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The P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History at the University of Florida has an extensive collection of Spanish colonial documents on microfilm. These include (1) the East Florida Papers from the Library of Congress, (2) documents from the Archivo General de Indias, Seville, collected as part of the John B. Stetson Collection on the Spanish Borderlands, (3) partial and complete legajos about Florida filmed by the Archivo General de Indias for use at the University of Florida, and (4) additional collections of materials gathered by John Worth, Matt Childs, and other historians working in Spain, the Caribbean, and Mexico.
The East Florida Papers (176 reels) comprise the local government archive of Spanish East Florida during the late colonial period (1783-1821). Originals are housed at the Library of Congress. The University of Florida and Flagler College have created a searchable online index to the Papers (some 55,000 short abstracts of the documents) at Index to the East Florida Papers. Microfilm of the East Florida Papers is available in the Special Collections or research rooms of the Jacksonville Public Library, Florida State University, University of Florida, University of West Florida, the St. Augustine Historical Society, and the Dade/Broward Public Library; by interlibrary loan from the Library of Congress and University of Florida; and in some places as a licensed digital product produced by Gale Publications.
The Spanish Land Grants for Florida, curated by the State Archives, were once part of the East Florida Papers but are now stored separately. They have been digitized and are available in their entirety online at Spanish Land Grants.
The John Batterson Stetson Collection (Reels 142B 1-62, 150,000 photostats) was originally curated at the University of Florida and is now held at the St. Augustine Historical Society. It contains documents drawn from the Archivo General de Indias and relates to all phases of Spanish activity in the Southeast Borderlands from 1518-1819. Often used as a "starting point" by graduate students undertaking research, the Stetson Collection reveals records of voyages of exploration, the attacks of English and French corsairs, the development of negro slavery in the Borderlands, the emergence of the English presence on the Atlantic seaboard, and reports on Indian customs, languages, migrations, and populations, as well as the civil, military and ecclesiastical development of posts and missions. The collection is organized by date. It has been calendared by both the University of Florida/Library of Congress (Reels 144A 1-9) and by the St. Augustine Historical Society (Reels 143 J-L). Microfilm versions of both the calendars and the collection are available but neither is online. The UF calendar is approximately 14,000 cards. Cards provide provenance, salutation or title of document, date, an abstract of contents, and the microfilm reel number on which the document appears.
Florida Legajos from the Archivo General de Indias (c. 290 reels). In an effort to obtain essential documentation on the early exploration of Florida (1513-1565), the Menendez era, and the First Spanish Period, historians and archivists at the University of Florida identified and requested microfilm copies of many legajos or bundles of historical documents preserved in the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, Spain. These microfilm copies are available in the P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History by convenio with the AGI. See the hyperlinks below for descriptions of holdings. Patronato is particularly important for early exploration. Casa de Contratacion, Escribania and Justicia contain many details of the Menendez era. Holdings in Santo Domingo are strong in 18th century documentation. Researchers should also familiarize themselves with materials that are now available online through PARES and may want to consult A Primer on Using Online Colonial Spanish Archival Sites compiled by Dr. John Worth at the University of West Florida.
Additional AGI Materials: The Papeles Procedentes de Cuba (c. 528 microfilm reels). Materials from this section of the Archivo General de Indias in Seville hold records of the Spanish colonies throughout the Caribbean and on the North American continent. They contain documentation from the mid-seventeenth century well into the nineteenth cantury and are particularly rich for the period from circa 1760 to 1821. These documents complement the Stetson and East Florida collections as they contain the records of the Spanish posts on the northern rim of the Gulf of Mexico. The Reales Cajas legajos of both East and West Florida found in the Papeles Procedentes de Cuba contain the most complete New World treasury records in existence. The calendar of the P.K. Yonge Library's holdings of the Papeles Procedentes de Cuba incorporates about 60,000 abstracts on catalog cards. The calendar is maintained in the Special Collections research room at UF and, in addition, a 12-reel microfilm version is available (Series 12-25). The table below provides general information about the contents of the legajos in the UF holdings. The collection is organized by legajo number and then by date within each legajo. Individual reference entries generally represent documents, but may represent various document details, depending on what the legajo contains (letters, court cases, etc).
Archivo de los Condes de Revillagigedo (641 microfilm reels). This massive collection of materials, from the private archive of the family of Don Álvaro Armada Barcáiztegui, contains primary source materials that lay the foundation for Pedro Menéndez de Avilés' enterprise of Florida, the establishment of Santa Elena and Saint Augustine, and the creation of La Florida as a permanent colony of the Spanish empire for more than two centuries. Also included in the millions of pages of this archive are essential materials in the study of colonial Mexico. Researchers interested in working with the papers should confer with the curator of Florida history. As this remains a private archive, made avaialble through microfilm, permission to reproduce documents must come in written form from the family. There is an a content index for the archive on the microfilm.
Other Collections of Interest. Although the digital age is rapidly making microfilm obsolete, the collections at the University of Florida have continued to expand in recent years through contributions by noted scholars. The John E. Worth Collection and the Matt D. Childs Collection are two examples of materials identified and duplicated by major historians. The first contains many documents related to the early explorers of Florida and to Native American culure. The second provides materials on militia and military organizations in Cuba. Other collections that are available include:
In addition, researchers may wish to consult the following Manuscript Collections: