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A Guide to the Albert DeVane Collection

Finding aid created by Rachael Davis

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
April 2007


Descriptive Summary

Creator: DeVane, Albert (George Albert)
Title: Albert DeVane Collection
Dates: 1950-1966
Abstract: The Albert DeVane Collection represents a portion of the papers and photographs of a historian who focused his life on Seminole Indian culture. The writings and photographs in the collection center around Seminole Indians from the Brighton Reservation.
Extent: 2 Linear feet. 2 boxes.
Identification: Ms 212
Language(s): English
Online Content Items from this collection have been digitized and are available online in the UF Digital Collections. For more information please see the note below.

Biographical/Historical Note

Albert DeVane was born in Plant City, Florida, in 1895. DeVane's family had a long history in the land which prompted his interest in Florida history. He became a close friend to Billy Bowlegs III, and through him became a highly respected amateur historian of Seminole history. Through his friendship with Bowlegs, he also became a surrogate member of the Seminole community, being one of the small number of white men to be invited to the annual Green Corn Dance. He was an avid student of Seminole customs, language, history, and genealogy. Although he never published a book while he was alive, he wrote down many narratives of Seminole history and freely made himself available to anyone interested in Seminole history. Many of his writings were collected in DeVane's History of Early Florida, Volumes I and II. Family members and journalists remember him as a larger than life figure. DeVane died of a heart attack in 1969 at the age of 64.

Sources: Interview by Rachael Davis with Dwight DeVane (Albert DeVane's nephew). March 29, 2007. Max Hunn, "Candy Bar Historian," (date and place of publication unknown), in the DeVane Collection. "Deaths: Albert DeVane, Noted Historian of the Seminoles," (newspaper title unknown), August 13, 1969, in the DeVane Collection.


Scope and Content

The DeVane Collection can be divided into four categories: writings by DeVane, photographs of the aftermath of Hurricane Donna (1960), photographs of construction at the Brighton Reservation, and general photographs of Seminole Indian culture. The writings by DeVane include correspondence to D.B. McKay, a columnist for the Tampa Tribune, and to Edward T. Keenan, a military historian. They also include speeches, narratives and stories written by DeVane based on his knowledge of Seminole history.

Photographs taken from the 1950s through the early 1960s make up the bulk of the collection, which also includes some color Polaroids and some reproductions of 19th century photographs. At least one third of the photographs show Billie Bowlegs III in ceremonial attire or demonstrating various traditional crafts and skills. Bowlegs was an elder at the Brighton Reservation. Although he was not a full Seminole, he became famous for being the oldest living tribal member. He died in 1965 at the age of 102. Other photographs depict schoolrooms, beauty pageants, and daily life from the period. DeVane also collected reproductions and pencil-sketch portraits of famous tribal members by the artist Robert West. These are in the collection along with some information on another artist, James Hutchinson, who specialized in depictions of Seminole life.


Access or Use Restrictions

Access

The collection is open for research.


Related or Separated Material

See also the Albert DeVane Collection at the Sebring Historical Society. Transcripts of interviews with DeVane are available from the University of Florida Oral History Collections.


Administrative Information

Alternate Form of Material

Digital reproductions of items in this collection are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Albert DeVane Collection, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

Materials donated by Laymond Hardy and others.


Contents List

Papers and Photographs


Box
1 Biographical Materials
1 General Correspondence
1 Copies of letters sent to D.B. McKay
1 Copies of letters sent to Edward T. Keenan
1 Speeches
1 Narratives/ Stories
1 Correspondence (misc.)
1 Correspondence of Laymond Hardy (misc.)
1 James Hutchinson (painter), photo and news clipping
1 Newspaper Clippings, Miami Herald/ Tampa Tribune- Seminole related
1 Miscellaneous art
1 Photos of 1960 hurricane
1 Photos of 1960 hurricane
1 Photos of 1960 hurricane
1 Photos 51-80 of Seminoles from DeVane's notebooks
1 Photos 81-100 of Seminoles from notebooks
1 Photos 101-120 of Seminoles from notebooks
1 Photos 121-135 of Seminoles from notebooks
1 Photocopies of construction on Brighton Reservation with captions
1 Original photos of construction on Brighton Reservation
1 Original photos of construction on Brighton Reservation
1 Original photos of construction on Brighton Reservation
1 Photocopies of construction on Brighton Reservation with captions
1 Original photos of construction on Brighton Reservation
1 Original photos of construction (miscellaneous)
1 Photos of houses and chickees
1 Photos of houses and chickees
1 Memo pad with writings
1 Sketchbook with portraits of Seminoles by Robert West
1 Scrapbook with photo reproductions of portraits by Robert West


Photographs


Box
2 Seminole Indians Groups- Later period
2 Seminole Indians Portraits- of Women
2 Seminole Indians- Women and Children
2 Seminole Indians- Children
2 Seminole Indians Groups- Early period
2 Seminole Indians Portraits- of Men
2 DeVane- Award
2 Seminole Indians- Events
2 Seminole Indians- Activities
2 Brighton Indian- Home
2 Brown Trading Post
2 Seminole Indians- views
2 Seminole Indians- Beauty Contest
2 Seminole Indian- Historic Marker
2 Osceola Sculpture
2 Seminole Indians- group of three men
2 Seminole Indians- Funerals and Burials
2 Billie Bowlegs III- Groups
2 Billie Bowlegs III- Dedication and Memorial
2 Billie Bowlegs III- in Ceremonial attire
2 Billie Bowlegs III- in Ceremonial attire
2 Billie Bowlegs III- Activities (color photos)
2 Billie Bowlegs III- Activities
2 Billie Bowlegs III
2 Billie Bowlegs III- Albert DeVane, and others (negatives)
2 Billie Bowlegs III- Groups from DeVane ledger (black)
2 Billie Bowlegs III-Activities from DeVane ledger (black)
2 Billie Bowlegs III- from DeVane ledger (black)
2 Billie Bowlegs III- in Ceremonial attire from DeVane ledger (black)
2 Billie Bowlegs III- in Ceremonial attire from DeVane ledger (black)
2 Seminole Indians- from DeVane ledger (black)
2 Seminole Indians- color prints from DeVane ledger (black)
2 Seminole Indians - from DeVane ledger (tan)
2 Seminole Indians- from DeVane ledger (green)
2 Seminole Indians- from DeVane ledger (green)
2 Seminole Indians- Miscellaneous
2 Seminole Indians- Miscellaneous Negatives



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