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Fairbanks Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 0-104

Scope and Contents

Personal, business and family correspondence, books, business records (account books), and writing materials of George R. Fairbanks. This collection contains 1473 original material items, as well as 567 items which are copies of original materials. The collection contains biographical sketches of George Rainsford Fairbanks and his family history, his will, papers about personal matters, the Civil War, St. Augustine before and during the war, sale of slaves, photographs of Fairbanks, Charles Locke Beard, Charles Massey, and sketches of places such as a church in Palatka, Florida. There is a great deal of Civil War correspondence, including persons such as Senator David Levy Yulee and James Ormond.

These letters also include sketches of Anderson Station Stockade, fortifications, camps and hospitals, as well as descriptions of Civil War in Florida, and samples of Confederate and southern poems. His business papers discuss real estate matters, timber rights, the Palatka sawmill, the Bulow Plantation destroyed by Seminole Indians in 1836, preserved by the Bulow Ruins State Park, maps, surveys, correspondence and other materials. He also includes political papers and materials on Florida history, including newspaper clippings, local histories of Nassau and other counties, details about the war with the Indians, and materials on the Oglethorp expedition. There are materials on Florida authors, including a law suit against Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings related to her book, Cross Creek.

Materials related to the writings of George Rainsford Fairbanks are also in the collection including newspaper clippings, press notices, and examples of his work. The collection also contains some materials on religion, including the diocese of South Florida and the Episcopal church. Some of the materials related to St. Augustine, New Smyrna and Daytona Beach are housed in the Florida vertical files, and many of the books in the collection have been cataloged and stored separately, and can be viewed upon request.

Online Copies Available

Select materials from the Fairbanks Collection have been digitized and are available through the FSU Digital Library.


  • Created: 1817-1942
  • Other: Date acquired: 01/01/1966


Conditions Governing Access

Patrons must use microfilm (Film 9078) in Strozier Library micromaterials section in Scholars Commons. Originals used only with authorization from Associate Dean of Special Collections & Archives.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to quote, publish, broadcast or otherwise reproduce from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Special Collections & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Florida State University Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher

Biographical or Historical Information

Born in Watertown, New York, July 5, 1820, son of Jason and Mary Massey Fairbanks, George Rainsford Fairbanks received degrees of B.A. and M.A. at Union College, Schenectady, New York and a M.A. at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut.

He was admitted to the bar in New York City and the Court of Chancery and the United States District Court in 1842; in the same year was appointed Clerk of the Supreme Court of East Florida, and took up residence at St. Augustine. A "Jeffersonian Democrat," he was elected, in 1848, State Senator representing the counties of St. Johns, Putnam, Volusia, Orange, and Brevard; became involved in real estate dealings and acquired a citrus grove and much land in Florida and a home in Tennessee; was president of Florida Fruit Exchange, vice-president of Florida Horticultural Society, first president of Florida Historical Society, and honorary member of the New York Historical Society.

He was a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church; was active in educational work and a member of the group that founded the University of the the South at Sewanee, Tennessee where he built a home.

He entered service of the Confederate States in 1862, was commissioned Major and Quartermaster in the army of Tennessee and placed in charge of hospital services in Georgia and Alabama; after the war was paroled and set about recovering his land interests, mostly in Florida. Later returned to his home in Tennessee, but from 1881 until his death in 1906, he and his family spent winters in Florida at Fernandina where he built a home and edited the Fernandina Mirror.

He married, October 8, 1842, Miss Sarah C. Wright, a daughter of Judge Benjamin Wright of Adams, New York. After her death in 1858, he married, in 1860, Mrs. Susan B. Wright, widow of the Rev. Benjamin Wright, and daughter of John Beard.

Among the works of his literary career was a sketch on Early History of Florida, History and Antiquities of St. Augustine, The Spaniards in Florida, History of Florida, and the History of the University of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee.

Fairbanks died August 3, 1906 at Sewanee, Tennessee.


4.25 Linear Feet

2017 items other_unmapped

Language of Materials


Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mrs. R.G. Dudney

Method of Acquisition

Procured by Mr. N. Orwin Rush, Director of FSU Libraries and Dr. Joseph D. Cushman, assistant professor at FSU.

Accruals and Additions

Addition added to collection in 1988, originally given MSS 88-15 before merged with parent collection MSS 0-104.

Related Materials

Collection is microfilmed and use is strongly recommended. Original materials used only with the authorization of the Associate Dean for Special Collections & Archives. Film 9078, Reels 1-10: Roll no. 1: Biographical sketches of G.R. Fairbanks toPersonal Papers, 1837-1906. Roll no. 2: Personal Papers, 1837-1906 to Letters by charles Locke Beard, 1840-1893. Roll no. 3: Letters by Emma Huther (1848-1859) to Civil War 1862, Battle of Shiloh. Roll no. 4: Civil War, 1861, Confederate Flag to Fairbanks Business Papers, 1853-1859. Roll no. 5: Fairbanks Business Papers, 1845-1903 to Fairbanks Business Papers, 1837-1892. Roll no. 6: Fairbanks Business Papers, 1845-1896 to Fairbanks Business Papers, 1823-1928. Roll no. 7: Fairbanks Business Papers 1823-1928 to writings by and about George R. Fairbanks 1959-1962. Roll no. 8: Press notices on Fairbanks' books, etc. 1858-1918 to Account and Time Books. Roll no. 9: Account and Time Books through rest of collection. Roll no. 10: Contents of Fairbanks Memorial Book, Photocopy of Marriage Certificate for Edmund Kirby Smith and Cassie Selven.

Separated Materials

Materials from collection were placed into the Florida Vertical Files during processing. Items located in St. Augustine folders: (1) Visitor's Guide to Historical St. Augustine. Jan-Dec. 1965. 1 item. Brochure. (2) Old Spanish Treasury. n.d. Pamphlet. (3) The St. Augustine Historical Society's Oldest House Hoax. Pamphlet. (4) Give Back Its Lost Dignity to Historical St. Augustine, 1938. Pamphlet. (2 copies). (5) Fact Versus Fiction for the New Historical St. Augustine, 1937. Pamphlet. (6) The Oldest House in the United States - St. Augustine, Florida. books. (3 copies). (7) The St. Augustine Record. "Special Historic Restoration Issue." Friday afternoon, September 1, 1961. Items located in New Smyrna Beach folders: (1) New Smyrna, Florida - Its History and Antiquities, by Sweet, Zelia Wilson and Marsden, Rev. J.C., B.A., 1925. Brochure. (2) First Settlement in America - Diary of Mendoza. Translation obtained by Detwiler, John Y. on trip to Spain, by Detwiler, John Y. Item located in Fort Matanzas folder: (1) Circular No. 11941, Dec. 1937, by Department of the Interior, National Parks Service titled "Fort Matanzas National Monument, Florida." Pamphlet. Item located in Volusia County folder #1: Newspaper. The Observer. Daytona Beach, Florida. Saturday, January 21, 1939. Vol. 5, No. 2 (Special Issue - "Some Historical Highlights of Volusia County extending greetings to the Florida Historical Society.") 142 books with collection were cataloged and stored separately.

Processing Information

Processed September 1966. Addition to collection processed November 1988.

Fairbanks Collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US