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Fuller Warren Papers

 Collection — Container: Boxes
Identifier: MSS 0-257

Scope and Contents

Papers, books, photographs, memorabilia, correspondence, speeches and scrapbooks. This collection consists mainly of papers connected with Fuller Warren's public life: his campaigns of 1948 and 1956, and particularly the four years he was Governor, from January 4, 1949, to January 6, 1953. One of the best documented areas in the collection deals with Warren's controversy with Senator Estes Kefauver over crime in Florida.


  • created: 1927-1973


Conditions Governing Access

Users may access this collection at the Claude Pepper Library.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to quote, publish, broadcast, or otherwise reproduce from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of University Libraries. 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

Fuller Warren, the thirtieth Governor of Florida (January 4, 1949-January 6, 1953), was born in Blountstown, 45 miles west of Tallahassee on October 3, 1905. He was the third of seven children of Charles and Grace (nee Fuller) Warren.

The father's death and the family purse did not permit the pampering of any of the Warren youngsters. When Fuller was eight, he was hired out to a neighboring farmer as a cotton picker at 75 cents a week and room and board. Later, he drove a cart in a saw mill, "hauling away enough sawdust to dam up the Mississippi River", went to sea as a steward on a passenger ship, sold Bibles in the Alabama mountains, labored in a livery stable, toted chain in a survey party, dipped cattle, and grew two crops as a farmer.

Fuller Warren developed an early interest in politics, running for his first office, that of a page in the State Legislature, at the age of thirteen. Warren attended the University of Florida where he helped earn his way by waiting on tables. He also found time to be a cheerleader, to serve as sophomore class president, and to participate actively in debating, 2 boxing, and writing for "The Alligator", the university newspaper. Still a student at the University of Florida, Warren was elected to the House of Representatives from Calhoun County, serving in the 1927 session at the age of 21. He was a junior and had to get a leave of absence from the University.

Warren received his law degree from Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1929, was admitted to the Florida bar, and began to practice law in Jacksonville. He served three terms in the Jacksonville City Council 1931-37, where he became known for his "silver-tongued oratory" and immaculate white suits. In 1939 he was elected to the House of Representatives. In 1940 at the age of 35 he ran unsuccessfully for Governor, coming in third after Spessard Holland and Francis Whitehair. During World War II, Warren served 26 months as a Navy gunnery officer in Italy and North Africa, crossing the Atlantic 20 times.

Fuller Warren wrote three books, Eruptions of Eloquence, 1932; Speaking of Speaking, 1944; and How to Win in Politics, 1949, with Allen Morris. He also wrote a weekly newspaper column "Facts and Figures" f'rom 1940 to 1948, and was a perpetual writer of letters-to-the-editor.

The highlights of Fuller Warren's administration were: the passing of the fencing law - banning livestock from roaming Florida's highways; the passing of the "taste-test" citrus code which prevented unripe fruit from going on the market, damaging the reputation of Florida citrus; the initiation of a model reforestation program; and the preliminary planning for the Florida Turnpike. Warren's administration also got the Jacksonville Expressway system under way and arranged the financing and construction of the Sunshine Skyway at St. Petersburg.

Governor Warren made speaking tours all over the United States and in Latin American nations to recruit tourists and to invite new industries to locate in Florida.

After serving as Governor, Fuller Warren moved to Miami and practiced law there until his death, September 23, 1973. He ran again for Governor in 1956 and was thoroughly defeated, coming in fourth in a race led by LeRoy Collins. Though he did not hold public office after 1953, government and politics remained his primary interest until the very end.

There were few state or national issues during his lifetime which failed to get a public going-over by Fuller Warren, through speeches, letters-to-the-editor, or press releasesÂ. His colorful and energetic prose could be pointed and courteous at the same time. One newspaper columnist, with whom Warren took issue, wrote, "A chiding letter fromFuller Warren remains more eloquent than agreement from anybody else."

Warren never ignored a charge or a slur by the press, however slight. His counter attacks were immediate and in the strongest language barring blasphemy. He was ever prepared to "set the record straight." If a newspaper would not print his letters in full, he would publicize what he had to say by press release, paid advertisement, or printed handout.

Always controversial, Fuller Warren had many friends and many enemies. The latter found fault with practically everything he did and referred to his "Southern-fried inanities. " His friends saw him as a "big-hearted guy", one of the fairest and most conscientious men in the world and believed that most of his difficulties stemmed from these admirable traits.

It seems that everyone who knew Fuller Warren would agree that, whatever else he was, he was colorful: as a political figure and as a private person. Herb Rau, columnist for the Miami News said in 1973, "Fuller is an off-the- cuff spellbinder, whose ad lib virtuosity cannot be matched even by Senator Sam the Bible-quoting maestro of the Watergate hearings."


60900.00 items

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The Fuller Warren Papers are divided into two series: Official Papers and Personal Papers. There are several subseries contained within the two series.

Physical Location

Claude Pepper Library.

Fuller Warren Papers
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

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