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Gilbert Dennis Kingsbury Papers

Identifier: Ms 196

Scope and Content

The correspondence of Gilbert D. Kingsbury covers his life and business ventures in Mexico and Texas, written from Matamoros and Brownsville to his wife and his brother. Also included are speeches given by Kingsbury during his time at Thetford Academy in New Hampshire, others given in front of the Florida Legislature, and class lectures given in the East Florida Seminary in Ocala. Many of the lectures concern education, educational theories, and educational techniques.

The collection includes original letters from Kingsbury's daughter, E.G. Kingsbury, to Julien C. Yonge in 1923, in which she describes the contents and donates the materials to UF. Additional photographs of the Kingsbury Ranch and Kingsbury gravestone in Brownsville, Texas, are dated 1970.


  • Creation: 1862-1970
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1862-1863



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Born in New Hampshire in 1825, Gilbert Dennis Kingsbury (a.k.a. S.S. Burton, F.F. Fenn). became the founder and first principal at the East Florida Seminary in Ocala, Florida, in 1853. Before coming to Florida, Kingsbury taught at Thetford Academy in New Hampshire. Kingsbury was selected by the citizens of Ocala to speak in front of the Florida legislature during their appeal to place a state-funded educational institution in Ocala. The Seminary eventually would move to Gainesville in 1866, and was integrated into the newly established University of Florida in 1905. Kingsbury moved to Texas in 1855 following a scandal at the Seminary in which he was accused of having an affair with the music teacher, Anna Underwood. They were later married in Brownsville, Texas, where he became the deputy clerk, city secretary, and postmaster. He was imprisoned in 1861 for his loyalties to the Union during the Civil War, but he escaped in 1862 and fled to Matamoros, Mexico. He returned to Brownsville in 1865 and tried his hand at being an orator for the support of public education. He died at his Texas ranch in 1877 at the age of 52.

Sources: Gator History: A Pictorial History of the University of Florida by Samuel Proctor and Wright Langley (South Star Publishing Co., Gainesville, Florida), 1986. Handbook of Texas Online, under the heading "Kingsbury, Gilbert D.",


0.2 Linear feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



Gilbert Dennis Kingsbury was important during the beginning of institutionalized education in Florida as first principal of the East Florida Seminary in Ocala (1853). This collection contains portions of his correspondences, speeches, and lectures.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

Donated by Kingsbury's daughter, E.G. Kingsbury, in 1923.

Related Material

The Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin holds a collection of Kingsbury Papers, 1855-1874. For related information about Gilbert Dennis Kingsbury and the East Florida Seminary, refer to the University of Florida Archives vertical file.

A Guide to the Gilbert Dennis Kingsbury Papers
Finding aid created by Gary Simmons
July 2006
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