historian and her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Simpson, during which Cawthon was interviewed about the development of the University of Florida and Mrs. Simpson took shorthand notes of Cawthon's reminiscences.

Professor Samuel Proctor has reminded me that oft times in the olden days, especially if men were teaching at seminaries, they often simply assumed military titles which then later were always associated with their names whether or not these gentlemen had ever seen any military service, unlike the case of Colonel Walker. Thus in Gainesville history, we find that both Mayor Thomas and Wilbur Floyd, who taught at the East Florida Seminary are often referred to as Major Thomas and Major Floyd. [ed., and investigations revealed that in fact William Thomas had not seen military service, but had served as Professor of Languages at the East Florida Seminary, as well as attending this institution himself.] Correspondence from a letter recommending Wilbur Floyd for the Professorship of Physics at the South Carolina Military Academy reveals that Floyd had been the teacher of science in the now abolished Normal Department and that during 1905--1906, Floyd had obtained the master's degree from the University of Florida while teaching that same year. It is striking to learn from the 1906--1907 Record that even though Floyd was teaching without the Ph.D. degree, that he had taken a year of graduate work at Harvard in 1902--1903 during the time period 1892--1905 during which he was at the East Florida Seminary, first as Instructor of English, then as the Professor of Natural Science. Well, we remember Griffin-Floyd Hall, so it must be that Floyd remained with us in some capacity. Indeed, the 1906--1907 Record reveals that Floyd had the title of Assistant Professor of Biology and Physics during our first year on the Gainesville campus.

It is interesting to learn that during 1906, both Sledd and Murphree were serving on a committee of the Florida Educational Association which was studying what curricular requirements should be required of Florida high schools. Among the recommendations, was the unfortunate need to reduce the amount of work required in the high school course because of the meager resources in the state at that time. Even though Sledd was a Greek scholar, the report recommended that the study of Greek in high school be dropped, as it was just too difficult to obtain teachers with a knowledge of Greek. The question also arose as to the desirability of Latin work versus scientific study. Here it was reluctantly conceded that it was easier to find Latin instructors than science instructors, even though some members of the committee would have liked to drop Latin in favor of science. Finally, it was concluded that with present resources, the Florida high school education for producing sound American citizens would have to be grounded on the three fundamentals of English, history and mathematics, for the time being.

Early in June, we find correspondence between President Sledd and Mayor Thomas as to which home Sledd should rent following the move of the University from Lake City to Gainesville. This correspondence shows that Sledd rented the Taylor house at a cost of $36 per month. Earlier in Chapter 2, correspondence between Nathan Bryan and Sledd indicated that Bryan had a nephew in Kissimee, whom Bryan hoped would in due course of time be sent to the University of Florida. Here is part of what Sledd wrote to this nephew, Eugene Bryan, on July 12, 1906.

"I have secured a most excellent house just on the edge 
of town on the side of the university, and about a mile from the
 new buildings, I should judge, although it may be a little less.
 There is an excellent granolithic [ed., an artificial stone
 of crushed granite and cement] sidewalk all the way, so that
 it will be convenient as possible.  It is a very nice place,
 and the most suitable to be had in Gainesville at this time. ...."

A letter of July 28, 1906 written to Carlos F. Canova of Palatka reveals that Sledd hopes to take in several suitable boarders, in addition to Bryan, and that the charge will be $150 for eight months, but that the boarders should regard themselves as being members of the family. The 1906--1907 Catalogue reveals that Eugene Bryan held the rank of Lieutenant in Company A of the student body and that Carlos Canova held the rank of Captain in Company B of the student body. Canova was a junior who was majoring in Civil Engineering.

Now the move to Gainesville unfolded on several fronts: first, the physical removal of equipment from Lake City to the campus; second, the continued recruitment of students during this time period, the arrangement of the new schedule and opening ceremonies, obtaining contracts for supplies like groceries and blackboards for the new University; third, getting the grounds and buildings in shape for the opening ceremony on September 27, 1906; fourth, publicizing the new University in Gainesville with advertisements, press releases, and newspaper articles. We will not comment in much further detail about the first very well known aspect, beyond recording that on July 27, 1906, for example, Sledd wrote to Albert Murphree that he was shipping 16 carloads of stuff by rail from Lake City to Gainesville and

"One of the livery stables refused to let us have any teams, so it
was necessary to bring up teams from Gainesville.  But I think, under
the circumstances, the people of the town behaved very well."
and noting that in a letter of July 26, 1906 to Board of Control Chairman Nathan Bryan of Jacksonville, Sledd wrote that he had personally helped the laborers move the things for shipment to Gainesville in the rain and had caught a nasty cold in so doing, so was going to Atlanta to spend several weeks with his wife to recuperate. Especially during this time, Major Floyd was in charge of receiving the freight as it arrived in Gainesville.

Here is some correspondence with Professor John Benton concerning arrangements in the new quarters. The first letter of July 7, 1906 undoubtedly concerns the rooms which will be available for the engineering and physics instruction.

                                                            "  July 7, 1906

My dear Dr. Benton,-

   I send you a rough sketch of the best rooms I can provide for you next year.
They are the whole of one section of the second floor and are near the engine
and other station machinery -- light and warm, & I have given
the roughest outline, but I guess it will serve for you to indicate
anything you may want done. The partition can be cut if
necessary,--- not the heavy walls.

   In arranging your rooms, please do not call for anything but what is really
necessary for the work next year.  You understand our situation, and
will realize the necessity for what I say.

   I cannot yet answer the rest of your letter, but will do so soon.  I do not
see any chance of the expenditure you suggest. 

   I am glad you are getting on so well.

                                                     Very sincerely yours,"

Several months later, Sledd writes to the architects in Columbia, South Carolina, concerning the final preparation of the scientific rooms for the new term.

                                                       "   Sept. 13, 1906

Messrs. Edwards & Walter,
   Columbia, S.C.


   I have received yours of the 11th and read the same with interest.  I do
not think it likely that I will give any orders that would affect you
except in the matter of plumbing.  I have given the orders for Dr.
Flint's plumbing and that in the kitchen, and I shall have to have
some put in Dr. Sellard's, Dr. Benton's, and Professor Floyd's
rooms, but I think there will be no possible difficulties in the premises.  
I will, of course, protect you should any arise.

