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John M. DeGrove Papers

Identifier: MS 275

Scope and Content

The DeGrove Papers date from 1937 to 2007, but the collection primarily covers the last decades of his career, with the large majority of the materials dating from 1990-2007. The collection includes correspondence, biographical materials, writings, newsletters, publications, papers and talks, research notes and reference materials. Several files relate to his 2005 book, Planning Policy and Politics: Smart Growth and the States. These files are organized according to state or region and include news clippings, articles, newsletters, reports and notes. There are also several articles, books, and book chapters written by DeGrove.

The majority of the correspondence files are arranged by subject or by the name of the correspondent. However, there are a few folders of general correspondence arranged chronologically. There are a few files pertaining to the FAU/FIU Joint Center for Environmental and Urban Problems, but most of the files generated during DeGrove's service as director of the Joint Center are not included in this collection. Similarly, there are only a few files pertaining to his tenure as a faculty member at FAU and his service as Secretary for the Florida Department of Community Affairs.

The collection includes correspondence and publications documenting DeGrove's activities with various groups, including the American Planning Association, the American Institute of Certified Planners, the National Academy of Public Administration, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and the Nature Conservancy. There are numerous files pertaining to the 1000 Friends of Florida, including correspondence, memoranda, and clippings.

The collection includes a small number of photographs, audiovisual recordings, awards, plaques, and memorabilia.

Also included are a substantial collection of reports primarily produced by the Center Joint Center for Environmental and Urban Problems, created by the Florida Legislature as a joint center for Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University. DeGrove served as director from 1971-1998. The reports are organized by topic.


  • 1937-2007
  • Majority of material found within 1990-2007



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

John Melvin DeGrove was born May 4, 1924 in St. Augustine, Florida. He served in the U.S. Army Infantry from 1942 to 1946 during World War II. He graduated with a Bachelor's degree from Rollins College in 1953, and he earned a Master's degree from Emory University in 1954. He received a Ph.D. in political science in 1958 from the University of North Carolina. Following graduation, he worked as an assistant and associate professor in political science at the University of Florida from 1958 to 1964.

In 1964, DeGrove became a professor and chair of the Political Science department at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). From 1968 to 1972, he served as dean of the FAU College of Social Science. He also served as Provost of the FAU Broward County campus from 1980 to 1983. Throughout his career, his teaching and research interests focused on growth management, urban government and politics, planning, public administration, natural resources, smart growth, and land management. He explored ways to manage growth and change so as to assure sustainable natural and urban systems over time.

In 1971, DeGrove became the director of the Joint Center for Environmental and Urban Problems, which was created by the Florida Legislature as a joint center of FAU and Florida International University. In this position, he led applied research efforts focusing on environmental and urban issues affecting state and local governments. He directed the Center until 1998. In 1999 he was named the John M. DeGrove Eminent Scholar Chair in Growth Management and Development in the FAU College of Architecture, Urban, and Public Affairs. He retired in 2000 and was named Eminent Scholar Emeritus.

DeGrove was a longtime leader in Florida's growth management efforts and public administration. From 1972 to 1974 he chaired Governor Reubin Askew's Commission on Local Government. He was a gubernatorial appointee on two of Florida's Environmental Land Management Study Commissions. Between 1983 and 1985, he served as Secretary of the Florida Department of Community Affairs for Governor Bob Graham. He also served as a member of the Governor's Commission for a Sustainable South Florida from 1994 to 1999. He developed and championed important legislation throughout his career, including the Environmental Land and Water Management Act (1972), the Water the Land Conservation Act (1972), and the Comprehensive State Planning Act and the Omnibus Growth Management Act (1985). He also chaired or served on numerous state task forces and committees on issues such as water management, land use, growth, and the environment.

In addition to his leadership role in Florida, DeGrove was a national authority in growth management, planning and public administration. He was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to the National Commission on Urban Problems (the Douglas Commission) from 1967-1968. He served as a member of the White House Conference on Growth Management and the National Academy of Science National Research Council. He also served as a planning and growth management advisor in numerous states.

Professional associations include the American Planning Association, the American Institute of Certified Planners (Fellow, 2006), the American Society for Public Administration, the National Academy of Public Administration (Fellow, 1975), the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and the Nature Conservancy. He was a founding member and is President Emeritus of the 1000 Friends of Florida, a nonprofit growth management advocacy organization.

DeGrove is the author of numerous articles, books, book chapters and reports. His books include: Land, Growth and Politics (1984), Balanced Growth: A Planning Guide for Local Government (1991), and Planning Policy and Politics: Smart Growth and the States (2005).

Source: Biographical materials and curriculum vitae in the DeGrove Papers, University of Florida.


39.25 Linear feet (50 boxes)

Language of Materials



Publications, correspondence, research materials, reports and other papers of John M. DeGrove, an educator and prominent authority in growth management, politics, planning, public administration, natural resources, and land management.


The John M. DeGrove Papers are divided into four series.

Physical Location

Please note that some of the material in this collection are 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 the DeGrove family in 2010 and 2013.

Alternate Form of Material

Digital reproductions of items in this collection are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Related Material

The State Archives of Florida holds records for the Department of Community Affairs and the records of the Governors for whom DeGrove served in various capacities throughout his career.

Processing Notes

Additional material (reports) processed and added to the collection in 2018.

A Guide to the John M. DeGrove Papers
Finding aid created by John R. Nemmers
November 2010
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