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Peter O. Knight Scrapbooks

Identifier: Ms 060

Scope and Content

This collection consists of seventeen scrapbooks. The materials contained in the volumes primarily consist of correspondence (political, business, and personal) and news clippings about and by Peter O. Knight. Also included are a few photographs, receipts, and commemorative memorabilia.

Though many subjects are included, the primary focus is the growth and development of Tampa and the State of Florida. Most articles in the collection give Knight's opinions on political and financial issues relating to Florida in general, and the Tampa Bay area in particular. One entire book is devoted to the Hog Island International Shipyard. Another subject that appears regularly is the development of Davis Islands and the municipal airport. The collection covers the years from 1895 through 1943, and is arranged chronologically.


  • Creation: 1895-1943



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Peter Oliphant Knight was born in Freeburg, Pennsylvania on December 16, 1865. He attended Valparaiso University in Indiana, where he received his Bachelor of Law degree in 1884. That same year, he moved to Florida. He helped to incorporate Fort Myers, and was elected mayor before he turned twenty-one. Knight was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1886. In 1887, he was instrumental in the creation of Lee County, and subsequently was named the first county attorney. In 1888, he was elected to one term in the Florida state legislature.

In the winter of 1889/1890, Knight moved to Tampa, Florida. He supported and led many projects in the development of the Tampa Bay area. He co-organized the first electric street railway in 1892, helped create the Exchange Bank of Tampa in 1894, organized the Tampa Gas Company in 1895, and formed the Tampa Electric Company in 1899. Other companies that Knight helped to create or served as counsel or officer for included Tampa Hardware Company, Tribune Publishing Company, Florida Brewing Company, Tampa Phosphate Company, Tampa Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Tampa Union Station Company, Ybor City Land and Improvement Company, and Florida Central and Peninsular Railroad.

From 1893 until 1899, Knight served as State Attorney for the Sixth Judicial Circuit (Hillsborough County). This was his last public office, although he continued to act as a civil lawyer and political lobbyist for the rest of his life. In 1926, he aided the city of Tampa in financing the development of Davis Islands, and in 1934 he helped the city acquire land on Davis Island to build a municipal airport, which would later be named in his honor. Also in 1934, he was awarded the Civitan Award for outstanding service to Florida. During World War II, Knight was general manager and Vice President of the American International Shipbuilding Company, which ran operations at the Hog Island Shipyard.

Knight also was a 33rd degree Mason, president of the Hillsborough County Humane Society, president of the Florida Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, and a member of multiple bar associations, the Rotary Club, and the Knights of Pythias, amongst other organizations.

Knight died on November 26, 1946.

Source: Grismer, Karl H. Tampa: A History of the City of Tampa and the Tampa Bay Region of Florida. Ed. D.B. McKay. Florida: St. Petersburg Printing Company, Inc., 1950. Source: The Southerner. New Orleans: Southern Editors Association, 1944.


2 Linear feet (17 volumes)

Language of Materials



Seventeen scrapbooks, composed mainly of clippings and correspondence, and primarily covering Peter O. Knight's political and developmental role in Florida, particularly the Tampa Bay area.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Related Material

The University of Florida P.K. Yonge Library holds other Peter Knight papers as part of the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection. The Knight papers consist of correspondence dated 1912-1940, speeches, articles, and a Supreme Court brief.

A Guide to the Peter O. Knight Scrapbooks
Finding aid created by Kathleen Cook
June 2008
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