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Andrew Sledd Papers

Identifier: Series P9

Scope and Content

Series P9 is a collection of the personal correspondence, notes, publication manuscripts, and memorabilia of Andrew Sledd, first president of the University of Florida. The series contains manuscripts to many of his works--some unpublished--including his unfinished memoir, "Autobiography of a Southern Schoolmaster." The autobiography begins with recollections of his childhood and ends, unfortunately, in the middle of the controversy surrounding the decision to relocate the University of Florida to Gainesville in 1905. Also included in the series are his letters to his father-in-law, Bishop Warren A. Chandler, for the years 1897-1913 and a small, but significant, group of materials related to his appointment as President of the Florida Agricultural College in 1903, his selection as the first university president, the relocation of the campus to Gainesville, and his ouster in 1909. Newspaper clippings document the controversy surrounding his 1902 article on southern race relations. With the exception of printed material and publication manuscripts, records related to his interpretation of Bible scripture and his views on church doctrine are scarce.

The series also contains limited records of others in the Sledd Family. Most significant are records of his father, Rev. Robert Newton Sledd, which consist of an estate book, some of his sermon notebooks, deeds, and miscellaneous papers. The collection has been microfilmed twice. Also, there is a microfilm reel of Sledd's Masters Thesis.


  • Creation: 1869-1939
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1897-1939



University Archives collections are available for research. Portions of the collections may be restricted due to the requirements of applicable state and federal laws, including but not limited to FERPA and HIPAA, and in accordance with best practices as defined by the Society of American Archivists.

Biographical/Historical Note

Andrew Sledd, first president of the University of Florida, was born November 7, 1870 in Lynchburg, Virginia. He earned his B.A. and M. A. from Randolph-Macon College in 1894 and did graduate work at Harvard in 1896. From 1897 to 1902, Sledd taught Latin at Emory College. While at Emory, Sledd wrote a critique of race relations in the South that appeared in the Atlantic Monthly. Although the article supported the continuation of the "separate but equal" doctrine, Sledd's condemnation of lynching was immediately assailed by many white southerners. Amid a hailstorm of controversy, Sledd resigned his position. He then enrolled in Yale's graduate school and received a Ph. D. in Latin in 1903.

After graduating from Yale, Sledd served briefly as Professor of Greek at Southern College in Alabama before being selected as president of the University of Florida at Lake City in 1904. Soon after his arrival in Florida, Sledd urged the state government to consolidate its institutions of higher learning. He quickly won the support of Governor Napoleon B. Broward, and legislation was passed in 1905 that endowed two universities, one for white males and one for white females. Shortly afterwards, Gainesville was chosen as the site for the men's university and Sledd was selected as the first president of the new University of Florida.

Sledd oversaw the transfer to Gainesville in 1906 and selected the initial faculty, most of whom had been instructors at Lake City. His tenure, though, was brief. Under pressure from the state legislature and the State Superintendent of Public Education, Sledd resigned in 1909 and was replaced by Albert A. Murphree.

Sledd went on to serve as President of Southern College and later had a distinguished career as Professor of Greek and New Testament Literature at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Sledd was also a recognized Bible scholar and a force in ecclesiastical circles in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. He died March 6, 1939.


1.5 Linear feet (5 boxes, 5 microfilm reels, and 1 bundle)

Language of Materials



Personal correspondence, notes, publication manuscripts, and memorabilia of Andrew Sledd, first president of the University of Florida.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Related Material

Series P3 contains the administrative policy records of University of Florida President Sledd.

A Guide to the Andrew Sledd Papers
Finding aid created by Dept. Staff
September 2011
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