Jennings, Minerva P. Papers 1908-1939






.35 cubic ft.


Mss. Collection #2001-01




Processed by

Susan Hamburger

May 2001




            Minerva Park Phelps was a descendant of John Phelps of Virginia.  She married Frank E. Jennings, member of the Florida State Board of Control and later Speaker of the House in 1921; he ran for governor in 1924.  Prior to moving to Jacksonville, Florida, they lived in Richmond, Kentucky as late as 1908.   She died after 1939.

            Mrs. Jennings was active in Jacksonville as a member of, and officer in, several women’s patriotic, social, religious, and historical organizations:

·        American Association of University Women

o       Chair, International Relations, 1927

·        Baptist Woman’s Missionary Union of Jacksonville

·        Council of National Defense, Women’s Auxiliary Entertainment Committee, Jacksonville Commission

o       Organizing Committee chairperson

o       Executive Committee chairperson

o       Woman’s Club Committee chairperson

·        Daughters of the American Revolution, Jacksonville Chapter

·        Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs

o       Legislation Committee chairperson, 1914-1917

·        Florida Historical Society

o       Committee on Revision of Charter and Bylaws chairperson

·        National Society of Colonial Dames of America in Florida

o       Corresponding Secretary, 1923

o       Board of Managers, 1924

o       11th President

o       Committee chair, memorial to Francis Philip Fatio, 1935

·        Woman’s Club of Jacksonville

o       President, 1915-1917

o       Nursing Committee

·        Woman’s Club of Richmond, Kentucky

o       Honorary President, 1910-1911

·        Young Woman’s Christian Association (YWCA)

o       Publicity Committee chairperson



She was a strong-willed and highly motivated woman who competed with contemporaries May Mann Jennings (no relation) and Margaret Young in civic work in Jacksonville.  In 1910 and 1911, Minerva Jennings traveled throughout the state on behalf of the Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs to lobby among citizens’ groups to support a legislative bill regulating child labor and to increase the appropriation for the reform school at Marianna.  She worked for other progressive laws including compulsory education and the prohibition of horse racing, bookmaking, and betting.

            Jennings, as head of the federation’s legislation committee, led the women’s lobbying efforts in Tallahassee to promote child labor legislation, working closely with the Florida Child Labor Committee in 1913.

            In addition to her work on education and child labor reform, Jennings supported the creation of Royal Palm Park and attended the picnic lunch and dedication of the state park on 23 November 1916.

            During World War I, Jennings was among the leaders of the Jacksonville Red Cross branch whose volunteers sold bonds and stamps and joined the Red Cross’s first aid, nursing, relief, and hospitality committees.




Scope and Content


            The collection consists of Minerva Jennings’s personal papers and organization records pertaining to her membership and chairmanship in women’s organizations, primarily in Jacksonville, Florida.  Her personal papers contain correspondence, 1915-1939, from friends and acquaintances, including one letter from author Kirk Munroe; a receipt for shipping a horse to Richmond, Kentucky in 1908; a subject file of two articles about Seminole Indians, 1915; and newspaper clippings about her personal activities.

            The organizational records include correspondence, newspaper clippings, membership lists, conference programs, and manuals (year books) for the women’s clubs Jennings belonged to which document her associational activities.






            The collection is divided into two series: personal papers and organizational records.






            The personal papers series is arranged alphabetically by topic; the organizational records series is arranged alphabetically by the name of the association.






            There are no access restrictions.  For those papers that are fragile, preservation photocopies have been made and are to be used instead of the originals.




Subject Headings


            Jennings, Minerva P. (Minerva Phelps) – Archives

            Jacksonville (Fla.) – Social life and customs – 20th century

            Council of National Defense. Woman’s Committee. Florida Chapter

            Daughters of the American Revolution

Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs – History

            National Society of Colonial Dames of America in Florida

            Woman’s Club of Jacksonville – History

            Florida Historical Society



Box Listing


Personal Papers Series


Folder 1          Correspondence, 1915-1939

                                    Correspondents include Kirk Munroe, Louisa B. Poppenheim (with biographical sketch of her sister Mary B. Poppenheim, President-General of the United Daughters of the Confederacy), U.S. Representative John B. Hollister, and her cousin Corrinne Maguire.


