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Record Group Number: 900000
Series/Collection Number: M84- 30
Creator: Jennings, William Sherman, 1863-1920
Title, Dates: Papers, ca. 1900-1916.
Amount: 0.50 cubic ft.
Medium Included:
Organization/Arrangement: By record type.
Terms Governing Use:
Biographical/Historical:     William Sherman Jennings was born March 24, 1863 at Walnut Hill, Illinois.  He attended Southern Illinois Normal and Union Law School in Chicago.  He moved to Brooksville, Florida in 1885 to complete his legal studies, and began practicing law there in May 1886.  He was appointed Circuit Court Commissioner in 1887.  The following year he became County Judge of Hernando County.  He resigned as Judge in 1893 to serve in the House of Representatives from Hernando County and was Speaker of the House in 1895. Jennings received the Democratic nomination for Governor at the State Party Convention (the last one to be held) in Jacksonville in 1900.
    As governor, Jennings advocated the primary election system to displace the convention method of selecting candidates.  The first statewide primary was held in 1902.  He saved 3,000,000 acres of public land and laid the groundwork for other reclamation projects, including the Everglades.  After leaving office, he was appointed by Governor Broward as General Counsel of the state's Internal Improvement Fund, which oversaw the reclamation of the Everglades. He also served as Chairman of the federal Reclamation and Drainage Commission. He died on February 28, 1920 in St. Augustine, Florida.
Summary:     The collection contains the papers of the Jennings family relating to Florida Governor William Sherman Jennings, including photographs, newspaper clippings, speeches, and other documents.  Of particular interest are several items relating to the Torrens system of land titles which Jennings advocated.  The collection also contains Governor Jennings' message to the 1903 Legislature, in which he called for the draining of the Everglades, and a report from the Democratic Party against the conditions of convict labor that interfere with free labor.  It also contains the Report of the State Treasurer, 1901-1902.
    The photographs contain images of Governor Jennings, his family, and his cabinet members. Several images include Governor Jennings and his cabinet observing the progress of the Everglade drainage project in 1909.  There are also images of Governor Jennings with Governors Gilchrist and Broward.  One image depicts Governor Jennings attending a 1901 Emancipation Day celebration at Lake Jackson in Tallahassee.  Another image depicts Governor Jennings and his cabinet standing in front of African Americans doing construction work on the Capitol grounds.  In addition, this collection contains Images of Mrs. Jennings at the christening ceremony of the USS W.S. Jennings.
Finding Aids: Searchable index to selected images are available on the Florida Photographic Collection web site at
Additional Physical Form:
Reproduction Note:
Location of Originals/Duplicates:
Associated Materials:
Language Notes:
Ownership/Custodial History: Donor is granddaughter of Governor Jennings.
Publication Note: Selected photographs are published on the Florida Photographic Collection web site at
General Note:
Electronic Records Access:
Subject Access Fields: Florida. Governor (1901-1905 : Jennings)
Torrens system Florida
Governors Florida
Photographs. aat
Florida Politics and government 1865-1950
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