Saint Augustine at the Library of Congress

A color photograph of framed map depicting the Harbor of St. Augustine in 1595. An interpretive label is next to the framed map.
Map of the town, fort, and entrance to the harbor of St. Augustine and vicinity, Florida, 1595]. Pen-and-ink tracing. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (167.00.00)

Welcome to the blog for the University of Florida Historic Saint Augustine (UFHSA) Governor’s House Library! Our library and archives are full of exciting and wonderful resources that tell the stories of Saint Augustine, and we are excited to be able to share some of them with you. The history of the nation’s “Oldest City” can be found all over the country, as Project Archivist Laura Marion recently discovered in Washington, D.C. She visited the Library of Congress in October and was surprised and excited to come across several prominently displayed maps of Saint Augustine in the exhibition galleries!

A hand-drawn map and report of the Castillo de San Marcos in 1743.
  English military report on St. Augustine, with plans and views of St. Augustine Castle, the Spanish watchtower on Anastasia Island, and Matance’s fort, 1743. Jay I. Kislak Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (128.00.03)  

The maps displayed in the Exploring the Early Americas exhibit are part of the Jay I. Kislak Collection in the Rare Books and Special Collections division of the Library of Congress. Kislak, a longtime Florida resident, has been an avid collector of material related to Spanish and English Florida for over 50 years and has donated many treasures to the Library of Congress. Some of the Saint Augustine maps you’ll find on display in Washington include: the first printed map of Spanish Florida, printed in 1584; a sketch of the early settlement of Saint Augustine from 1595; a 1743 illustration of the Castillo de San Marcos drawn as part of a set of drawings in a military report to King George III after Oglethorpe’s failed attempt to capture Florida for Great Britain; and a map of Saint Augustine and Anastasia Island as it looked during Sir Francis Drake’s raid in May 1589. In addition to the maps on display, the Library of Congress also holds many more original maps and sketches depicting Saint Augustine and East Florida. These maps are very valuable in researching and understanding Saint Augustine’s early history, and it is exciting to see the originals on display in the nation’s library. You never know where you might find a piece of Saint Augustine’s history!

A hand-drawn map of Anastasia Island and St. Augustine under attack from Sir Frances Drake's fleet in 1589. The map shows ships in the Atlantic Ocean and Mantanzas Bay as well as a giant blue fish. A wooden fort sit at the entrance of the bay.
  Baptista Boazio. Map and views created to illustrate Bigges’ and Croftes’ Summarie and true discourse of Sir Frances Drake’s West Indian voyage . . . With geographicall mappes exactly describing each of the towne . . . made by Baptista Boazio. London: Richard Field, 1589. Jay I. Kislak Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division (114.00.00)

Laura recently completed an inventory and reorganization project of the map collection at Governor’s House Library, which includes copies and reprints of many of the maps found in the Kislak Collection. The map collection at Governor’s House was created by the Historic Saint Augustine Preservation Board and used to help its members reconstruct historic buildings as they would have appeared in the Spanish Colonial Period. If you want to learn more about these maps and Saint Augustine’s colonial history, but don’t want to make the long trip to Washington, stop by the Governor’s House Library and take a look into the Ancient City’s exciting past.

Library of Congress maps referenced and pictured in this blog include:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s