Bicycling to work today, I was forced to take an alternative route as the Miami Beach Convention Center road was blocked off by a sea of watercraft. From today (February 17) through Monday (February 21), the streets, canals, and marinas will be thronged with visitors descending on South Florida to attend the annual Miami Boat Show. Already there are all manner of pleasure craft on exhibit in and outside of the Miami Beach Convention Center, the Sea Isle Marina & Yachting Center, and Strictly Sail Miami at Miamarina at Bayside. To complement the show, I thought that I would devote today’s blog post to an exhibition of some of the sail and yachting materials in the Wolfsonian library collection.

This first image is from a broadside published shortly after Franklin D. Roosevelt’s landslide election to presidential office in 1932. Playing off of the “patrician” populist’s reputation as a yachtsman, the image aimed to assure Americans that they could be confident that they had chosen the perfect candidate to captain the “ship of state” through the perilous straits of the Great Depression


The library has a number of vintage advertising brochures marketing South Florida as a tourist destination catering to winter-weary wealthy Northerners in the twenties and early thirties. Even advertisements aimed at promoting the Florida cattle and agriculture industry tried to entice Northerners to get to “Know Florida” by marketing the region as a warm winter playground with images of yachts.

The library also holds a book published by the Commissioners of the Florida Inland Navigation District announcing the completion of the Florida Intracoastal Waterway between Jacksonville and Miami in 1935, enabling “the yachtsmen of America” to take advantage of the “broad, deep, well-marked and sheltered passage down Florida’s picturesque  east coast to the recreational rendezvous of the American Riviera.”

Other advertisements highlighted the sightseeing potentialities of pleasure cruises sailing out of Miami into Biscayne Bay, around the Venetian Isles and Miami Beach, and within view of the great estates of Vanderbilt, Deering, and other notable residents.


                                                   GIFT OF FRANCIS X. LUCA

Our rare book and special collection library also holds tens of thousands of ephemeral items including this vintage postcard documenting the U.S.-Cuba tourist trade of an earlier era, donated by Vicki Gold Levi.


In terms of materials that might appeal to Strictly Sail enthusiasts, the library holds a wide range of materials ranging from original log books donated by Frederic A. and Jean S. Sharf, children’s educational picture books, and some of the luxury cruise ship materials to be found in the extensive Laurence Miller Collection.





~ by "The Chief" on February 17, 2011.

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