Minnie Moore-Willson Papers (University of Miami)

The Minnie Moore Willson Papers document the life and career of a noted Florida writer and advocate for the Seminole Indians of Florida. Minnie Moore Willson came to Kissimmee, Florida in the 1880s with her real estate developer husband. Both of the Willsons were nature lovers and defenders of the rights of Seminole Indians. Due to their activism, a large tract of land now in the Everglades National Park was set aside as a Seminole Indian Reservation. The collection consists of correspondence with individuals including Florida Senator Duncan Fletcher and Florida Representative Ruth Bryan Owen. Correspondence files also include letters with Seminole Indians such as Billy Bowlegs, Tony Tommie and other prominent Seminole Indian chiefs.

The collection also contains a number of manuscripts by M.M. Willson related to the Seminole Indians and such issues as the equality of blacks and Southern politics. Minnie Moore Willson wrote extensively about the Seminoles and their life in the Everglades. Additional material relates to the creation of a bird sanctuary in Kissimmee, Florida and documentation of the Willson's efforts to have the 100,000 acre tract of land in the Everglades set aside for the Seminole Indians.

The Papers also include materials related to her husband James Mallory Willson, a prominent Kissimmee businessman and a defender of Seminole Indian rights. These papers contain business records including correspondence, abstract of titles (original and copies) scrapbooks, and financial records from the 1880's to the 1930's. The files also contain manuscripts, correspondence and material collected or written by Elizabeth Cantrell, niece of James Mallory Willson. Correspondence to and from S.B. Aultman (Elizabeth Cantrell's father and brother-in-law of J.M. Willson)and letters with Dr. Howard Kelly, a family friend and widely known surgeon are also organized in these files.

Description prepared by Ruthanne Vogel, University of Miami.


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