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Historic St. Augustine
Historic St. augustine research institute
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Funded Research

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The Historic St. Augustine Research Institute provides small grants to the Research Associates for the support of  historical, archeological or historic-preservation related research on St. Augustine.  Funded research projects have included:

  • 2015-2016
    Sam Turner Project

    Dr. Sam Turner

    St. Augustine's Bronze and Iron Artillery and equipment 1597-1601

    Sam Turner translates and studies a newly-discovered bundle of Spanish documents that contains an inventory of cast bronze and cast iron artillery and ancillary equipment that was documented in St. Augustine Florida between the years 1597 and 1601.

    Digital Report File


    Dr. Susan Parker

    Continuing excavations at the Tovar House

    Excavation at the Tovar House (see 2014-2015, above) showed that the first Spanish period stone construction was restricted to the southwest part of the present building. Susan Parker, Kathleen Deagan and Herschel Shepard continue the work to learn precisely when the original house was constructed, testing the possibility that it may be considerably earlier than previously assumed.

    Digital Report File

  • 2014-2015
    Investigating the 1565 Menendez Defenses

    Dr. Kathleen Deagan

    Investigating the 1565 Menéndez Defenses

    Excavations continue at the Fountain of Youth Park, site of the 1565 Spanish encampment. The project investigates areas thought to have been used for defenses of the community.

    Digital Report File

    Kenan Women of St. Augustine

    Dr. Leslee Keys

    The Kenan Women of St. Augustine

    Leslee Keys explores the stories of the Kenan family women, who became connected to Henry Flagler through his marriage to Mary Lillie Kenan, his third wife. Several generations of the Kenan women have been influential in St. Augustine social and philanthropic circles.

    Digital Report File

    Star of the Silent Screen

    Dr. Thomas Graham

    Star of the Silent Screen: St. Augustine as a winter film capital

    What do heartthrob Rudolph Valentino, cowboy Tom Mix, vamp Theda Bara, and "Perils of Pauline" Pearl White have in common? They all made silent movies in St. Augustine in the years from 1910 to 1926. Tom Graham leads a romp through the important, but little-studied silent movie industry (and movies) made in early 20th century St. Augustine.

    Graham, Thomas, Silent Films in St. Augustine. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. 2017.

    Jose Tovar House

    Dr. Susan Parker

    Archaeological Research on the construction of the José Tovar House

    Historian Susan Parker, Preservation Architect Herschel Shepard and Archaeologist Kathleen Deagan undertake a multidisciplinary study of the Tovar House, thought to be one of the oldest domestic buildings in St. Augustine. Excavations, architectural analysis and documentary research are intended to learn the dates of the house construction, how it was built, and what life in the Tovar house may have been like.

    Digital Report File

    Illicit trade and slavery in Spanish St. Augustine

    Dr. Diana Reigelsperger

    Illicit trade and slavery in Spanish St. Augustine, ca. 1700-1763

    During the 18th St. Augustine was a small port city at the crossroads of the Spanish, British and French American empires, but it served as an important point of illicit contraband trade and smuggling among those empires. Diana Reigelsperger analyzes Spanish and English documents to reveal the extent and the details of this illicit trade - especially in slaves - in St. Augustine.

    Digital Report File

    Excavations at the Nombre de Dios Mission Site

    Dr. Gifford Waters

    Excavations at the Nombre de Dios Mission site

    Gifford Waters undertakes excavations to fully expose a very large buried stone building foundation discovered in 2011 at the Nombre de Dios Mission. Dating to the late 17th or early 18th centuries, the identification of the building as a Church, Chapel Shrine or other function is still unknown. Archaeological work will gather more information to help understands what role this large, early stone building had at the Franciscan Mission and the La Leche shrine.

    Report Pending

    In Search of Mose

    Dr. Jane Landers

    In Search of Mose: Tracking St. Augustine's Free Black Community in Exile in Cuba

    Jane Landers searches in Cuban Archives for documents that will reveal the fates of the members of St. Augustine's free black community of Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose., exiled to Cuba in 1763. The project also hopes to document the free black St. Augustine community who went to Cuba after the colony became an American territory in 1821.