                                                         Very truly yours,


Here we should pause to note that President Sledd is now employing L. C. Algee as Stenographer, according to the 1906--1907 Record, which explains the SA which we find on most of this correspondence. It is interesting to learn in a note written by Sledd on October 10 to Lt. Ball, Commandant of Cadets, that in fact Algee is himself one of the students working their way through college, and that Sledd requests that

"Cadet L. C. Algee be excused from all forms of military duty, as his
office work makes that imperative."

The 1906--1907 Record also reveals that Dr. Benton was the Chairman of the Committee on Schedules. That explains correspondence over the summer to Benton written to Benton's parents home in Sewickley, Pennsylvania in which Sledd requests that the Philosophy courses be scheduled either early in the week or late in the week, so that Sledd will be free to travel over the weekend. A second glance at the University Record reveals that during our first academic year in Gainesville, President Sledd had the title President, and Acting Professor of Philosophy; so we learn that Sledd was filling this position in the absence of a professor of philosophy and in that role, Sledd writes a New York publisher and requests that possible philosophy texts be sent him for examination, including Fite's Ethics.

A consultation of the University Record reveals that the following philosophy offerings were in the catalogue for the first academic year in Gainesville:

``                                PHILOSOPHY
                                THE PRESIDENT

The courses in Philosophy are designed not only to provide that modicum of knowledge and training which is deemed desirable for the general student, but also to lay the foundation, and possibly furnish the impulse, for further and more technical studies in this department. The class work in each course will serve mainly to coordinate and render consistent a large amount of collateral reading dealing with several subjects discussed in the textbook. As the work progresses, special studies on given topics will be required from time to time, and the results of these studies will be presented and discussed before the class.

Philosophy I. ---Psychology.---
A general introductory course. Tichener's Outline of Psychology, and James's Briefer Course will be used in class during the first term. During the second term Lloyd Morgan's Comparative Psychology will be used in class and portions of Wundt's Human and Animal Psychology and Ladd's Physiological Psychology will be taken as collateral reading. (Required of Pedagogical students, Junior year; elective; both semester, 3 hours.)
Philosopy IIa. ---Logic.---
An elementary course. Creighton's Introductory Logic. Lectures and studies in the history, development and systems of logic. Exercises. (Elective; first semester, 3 hours.)
Philosophy IIb. ---Ethics.---
A general course. Especial emphasis will be laid on the Principles of Ethics. Lecture and studies in the history of Ethics, and discussion of various ethical systems. Fite's Introductory Study of Ethics for class use, and James Seth's A Study of Ethical Principals for collateral. (Elective; second semester, 3 hours.)
Philosophy III. ---Introduction to the Problems of Philosophy.---
In this course the great problems of Philosophy will be briefly presented and discussed, as for example, theism, pantheism, materialism, dualism, rationalism, empiricism, etc. Paulsen's Introduction to Philosophy will be used as a text, and collateral reading in various authors will be assigned in connection with the topics studied. Special subjects will be assigned for written discussion. (Elective; both semesters, 3 hours.)
Philosophy IV a and b.---
This is a course in the History of Philosophy and requires two years for its completion. The work of the first year treats Ancient Philosophy, that of the second Medieval and Modern. Weber's History of Philosophy will be used as a guide text. (Elective; both semesters; two years, 3 hours.)''

Recall from Chapter 2, that Professor Benton did not marry until 1914. Thus we learn from correspondence, that as a bachelor in Lake City, Benton had been living with the students in the dormitories as a monitor to help maintain discipline, and counted on this lodging to save on expenses. A sharp correspondence ensued when Sledd was not certain at the time of writing on Sept. 7, 1906 to Benton, still in Sewickley, as to whether this arrangement could be continued in Gainesville.

``    ... and if quarters for only one professor in addition to the Commandant 
were available Dr. Sellards should certainly have the preference in 
assigning them: both by reason of the fact of his long and faithful service 
and his natural expectation of its continuance and by reason of the great 
smallness of his compensation as a professor in the University. Of course, 
I do not believe that any of you receive sufficient salaries, and it is my 
own constant effort to educate the Board to a like view, but at the same 
time you are receiving distinctly more than several of your colleagues who 
are not without training and experience, notably: Doctors Sellards, Thomas, 
Schmidt, and I should not have been willing, and am not now willing to enter
into any form of contract that would further increase your salary in
disproportion to theirs.  This will, I think, make clear our different
points of view in this matter.  [ed., Dr. Benton apparently regarded it as 
being part of his terms of employment that lodging would be provided for him 
in the dormitory.] At the same time I want you to understand distinctly that 
I do realize and regret the inconvenience it may have put you to (though 
that inconvenience would be no greater than that under which all of your 
colleagues, including myself, must labor for the coming year).

   I can see that only one solution for the case along the lines that you
suggest, and that is: that you should either put up your portable cottage on
the campus with a distinct and written understanding, of course, that it could
be removed at your pleasure, and take your meals in the Mess Hall to which I
am willing to consent to the usual rate of $12.50 per month, or you might 
secure board at some other place in town for a little while, probably not more
than two months, or three, by which time it is probable that two or
three houses will be available in the immediate vicinity of the
University at which you might be able to secure rooms, with or without
board, and make some other arrangement for living in the whole or part
of one of them.

   I suppose, however, that these features of the matter may remain unsettled
until your arrival, and you may be sure, of course, as always that I will do
what I can reasonably to help contribute in any way to your comfort and to your

                                                    Very truly yours,

Fortunately, later correspondence reveals that Benton was able to secure lodging in the dormitory as a monitor, so that this issue was safely resolved and the future of engineering on campus remained in the pioneering hands of John Benton up until his death in 1930.

Correspondence reveals that a curious aspect of the Buckman Act was that apparently there was no officially sanctioned mechanism for disbursing funds during the summer months when the University was not in session, or maybe no extra funds were provided apart from the regular budget for the 1906--1907 academic year to pay for the move from Lake City to Gainesville. Also, it appears that a certain Mr. Groom or J. G. Kellum, Secretary to the Board of Control, may have been less than cooperative on this issue. In a letter written on July 7 to the Chairman Nathan Bryan of the Board of Control, Sledd reveals that he is beginning to work on getting the grounds of the new University site in shape for the opening in September.

