Author Archives: Stacy Harn

A Bit of History at the Florida State Fair: Or How I Came to Learn About Florida Cowboys and Florida Crackers

Cracker Cowboys

Remington, F. Included in an article entitled, “Cracker Cowboys of Florida” published in Harper’s new monthly magazine v.91, issue 543, August 1895. Retrieved from State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,

Over the past weekend I and many others visited the Florida State Fair. This year they had some new exhibits: “Discovery Center” curated by the Tampa Bay History Center and “Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making” from the Florida Department of Agriculture. I also spent some time in Cracker Country happily daydreaming about living a simpler life and actually took the time to read the sign, “What is a Florida Cracker?” Turns out Florida has a long, fascinating and seldom known history of cattle ranching and an equally intriguing local culture called “Florida Crackers.” The term refers to early American settlers to the state and  also denotes native Floridians with longstanding  ancestral roots in the area. While not all “Florida Crackers” were or are cattlemen the two share similar cultural traditions and have become entwined somewhat in popular memory.

Collier, J. (1942). Escambia Farms, Florida. A Florida “cracker” trys to “argue it out” with the sugar ration board. Retrieved February 13, 2013 from the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division Washington, DC 20540

While cattle ranching in Florida has it historical origins with the earliest Spanish settlers, the  Seminole tribe and pre-dates the cowboy of the American West it truly took off in the mid-19th century. From the early 1840s through 1949 Florida’s “Cracker Cowboys” (possibly originating from the sound made by their whips) practiced open range ranching allowing their cattle to freely roam and graze on public lands. The 1949 Florida Fence Law put an end to this practice.

To learn more about Florida’s “Cracker Cowboys” and the broader Cracker culture check out these articles in the JSTOR database (log in through Esearch first):

Denham, J.M.(1994). The Florida Cracker before the Civil War as seen through   travelers’ accounts. The Florida Historical Quarterly, 72(4), 453-468.

Otto, J.S. (1984). Traditional cattle-herding practices in southern Florida. The Journal of American Folklore, 97(385), 291-309.

Otto, J.S.(1984). Florida’s cattle-ranching frontier: Hillsborough County (1860). The Florida Historical Quarterly, 63(1), 71-83.

seminole cattle ranchers

Seminole Indian cowboy Charlie Micco and grandson Fred Smith on horseback in a cattle ranch – Brighton Reservation, Florida 1950. Retrieved February 13, 2013 from State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Quarterly, 63(1), 71-83.

To learn more about the Seminole cattlemen and women of Florida see this article in JSTOR:

Sievers, E., Tepper, C., and Tanner, G.W. (1985). Seminole Indian ranching in Florida.
Rangelands , 7(5),209-211.
Check out The Seminoles of Florida by James Covington from the library.
Read this article in the Seminole Tribune about a cattle ranching exhibit at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum.
For more information and photographs visit,

To visit a living history exhibit check out,


Win A Trip Contest 2013

I was reading an article by New York Times contributor Nicholas Kristof about charitable donations in lieu of traditional Christmas gift giving when I stumbled upon a contest I thought might interest some UT students.

Nicholas Kristof is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who covers, among other topics, issues related to poverty in the developing world.  In a recent article Kristof writes —

“One lucky undergraduate or graduate student will win my next win-a-trip contest, an annual event in which I take a university student with me on a reporting trip to Africa. The aim is to generate some interest in global poverty issues both with the contest and with the blogging and videos that the winner will contribute to the New York Times website.”

Watch a video about the experiences of past student winners here.

To find out more or to apply check out these links for the Official Rules and Contest Form

I also recommend reading Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Kristof and his wife and fellow Times contributor Sheryl WuDunn.


Movies Worth Watching: The Dreamers

One of my favorite films is The Dreamers directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. Set in 1968 Paris, the film touches on a kind of youthful questioning, experimentation and transgression which somehow seems belonging to that time and place. It tells the story of naïve American student the-dreamers-movie-poster-2004-1020216304Matthew and incestuous Parisian twins Isabelle and Theo, who bond over a shared obsession with film. Against the backdrop of a Paris engulfed in riots, the three begin a brief relationship charged by sexual games. It is a poignant tribute to youth, cinema, the sixties and Paris.

The film references the seminal French New Wave Cinema movement of the 1950s and 60s. Director Jean-Luc Godard was central to the New Wave and scenes from his films are re-enacted as part of Matthew, Isabelle and Theo’s cinematic charades in The Dreamers. You can check out Godard’s influential films À bout de soufflé or Breathless and Bande à part or Band of Outsiders from the library.

To find these and other movies search the library’s online catalog by keyword or title and use the Quick Limit to restrict your search to just DVDs. You may also want to check out these books in the library’s collection about the French New Wave, A history of the French new wave cinema and Reading the French new wave : critics, writers and art cinema in France

New Arrivals: Our Punitive Society and Race to Incarcerate

As of 2010 the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated 2,266,800 persons were incarcerated in jails and state and federal prisons with another 4,887,900 on parole and probation.  While that number represents a small decline from previous years the United States continues to lead the world in the amount of people it imprisons.  If you are interesting in exploring this issue further check out these new arrivals to the library’s collection:

From the Publisher: “In this revised edition of his seminal book on race, class, and the criminal justice system…Including newly written material on recent developments under the Bush administration and updated statistics, graphs, and charts throughout, the book tells the tragic story of runaway growth in the number of prisons and jails and the over reliance on imprisonment to stem problems of economic and social development…”

From the Publisher: “This brand new text identifies the macroeconomic forces relevant to imprisonment—poverty and political powerlessness—and explores viable and humane alternatives to our current incarceration binge.”

