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John D. Pennekamp Papers

Identifier: Ms 080

Scope and Content

This collection is primarily related to Pennekamp's environmental work, and includes several folders of correspondence pertaining to the Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials from 1966-1976. Other materials include photos, speeches, newspaper clippings, and records dealing with various conservation projects. There is some biographical information, personal correspondence, and a family history and genealogy folder that includes letters written in German from Dr. Heinrich Pennekamp concerning family history. This folder also contains some translations of the letters and a German newspaper.

The newspaper clippings in the collection deal with Florida state parks, biographical and commendatory information, court cases involving the Miami Herald and Pennekamp, and miscellaneous information. The bulk of clippings range from the 1940s to the 1960s. The majority of the photographs depict the 1947 dedication ceremony of the Everglades National Park. Speeches, which date from 1947-1967, discuss Florida's parks, general conservation concerns, local politics, and miscellaneous subjects. Of note in the collection is the 1948 correspondence with Florida Attorney General Tom Watson in which Pennekamp is called a cur for denouncing Watson's opposition to the Everglades National Park.

Pennekamp's work on other conservation projects besides the Everglades National Park is also included. Some of these projects are the Bahia Honda Park, the Hugh Taylor Birch Park, and the Everglades Park Reunion. The records for all of the projects range from 1962-1969. Furthermore, the collection houses a scrapbook from the Miami Herald titled "The Everglades National Park."

The collection also includes miscellaneous publications and documents, such as property appraisal reports, advertisements, a legal brief, and maps.


  • 1938-1977



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

John D. Pennekamp was a longtime journalist, newspaper editor, and environmentalist in South Florida. He was born in 1897 and moved from Cincinnati to South Florida after 14 years of newspaper experience at the Cincinnati Post. In 1925, he continued his newspaper career at the Miami Herald as a city editor. He also worked as the associate editor of the paper for several years, and he retired from the newspaper in 1976. One highlight of his work at the Miami Herald was winning a notable court case (John D. Pennekamp and The Miami Herald Publishing Company vs. the State of Florida), thus proving that newspapers had the right to criticize the courts.

Pennekamp was a leader in the creation of the Everglades National Park. His interest in conservation led him to serve as a member of the Everglades National Park Commission from 1945-1947 and as chairman of the Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials from 1953-1976. In 1960, Governor LeRoy Collins named America's first underwater state park the John D. Pennekamp State Park in acknowledgement of Pennekamp's dedication to conservation. Pennekamp died at the age of 81 in 1978.

Source: Some of Pennekamp's journalistic career is covered in Cornelia Mae Twigg's 1977 thesis, "Editor John D. Pennekamp: Herald of Change," which is held at the University of Florida.


0.8 Linear feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection details John D. Pennekamp's environmental career, particularly his conservation efforts in South Florida during the 1960s, as well as some of his work for the Miami Herald.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Related Material

For additional information on this topic see the John D. Pennekamp Papers held at the Historical Museum of Southern Florida.

Processing Notes

A large bound scrapbook on the Everglades was in very poor condition, so it was dismantled and its contents were rehoused in a folder. In addition, the collection includes maps that were unfolded and transferred to oversized containers due to their size.

A Guide to the John D. Pennekamp Papers
Finding aid created by Kelly Chang
April 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