    Digital Report File

  • 2012-2013
    Pedro Menendez de Aviles in Florida

    Dr. Eugene Lyon

    Pedro Menéndez de Aviles in Florida

    Eugene Lyon distills his immense body of research and publication on Pedro Menéndez into an article-length manuscript. This will allow greater access by more people to the story of St. Augustine, and will be published by the St. Augustine Historical Society.

    Lyon, Eugene, The Oldest City: 1565-1605. El Escribano. Vol. 50.
    St. Augustine Historical Societye

    Colors of St. Augustine's History

    Dr. Susan Parker and Mr. Herschel Shepard

    The colors of St. Augustine's history: researching a historic mosaic

    Susan Parker and Herschel Shepard team up with historic paint analyst Frank Welch to sample and analyze the layers of wall paint surviving in the interior of the St. Augustine Historical Society's José Tovar House. Some of the earliest layers of paint date to the 18th century, and will allow architects, archeologists, and planners determine the formula and colors of colonial paint being used in St. Augustine.

    Digital Report File

  • 2011-2012
    Unionists in Confederate East Florida

    Prof. Tracy Upchurch

    Unionists in Confederate East Florida

    Tracy Upchurch begins work in New York archival collections to find materials that will shed light on the Union occupation of Confederate northeast Florida in 1862. Jacksonville and St. Augustine were occupied early in the war, and played significant roles in and the Union control of the St. Johns River and the supply lines for Union troops to the North.

    Upchurch, Tracy (in press, 2017) The Americanization of St. Augustine: 1821-1877 . In The Oldest City: The History of St. Augustine. (chapter 6) Edited by Susan Parker. St. Augustine Historical Society.

  • 2010-2011
    Henry Flagler

    Dr. Tom Graham

    Mr. Flagler's St. Augustine, 1885-1913

    Tom Graham continues his research on the influence of Henry Flagler  on  the history of St. Augustine and Florida, mining archives throughout Florida.

    Graham, Thomas. Mr. Flager's St. Augustine: 1885-1913. University Press of Florida, Gainesville 2014.

  • 2009-2010
    Castillo de San Marcos

    Prof. Roy Graham

    Research to support the nomination of the Castillo de San Marcos as a World Heritage Site

    Roy Graham is compiling pertinent maps, plans and documents to support a World Heritage Site nomination to the Castillo de San Marcos, and provide justification for assigning it world heritage value.

    Digital Report Pending

  • 2008-2009
    Andrew Turnbull

    Dr. Dan Schaefer

    Biography of Andrew Turnbull

    Dan Schaefer travels to archives in Scotland, England and the U.S. to  complete  research on Andrew Turnbull, a member of the Royal Council of British East Florida, and the founder of the Florida plantation colony of New Smyrna (1768-1777 ). The colony failed, and the disheartened indentured workers - mostly Greek but known as Minorcans - walked to St. Augustine, where their descendants still live today.

    Smyrnea: Dr. Andrew Turnbull and the Mediterranean Settlement at New Smyrna and Edgewater, Florida, 1766-1777.

    Florida History Online

  • 2006-2007
    Uchiz Indians

    Dr. Dan Schafer

    Synopsis of Official Spanish Correspondence Pertaining to Relations with the Uchiz Indians, 1771-1783

    This project will make critical documents for understanding Spanish-Indian relations in second Spanish period St. Augustine available online. This will be part of the "Florida History Online" project directed by Daniel Schaefer of the University of North Florida.

    Florida History Online

    Spanish Identity

    Dr. James Cusick / Mr. Carl Halbirt

    Spanish Identity and Household Daily Life in 2nd Spanish period St. Augustine: A Historical-Archaeological Research Study

    Research Associates James Cusick, Kathleen Deagan and Carl Halbirt collaborate in this project to undertake an interdisciplinary study of daily life in second Spanish period St. Augustine. Archaeological remains from individual Spanish households of the 1784-1821 period (excavated by Carl Halbirt) will be analyzed by University of Florida graduate student Deborah Mullins, and integrated with documentary information about those same households found in the Spanish archives at the P.K.Yonge Library of Florida history (directed by James Cusick).