``I am going to take Cox [ed., Assistant Professor of Civil
and Mechanical Engineering] and old man Mitchell over to Gainesville
on Monday morning, in order to have Cox run out correctly some of the
fence line, which are not now right; and go over the ground with Mr.
Mitchell to indicate to him what he is to go to work on first &.

I shall get him to fencing the whole tract;---then
on the athletic field and campus,---and shall tell him to get
the necessary hands in order to push the work right along.  Cox has
just come to know of me if I can advance the money for the trip, --
and I told him yes.  And that to  other things of the same sort, and
you have one great defect of the Buckman Bill.''

Around two weeks later on July 23, 1906, Sledd writes the following to Bryan.

``Mr.  Mitchell writes that he has spent $30 for labor on the new grounds,
fencing, during the past week, and that he is in need of some more money. He
says that he can use additional hands to good effect, if he can pay
them,---but he says, also, that he must pay up every Saturday
night, or he cannot hold any help worth speaking of; and,
consequently, can do nothing on the work set for him to do.

I have already advanced him $10 on his expense account, and $45 for his
payroll, and I am not able to do more;---neither, I may say,
do I think I ought to be expected to do anything of the sort.  Still,
I may add that while on this unpleasant subject, I have been able to
get extra colored help here for the rush of moving simply because I
have personally guaranteed them their pay at the end of their week, or
day, if they count it that way.  This will mean a very considerable
draw on my very meager resources; and I shall have to wait again until
the middle of August before I can hope to get any of it back
again,---if I can continue to carry on the scheme, and the
work that depends on it. 

I do not want to trouble you;---but this is distinctly not my
business. I cannot be expected to keep these public enterprises going
out of my own pocket.  As you know, I have repeatedly paid and paid to
keep things from going to pieces, without a word of thanks, or the
very slightest evidence of official appreciation. To speak plainly, it
is a shame,---for which Groom is in the main responsible. Will
you kindly give me official instructions as to what course you desire
me to pursue in the premises?

Shall I discontinue the work Mitchell is doing at Gainesville, and recall
him for lack of money to keep him going? and shall I dismiss the men here
who are looking to me for prompt settlement, and let this work drag on
indefinitely? Please let me know at once.

I am sorry to write you this, but you see the difficulty; and it is up to
you in your official capacity to say what is to be done about it. I am not
able, or willing, to run this enterprise on my own funds, even supposing I
had any funds.  I realize that it is not your business to put up any money,
any more than it is mine, but I want your directions as to the letting of 
the work go to the bowwows, if need be, for lack of the funds necessary to
carry it on. Observe this ``practical defect of the Buckman Bill.''

On July 25, 1906, correspondence to Major Floyd indicates that he was being sent $500, of which $100 was for Mitchell to pay the hands at work on the University grounds and the remainder to pay the freight bill for shipping materials from Lake City to Gainesville. On that same date, a letter to Bryan requests that the board borrow $500 and deposit this sum with a Gainesville bank. A letter of July 28th to Bryan reveals that Sledd had also lent Professor Flint $250 on a note for 4 months, endorsed by Sledd and that Sledd believed that his original estimate of $1500 for moving costs would prove to be valid. On July 28th, a letter to Prof. P. H. Rolfs in Lake City requests that Rolfs call on Mr. Jernigan for monies to pay the men working on stump removal at the Gainesville campus.

As September approaches, we find President Sledd writing to various suppliers in an effort to get Buckman and Thomas Halls equipped in time for the opening. For instance, on September 6, 1906, Sledd writes to various school supply companies, such as the Central School Supply Company of Chicago, Illinois, requesting bids for blackboards, either genuine slate or hyloplate. Sledd also writes Mayor Thomas concerning the question as to whether the University of Florida owns the blackboards in the academic building of the former East Florida Seminary in downtown Gainesville. On September 7th, Sledd writes the following letter to the architects:

``Messrs. Edwards & Walters, Architects
    Columbia, S.C.


   I have just seem Mr. Robertson and Mr. Bouis and given them directions to 
have the Chemical Laboratories fixed up with all water connections made 
according to the action of the Board at its meeting before the last when 
this matter was referred to me.  I have also instructed Mr. Bouis to have 
the sinks put in the kitchen  at the proper places.  We are crowding the 
work as rapidly as possible, and will open on time though we have a great 
deal to do.

                                           Very truly yours,

On September 7th, Sledd files the following progress report with P. K. Yonge, a member of the Board of Control.

``I am glad to say that I have succeeded in getting a good force of hands,
and am pushing the work to the utmost.  We have nearly got the main building
in shape for occupation, and if we could have the other dormitory turned over
to us this morning we could have both buildings ready for occupation by the
middle of next week.  I have also a good force on the
campus---about 20 men, but that is a terrific task, and I
cannot yet see light enough to say how we may come out on that.  We
have, however, a good force and am working them to
the limit.''

On September 8th, Sledd writes the Auditor, W. P. Jernigan, in Lake City

``We are now in need of the mule and wagon that we use around the buildings
and Mess Hall.  If Will Smith is trustworthy and reliable please have him
start through the country if he knows the way with the mule and wagon.  If he
cannot come get some other good driver who does know the way to come through
with it.''

Also on September 8th, Sledd orders

   ``24 planks  10 ft.  long  13'' wide and 3-4, or  1 in.  thick
     3 planks  14 ft.  long, other dimensions as above
     40 running feet of 2 1-2 in. bed moulding
     100 running feet or quarter-round''
from the Eddings Manufacturing Company of Gainesville. On September 11th, Sledd complains to this same local firm
``One of the windows has fallen out of the shop, frame and all, so far
as I know entirely without fault of ours ... give this your immediate
attention and have it securely replaced at once.''