The PeaceKeepers Exhibit

The Macdonald-Kelce Library is currently hosting “The PeaceKeepers” exhibit in the Florida Military Room from November 7 through December 15, 2012.

A brutal and bloody civil war erupted in the Balkans in 1992 as the republics of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia each sought to secede from the former multi-ethnic state of Yugoslavia. The four year conflict resulted in death and destruction, unparalleled since WWII, fueled by nationalistic and territorial desires and meted out through armed conflict and brutal ethnic cleansing. Casualties of the war are estimated between 100,000 to upwards of 200,000 people. The Bosnian conflict drew to a close in November of 1995 with the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords.

The exhibit honors the spirit of international cooperation carried out through the United Nations peacekeepers and the military, police, and civilian forces drawn from 120 countries who continue to work toward sustaining peace in conflict ravaged areas around the world. President Bill Clinton and diplomat Richard C. Holbrooke, who orchestrated the peace agreement which ended the war, are also honored.

To learn more about UN Peacekeeping visit


New Arrivals: Women in Politics and Medicare, The Current Controversies Series






An assignment that frequently brings students into the library involves researching a controversial topic and presenting either a pro or con position. Current Controversies is an anthology series that explores a variety of such topics ranging from police brutality, assisted suicide, to alternative energy.  According to the publisher’s fact sheet:

“The series expertly introduces the reader to all sides of contemporary controversies in an objective and comprehensive way. Each anthology is composed of a wide spectrum of primary sources written by many of the foremost authorities in their respective fields; the authors represent leading conservative, liberal, and centrist views. This unique approach provides readers with a concise view of divergent opinions on each topic. Extensive book and periodical bibliographies and a list of organizations to contact are also included.”

To find out which issues the library has in the series search the library’s catalog. Go to and follow the Online Catalog link. Search for “current controversies” using a Keyword Relevance Search and the Quick Limit function to restrict the search to Main. Limiting your search to Main will restrict the results to only those items located in the Main section on the 2nd floor of the library where the majority of non-reference books, both fiction and nonfiction, are located.

See this Reference Question of the Week post about finding information on controversial issues.

New Arrivals: Advertising and Societies: Global Issues, second edition

Advertising and Societies: Global Issues is a valuable resource for students, scholars, and practitioners.  Gender, race, and children are some of the categories used to analyze international advertising. The authors further examine global advertising as it relates to cultural, economic, political, and regulatory issues. The text contains an abundance of illustrative examples, supportive data, and extensive references.

From the Publishers Description: Now in its second edition, Advertising and Societies: Global Issues provides an international perspective on the practice of advertising while examining some of the ethical and social ramifications of advertising in global societies. The book illustrates how issues such as the representation of women and minorities in ads, advertising and children, and advertising in the digital era have relevance to a wider global community. This new edition has been updated to reflect the dramatic changes impacting the field of advertising that have taken place since publication of the first edition. The growing importance of emerging markets is discussed, and new photos are included. The book provides students and scholars with a comprehensive review of the literature on advertising and society and uses practical examples from international media to document how global advertising and global consumer culture operate, making it an indispensable research tool and invaluable for classroom use.

LBGT History Month

October is LGBT History Month. First established in 1994, this month long celebration commemorates the history, heritage and accomplishments of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. To honor the history and contributions of individuals in the LBGT community the library is currently displaying a selection of fiction, nonfiction, and films.

To learn more visit

If you are interesting in exploring LGBT studies further the library has a Subject Portal to assist in finding databases and quality internet sources for your research.  You can access the subject portals through the library’s homepage at and click on the Subject Portal link located under Collections.

New Arrivals: Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier

Is space exploration an enterprise worth pursuing? In Space Chronicles, astrophysicist at large Neil deGrasse Tyson answers this question with a resounding yes. In the wake of severe cuts to the budget of NASA and growing concerns over American deficiency in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, Tyson comments on why space exploration is fundamentally tied to American prosperity. In his uniquely witty and accessible style Neil deGrasse Tyson urges consideration of the potential power of space exploration to stir the imagination, spur innovation, and create new possibilities.

You can also check out Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet by Neil deGrasse Tyson which chronicles the controversy that ensued when the Hayden Planetarium (of which Tyson is Director) demoted Pluto from planet status to dwarf.

Still want more? The Films on Demand database (available through the library databases) has free streaming episodes of the PBS series NOVA hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Remember to log in through Esearch.

New Arrivals: A History of Reading

A book I recently read and very much recommend is A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel. Manguel integrates personal experience with scholarship to create 22 essays that are at once intimate, historically enlightening, and compulsively readable. It would be difficult to come away without a deeper appreciation for the written word and a re-evaluation of one’s own relationship to books and reading.

From the publisher’s description:  “At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a bookthat string of confused, alien ciphersshivered into meaning. Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader. Noted essayist Alberto Manguel moves from this essential moment to explore the 6000-year-old conversation between words and that magician without whom the book would be a lifeless object: the reader. Manguel lingers over reading as seduction, as rebellion, as obsession, and goes on to trace the never-before-told story of the reader’s progress from clay tablet to scroll, codex to CD-ROM.”