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Raymond A. Mohl Research Papers

Identifier: MS 236

Scope and Content

The Raymond Mohl Research Papers date from 1951 to 2014 (Bulk 1985-2011). The collection is comprised of four series including writings and talks, correspondence, subject files, and court cases. Of particular interest are Mohl's research subject files relating to civil rights in Florida, immigration within the New South, community activism in Florida, Harry T. Moore, Stetson Kennedy, the KKK, Black/Jewish relations, and Latino immigration.

Series 1: "Writings and talks, 1988-2014" primarily contains copies of Mohl's scholarly writings and talks. While many of Mohl's published articles can be found online, several talks and conference papers are either unpublished or variations of longer journal articles. The series is arranged chronologically.

Series 2: "Correspondence, 1985-2014" contains Mohl's written and e-mail correspondence pertaining to peer review, research, and developments in the urban history subfield. As one of the founders of the Journal of Urban History, scholars often sought out Mohl's expertise on related research endeavors. The series is arranged by format and chronologically.

Series 3: "Subject files, 1951-2014" contains Mohl's research subject files. Although Mohl is generally recognized for his pioneering work on urban history and national interstate construction, he wrote about civil rights in Florida, immigration within the New South, and community activism in Florida. Boxes four through fifteen contain subject files with copies of Mohl's archival research on Harry T. Moore, Stetson Kennedy, the KKK, and Black/Jewish relations, as well as an inordinate number of newspaper clippings and articles about Latino immigration for his article, "The Politics of Expulsion" (2014). Several of these boxes contain correspondence with individuals associated with his research. Box four, for example, holds Mohl's communication with the activist Stetson Kennedy through the early-1990s, which can provide insights on the civil rights movement as well as the Kennedy's engagement with current events. In addition to containing copies of Mohl's archival research for South of the South, boxes ten and eleven include his correspondence with civil rights activists Matilda "Bobbi" Graff and Shirley Zoloth and their families through the end of his life. Box eleven has original primary documentation gifted to Mohl by Elizabeth Verrick, an activist dubbed "Miami's champion slum fighter."

Series 4: "Court cases, 1992-1998" contains Mohl's consulting work and testimony as an expert witness on high profile housing discrimination cases, Adker v. Miami Dade County and Meek v. Miami Dade. Boxes fifteen through seventeen contain documents related to Mohl's involvement with these court cases.


  • Creation: 1951-2014
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1985-2011



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Raymond A. Mohl (b. 1938, d. 2015) was a historian of modern America and professor at Indiana University, Florida Atlantic University, and the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Over five decades, Mohl's research focused on urban and social history, ultimately leading to the publication of dozens of books and articles. Mohl was raised in Tarrytown, New York before completing his B.A. in history at Hamilton College. Upon graduating, he received his Master of Arts in Teaching at Yale and taught secondary social studies for two years. In 1967, Ray earned his PhD at New York University, writing his dissertation on poverty in colonial New York City. During that same year, Mohl accepted a position at Indiana University, where he coauthored The Paradox of Progressive Education: The Urban Plan and Urban Schooling and Steel City: Urban and Ethnic Patterns in Gary, Indiana, 1906-1950. Three years later, in 1970, Mohl joined the history faculty at Florida Atlantic University, where he taught for twenty-six years and published works including Searching for the Sunbelt: Historical Perspectives on A Region (1990), The New City: Urban American in the Industrial Age, 1860-1920 (1986), "Race and Space," (1993) and Poverty in New York, 1783-1825 (1971). Mohl played a pivotal role in the formation of the Journal of Urban History at a SHA Conference in 1972 and he would serve as the publication's editor from 1973 to 1977 and associate editor from 1977 to 1995. At FAU, Mohl also took an active role in department life through stints as History Department Chair and Graduate Director. Mohl ruffled feathers at FAU by clashing with administrators and delivering a stunning denunciation of creeping conservatism in academia during a 1992 convocation address. In 1996, Mohl joined the history department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he remained until his retirement eighteen years later. Here, Mohl published "Stop the Road: Freeway Revolts in Postwar American Cities" (2004), South of the South: Jewish Activists and the Civil Rights Movement in Miami, 1945-1960 (2003), and Interstate: Highway Politics and Policy since 1939 (2012). He also worked on "The Politics of Expulsion: A Short History of Alabama's Anti-Immigrant Law, HB 56" (2016), which was published posthumously in the Journal of Ethnic American History.


10 Linear feet (17 Boxes)

Language of Materials



Raymond A. Mohl was a distinguished historian of modern America, who studied ethnic, social, and urban history. His areas of interest included urban planning/interstate highway construction, civil rights in Florida, and immigration in the New South. The collection is comprised of Mohl's writings, correspondence, and research materials primarily related to civil rights in Florida.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

Materials were acquired from Raymond Mohl in 2009 and additional materials were donated, after his death, by his family.

A Guide to the Raymond A. Mohl Research Papers
Finding aid created by James Cusick, Stephen Jackson. Updated by David Meltsner in October 2017
December 2009
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description

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