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"Discover our Sunshine State. Rediscover Yours."

Title: "Discover our Sunshine State. Rediscover Yours.": The Public's Participation in Florida Mythmaking in the 20th Century.
Name(s): Baker, Tiffany Marie, author
Koslow, Jennifer, professor directing thesis
Davis, Frederick, committee member
Green, Elna, committee member
Department of History, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2008
Publisher: Florida State University
Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Natural resources, the environment, and conservation movements all played an important part in Florida's past, particularly within the last half of the twentieth century. As development of the built environment within Florida and the population increased, Floridians experienced a culture change that altered the ways that they viewed the environment and the accompanying natural elements. Numerous conservation movements emerged, and individuals became more aware of the effects of these developmental changes. From this ideological transformation, writers and artists used Florida's natural features as inspiration for works that reflect sentimentally on a more natural past and also attempted to invoke feelings of indignation at the detrimental changes happening around them. Each set of artistic works analyzed in this thesis are the products of this influence. The twentieth-century landscape paintings of Martin Johnson Heade and the mass-produced works of the Highwaymen both highlight the struggle that has plagued Florida since the beginning of its widespread development: the conflict between the desire to live somewhere that is exotic and natural and the need to civilize this place in order to make it inhabitable. Heade, a Hudson River School painter, moved to Florida in 1883 to take advantage of the landscapes and scenery that Florida had to offer. His scenes contained features such as conflicts between the civilized and wild and were more vibrant than his earlier works, suggesting that Florida was to be viewed differently from other parts of the country. The Highwaymen, a group of south Florida African American painters, act as a comparison group for Heade's works. Because one of the founders of the group, Alfred Hair, was trained by A. E. Backus, a white painter who was classically trained in the Hudson River School style, influences of this style can be found in the Highwaymen's paintings. Regardless of the similarities, the Highwaymen paintings were unique to specialized mass-production techniques. Both Heade and the Highwaymen were influenced an emerging tourism culture that enveloped Florida in the early and mid-twentieth century, and close examinations of their paintings reveal these nuances. Participants in the 1985 Florida license plate contest convey similar ecological themes in their entries. The results of the contest, over 3,500 images and letters, reveal Floridians' contemporary concerns. In addition, these entries reflect the increasing influence and continuity of a cohesive Florida image that highlights the natural characteristics of the state. Other issues discussed in that chapter will include people's perception of government process, the increasing awareness about conservation and environmental movements in Florida, and the ways that Floridians felt about their state in the 1980s. When the state of Florida's 2004 state quarter was minted with the images of a Sabal Palm, a Spanish galleon, and a launched space shuttle on its face, the long-standing developmental discourse was again reinforced through the images that were selected to represent Florida nationwide. The state quarter contest, and the chapter devoted to it, serves as an addendum to the 1985 license plate contest. The finalist selections were analyzed to reveal the narrowing focus of the Florida brand at a national level, to compare the images chosen with those submitted in the 1985, and to evaluate the differences and similarities between the conduct of the 1985 and 2002 contests. Ultimately, the outcome of the quarter contest shows that themes such as ecology, history, and recreation constitute Floridians' opinions of the state. Taken together, these three groups of artistic works show how pervasive and cohesive the Florida myth has become. In the conclusion, a brief analysis of a new ad campaign produced by VISIT FLORIDA, the state's official tourism advocacy organization, will show that with each passing year, these images of Florida became inherent to Floridian culture and identity as representative of the 'real' Florida.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-7090 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Thesis submitted to the Department of History in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2008.
Date of Defense: March 27, 2008.
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Jennifer Koslow, Professor Directing Thesis; Frederick Davis, Committee Member; Elna Green, Committee Member.
Subject(s): History
Persistent Link to This Record:
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Host Institution: FSU

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Baker, T. M. (2008). "Discover our Sunshine State. Rediscover Yours.": The Public's Participation in Florida Mythmaking in the 20th Century. Retrieved from