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A Guide to the Gilbert Dennis Kingsbury Papers

Finding aid created by Gary Simmons

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
July 2006

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Kingsbury, Gilbert Dennis
Title: Gilbert Dennis Kingsbury Papers
Dates: 1862-1970
Bulk dates: 1862-1863
Abstract: Gilbert Dennis Kingsbury was important during the beginning of institutionalized education in Florida as first principal of the East Florida Seminary in Ocala (1853). This collection contains portions of his correspondences, speeches, and lectures.
Extent: 0.2 Linear feet. 1 box.
Identification: Ms 196
Language(s): English

Biographical/Historical Note

Born in New Hampshire in 1825, Gilbert Dennis Kingsbury (a.k.a. S.S. Burton, F.F. Fenn). became the founder and first principal at the East Florida Seminary in Ocala, Florida, in 1853. Before coming to Florida, Kingsbury taught at Thetford Academy in New Hampshire. Kingsbury was selected by the citizens of Ocala to speak in front of the Florida legislature during their appeal to place a state-funded educational institution in Ocala. The Seminary eventually would move to Gainesville in 1866, and was integrated into the newly established University of Florida in 1905. Kingsbury moved to Texas in 1855 following a scandal at the Seminary in which he was accused of having an affair with the music teacher, Anna Underwood. They were later married in Brownsville, Texas, where he became the deputy clerk, city secretary, and postmaster. He was imprisoned in 1861 for his loyalties to the Union during the Civil War, but he escaped in 1862 and fled to Matamoros, Mexico. He returned to Brownsville in 1865 and tried his hand at being an orator for the support of public education. He died at his Texas ranch in 1877 at the age of 52.

Sources: Gator History: A Pictorial History of the University of Florida by Samuel Proctor and Wright Langley (South Star Publishing Co., Gainesville, Florida), 1986. Handbook of Texas Online, under the heading "Kingsbury, Gilbert D.",

Scope and Content

The correspondence of Gilbert D. Kingsbury covers his life and business ventures in Mexico and Texas, written from Matamoros and Brownsville to his wife and his brother. Also included are speeches given by Kingsbury during his time at Thetford Academy in New Hampshire, others given in front of the Florida Legislature, and class lectures given in the East Florida Seminary in Ocala. Many of the lectures concern education, educational theories, and educational techniques.

The collection includes original letters from Kingsbury's daughter, E.G. Kingsbury, to Julien C. Yonge in 1923, in which she describes the contents and donates the materials to UF. Additional photographs of the Kingsbury Ranch and Kingsbury gravestone in Brownsville, Texas, are dated 1970.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research.

Related or Separated Material

The Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin holds a collection of Kingsbury Papers, 1855-1874. For related information about Gilbert Dennis Kingsbury and the East Florida Seminary, refer to the University of Florida Archives vertical file.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Gilbert Dennis Kingsbury Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Kingsbury's daughter, E.G. Kingsbury, in 1923.

Contents List


Box Folder
1 1 1923 letters from E.G. Kingsbury to Julien C. Yonge [including a St. Augustine Oration by Gilbert D. Kingsbury (no date) and E.G. Kingsbury's description of the papers] 1923 and not dated
1 2 Kingsbury correspondence from Matamoros, Mexico. 1862-1863

Speeches and Lectures

Box Folder
1 3 Speech for more funds (Ocala).
1 3 Cheap Literature (two parts).
1 3 Reactions to the Austin Convention.
1 3 Correct Education.
1 4 Sunday School.
1 4 Elocution.
1 4 Fourth of July (Ocala).
1 4 Lectures on Education (five parts).
1 5 Valediction at Thetford.
1 5 Catholics in Maryland.
1 5 Iroquois.
1 5 Plea to Jury.
1 5 Republican History.
1 5 May Day.
1 5 Presentation at Thetford.
1 5 Native Americanism.
1 5 Destruction of the Democratic Party.
1 5 Florida as a Part of the Emigrant South.


Box Folder
1 6 Kingsbury Ranch in Brownsville, Texas. 1970
1 6 Gravestone of Gilbert Dennis Kingsbury in Brownsville, Texas. 1970

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Education -- Florida -- History.
Education, Higher -- Florida.
Ocala (Fla.) -- History -- 19th century.
State universities and colleges -- Florida -- History.

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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