    Digital Report File

    James Freeman Curtis

    Dr. Sherry Johnson

    James Freeman Curtis, The Journal of the US Schooner Porpoise, 1821-1822

    Inspired by portions of a young officer's ship journal, Sherry Johnson transcribes the account, which includes an eyewitness account of the transfer of Florida to US sovereignty and subsequent voyages to the Caribbean in pursuit of pirates.

    Digital Report Pending

  • 2005-2006
    Spanish and English document collections

    Dr. Susan Parker

    Research in Spanish and English document collections relevant to eighteenth century St. Augustine

    Susan Parker's study focuses on the social changes brought about in Spanish Florida by the heightened military response to permanent English presence in the southeast after 1670. Research in the South Carolina archives and in Spanish documents held in Tallahassee, Florida revealed how  personal -level connections and enmities in the southeast counted for as much as, or more than, the international wars and rivalries that emanated from Europe.

    2013 "In My Mother's House: Female Property Ownership in Spanish Florida" in Southern Women's Legal History, edited by Sally Hadden and Patricia Minter. Athens: University of Georgia Press.

    2017(in press) The Castillo Years: 1668 or 1702-1763. Chapter 4 in Oldest City: The History of St. Augustine. Edited by Susan Parker. St. Augustine Historical Society, St. Augustine.

    2018 (in press) Reclaiming Homes and Lands in Florida: Private Property and International Treaties, 1763-1821, " in Tulane European and Civil Law Forum, Tulane University, New Orleans.

    Creating a website

    Mr. Carl Halbirt

    Creating a Web Site for the City of St. Augustine Archaeology Program

    Funds were provided to City of St. Augustine Archaeologist Carl Halbirt to create a website for the City of St. Augustine Archaeology Program. The website provides on-line access to the city's archaeological projects, their results, and the artifact collections they have generated.

    Archaeology in St. Augustine

  • 2003-2004
    Uncle Jack Sitiki

    Dr. Patricia Griffin

    The Story of Uncle Jack Sitiki: An African Slave in St. Augustine

    A historical and anthropological study of the 19th century narrative of Uncle Jack Sitiki, who was a former slave of historian Buckingham Smith in St. Augustine. His was a remarkable individual story, and provides a rare first-person glimpse into African slave life in the Oldest City.

    Griffin, Patricia. The Odyssey of an African Slave. University Press of Florida, Gainesville 2009.

    Digitizing the Calendar

    Dr. James Cusick

    Digitization the Calendar of the East Florida Papers for use on the web

    Jim Cusick's digitization of the calendar cards produced for the East Florida Papers provide online access to all surviving Spanish government papers that originated at St. Augustine between 1784 and 1821.

    Index to the East Florida Papers

    St. Augustine Hurricane of 1811

    Dr. Sherry Johnson

    The St. Augustine Hurricane of 1811

    Sherry Johnson's research tells the story of the hurricane that hit St. Augustine in 1811, and demonstrates how a meteorological event can have a major impact on political policy and change.

    Johnson, Sherry. The St. Augustine Hurricane of 1811: Disaster and the Question of Political Unrest on the Florida Frontier," Florida Historical Quarterly, 84 (Summer 2005), 28-56.

  • 2002-2003
    Excavations at the Menendez Encampment

    Dr. Kathleen Deagan

    Excavations at the original site of St. Augustine: The Menéndez Encampment, 1565-66

    Archaeological excavations were directed by Kathleen Deagan at the Fountain of Youth Park site in St. Augustine, to uncover remains of the first Spanish settlement of 1565.

    Historical Archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History

    Digital Report File

    2009 Native American Ceramics at the Fountain of Youth Park Site, St. Augustine (8-SJ-31). In From Santa Elena to St. Augustine: Indigenous Ceramic Variability (A.D. 1400-1700), edited by K. Deagan and D.H. Thomas. pp. 141-161. New York: Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History. Number 90. 

    University Press of Florida

    University Press of Florida

    Support for the publication of Martin Johnson Heade in Florida by Roberta Smith Favis (2003).