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Helen Holton Anderson Papers

Identifier: MSS 0596

Scope and Content

Of particular note in this collection are the photographs of Puerto Rico, most of which are dated from 1936 to 1937. This album, entitled “Impressions of Puerto Rico,” contains 146 photos. Eight additional photos of Puerto Rico are available in the file Photos-Puerto Rico. The photos show views of San Juan, Arecibo, Aguadilla Harbor, Ponce, El Yungue, the Ronrico Distillery, and a Socialista Parade among other subjects. A second album contains 116 family photos. Twenty-four additional photos are available in photo files. These photos were taken in New Jersey, New York, St. Augustine, Florida, and other unidentified locations with dates ranging from 1918 to 1989. A short article titled “Visiting Florida with Nixon Smiley” and a book review of Theodore Pratt’s novel The Flame Tree, both written by Helen Holton Anderson, discuss Helen’s time in Chuluota, which she visited as a child. This collection also includes a booklet written by Tom Anderson entitled, “The Career of a Radio Broadcast Worker,” as well as several typescripts of his Jacksonville-area local sports broadcasts from 1956. Another item of interest is a handwritten speech entitled, “Cuba Before Castro”, attributed to Helen’s sister Julia C. Holton, which discusses several incidents the speaker experienced in Cuba prior to the Cuban Revolution. Also included are Julia’s will and other documents pertaining to her estate after her death in 1979. Helen served as the executor. There are several family letters and cards, primarily written to Helen Holton Anderson. Three letters from acquaintances in Germany discuss the process of leaving that country just months before the start of World War II in 1939. Other items include Helen’s husband Henry Gustav Anderson’s school journal from the years 1913-1914. The journal contains short stories, letters, and diary entries written by young Henry while enrolled at the Martin School in Massachusetts.


  • Creation: 1912 - 1989


The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Holton/Anderson family lived throughout Florida from at least the 1890s. Carl Jensen Holton worked as a building contractor for the Flagler System, building portions of the Royal Poinciana Hotel in Palm Beach and the Chuluota Hotel (aka Lake Catherine Inn) in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His daughter Helen, who appears to have collected the majority of the documents in this collection, married Henry Gustav Anderson who worked as an engineer for the RonRico Rum Company. As part of his work, the couple lived abroad for some years in Puerto Rico. Helen and Henry Anderson eventually settled in Mandarin, Florida with their son Henry Thomas Anderson (Tom) who would go on to a career in local radio in and around Jacksonville. In one document, Helen states that Tom’s radio station sat on the very same ground where her father built the Royal Poinciana several decades earlier. Tom and his father also ran Anderson Travel, Incorporated, a travel agency near West Palm Beach from 1971 to 1979. Helen and Henry retired to Fort Pierce where they lived until Henry died in 1994 and Helen in 2001. Both are buried in Jacksonville. Helen’s sister Julia C. Holton worked at First Federal Savings and Loan Association until her retirement. A speech attributed to Julia discusses her time in Cuba before the Cuban Revolution, though it is uncertain exactly when she visited or the reason for it. Julia died in 1979 and Helen served as the executor of her estate.


.38 Linear Feet (2 Boxes)

Language of Materials



The family papers of Helen Holton Anderson date from 1913 to 1989. The collection contains photographs of Puerto Rico from 1936-1937, additional family photos, Helen Anderson’s memories of her father’s work for the Flagler Hotel system, and documents related to the estate of Helen’s sister, Julia C. Holton. Additional items include a booklet and typescripts about Tom Anderson’s career in radio broadcasting in the Jacksonville, Florida area, a speech attributed to Julia C. Holton about a trip to Cuba before the Cuban Revolution, and Henry G. Anderson’s school journal from 1913.


The collection is arranged alphabetically by subject.


University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

Donated by Constance F. Gaitanis.

A Guide to the Helen Holton Anderson Papers
Finding aid created by Rachel W. Laue.
November 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