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William E. B. Hayman Sketches

Identifier: MSS 0585

Scope and Content

This collection primarily consists of pencil and pen sketches drawn by W.E.B. Hayman between the years of 1884-1887. An artist with a well-developed sense of humor, Hayman illustrates his adventures, his misadventures, and his companions for the amusement of his family back in Rhode Island. In one series of drawings, Hayman depicts his horrifying discovery of Florida cockroaches, his bouts of seasickness, and his miraculous recovery (and subsequent feast). A frequent character in his sketches is Mr. Johnson, a Florida senator, and sometimes the artist’s host, with whom Hayman is pictured hunting, fishing, and exploring the Florida wilderness. Along the way they encounter deer, alligators, swamps, and plenty of “scrapes.” There are also several watercolor paintings of flowers, birds, and butterflies. Hayman sketched many of the drawings on scraps of newspaper, with hastily written captions. Others are on the backs of letters to his son, Willie. One of these letters contains a hand-drawn map of the land Hayman purchased just south of St. Augustine. One large piece depicts a detailed plan for a house to be built in St. Augustine on Blanco Street.


  • Creation: 1884 - 1887



The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Mounting paper is extremely brittle and friable. Researchers should take care in handling the sketches.

Biographical/Historical Note

William E.B. Hayman was born in 1837 in Sidmouth, Devon, England. It is unclear when Hayman emigrated to the United States, but by 1880 he resided in Newport, Rhode Island, with his wife Rebecca, and his three children, Willie, Clara, and Emma. He owned a business in Newport as a decorator and painter. Though he lived much of his adult life in Rhode Island, he spent several years in Florida where he worked as one of the artists on the Ponce de León Hotel, along with his son Willie. Notes from Willie credit the decoration of the grand rotunda of the hotel to W.E.B., while Willie himself worked as a gilder. Hayman’s sketches and letters suggest he quickly became enchanted by the sunshine state. In 1885 he purchased 150 acres of land near St. Augustine and built a house on Blanco Street in the city in the late 1880s that remains standing today. Hayman died in 1893 and is buried in Newport along with his wife and one of his daughters.


.05 Linear Feet (2 Boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection of personal drawings documents four years that the artist William E.B. Hayman spent in St. Augustine and Deland, Florida. Unknown until this collection appeared, Hayman was one of the artists who worked on the rotunda of the Ponce de León Hotel, now Flagler College. He later bought land and built a house in St. Augustine.


Each sketch has its own folder – when images are attached back to back to the same piece of paper they share a folder. The folders are numbered according to the digital image numbers of the images.


University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

Purchased as a joint purchase of Florida History, Rare books, and Special Collections from Maggs, LTD, London. Purchase price – 5000 British pounds.

Processing Notes

Although many of the sketches were originally part of a string-bound notebook, they were mounted on brittle paper, and were already becoming detached from the notebook at the time of the purchase from Maggs, LTD. During processing, the notebook was dismantled and all sketches are now stored in folders. There is a digital record of the notebook.

A Guide to the William E.B. Hayman Sketches
Finding aid created by Rachel W. Laue
September 2021
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