Historic St. Augustine Research Institute awards Dr. Thomas Graham for recent book “Silent Films of St. Augustine”
The Historic St. Augustine Research Institute, a group that contributes to local historic preservation efforts, have awarded their annual William L. Proctor award of $1,000 to Dr. Thomas Graham for his most recent book, “Silent Films of St. Augustine” (University Press of Florida). This is a juried award competition for writing at the undergraduate level and above in the areas of history, archaeology and architecture.
The award’s namesake, Dr. William L. Proctor, was appointed president of Flagler College in the spring of 1971. He served in that position until his appointment as chancellor, a position he currently holds.
Graham, Professor Emeritus at Flagler College, has several other published works including, “Flagler's St. Augustine Hotels” (Pineapple Press, 2004), “The Awakening of St. Augustine” (St. Augustine Historical Society, 1978), “Charles H. Jones, Journalist and Politician of the Gilded Age” (University Press of Florida, 1990) and “Mr. Flagler's St. Augustine”. Graham has also served in various roles within the St. Augustine Historical Society and the Florida Historical Society.
“Silent Films of St. Augustine” explores the time period of 1906 – 1926 when Graham says more than 120 silent films were shot in town, a location mostly overlooked by the history books.
“Jacksonville ranked first as Florida’s movie venue,” said Graham. “But just thirty-five miles to the south lay St. Augustine…the colonial stone houses, narrow streets, and exotic architecture provided ready-made backdrops for making scenes supposedly set in Spain, France, Italy, and even India, China, and Hawaii. The ‘tropical’ surroundings of the town could stand in for African jungles, while the sand dunes of the beach became deserts of the Sudan.”
“Silent Films of St. Augustine” is available at most online and retail locations, including Flagler’s Legacy shop.