On September 10th, we find President Sledd writing the General Electric Company in Atlanta; the Crocker-Wheeler Co. of Amphere, New Jersey; the Allis-Chalmers Company in Atlanta; Westinghouse in Atlanta; and the Florida Electric Company in Jacksonville requesting bids for supplying electric motors. Also, on September 10th, Sledd writes the General Superintendent of the Western Union Telegraph and Cable Co., c/o Local Agent, Gainesville, Florida requesting that accounts be opened for the University of Florida and the Agricultural Experiment Station, just as had been the case in Lake City. On September 11th, Sledd sends the following letter to Professor Floyd:

``Maj. W. L. Floyd
   Nicolas, S.C.

My dear Maj.  Floyd:

   Yours of the 10th received and contents noted.  We could, of course, use you
here, but as Capt.  Cox will be in and Dr. Benton shortly I do not
think it is imperative that you come before the 21st.

   Professor Cawthon and I are busily engaged in the work of the University 
and have little time for loafing, or, indeed, for prayers and cleanliness.

                                           Very sincerely yours,


On September 12th, Sledd again writes P. K. Yonge concerning progress with the building and grounds:

``Yours of the 11th just to hand.

Relative to the front fences, may say that I have taken Mr. Mitchell and
his squad off the side and back and put them on the front fence and expect it
to be completed by the opening if nothing happens to prevent.  I have had
one gate cut in temporarily by the buildings, as the main road will not be in
good shape to use at once.''

On September 13th, Sledd writes a number of firms, including the Swift and Company in Jacksonville, requesting bids to supply the dining hall with various provisions:

The Swift and Company is requested to bid for

`` 3000 pounds of Butter    3000 pounds of Lard
   500 pounds of Lard compound
   500 pounds of White Meat
   16 crates of Hams, 14's to 16's also
   Sausages, breakfast bacon, soap, and washing powder in lots to suit  ''

Grocers in Gainesville and Jacksonville are requested to bid on     

`` 100 bu.  I. potatoes
   100 bu.  Sweet Potatoes
   8 cases Quaker Oats 
   8 cases Quaker Force
   8 cases Quaker Cream of Wheat 
   500 # Coffee 
   500 # Salt
   500 # Rice 
   5 bbb.  Grits
   100 # Evaporated Apples    100 # Evaporated Peaches    50 # Prunes 
   500 # Lard Compound 
   16 Crates Hams 14 to 16's 
   500 # White Meat
   6 Bxs.  Soap, 100 bar size. Armour's Light House
   1 1-2 BBls.  Washing Powder  ''

Correspondence of September 19th reveals that the winning bids went to W. S. Dorsey Co. of Gainesville and the following two Jacksonville suppliers: Baker and Holmes Co. and the Van Deman Company. However, Armour and Co. had not responded to Sledd's previous letter and he requested them a second time to bid on the butter, lard and meats. A letter written on October 4th to the Baker and Holmes Co. in Jacksonville reveals that apparently the Gainesville grocers were not at all happy that Sledd was purchasing provisions from Jacksonville:

`` ... As I understand it, this is a holdup on the part of the
merchants of Gainesville, to make a State Institution buy at retail
rates.  We have purchased for the last two years from Mr.  Riley in
Jacksonville without any protest from the merchants of Lake City, and
I do not appreciate or approve this action on the part of certain
local dealers in this town ....

I may say, also, that we are outside of the city limits, and as an actual 
fact there is no more reason, except proximity, why we should deal with the 
grocers of Gainesville than with any other grocers; and I may say
further, that I intend to buy for this Institution where ever I can
buy the cheapest, without reference to the sentiments or the conduct
of any parties concerned.''

On September 14th, Sledd writes the H. & W. B. Drew Company of Jacksonville, ordering rubber stamps:
                          Signature Andrew Sledd
                          Gainesville, Florida
Also on September 14th, Sledd sends the following letter to Jernigan:
``Mr. W. P. Jernigan
     Lake City, Fla.

Dear Mr. Jernigan;

   I have received yours of the 13th with enclosed salary check for
$210.30, and send you herewith my receipt for the same.

   I think it desirable that the Military supplies should be started off at 
once. We are not quite ready for them, but we had better have them handy.

   I note what you say relative to the mule, and it may be the Board will pay 
the bill, but I cannot be certain of that.

   I think your office safe, furniture, records, etc. had just as well as come
next week.

   I will try to get you all bills by Wednesday.

   Have not heard from Drew relative to your receipt blanks.

   I am glad that you paid Mr. Perry the $3.50.  I am enclosing you
check for the same.  Did you, by the way, pay $3.44 for my
telegraph bill as Mr.  Algee requested, in view of the fact that I
forgot to enclose check in my letter concerning the matter?

   We are delighted to hear that Mrs. Jernigan and the little girl continue 
well. I know you feel a head taller and switch around in proportion to your
new dignity. You may give her our love and tell her we hope to see her

   If it can possibly be done, you ought to be in your office and everything 
in shape by the opening on the 26th.

                                                 Very cordially yours,

Encl: Receipt

The human side of President Sledd is nicely revealed in this letter to the dining hall matron,

``                                                     Sept.  8, 1906

Mrs. S. J. Swanson
  Lake City, Fla.

Dear Mrs. Swanson,

   I have received yours of the 6th and have asked Mr. Algee to meet you
at the train.  Your quarters will be ready for occupancy, and of course
there will be a plenty that you might do, but I am afraid that you will be
rather lonely there so far away from any neighbors or any occupancy until
school opens; but you can consider that after your arrival, Mrs. Sledd
would be very glad to have you stop with us for a few days, as we have
abundant room.

I remember approving the bill for board due you for Gainesville men, 
and I think it passed at the last session of the Board and you ought to 
receive your warrant directly from Mr.  Kellum.  If you do not receive it
by the 10th inst.  write me and I will take pleasure in sending you the amount.

                                           Very respectfully yours,
                                              Andrew Sledd

On this same day, Sledd writes J. G. Kellum, Secretary to the Board of Control, in Tallahassee, explaining that this was money for the board in Lake City for the Gainesville men who helped pack up things for shipment from Lake City to Gainesville. Sledd writes

`` ... she [Mrs.  Swanson] says she needs this little amount, (I
believe it was about $18), in helping her moving to Gainesville,
and I will appreciate it if you will look up the amount and see if it
was approved by the Board, and so make special effort to get a warrant
for Mrs.  Swanson, either through Mr.  Croom, or send it to her
immediately ....''

