Skip to main content

Administrative Policy Records of the University of Florida Office of the President (Albert Alexander Murphree)

Identifier: Series P4

Scope and Content

This series contains the administrative papers of the second president of the University of Florida, Albert Alexander Murphree. Included are files of correspondence with various academic units. Of particular note, are the files related to the College of Education and, to a lesser degree, the colleges of Law, Business, and Architecture. There is extensive correspondence re-lated to the Military Department, including records concerning the development of the Student Army Training Corps and its successor, the Reserve Officer Training Corps. There is also correspondence with members of the Florida Board of Control and other state and federal officials. Significant correspondence can also be found in the files concerning Ludwig W. Buchholz and the letters of William Jennings Bryan. Buchholz was a professor of education accused of disloyalty during World War I. Bryan's correspondence with Murphree deals with temperance, the teaching of evolution, and the university's YMCA building campaign. The last is extensively documented in the YMCA files as well. Other topics of interest include the Southern Education Board, the General Education Board, and several hazing in-cidents. Records for 1926 are scant.

Folder title lists exist for the Subject, Reports, and Miscellany files. A register for the General Correspondence was created that includes a list of correspondents' names as well as brief information on the subject content of the letters.


  • Creation: 1906-1933



University Archives collections are available for research. Portions of the collections may be restricted due to the requirements of applicable state and federal laws, including but not limited to FERPA and HIPAA, and in accordance with best practices as defined by the Society of American Archivists.

Biographical/Historical Note

Albert Alexander Murphree was born on 29 April 1870 in the village of Walnut Grove, Alabama. He spent his childhood years there and attended the local academy. He enrolled in the University of Nashville where he received his Bachelor of Arts in 1894.

Murphree's professional career before coming to Florida was lim­ited to teaching mathematics, a favorite subject of his, at high schools and small colleges across the South. In 1895, he re­ceived an appointment as instructor of mathematics at the West Florida Seminary in Tallahassee. Two years later, he assumed the presidency of that institution. The same year, he married Jennie Henderson, daughter of a seminary trustee. Seeing the need for college level education in western Florida, Murphree expanded and upgraded the seminary’s curriculum. In 1901, the seminary became the Florida State College. Murphree gave his duties as president a personal touch by participating as coach in such activities as drama, football, and basketball.

When the Florida legislature created a new state university in 1905, Murphree was the Board of Education’s favorite for the post of president. The Board of Control and Governor Broward, however, preferred Andrew Sledd, president of the University of Florida at Lake City, who received the appointment as the University of Florida’s first president. Murphree stayed in Tallahassee and served as the first president of the Florida State College for Women. When political pressure forced Sledd's resignation in 1909, Murphree was cho­sen to be his successor.

Upon his arrival in Gainesville, Murphree immediately reorganized the University into four aca­demic col­leges: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Law, the College of Agriculture, and the College of Engineering. The Graduate School was also created in that year. A Teachers' College and Normal School were established in 1912, a School of Pharmacy in 1924, a School of Architecture in 1925, and the College of Commerce and Journalism in 1927. During his term some forty-six buildings were erected, including ten major structures.

Murphree encouraged faculty participation in the running of the University by forming a number of standing committees to oversee curriculum, student affairs, and public relations. He stressed the importance of faculty involvement in professional and civic organi­zations and set an ex­ample by serving on the Florida State Teacher's Association, the National Education Association, the National Association of State Universities (vice-president, 1921), and the Florida State Educational Association (president, 1906). A Baptist, he led several denominational brotherhoods.

Murphree died in his sleep on December 20, 1927. Vice President James Farr served as acting president until the arrival of John J. Tigert in September, 1928.


10.3 Linear feet (26 boxes)

Language of Materials



Administrative papers of the second president of the University of Florida, Albert Alexander Murphree.


Organized into four sections: Subject Files, General Correspondence, Reports, and Miscellany. The Subject Files, Reports, and Miscellany are arranged alphabetically by subject. The General Correspondence, includes incoming and outgoing mail and is arranged first by year and then alphabetically by correspondent. In cases where there was only outgoing correspondence from Murphree, the letters are filed under Murphree's name and then further arranged alphabetically by the names of the addressees.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Processing Notes

Archivist's note: The Murphree records, as well as those of Presidents Tigert and Miller, were apparently rearranged by librarians when the University Archives was established. In the case of Murphree, the process was never completed and parts of Murphree's subject files survived. Additional materials (including the Bryan and Buchholz records) were added to the Subject Files in 1996 from records previously in the custody of the University Historian, Professor Samuel Proctor. Consequently, parts of correspondence with certain individuals may be found in both the Subject Files and the General Correspondence.

This finding aid was revised in August 2022. Recognizing that historical terms do not always completely or directly map to contemporary terms, that historical terms can be offensive or inaccurately describe a person or group, and that the presence of both historical and contemporary terms may be useful for researcher discovery, the archivist has attempted to employ historical terms as they originally appear in the context of the collection, in the description, along with contemporary terms in brackets.

A Guide to the Administrative Policy Records of the University of Florida Office of the President (Albert Alexander Murphree)
Finding aid created by Dept. Staff
September 2011 (Updated August 2022)
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America