Scope and Content
The Broward Papers date from 1879 to 1918, but the bulk of the papers coincide with the gubernatorial term from 1905 to 1909. The major subject covered in the collection is the drainage of the Everglades and the development of South Florida lands. Additional topics include real estate, race relations, education, labor unions, liquor, taxes, transportation, waterways, railways, and Broward's campaigns for Governor and the U.S. Senate. The collection is comprised of incoming and outgoing correspondence, speeches, news clippings, campaign material, photographs (including images of dredging operations), legislative material, and legal documents. There are a small number of articles, pamphlets, circulars, and other publications pertaining to the drainage of the Everglades, dredging equipment, forestry, sugar, and waterways. In addition to the incoming and outgoing correspondence, there are four bound letterbooks containing letters written by Broward in 1905-1909. Correspondents include numerous real estate developers, business leaders, representatives of state and federal agencies, and Florida politicians such as William Sherman Jennings.
Napoleon Bonaparte Broward was born in Duval County, Florida, in 1857. Throughout his young life he worked in various positions on farms, in logging camps, and on steamboats. As the owner of a steam tug, The Three Friends, he earned a reputation smuggling guns to Cuban revolutionaries prior to the Spanish-American War. Broward held various public positions, serving as sheriff of Duval County, on the Jacksonville city council, in the Florida House of Representatives (1901), and on the State Board of Health (1901-1904). He served one term as Governor of Florida, from 1905 to 1909. As Governor, he was instrumental in the drainage of the Everglades and encouraged development in South Florida. Following his gubernatorial term, he was elected U.S. Senator in 1910 but died before taking office.