In a letter of September 12th to Kellum, Sledd writes

``Thanking you for your courtesy in this manner and in the matter of Mrs.
Swanson ....''
so we learn that these monies were able to be disbursed to help Mrs. Swanson pay her moving costs.

On September 18, 1906, Sledd writes the H. & W. B. Drew Co. of Jacksonville requesting name plates for doors and recitation rooms for Buckman and Thomas Halls, desiring that his order be filled by the opening next week if the cost would be reasonable. From this letter, we have a complete listing of all the rooms on campus during our first academic year in Gainesville! The following name plates were ordered:

   Mechanical Engineering
   Modern Languages
   Military Science    Civil Engineering
   President's Office
   Secretary's Office
   Auditor's Office
   Matron's Office
   Director's Office
   Dining Room
   Literary Society
   Toilet: 33 plates.

On September 19th, Sledd responds to a letter from a returning student from Jacksonville as follows:

``I have yours of the 18th to Dr.  Sellards saying that you and your brother
will be here on Sunday or Monday.  I am very glad, indeed, that you are coming
back, but I think you had better not come till Tuesday night, or
Wednesday morning. We still have a good deal to do to get the
buildings in shape for students, and we do not wish to be over crowded
so soon.  We will reserve you a good room, according to your

By September 25th, Sledd seems already to be settling into the civic affairs of Gainesville, for he writes Ferdinand Bayer of Gainesville thanking him for his letter informing Sledd of his election as Second Vice-President of the Gainesville and Alachua County Hospital Association. Also on September 25th, the University seems to finally sever its ties with Lake City, for Sledd writes C. A. Finley in Lake City that according to the provisions of the Buckman Act, the Board of Control was now to turn over the Lake City Agricultural Institute property to the Board of Education of Lake City.

We noted earlier that President Sledd handled all the publicity himself. Here are several examples. First, there is the advertisement that Sledd wrote for insertion in the Gainesville Daily Sun, Jacksonville Times-Union, Pensacola Journal, Miami Metropolis, and Tampa Tribune newspapers for recruiting students during July, 1906. So in addition to canvassing and requesting current students to turn up further prospects themselves, it was apparently customary to run newspaper advertisements to try to increase enrollments.

                     GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA

A High Grade Institution for young men. Literary, Scientific, and 
Engineering course.

Strict Military Discipline

Fall Term opens in Gainesville Sept. 26th. For catalogue and information 

                     ANDREW SLEDD, President
                       Lake City, Fla.''

Then in August 14, 1906, Sledd wrote these newspapers to change the address in this advertisement to Gainesville from Lake City, as we had gotten moved by that point in time. These advertisements were discontinued on October 4, 1906.

Perhaps the reader recalls from Chapter 2 the terrible luck President Sledd had lining up speakers for the opening ceremony during his first year in Lake City. On September 6th, Sledd is writing various state notables requesting their participation in the Opening Ceremony to be held in Gainesville at 3 o'clock in the Assembly Hall of the University building. He requested the Honorable Frank Clark, State Senator for Alachua County, and Mayor William Thomas to give 5 to 10 minute introductory remarks. Then Sledd wished to have the following speakers present remarks of approximately 15 minutes duration on the following topics:

N. P. BRYAN on The University of the State of Florida

DR. LINCOLN HULLEY of DeLand on Educational Comity

PRESIDENT A. A. MURPHREE of the Florida Female Seminary on the Unity of 
the State School System

HON. W. A. BLOUNT, Pensacola, on The State University, The Institution of 
All the People

GOVERNOR N. B. BROWARD on Education and Citizenship

HON. H. H. BUCKMAN on The Higher Educational Situation
in Florida.

We did not find a program of the opening ceremony among the materials in [3], but did find Sledd's notes acknowledging acceptances from Blount, Broward and Murphree on September 13th as well as letters of October 6th to Broward and Murphree as follows:

``                                                        Oct.  6, 1906

Governor N. B. Broward

Dear Governor Broward,

   I owe you an apology, but in the rush of the season I have overlooked
the fact that I should pay all of your expenses on your recent and
most appreciated visit to the University.  We have, of course, paid
your hotel bill, and I should be very glad, indeed, for you to send me
a general statement of the other expenses connected with your trip, so
that we may send you the amount.

I sincerely hope you will pardon this oversight, and beg to remain

                                               Very sincerely yours,


Proctor on [2, p. 26] notes that Broward, Murphree, and Bryan from outside Gainesville and Congressman Frank Clark and William Wade Hampton, Sr., from Gainesville, spoke at the dedication.

Turning back to advertisement efforts, we find the following letter written to The Tropical Sun of West Palm Beach on September 15th:


   I thank you very much for your card of the 12th with your offer to
give us a little write up if I would send it in to you.  I enclose a
brief statement concerning the University, and should very much
appreciate your using it if you can to advantage.

   Very truly yours,

Luckily, even though Sledd's draft was not pressed into the Columbian Letterpress, his response was placed in this letterpress, so we can relay what he wrote.


The University of the State of Florida will begin its new season 
in its new quarters at Gainesville on the 26th of the current month. This
event marks an important epoch in the educational history of the
State. The institution represents a condensation of all the higher
institutions for men which were previously sustained by public funds.
It now begins its new career in its new location, and we, together
with all patriotic citizens of the State, wish for it the ample
success which it deserves.  Its curriculum is high---comparing
favorably with the other state institutions in our sister states; and
it offers most excellent advantages for thorough education to the youth
of Florida.  Its charges are as low as they can be made.  Free tuition, no
charge for medical fee, laboratory fee, library fee, or any other fee except
that of a registration fee which is five dollars per year.  Its discipline is
on a strictly military basis: and the ideal of the institution is both
intelligent and righteous citizenship. We believe that the University
of Florida has bright prospects if properly supported by the people of
the state, and we wish it all success in its worthy efforts.''

