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Current Exhibit

Uncommon Friends: The James D. Newton Collection

Opening February 25th - April 22nd, 2016

Uncommon Friends Exhibit

James D. Newton (1905-1999) was a prominent twentieth century entrepreneur and author of “Uncommon Friends: Life with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Alexis Carrel, and Charles Lindbergh,” which recounts his friendship with these visionary figures. The Uncommon Friends exhibit follows Newton, a young real estate developer whose fated encounter with Mina Edison would alter the course of his life. His friendships with the likes of Edison and Ford would inspire him throughout his adventurous life, including his time enlisted in the United States Army and his subsequent involvement with the Moral Re-Armament movement. Much like their influence on the twentieth century, these men would have lasting impact on Newton’s life until his eventual death in 1999 at the age of 94.

The Uncommon Friends Foundation, established in 1993 and named after Newton's memoir, is dedicated to lifelong character building among today's youth and business leaders, and the historic preservation of James D. Newton's papers, photographs, and artifacts in the City of Fort Myers. In 2012, the Uncommon Friends Foundation and Florida Gulf Coast University Library partnered to digitally preserve and provide public access to this captivating collection of materials which can be viewed on DigitalFGCU.

The exhibit “Uncommon Friends: The James D. Newton Collection” is on display Feb. 25 through April 22 in FGCU Library Archives, third floor, room 322. Viewing hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

For more information, contact Kaleena Rivera at (239) 590-7506.

Past Exhibits

Fall 2015

Ukraine Poster

Ukraine: Art & Politics

Україна: Ukraine - The Maniichuk-Brady Collection of Socialist Realist Art presents work by an assortment of Ukrainian artists during the Soviet Era. After the fall of the Soviet Union, these paintings were dismissed as nothing more than echoes of their former Communist patrons, rather than as an engaging contemplation of the recent past.
Soviet Realism depicts Communist partisan values, often in the form of idealized proletariat or military subjects. Optimism is a recurring theme, and while the initial inspiration was likely generated from political inclinations, aesthetics is one of the principal objectives. Though realism dominates the majority of the works, several pieces appear to be heavily influenced by other art movements as well, such as impressionism. Created by numerous artists, the individual works form a cohesive collection that unites an array of subjects and techniques.  
Narrowly rescued from destruction by Ukrainian-American Yurii Maniichuk, this collection has survived decades in order to display the arresting work of the artists who lived during a unique era that volleyed between artistic candidness and party concerns. The Maniichuk-Brady Collection illustrates a period in art history that combines a political and aesthetic cross-section that is still relevant in today’s international political climate.

Spring 2015

Koreshan Exhibit Poster

Press Release 1| Press Release 2

Image Gallery

The Koreshans

The Koreshans offers a rare glimpse into a charismatic leader and his followers as they endeavored to create a thriving utopian community. Lead by their prophet Cyrus R. Teed (later called by the Hebrew translation “Koresh”), the group relocated to establish their “New Jerusalem" in Estero, Florida in 1894. The Koreshan Unity espoused radical new doctrine that was a union of reincarnation, alchemy, religio-science, and Koresh’s most radical concept: the belief that the earth is truly concave and the universe resides finite within.

The collective photographs, ephemera, monographs, and furniture on exhibit document the utopian community’s industrious nature. Though their community operated on collectivist ideals, the Koreshans sustained their fellowship by operating a bakery and general store, as well as owning and operating a printing press to create original texts, religious publications, and the American Eagle Newspaper. Koresh was a prolific writer, publishing numerous books, all of which are on display. The members of the Unity placed great emphasis on fine art, theater, and chamber music, maintaining their Victorian sensibility.

Due to the collaborative work of the FGCU Library, Florida Archives, The College of Life Foundation, and the Koreshan State Park, the public has the unique opportunity to view materials that have not been in the same room in fifty years.