Folder 2          Financial records: receipt for shipping a horse via Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company to Richmond, KY, 1908


Folder 3          Genealogical materials

                                    Instructions for providing lineage records for the Compendium of American Genealogy with a sample page, mimeographed form letter soliciting membership in the Jennings Family Genealogical Society, and a newspaper article about Richmond, KY.


Folder 4          Florida legislation

Annual Report for Home Demonstration Work, State of Florida, for the Year July 1st, 1914 to July 1st, 1915 by Miss Agnes Ellen Harris (carbon typescript)

An act providing for the humane destruction of any animal (typescript draft)


Folder 5          Miscellaneous papers

Notes on the courses in classical and general philology offered by the Department of Comparative Philology in Wellesley College, 1898-99 (printed)

                                    Foreword (meaning of the sacraments) (carbon typescript)

The Church and Women in Industry, Labor Sunday, September 1, 1918 (printed pamphlet)

“City Planning” [as applied to Jacksonville, Florida] (typescript photocopy)


Folder 6          Newspaper clippings, 1924-1936


Folder 7          Subject file: Seminoles, 1915

The Seminoles of Florida and Their Rights in the Everglades by Minnie Moore-Willson of Kissimmee, Florida (pamphlet)

“The Seminole Land Bill’s Defeat Harshly Condemned—Indians in Poor Circumstances,” by Minnie Moore-Wilson of Kissimmee (The State, Jacksonville, Fla., June 11, 1915 newspaper article



Organization Records Series


Folder 8          Citizens Drug Relief Association

                                    Rough minutes, 1915


Folder 9          Council of National Defense

                                    General plan, letters, memoranda, press releases, 1917-1918


Folder 10        Council of National Defense. Woman’s Committee. Florida Division

                                    Correspondence, 1918


Folder 11        Council of National Defense. Woman’s Committee. Florida Division

                                    Membership lists, 1918


Folder 12        Council of National Defense. Woman’s Committee. Florida Division

                                    Newspaper clippings


Folder 13        Daughters of the American Revolution

                                    Conference program, 1930

                                    Jacksonville Chapter year books 1911-1912, 1912-1913 (2 copies)


Folder 14        Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs

Bylaws, committee lists and reports (1914-1915), minutes, programs (1914), projects, speeches


Folder 15        Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs printed publications

                                    Annual meeting, 1917-1918

                                    Charter and bylaws, 1935-1936

                                    Year book, 1923-1924

                                    Bulletin, Woman’s Club of Jacksonville, December 1938


Folder 16        Florida Historical Society

Folder 16A                  Correspondence,  1935-1940

Includes letters from Caritta Doggett Corse, Julian Young, AJ Hanna & Katherine Abbey about organizational issues of FHS.

Folder 16B                  Copies of correspondence in 16A.

Folder 16C                  Rough minutes, 1906-1921

Broadside, after 1932


Folder 17        National Society of Colonial Dames of America in Florida

                                    Membership list, 1923

Newspaper clipping


Folder 18        Woman’s Clubs: 

Woman’s Club of Jacksonville, Manual 1910-1911, 1914-1915, 1926-1927

Woman’s Club, Richmond, Kentucky, year book 1910-1911



Folder 19        Woman’s Clubs

                                    Newspaper clippings, 1911-1927


Folder 20        Miscellaneous clippings, 1915-1918

Baptist Woman’s Missionary Union of Jacksonville, Citizens Liberty League, Garden Club of Jacksonville, Third Liberty Loan Campaign Woman’s Committee, Woman’s Club Nursing Committee (1915-1918), YMCA, Young People’s Patriotic League Woman’s Organization Committee