Organization of Materials

The Viola Muse Collection at the Jacksonville Historical Society

The Viola Muse Collection at the Jacksonville Historical Society (JHS) is organized thematically into eighteen folders. We have respected that structure, implementing those folders as collections on this site. We have also reproduced the names of the folders as found in the archive. Our understanding is that the division of the collection into folders occurred at some point following Muse's death. We have, however, regarded that structure, as well as the names given to the folders, as facts that are part of the history of the collection that should be documented in our edition.

Because we have followed the organization of the physical materials, collections 1-18 can effectively function as an inventory of the Viola Muse Collection at JHS. When browsing items within folders, they are sorted by default on the identifiers we have imposed, which mirror, in most cases, the order of the items within the physical folders (those identifiers are the same as the XML filenames; see XML Files for an explanation of our naming protocol). All documents in the edition, including ancillary materials not held at JHS, can be seen on one page in our Inventory. No complete accounting of the collection existed prior to the creation of this edition.

The organization of the physical materials is complex for numerous reasons.

1. The content of some items crosses the thematic lines of the folders, and in some cases, items appear to be located physically in folders that are not the most appropriate in terms of their content.

This circumstance is particularly acute in the case of John Henry Adams (2 of 3), the two pages of which reside in different folders. The first is located in JHS Folder 2 ("Art") and the second in JHS Folder 8 ("Literature — Newspapers"). We leave the image of the second page named to reflect its location in JHS Folder 8 (jhs-195918-08-01-01.jpg), and include it in the document which is cataloged in JHS Folder 2, along with the other two in the series, which are John Henry Adams (1 of 3) and John Henry Adams (3 of 3).

2. In a few instances, individual sheets of paper in the collection contain material that pertains to more than one document. For example, in JHS Folder 2 we find one piece of paper that gathers material that we have regarded as comprising four separate items. The front contains Thelma Livingston Roberts and Smart P. Livingston (2 of 4), while on the back we find G.H. Leaphart (2 of 2) and Description of Painting of "Indian Chief". In a similar fashion, the second half of page 20 and page 22 of the Charles Coates Interview Notes contain material that corresponds to the Irene Coates Interview Notes. Pages 19b and 21b of the Charles Coates Interview Notes contain a series of calculations that fall outside the logical flow of that item and that pertain to both Charles Coates and Irene Coates. Material Related to "Early Jacksonville History: Introduction" (1 of 2) and Material Related to "Early Jacksonville History: Introduction" (2 of 2) occupy the same side of one sheet of paper, with each block of text oriented opposite the other (one is read with page upside-right, the other with page upside-down). Smart P. Livingston (4 of 4) and Zora Neale Hurston are likewise found on the same piece of paper. Alternate page 4 (2 of 2) of Irene Coates Narrative (1 of 4) occupies the same sheet, also inverted vertically, as Material Related to "Early Jacksonville History: Introduction".

3. In one case, two pages of a document—pages 4 and 5 of Irene Coates Narrative (1 of 4)are typed on the same sheet of paper, with the lines of the second inserted between the lines of the first.

In most of these situations, we have opted to include multiple copies of the images in question, each named according to the document to which it corresponds. Specifically, this means that, in each of the following cases, the mentioned files represent the same image with different filenames:

In doing so, we have introduced redundancy in the edition that does not exist in the physical collection. We believe, however, that this approach minimizes opportunities for confusion in the future by ensuring consistency across the naming of XML files and the images that correspond to each.

3. Some documents contain multiple copies of certain pages. At times these are clearly incomplete versions of those pages, and at others, they appear to be complete, alternate versions. This situation is present with the following items: Charles Coates Narrative (1 of 2), Irene Coates Narrative (1 of 4), Rebecca Fulton Narrative (1 of 2), Rebecca Fulton Narrative (2 of 2), and "Early Jacksonville History: Introduction" (3 of 3). In the case of that last item, we also find two apparently identical copies of a single page—see explanation in the description of Alternative page 4 of "Early Jacksonville History: Introduction" (3 of 3).

In each case, we have made a decision about which to include in the document itself, adding notes in the appropriate places directing the reader to the other versions, which we have registered as separate documents. 

4. The collection contains photocopies of most pages. These photocopies are often not located in the folders where the original documents are located. The organization of these photocopies appears to potentially represent an effort, on the part of some unknown party, to reckon with the fact that some documents appear to be misfiled. The photocopies perhaps were meant to serve a surrogates, in the proper places, for documents that seemed to be out of place, without altering the organization of the physical documents.

For example, the photocopies of four documents corresponding to JHS Folder 10 ("Literature — Poetry and Poets") are found elsewhere in the collection. The photocopy of "Waxed Paper Flowers for Funerals" is located in JHS Folder 4, with the biographical notes on Hattie Chisolm, the maker of the flowers in question. The photocopy of the notes on Aria Louise Rogers is located in JHS Folder 8, along with a document on The Tattler, to which Rogers was a contributor. The photocopy of "Art — References" is found in JHS Folder 2 ("Art"). Conversely, we find in JHS Folder 10 photocopies of three poems written by children ("Winter Is Leaving," "Seasons," "Summer," and "Spring"), the originals of which are found in JHS Folder 1 ("Art in Schools").

We have not catalogued the photocopies nor included them in this edition.

Ancillary Materials

This edition currently incorporates material from two additional sources. We gather as Selections from WPA Slave Narratives, vol. 3 the five narratives by Muse, or based on her interviews, that were published in Works Progress Administration Federal Writers’ Project, Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves, vol. 3, Library of Congress, 1941. We include as Selections from The Florida Negro excerpts from the manuscript copy of The Florida Negro, housed in the State Archives of Florida (S1585), that appear to correspond, entirely or in part, to material found in the notes prepared by Muse.

Organization of Materials