On September 19th, Sledd sent the following article to the Jacksonville Times-Union, the Tampa Tribune, the Miami Morning News, the Pensacola Journal, and the Gainesville Sun.


``The University of the State of Florida will open in its new quarters on the
26th of the present month.  The buildings are exceedingly handsome, and a large
force of hands is engaged in getting them and the grounds in readiness for the
opening. Prospects are bright for a good attendance, and there is every reason
to look forward to a successful year.

On Thursday the 27th at 3 PM formal exercises will be held in
the College Chapel.  Among the speakers of that occasion will be the
Governor N. B. Broward who will speak on the subject Education
and Citizenship; Hon.  N. P. Bryan, Chairman of the Board of
Control, who will speak on The University of the State of
Florida; and President A. A. Murphree of the Florida Female College
on The Unity of the State School System.  Hon.  Frank Clark, M.
C., will make the opening address.  It is the desire of those in
authority to mark the new era in  the educational history of the
state, and no effort will be spared either now or  later to make the
University of the State of Florida a worthy member of the educational
institutions of our country.''

In [2, p. 27], Proctor has noted that anti-Sledd elements in Florida blamed Sledd for low student enrollments while he was president of the University of Florida, claiming that Sledd should lower his too high entrance requirements to insure a larger student body. On the other hand, in Appendix~D to Chapter 2, we presented Sledd's assertions that

``the race for numbers had led to an over valuation of the students presence, 
and a hesitation to administer any discipline which might give offense or 
cause voluntary withdrawal, much less such discipline as might request or 
demand his leaving the institution.''

After reading through the Sledd Letterpress [3], we were inclined to believe that the evidence favors President Sledd's viewpoint. We present here a series of letters Sledd had to write to parents, and caution the reader to try hard to remember that these letters are written just one mere week to at most two weeks after the start of the term.

First, we see that much the wiser for experience, President Sledd is heading some potential trouble off at the pass and writes the following to a father in Ocala on September 17th, prior to the opening of the term.

``As time approaches for opening of school I think it proper that I
should write you relative to John and his possible return to the
University.  John gave us a great deal of trouble last year, and it is my 
opinion that it would be best for him not to come back---certainly if
he returns in the same spirit in which he was with us last year---he
will probably be expelled before Christmas, for he has the handicap already
of a bad reputation gained by much disorder last year.  I would,
therefore, suggest to you to send John to some other school, or if that is
not practical, to have a very plain understanding with him that he returns 
in danger of expulsion if he even begins any conduct similar to his behavior
last year.

John is a bright boy and there is no reason why he should not make a success
as a student and in after life, but he was more troublesome and disorderly
than any other boy in school last year, and we were on the point of dismissing
him two or three times.  I think you ought to know these facts in view of
John's possible return.''

The Roll of Students in the University Record reveals that this letter was sufficient to prevent John's return to the University of Florida.

On October 1, 1906, President Sledd sends the following letter to a father in Arcadia, Florida:

``Dear Sir;

   I regret to half to write to you at this early date about a matter of
this sort, but I must call your attention to it immediately and ask you to
act upon it at once.  Last week, upon your son's request, I endorsed a check
for him to the amount of $15, and the same has been returned dishonored by
the bank.  I cannot, of course, afford to lose this amount, and unless it
receives your attention and is settled by you, it will be necessary for me
to take prompt and drastic action against your son.  The bank states that
the signature to the check is unauthorized, and, therefore, refuses, to pay 
it.  This, of course, leaves your son open to a charge of prosecution for
forgery.  I desire to avoid any such proceedings, but at the same time I
must request you to pay this amount---unless you prefer for your son to
take the consequence of his conduct.''

On October 4th, Sledd writes the same father the following note:

``I have received yours of the 2d with enclosed check for $15 to protect the
check dishonored by the bank, drawn by your son.  I infer from
your letter that your son was not guilty of criminal conduct in the matter,
and I shall not, therefore, institute any proceedings; but you will understand,
of course, that such action of his at the beginning of his college
career will throw him under suspicion, and it will be necessary for him to
conduct himself very well, indeed in order to remove the suspicion which
he has put upon himself at the beginning of his course.

I thank you for your courteous adjustment of the matter.''

We were amused and yet saddened to find the following correspondence on October 5th to a mother from Atlanta whose son had written her that he was enjoying his course work at the University of Florida:

``Dear Madam;

I have received yours of the 2nd relative to your son and his work, and
regret to say that he has started off very badly indeed.  Up to last night
he had not attended a single class, and I have put him in close arrest for
ten days in punishment for his habitual neglect.  Under the circumstances,
the idea that he is very much pleased with his teachers so far
is a little remarkable, for up to last night he has not become
acquainted in class work with any of them.

I do not wish to discourage you with reference to your son, but I am 
afraid from this start, and my judgment of him as I see and talk with
him, that he will not make a success unless he undergoes some very
radical changes.''

On October 8th, Sledd follows up with a second letter to this same mother:

``it will be necessary for your son to go home, as he does not seem to have
either the ability or the inclination to attend to his work.
 ... he does not seem to be prepared to enter the lowest class, so that it
is impossible to put him in a lower class, and worst of all he does not
seem to try.  I will keep him a little longer, but I cannot hold out any
hopes to you of his success; and chiefly because of his own attitude in the

Correspondence from Sledd to the Commandant of Cadets, Lieutenant Ball, reveals that apparently the above behavior was not an isolated incident and also offers an example of the procedures leading up to expulsion.

``                                                     October 8, 1906

Lt. L. R. Ball, Commandant of Cadets
 University of the State of Florida
  Gainesville, Fl.

  1. I have been unable to find where Cadet Captain Janes Dougherty has reported to any of his classes in the University.
  2. Similarly, Cadet Private H. H. Damairitt, has registered, but cannot be located in any of his classes.
  3. Cadet Private J. Malphure registered for the Sub-Freshman Class, but does not appear to have reported to his classes.
  4. Cadet Private J. J. King has not reported to his Sub-Freshmen Mathematics, or his Sub-Freshman Science.
Will you kindly inquire into the correctness of this information, and if no satisfactory explanation is forthcoming, inflict a prompt and proper Military punishment for this neglect of duty. I would suggest the possibility of reduction in rank, or of close arrest, as meeting the case, unless satisfactory explanation can be made by the cadet involved. Respectfully, President Dictated, but not read by the President
                                                             Oct.  8, 1906

Lieutenant L. R. Ball, Commandant of Cadets
  University of Florida
    Gainesville, Florida


   I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of
the 8th of October, recommending the expulsion of Cadet Private Burt Dyal
and R. S. King for continued absence from duties and from classes, and
absolute disregard for all Military Authority.

