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Johns Committee Collection

Identifier: MSS 0532

Scope and Content

The Johns Committee Collection contains several documents produced by the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee as part of its investigation into homosexual activity in educational institutions, particularly colleges and universities. It also includes a file of reference material compiled by former librarian Sally Cravens.


  • Creation: 1963 - 1965



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

In 1956, the Florida Legislature established the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee, also known as the Johns Committee. Its purpose was "to make as complete an investigation as time permits of all organizations whose principles or activities include a course of conduct on the part of any person or group which would constitute violence, or a violation of the laws of the state, or would be inimical to the well being and orderly pursuit of their personal and business activities by the majority of the citizens of this state." (Laws of Florida, 1956, Chapter 31498). Headed by Senator Charlie Johns, members of the committee sought to connect members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and other civil rights activists to communism in an effort to undermine their efforts at desegregation. When these measures failed, the committee then sought to investigate homosexuals in education, particularly among students, faculty, and staff at Florida universities, starting with the University of Florida in 1958. As a result of these investigations, many faculty and students were forced to leave the university. In 1964, the Johns Committee published Homosexuality and Citizenship in Florida, which was also called the "purple pamphlet" because of its purple cover. The committee faced intense criticism after many people considered the publication to be pornographic. As a result, the Florida legislature disbanded the committee in 1965.


.21 Linear Feet (1 Document Box)

Language of Materials



Documents produced by the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee, also known as the Johns Committee, as part of its mission to investigate homosexuals in the state of Florida.


University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions of selected items in the Johns Committee Collection are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Related Materials

The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections holds the Steven F. Lawson Research Papers.

The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections also holds the Sigismond deRudensheim Diettrich Papers. Diettrich was a professor at the University of Florida who was forced to resign after being investigated by the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee.

The University of Florida Digital Collections holds Behind Closed Doors, a short documentary produced by Allyson A. Beutke, as her thesis for a master’s degree in Mass Communication through the Documentary Institute in the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida.

The State Archives of Florida holds the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee records.


Schnur, James A. "Closet Crusaders: The Johns Committee and Homophobia. In Carryin' On in the Lesbian and Gay South, edited by John Howard. New York: New York University Press, 1997.
A Guide to the Johns Committee Collection
Finding aid created by Bridget Bihm-Manuel
December 2019
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