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Laura Mabel Brooking Collection

Identifier: MS Group 172

Scope and Content

The Laura Mabel Brooking Collection is primarily comprised of photographs and photographic cards showing people and places in the Panama Canal Zone during the period of its construction, though only a few photographs show the actual construction of the canal. Subjects detailed in the photographs include daily life for individuals and families, transportation via locomotives, buildings, and the landscape of the region. Also included are a large pictorial publication and a magazine, both of which feature images of the canal. The majority of the photos are unidentified and undated.

Additionally, some artifacts are housed in the collection. These include Canal Zone soil samples contained in two glass vials; two pennants from Panama, one from the Canal Zone High School; and a certificate from the Independent Order of the Panamanian Kangaroos, the largest and strongest fraternal organization in the Canal Zone, presented to F. Byram.


  • Creation: 1906-1913, 1969, undated



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Laura Mabel (Byram) Brooking was born on February 23, 1898. Her father, Fred Byram, was a locomotive engineer in Panama and the family lived in various places including Culebra and Cristobal. She grew up in the Canal Zone during the years it was under construction and attended the Canal Zone High School. She married Howard Brooking in 1920.


0.4 Linear feet (1 Box)

Language of Materials



Laura Mabel (Byram) Brooking, daughter of Fred Byram, locomotive engineer in Panama, grew up in the Canal Zone during the years of its construction. This collection contains photographs, publications, artifacts, and postcards detailing people and places in the Zone during this period, including depictions of daily life, transportation, buildings, and the regional landscape.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated in 1991 by Rosalie Byram Moore, daughter of Laura Mabel Brooking, with the assistance of Eleanor D. Burnham, former chief librarian of the Panama Canal Zone.

A Guide to the Laura Mabel Brooking Collection
Finding aid prepared by John R. Nemmers
August 2004 (revised February 2016)
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