May Mann Jennings
May Mann Jennings was born in Bayonne, Centerville, New Jersey in 1872.
Her family moved to Jacksonville, Florida while she was an infant. She
graduated from St. Joseph's convent in St. Augustine and married William
Sherman Jennings on May 12, 1891. During her husband's administration
as Governor, she was known in Florida for her outstanding civic and
political service. Jennings was an organizer of the Duval County
Federation of Women's clubs and was president of the Florida Federation of
Women's Clubs. Jennings was known as the "Mother of Florida Forestry" for
she took a large part in securing the legislative act creating the state
Board of Forestry. She was also instrumental in the development of Royal
Palm State Park near Homestead, now part of the Everglades National Park.
Mary Mann Jennings died on April 25, 1963.
Biography prepared by Ruthanne Vogel, University of
Excerpts from May Mann Jenning's
letter to Minnie Moore-Willson, May 12, 1915, University of Miami
"I am thoroughly acquainted
with the work in the Glades and probably know more of it than any other
woman in the State, and my husband has had a great deal to do with the
work for the State a well as private individuals as a lawyer, and I know
of no scandal of any kind that could be unearthed in connection with the
Glades, and even if there was, it would not be the part of the Federation
to take part in giving Florida a black eye...
I think you realize from this
letter that there is not the difference that you imagined existing in our
attitude towards the Indians, except that I do not feel that the drainage
of the Everglades and the exploiting of land scandal, even if it exists,
has anything whatsoever to do with the State's attitudes towards the
Indians, nor its duty to provide for them...'"
Photograph of May Mann Jennings, 1901
Photo courtesy of Florida Photographic Collection,
Florida State Archives