Fall 2014

Maples Exhibit

Dead Men Do Tell Tales: The William R. Maples Collection

Dr. William R. Maples (1937-1997) was a world renowned forensic anthropologist, who oversaw the C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory at the Florida Museum of Natural History. The collection includes images and documents pertaining to his many high profile cases, including the identification of the real skeleton of Francisco Pizarro, whose bones were thought to be safely tucked away in a crypt for over 80 years. After many months of persistent requests, a Zachary Taylor fanatic, with the blessing of the Taylor family, got Maples to examine the bones of the twelfth president to see if there were signs of arsenic poisoning, pointing to an assassination. Due to his notoriety in the field, Maples was also granted permission to study the skeleton of Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, whose body was a scientific anomaly during his life and continues to captivate contemporary audiences. Maples’ most famous investigation revolves around the murders of the Romanov family, a mass execution in 1918, which was shrouded in mystery until the bodies were found a little over 70 years later. It would be Maples who would finally identify the skeletons and allow them to be put to rest.


Spring 2014

Fitzgerald Collection

Press Release

Ichthyology in Print (1504-2004): The Gerald F. and Marjorie G. Fitzgerald Fish Book Collection

This exhibit offered the rare opportunity to view some of the most exquisite examples of printmaking in a single collection. Made up of 142 volumes, the collection provides examples of five centuries of Western printmaking, typography and bookbinding. Printed in seven languages, the monographs serve as an exemplary compilation of fish scholarship including pre-Linnaean (pre-1735) naturalists Pierre Belon, Ippolito Salviani and Guillaume Rondelet. The additional seminal works Piscium, Serpentum, Insectorum, written and illustrated by Mark Catesby, and Allgemeine Naturgeschichte der Fische, written by Marcus Bloch, are also on display.

The exhibit Ichthyology in Print intended to highlight the art of print and bookmaking. The enlarged prints enabled viewers to see the detail in the etchings and engravings that create the meticulous illustrations within the Fitzgerald volumes. Contemporary artists Andy Owen and Joan Sonnenberg generously loaned their works to the exhibit, providing the unique opportunity to view the plate alongside the subsequent print, both pieces of fine art.

Gerald F. and his wife Marjorie G. Fitzgerald graciously donated the Fish Book Collection to Florida Gulf Coast University Library in 2009. The beauty and scope of the Fish Book Collection has the Florida Gulf Coast University community indebted to the Fitzgerald family for providing our students, faculty and Southwest Florida access to these rare books. In the near future, the FGCU Library hopes to digitize the collection, making it available to the global community of fish lovers and bibliophiles alike.


Fall 2013

Charles Ray Poster

Press Release

The Story Behind the Story: The Charles A. Ray Photography Collection

The exhibition highlights a man who documented the second half of the twentieth century with an unerring eye and an incomparable nose for news.  Charles Ray stepped behind the camera in 1954, at the age of 23. Ray’s camera captured a nation in flux.  Through his lens, television viewers experienced the drama of presidential campaigns, the passion of the civil rights movement, and the adventure and tragedy of NASA’s race for space. Charles Ray documented our nation’s growing pains, including the bloody clashes between police and journalists covering the civil rights protests of the 1960s, and the tragic end of Camelot. He holds awards from The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the National Press Photographers Association, the Illinois Press Photographers Association and the Chicago Press Photographers Association, including three-time Cameraman of the Year, as well as multiple Emmy Awards for his news camera work.

Charles Ray graciously donated his collection to Florida Gulf Coast University Library in 2002.  The Charles A. Ray Photography Collection includes photographs, negatives, daybooks, audiotapes, videotapes, periodicals, newspapers, a reel-to-reel projector, 16mm film, and other professional mementos.  The collection is currently being digitized and will be made accessible to the public in 2015, cementing Ray’s aspiration to inspire future generations of journalists and photographers.  Charles Ray was a skilled visionary photographer; The Story Behind the Story exhibit continued his legacy by reminding us never to take our eye off the action.