   As expulsion is the supreme penalty which the University can inflict, 
and must be inflicted with great care, I respectfully request that you 
give more fully, and in detail, the special failures and derelictions
in duty for which you request the expulsion of these men. I am particularly
anxious to know whether they have been guilty of any actual or constructive
insubordination; whether they have disregarded or violated any pledge or
definite order; whether, in short, their conduct is sufficiently aggravating
in intent and in detail to justify the inflictment of the final penalty
upon them.

   For your information and guidance in this and similar cases I would
call your attention to the fact that the University provides for suspension,
or dismissal for less aggravating offenses than for those which call for
expulsion.  The suspended student may be reinstated at the beginning of any
term subsequent to the term in which he was dismissed upon an affirmative
vote of the majority of the faculty, but the student who is expelled is
permanently excluded from the institution. I mention this in order to bring
out for your information as to whether the conduct of Cadet Private Dyal
and King has been sufficiently aggravated to justify this final penalty.



Here is one last example of student disciplinary problems. On October 9th, Sledd writes the following to Lieutenant Ball:

``Will you kindly detail a non-commissioned officer who was in the University
last year to find one, Donald Marcus, who has been sent to town by his
parents to enter the University, and has been loafing instead of
registering and beginning his work.  I suggest that you detail a
non-commissioned officer and a private who knew Marcus, and give them
instructions to bring him to the University dead or alive.''

On October 11th Sledd writes the following letter to the father in Tallahassee of this student.

``My dear Sir:

   I have received yours of the 8th with enclosed Money Order stated for
$25 to be put to the credit of your son Donald, in the University.  As I
wrote you before, Donald was in town, but had not registered at the 
University and was loafing in the city.  After the receipt of your wire I had
the commandant detail a couple of men to go up town and put Marcus under
Military Arrest and bring him out to the  University.  He is now under Military
Arrest, according to my wire of yesterday, and will be kept under
Military Arrest on a diet of bread and water until he is ready to resume 
proper discharge of his University duties, unless you wish me to send him 
home.  If you wish me to send him home I will do so at once.  If you wish me 
to break him in, and will support me in the administration of discipline I 
will undertake the proposition, although I do not wish to do so.  I do not 
think that it is in accordance with the proper ideals and conduct of a

                                                   Respectfully yours,

                                                      Andrew Sledd

Added in pen to the bottom of this typed letter is the following

``S.A.: Donald ran away again last night, and I do not know where he is.''
Let us conclude this chapter on a more cheerful commemorative note by presenting the list of the faculty and officers of the University of Florida as taken from the University Catalogue of 1906--1907, the first year that our University was located in Gainesville:


President and Acting Professor of Philosophy.
Vice-President and Professor of English.
W. F. YOCUM, A. M., D.D.,
Professor of Education.
EDWARD R. FLINT, B. S., Ph. D., M. D.,
Professor of Chemistry.
Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Drawing.
Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy.
E. H. SELLARDS, M. A., Ph. D.,
Professor of Zoology and Geology.
J. R. BENTON, A. B., Ph. D.,
Professor of Physics and Civil Engineering.
Professor of History and Political Science.
JAS. N. ANDERSON, M. A., Ph. D.,
Professor of Latin and Greek.
C. I. CROW, M. A., Ph. D.,
Professor of Modern Languages.
R. W. CLOTHIER, B. S., M. S.,
Professor of Agriculture and Horticulture.
LOUIS R. BALL, 1st Lieutenant, 13th U. S. Cavalry,
Commandant of Cadets, Professor of Military Science.
N. H. COX, B. S.,
Assistant Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering.
W. L. FLOYD, M. S.,
Assistant Professor of Biology and Physics.


Auditor and Book-keeper.
Physical Director.


  1. Proctor, Samuel, The University of Florida: Its Early Years, 1853--1906, Dissertation, University of Florida, February, 1958.
  2. Proctor, Samuel and Langley, Wright, Gator History: A Pictorial History of the University of Florida, South Star Publishing, Gainesville, Florida, 1986.
  3. All letters from President Andrew Sledd have been obtained from the Sledd Letterbook for 1906, Volume I, which was kindly provided to me by the University of Florida Archives, Smathers Library during June and July, 1994.

Appendix A

Charles Crow Remembers Gainesville in 1906

The Archives in Smathers Library contains around a dozen works written in the 1930's by Professor Charles Crow about the development of various Florida institutions. This collection includes one volume [1] dated 1937 in the LUIS catalogue and titled History of the University of Florida through 1908/1909. This work turned out to be a photocopy of a typed manuscript about the development of the University of Florida. Now we should recall that Professor Crow, born in 1866, received the Ph.D. from Gottingen in 1892 and came to the University of Florida in 1905 as Professor of Modern Languages after serving as Adjunct Professor of Romance Languages at Washington and Lee University during 1899--1905. Thus in reading Crow's account of the first year of our institution in Gainesville, we can gain a perspective on this first academic year 1906--1907 from someone who was actually here during that time period and also consulted with various other surviving faculty members in compiling his recollections. Unfortunately, our own Professor Karl Schmidt is not mentioned directly in this volume. Crow only comments that four faculty members left during the early years in four different departments including mathematics, three for reasons of bettering their salary elsewhere and one because his pay was reduced during a period of illness. (Recall that after teaching here from 1904--1908, Karl Schmidt left and was succeeded by Herbert Keppel in 1908.)

An somewhat unhappy aspect of the history of our early institution is revealed in Crow's manuscript. First, the last year in Lake City during 1905--1906 must have been difficult since the townspeople were displeased to be losing the University to Gainesville. But then Crow writes that during the Sledd presidency in Gainesville, 1906--1909, that the Gainesville people were not too cordial toward the University either, because the Gainesville residents had been attached to the East Florida Seminary which was shut down in 1905 after the passage of the Buckman Act.

