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Moore and Bardo Family Letters

Identifier: MS 321

Scope and Content

This collection contains correspondence and transcriptions written by a northern family who came to Florida at the peak of the 1925-1926 Land Boom, but left when they discovered that work and good pay was hard to find. Most of the letters and penny postcards are from Ralph and Mary Moore and Obediah and Sylvia Bardo, addressed to each other or to their children. Obediah's letters include routine descriptions of life in Florida at a time when many people were moving there: as he notes "10,000 a day" (Oct. 10, 1925). One letter refers to mid-1920s prices of produce and products, comparing Florida's prices to those in Ohio (Oct. 16, Nov. 2, Nov. 20, 1925). In another letter, addressed to niece Ruth Moore McPeak on December 11, 1925, Obediah mocked the promotion of Florida, saying northerners are easily deceived into buying land without considering whether or not it will produce crops. He goes on to describe the Florida Boom - miles of signs advertising towns under development, where nothing had been built. In the Moore correspondence, Mary Moore writes to her daughter about a baseball game held between African American teams, refers to her husband's work in construction, and draws up a small diagram of a house they were renting for $10 a week, stating the one room house was much less comfortable than their eight-bedroom home in Ohio (March 1, 1926). Besides the letters from the 1920s, there are postcards (addressed and unaddressed) from the 1920s, and two postcards from the 1950s, sent by Obediah's brother, Clyde.


  • Creation: 1925-1957
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1925-1926



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Obediah and Sylvia Bardo moved from Alliance, Ohio, to Brooksville, Florida, in the fall of 1924. They apparently came because they were curious about Florida during its 1920s land boom. Obediah's sister Mary and her husband Ralph Moore, along with their fifteen-year-old daughter Gertrude, joined them in Florida from Kent, Ohio in November of 1925, in part at Obediah's persuasion. They believed the weather would be beneficial for Gertrude's health as she had been suffering from epileptic seizures. The Moores had two other daughters; Ruth was married to Earl McPeak, and Lela to Chauncey Myers. They remained in Ohio while their parents and relatives moved to Florida. Although Obediah found work clearing land, he did not have steady employment, and employers frequently failed to pay him. Financial stress ultimately induced the families to move back to Ohio. The Moores returned there in May 1926 and the Bardos shortly after. Obediah went back to working as a machinist at a steel mill.

Obediah Bardo was born August 9, 1880 and died March 21, 1931. Sylvia English Bardo was born August 31, 1877 and died December 31, 1951. Ralph Moore was born in 1873, and his wife Mary Emory Moore was born October 9, 1878 and died May 5, 1964. Lela Moore Myers was born 1896 and died in 1975. Chauncey Myers was born in 1890 and died 1982. Gertrude Moore was born circa 1910. [Note: Obediah Bardo's grave stone and family birth and death dates retrieved from]


0.4 Linear feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



A collection of letters between members of an Ohio family during their stay in Florida, 1925-1926.


The letters are organized by family. The first group includes all letters sent by Ralph and Mary Moore. This includes two folders of postcards sent from Mary to her daughters, Ruth and Lela, and then letters separated into individual folders by date. The second group includes letters from Obediah "Oby" and Sylvia Bardo; these are organized by folder, chronologically. Each group has one folder of transcriptions following it. Not all penny postcards have a transcription but every letter does. An original letter from February 27, 1926 is not in the collection but the transcript remains.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

Donated by Barbara Myers, June - November 2013, who also provided transcriptions.

Alternative Format Available

Digital reproductions of selected letters can be viewed at:

Genre / Form



A Guide to the Moore and Bardo Family Letters
Finding aid created by Anne Carey
December 2013
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