Library Talks

Captured Rum Runners 1921 Tampa


There are currently no scheduled library talks, but stay tuned!
Dates will be added as planned.

Program Descriptions:

History of Smuggling in Florida 1700-1933
For as long as Florida has been known to Europe, our long coastlines and tricky bays have been a haven for smugglers.  Find out about the characters, the boats and the reasons behind it all in a 30 minute lecture spanning from acts bordering on piracy to the rum runners of prohibition.

Privateers in Florida
Some call them pirates, buccaneers or freebooters, but a Privateer was (at least legally) none of those things.  In a 30 minute lecture find out about what makes a “legalized pirate”, the risks and rewards of the trade, and learn about the Privateers who fought both for and against Florida.

History of Boatbuilding
Originally written as part of the Viva 500 celebration, this 30 minute lecture presents the history and development of boatbuilding from its simplest origins to the practices that are still used in Florida today.  The focus is primarily on small craft, but some techniques typically used in large vessels will be mentioned as well.

How Stephen Mallory Saved the Whales, Confederate Commerce Raiders in the Civil War
The Confederate Commerce Raiders were developed by the Confederacy in reaction to blockading of Southern Ports by the United States Navy.  During this 30 minute lecture we will follow the development of the commerce raiders, the careers of the vessels, and the impact they had on the shipping and whaling fleets at the time.

History of Celestial Navigation
Learn about the development of Celestial Navigation from its earliest routes as a crude guide to its modern development using GPS and satellite guidance. Find out how the quest for this information led to the first accurate clocks and simple navigational charts as state secrets worth literally boatloads of treasure.  John Masefield mentions wanting “a tall ship and a star to steer her by”. This lecture follows the use of such stars to help guide vessels by sailors from India and the Middle East, to European explorers of the 16th century, and finally to modern pilots and even the space program.

Marine Archeology
Find out what marine archeology is and why it matters.  The entire process will be explained using examples from actual shipwrecks. Learn about all the work that must be done before anyone even goes underwater, and why every little detail is important.  The talk is about 25 minutes long leaving lots of time for your questions about marine archeology, shipwrecks and other relevant topics.

The Calusa
Learn about Florida’s first commercial fishermen, the Calusa.  The Calusa were great boat builders, fishermen and traders before Columbus crossed the Atlantic.  Find out what sort of boats they built and how they used them.  Who they traded with,  who they fought and how they came to be the most powerful tribe in Southwest Florida at the time of contact.  During the 30 minute talk we will look at where the Calusa came from, what made them unique, what happened to them when the Spanish arrived and where they might still be.

Civil War Blockade Runners, Privateers, and Commerce Raiders
Combining pieces of previous talks this presentation focuses on two of the three methods used by the Confederacy to combat the Union blockade of Southern ports.  The focus will be blockade runners government sponsored and funded smugglers purpose built for the trade.  Continuing on to privateers legalized pirates or naval reserves depending on which flag you followed. Finally finishing with commerce raiders ocean going ships to prey on merchant shipping from an enemy nation. Hear about the ships, their captains and crews, and exploits around the globe.

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