skip navigation

Florida Gulf Coast University

Website Directory  

Library Services


Upcoming Exhibit - April 2015
The Koreshans


In honor of our newest acquisition, the Florida Gulf Coast University Archives and Special Collections, in partnership with the College of Life Foundation and Koreshan State Park, is proud to present an exhibition on a notable aspect of Florida history, the Koreshan Unity. Founded in the 1870's, founder Cyrus Teed (later known as the Hebrew translation of his name, "Koresh") and his followers built a permanent residence in Estero, Florida in 1894. Though the Koreshans eventually disbanded in the 1960's, their settlement was gifted to the state of Florida. This land now operates as both a state park and historic site dedicated to the preservation of the remaining structures built by Teed's utopian community.

Utilizing a combination of books, family photos, journals, furniture, and artifacts used by the Koreshans, a portion of their daily lives will be illustrated in short vignettes throughout the exhibit, including religious texts, typewriters, paintings, instruments, and scholarly material, some of which was written by Cyrus Teed himself. This exhibition will reflect the era during which they lived, as well as display a detailed look at the experiences of these fascinating settlers and their lasting impact on Florida.

Past Exhibits:

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

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

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.