In this chapter, we have seen President Sledd and the faculty hurrying to try to get the new campus in sufficient shape for the opening ceremonies on September 27, 1906. Crow writes that the Buckman and Thomas Halls were constructed to be as large as possible, given the available budget, but that the interior workmanship was not of the best quality. Crow notes that the faculty would meet weekly during those years and discuss student disciplinary problems in painstaking detail; indeed, we have seen in this chapter that there were significant problems with discipline of the student body. Crow writes that several early faculty members recall that during the first faculty meeting in President Sledd's office, a large chunk of plaster fell dramatically from the ceiling onto Sledd's desk. Crow writes further that during this first year in Gainesville, plaster was falling all over the place from the ceilings, so they just pulled all the plaster down themselves to avoid having it fall on top of someone.

Apparently during the earliest years in Gainesville, Lake City seemed to the faculty to be more lively than Gainesville. Recall that we have already seen that during those times, no lodging was available close to campus in the Sledd letterbook correspondence. This is confirmed by Crow's comments in [1] that the early faculty found it inconvenient to walk such a great distance to get to their classrooms every day. We also know from Mrs. Benton's reminiscences [2], however, that by 1915, there were lodging places available close to the University, especially on 13th Street.

In [1], Dr. Flint is described as being a kindly, genial soul with a benign view of humanity, so that in both Lake City and Gainesville, the students would try to get medical excuses from Flint in the infirmary in order to avoid taking examinations for which they felt unprepared. Dr. Flint would oblige, but also dose the student with a preparation called Dover's powder. Apparently, Crow found Flint a little too lenient by Crow's standards; but we should also recall Mrs. Benton's comments on how Crow delighted in failing masters candidates in the Spanish proficiency examination. Crow's manuscript also reveals that as Dr. John Benton, one of Dean John Benton's younger sons recalls, that there was quite a camaraderie among the early faculty, given the small faculty size and small student body size. Crow writes quite explicitly about this. One of the pastimes of both students and faculty was to take walks in small groups. Here Dr. Flint was a fond participant on these excursions and loved to locate snakes, and explain which were poisonous and which nonpoisonous. Various snakes were collected by Flint and kept in the University in cages in various locations. In one incident, Crow recalls that the business manager K. H. Graham became too engrossed in conversation, and absentmindedly rested his hand on a cage containing a rattlesnake. When he came to full consciousness of where he had placed his hand, Graham remarked that he was lucky to be alive, just a matter of inches!

Crow also writes that during the first year in Gainesville, not only was the campus located far from the town, but also most of the lights in Gainesville tended to go out by 9:00 p.m.---apparently even Lake City had more of a nightlife. Crow reports that the main leisure pastime of the student body on campus was swimming in the numerous sinkholes on the grounds, or else trying to swing on a rope over one of the sinkholes without falling in, wearing, of course, the mandatory military uniform. As the campus was under military discipline, and the students were not supposed to leave campus without permission, the mandatory Sunday Church attendance must have seemed like a welcome break from the dusty campus grounds. Crow writes that Dr. S would take his meals with the boys in the dining room; apparently this must refer to President Sledd. There were times when the electricity would mysteriously go off for several minutes. On these occasions, the student body loved to hurl biscuits, especially in President Sledd's direction.

At one point during the first academic year in Gainesville, President Sledd had impressed the student body by having killed several snakes on the campus grounds while walking home to downtown Gainesville in the early evening. Some of the student body then decided to make a fake rattlesnake for President Sledd to kill on his way home, taking a piece of hose and also arranging to simulate the sound of the rattle of the rattlesnake's tail. As Sledd would be walking home at dusk, the students felt they had a good chance at fooling the President. Sledd came upon this rattlesnake, and attacked it vigorously with his cane. At that point, the students hidden in nearby bushes gave him a round of applause.

We have noted in the Sledd letterbook correspondence in this chapter that Sledd seemed to have difficulties getting money out of Tallahassee; recall that there was disgruntlement over the choice of Sledd instead of Murphree as first President of the new University of Florida. Thus during the first year of our institution in Lake City during 1905--1906, Crow recalls that the salary warrants for the faculty were not sent for the first two months from Tallahassee, then even after pay was grudgingly sent, it was somewhat delayed. Apparently, this problem did not arise at the Florida Female Seminary in Tallahassee, headed by the more popular President Albert Murphree. Even during later years, when economic times were supposedly bad, instead of paying the salaries in full at the beginning of the month, they would receive pay twice monthly. One might suspect that this informal practice might have been the beginning of the current biweekly pay periods. Another time, pay was suspended for one month. One faculty member immediately went home without teaching his classes, if he was not being paid, he announced. But the next day, he was back, even though there still remained almost a month left in the pay period.

Crow notes that toward the end of the Sledd presidency, relations between the students as a group and the faculty as a group did not seem quite as cordial as had been the case in Lake City. Crow wonders if perhaps some of Sledd's disciplinary procedures might not have contributed to this development. Crow recalls the case of a very popular senior on campus who was involved in producing a little newspaper which was handed out at commencement to the graduating students. Sledd informed this student that he did not wish to see a certain cartoon of the Commandant of Cadets appear in this newspaper. When this material appeared on campus, Sledd picked up an issue and found the offending cartoon present despite his instructions to the contrary. Sledd immediately expelled the offending senior, the day before graduation without calling a faculty meeting and having the faculty vote upon this expulsion, which was the stated procedure as we have seen from the Sledd letterpress correspondence to Lieutenant Ball in this chapter. The expulsion of this popular senior just the day before graduation, of course, did not serve to further endear President Sledd to the student body. The student, who became a prominent Floridian as an adult, only received his diploma belatedly several decades later.


  1. Crow, Charles, History of the University of Florida Through 1908/1909, Archives, Smathers Library, 1937.
  2. Florida Oral History Project, transcript of interview of Mrs. Mabelle Benton, by Professor Samuel Proctor, February 26, 1969.