The inventory of state, county, and town records in Florida was initiated by a local survey known as the State Archives Survey. Plans for a local survey of public records exclusive of federal records were proposed and put in effect by W. T. Cash, librarian of the state library in Florida, cooperating with the Works Progress Administration. The State Archives Survey began operating in Florida in December 1935. The Historical Records Survey was initiated as a nation-wide undertaking in the winter of 1935-36 and began work in Florida in March 1936. Because of the work of the local survey in public records, the Historical Records Survey initiated an inventory of historical records located in public and semi-public libraries in the state. In July 1937 the two surveys in Florida, the Historical Records Survey and State Archives Survey, were placed under the supervision of one state supervisor.
The inventory of public records in Florida by these surveys will result in three publications: an inventory of county records, an inventory of town records, and an inventory of state records. The publication of the Inventory of The County Archives of Florida will constitute a complete set of sixty-seven volumes, one for each county. The books will be numbered according to the position of the county in an alphabetical list of counties. The inventory of the archives of Duval county is therefore number 16.
Forms prepared by the national office of the Historical Records Survery were used by field workers in obtaining necessary information on records. Information on the forms has been comiled in entries for the inventories according to instruction received from the national office of the Historical Records Survey. Although a condensed form of entry is used, information is given as to limiting dates of extant records, title and location. In Florida a check list of county records required by statutes was prepared by a member of the State Bar Association. The inventory of the county is checked with this check list. The index to each county inventory refers to entries describing records required by law, if located in tyhe county. If any record is not located, the district supervisor of the survey aks for a statement from the county official that this record is not maintained.
Because of the history of separate surveys and combined surveys, because of the use of recheck crews, because of the final preparation and use of the Ceck List of Records of County Officials Duly Appointed or Elected According to Constitntuional or Statutory Provisions, it is difficult to set a date for the initiation and conclusion of a work in the Duval county courthouse and oyther buildings housing Duval county records. As late as October 1937, the surveys located a record of the superior court of Duval county for 1834 in the vault of the supreme court of Florida. This was returned to its proper depository, the Duval county courthouse, and is described in the inventory. The manuscript of the inventory of the archives of Duval county was submitted to the national office of the Historical Records Survey in August 1937 for editorial correction. The Check List was completed in November. The manuscript was checked in the state office with the check list of records. One hundred and twleve records were found missing. These have been accounted for. A complete and accurat inventory of records of Duval county has thus been assured.
The inventory of the records of Duval county is the work of many persons. Grateful acknowledgment of sincere and earnest work is due the many field workers who have participated in this inventory under the direction of Catherine Masters, District Supervisor. Chalres Ferris, Supervising Compiling Editor, personally rechecked many of the records and was responsible for correct entries prepared by the compiling editors. The legal essays were prepared by Humphrey Motley. The check list of records was prepared by Shannon Lining. Checking forms submitted from the field for complete information was the resposibility of the field editors in the district office under the supervision of the Field Editorial Supervisor, Virginia Maxwell. Edith Page, Office Manager, supervised the actual typing and proofreading of the inventory manuscripts to be submitted to the Washington office and ot the printer. The historical sketch was prepared under the direction of Louise Archer. Each completed volume is edited under the direction of hte supervising Editor, Dorothy Dodd. These surveys have functioned efficiently through the careful supervision of finances by the Business Manager, Emanuel J. Marquis.
An inventory of records should result in improved care of records, better supervision of records, more active interest in records on the part of the public at large. A reliable published inventory of public records is useful to all sections of hte public which have occasion to examine public records. It is the sincere wish of the survey personnel that this inventory will be used and accepted by the public and county officials as reliable and correct.
Sue A. Mahorner, State Director
Historical Records Survey and
State Archives Survey
Fbruary 4, 1938