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Joe Browder Papers

Identifier: MSS 0598

Scope and Content

The Joe Browder Papers date from 1950 to 2010 and contain research reports, correspondence, memoranda, campaign material, and ephemera belonging to American environmental activist Joe Browder. The papers primarily document his conservation work on the Florida Everglades, including his successful efforts to halt the creation of a new Miami International Airport in the Big Cypress portion of the Florida Everglades.


  • Creation: 1950 - 2010



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Joe Bartles Browder was born in Amarillo, Texas on April 10, 1938. He was a descendent of the last Delaware tribal chairman. He grew up living in a variety of places including Mexico, Cuba, and Florida. He studied ornithology at Cornell University and had a brief career as a bilingual news reporter and producer for NBC, Miami.

Browder's passion to protect the Everglades began in 1961. He played key strategic leadership roles in designating Biscayne Bay National Monument (1968) which became Biscayne National Park (1980) and his efforts blocking the planned world's largest airport in the Everglades, creating the Big Cypress Preserve (1974) and adding almost one million acres of lands and waters to the National Parks system in south Florida. He was recognized by the National Park Service as the "Citizen Father of the Big Cypress Preserve".

Browder convinced journalist, feminist and environmentalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas to start an environmental organization to save the Everglades. The organization became known as the Friends of the Everglades which was created to protest the creation of the Miami International Airport in the Big Cypress portion of the Everglades. Browder secured a federal mandate to prevent water from being diverted from the then-dying Everglades National Park. He conferred with the Nixon administration, and President Nixon himself, in a successful effort to save the Everglades from the jetport project.

He moved to Washington after serving as southeast representative for National Audubon to become the first conservation director, Friends of the Earth, co-founder of Environmental Policy Center and Environmental Policy Institute with Louise Dunlap and others where the first public interest interdisciplinary advocacy team was organized on environmental and energy issues. Joe worked with Governor Jimmy Carter to protect coastal areas then served as director of Carter's energy and environmental transition team followed by serving as an advisor to Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus on energy and natural resources issues. His environmental and energy consulting firm which became DunlapBrowder provided strategic services to businesses, government agencies, public interest groups and native American tribes including the Miccosukee, Seminole, Klamath, Navajo and Hopi. He was an advisor to automotive manufacturers on advanced technologies, alternative fuels and fuel economy. Joe was chair of the Cosmos Club's Natural Resources Group, first treasurer of League of Conservation Voters, served on the steering committee of the California Clean Energy Roundtable, was a member of the Circle of Advisors to the Hopi people's organization, Black Mesa Trust, advisory board of Carnegie Mellon University's Electricity Industry Center, chair of the ChangCe Institute Advisory Committee, co-chaired the Natural Resources section of the first InterAmerican Dialogue on Water Management and founding coordinator, later national chair, Everglades Coalition. He was an advisory board member of National Wildlife Refuge Association, member of Sportsmen's Trust Group that played a vital role in establishment of the new Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge, and advisory board of Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Joe Browder passed away on September 16, 2016 in Fairhaven, Maryland.


Joe Browder. (2021, December 11). Wikipedia. Retrieved December 16, 2021, from

The Washington Post. (2016, October 2). Joe Bartles Browder Obituary. Retrieved December 16, 2021, from


4 Linear Feet (4 Boxes)

Language of Materials



Research reports, correspondence, memoranda, campaign material, and ephemera from Joe Browder, an American environmental activist who spearheaded ongoing efforts to save the Florida Everglades. His work helped establish the Biscayne National Park in 1968, and Big Cypress National Preserve in 1974. Browder successfully lobbied the Nixon administration to halt construction on a project to build a new Miami International Airport, in what is now part of the National Park system in the Everglades.


Please note that this collection is housed in the Auxiliary Library Facility off campus and will require advance notice for timely retrieval. Please contact the Special and Area Studies Collections department prior to your visit.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Monte Browder in 2021.

A Guide to the Joe Browder Papers
Finding aid created by Matt Kruse
December 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