Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2005 Issue

Florida from King and Queen Books

Florida from King and Queen Books.


By Michael Stillman

King and Queen Books
of Pensacola, Florida, has released its 46th catalogue: Florida -- Books, Pamphlets, Maps, and Other Imprints Relating to the Sunshine State. This catalogue will bring you back to the old days, when Florida was known more for its sunshine than its hurricanes or elections. To the outside world, Florida was always a paradise of endless summers, where younger tourists played in the surf, and older northerners came to retire. And, on the surface, it was. It still is. But Florida is also a place like every other state. People live normal lives, a few lead abnormal lives, and the world proceeds much as it does in other places. So here are a few works about the real Florida from the latest King and Queen Books catalogue. They could as easily have come from someplace else, but they don't. They all pertain to Florida.

For a look at Florida before it became quite the tourist and retirement haven it is today, there is Florida, 1513-1913, past, present and future. Four hundred years of wars and peace and industrial development, by George M. Chapin. This history was published in Chicago in 1914, and includes a look at the state's history, and its relationships with the U.S. Southeast, the West Indies, and the Panama Canal. There is a map of its counties, including its incorporated cities and towns, railroads, and steamship lines. One wonders whether Chapin foresaw a future anything like what has happened in the almost a century that has passed since he wrote this text. Item 38. Priced at $275.

What was Orlando like as a tourist attraction in the days before Disney and Sea World? Here is a chance to see more of its scenic natural wonders: Orlando: the city beautiful. In the lake section of central Florida. This brochure was published by the Greater Orlando Chamber of Commerce around 1935. It promoted Orlando to the winter visitor who might otherwise have headed farther south, or closer to the ocean. Included are black and white photographs of the region. Item 74. $15.

This was a more timely piece than anyone realized when it was published in 2002. The book is, Hurricanes; four centuries of Pensacola's battle with Mother Nature, by John Appleyard. Its primary focus is on the storms which hit the area in 1906 and 1916. What no one realized at the time is that just two years after its publication, Pensacola would be hit with the full force of Hurricane Ivan. Ivan would reach category 5 status with winds up to 165 miles per hour before crashing into western Florida and Alabama as a category 3 on September 15, 2004. It left eight people dead and billions of dollars of damage in its wake. Floridians are far more focused on hurricanes today than when this book was quietly published in 2002. Item 11. $15.

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