John P. Varnum Family Collection

Finding Aid

Collection Number: M02-4
Dates: 1841-1927 (bulk 1877-1888)
Size: 2.3 linear ft. (2 boxes)
Repository: Special Collections, Thomas G. Carpenter Library, University of North Florida
Arrangement: Correspondence alphabetically by family member; chronological within folder.
Language: English
Container List: View Container List

Abstract

The collection consists chiefly of the personal correspondence of Varnum Family members and other correspondents circa 1841-1927, with the bulk of the materials from the family's Jacksonville period of 1877 to 1888. Most of the letters are outgoing correspondence to relatives from Josephine L. Dyer (signed "Josie") Varnum, wife of John P. Varnum.

Acquisition

Collection purchased in 2002.

Access to the Collection

The collection is open for research. For additional information and to make an appointment to view the collection, contact (904) 620-1533 or e-mail lib-special@unf.edu.

Preferred Citation

John P. Varnum Family Collection, Thomas G. Carpenter Library, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida.

Additional Guides

Selections from the Florida Heritage Collection: 


Brown, S. Paul. The Book of Jacksonville : a history. Poughkeepsie, N.Y. : A.V. Haight, Printer, 1895. (Information on Jacksonville Board of Trade; Journal & Journalists)

Beecher, Henry Ward, Mrs. Letters from Florida. New York : Appleton and Company, 1879. (Two letters from Mrs. Beecher are in the Varnum Collection)

Related Materials

Varnum, John P. Florida! : its climate, productions and characteristics : a hand book of important and reliable information for the use of the tourist, settler and investor / prepared by John P. Varnum ; [with an introd. by V.O. Coshow]. [Jacksonville, Fla.?] : Issued by the Passenger Dept. of the Jacksonville, Tampa and Key West Railway, 1885.

Varnum, John P. (ed.) Annual descriptive and statistical report of the industries and advantages of the city of Jacksonville, Florida. [Jacksonville, Fla.? : The Board?, 1885]. (First annual report of the Jacksonville Board of Trade)

Graham, Thomas. Charles H. Jones, journalist and politician of the Gilded Age. Tallahassee : Florida A & M University Press, c1990. (Varnum-Jones' newspaper partnership discussed)

Historical / Biographical Note

Attorney, journalist, publisher, and editor. Born on February 26, 1854. Son of John B. Varnum, Union General and later Adjutant General of Florida during the Reconstruction period of 1870-1877. Early documentation shows John P. Varnum (son) held jobs as citrus grower, Deputy Marshal and Postmaster of Eau Gallie, Florida. In 1878, he was practicing law in Jacksonville, Florida, under the partnership of Cheney & Varnum. In May 1882, he formed a partnership with the brothers C. H. Jones and George W. Jones, as Jones, Varnum & Co., to publish the newspaper, The Daily Times. In 1883, the firm bought the newspaper, Daily Florida Union, later merging it with the Times to become the Times-Union, with Varnum as City Editor.

In February 1884, Varnum was appointed the first Secretary / Treasurer of the Jacksonville Board of Trade, at a salary of $125.00 per month. He resigned this position on June 1, 1885, and in 1886, after selling his ownership in the Times, he established the Jacksonville Morning News, later the News-Herald (1887), which was absorbed by the Florida Publishing Co. into the Times-Union fold in 1888. He also managed the Florida Literary and News Bureau and represented the United Press in 1888.

 

Varnum had four children, with wife Josephine L. Dyer: Charles Archibald, Grace, Edith, and Norah. After leaving Jacksonville in May 1888, he died in Massachusetts on December 5, 1888.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists chiefly of the personal correspondence of Varnum Family members and other correspondents circa 1841-1927, with the bulk of the materials from the family's Jacksonville period of 1877 to 1888. Most of the letters are outgoing correspondence to relatives from Josephine L. Dyer (signed "Josie") Varnum, wife of John P. Varnum.

Miscellaneous materials include several nineteenth century legal documents relating to the family's real estate holdings in Florida. Of special interest in the collection are two letters to John P. Varnum, dated May 12, 1877 and April 25, 1878, from Mrs. Henry Ward Beecher, Mandarin, Florida. She was the sister-in-law of Harriet Beecher Stowe, owner of a Mandarin residence from 1867 to 1884.

All items are originals. Most letters are legible and typed transcriptions of selected letters are available.

Index Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection:

 

  • Varnum, John P. -- Correspondence.
  • Varnum family -- Correspondence.
  • Dyer, Josephine L. -- Correspondence.
  • Beecher, Henry Ward, Mrs., 1813-1897 -- Correspondence.
  • Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 1811-1896.
  • Cheney & Varnum (Firm)
  • Jones, Varnum & Co.
  • Jacksonville Board of Trade.
  • Lawyers -- Florida -- Correspondence.
  • Journalists -- Florida -- Correspondence.
  • Publishers and publishing -- Florida -- Correspondence.
  • Editors -- Florida -- Correspondence.
  • Practice of law -- Florida.
  • Legal documents -- Florida -- Jacksonville.
  • Real property -- Florida -- Jacksonville.
  • Jacksonville (Fla.) -- History.
  • Jacksonville (Fla.) -- Newspapers.
  • Mandarin (Jacksonville, Fla.) -- History.