The Hanson Family Archives of Fort Myers, Florida

Cynthia Marie Mott

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Liberal Arts, College of Arts and Sciences, University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Abstract

The Hanson Family Archives of Fort Myers, Florida offers a comprehensive overview and select examination of a privately owned, family collection of historical artifacts, currently held by the Woody Hanson family of Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida. This collection spans five generations, generally from the 1880s through today, with subject matter being mostly Southwest Florida, its settlement, development, and the effects growth and modern progress had on South Florida Indians. The Collection contains thousands of extremely high-quality, black & white photographs, taken over a span of fifty years. The images cover every facet of regional growth, from waterways to architecture to national parks to birds to people. However, at least half of the photos are of Native Indians in their natural environment, and only a small fraction have ever been publicly seen. They are original, and found only in the Hanson Family Archives. These photos are a cultural treasure of immense importance. This material offers a stunning array of scholarly research opportunities. Southwest Florida is sorely lacking in historical records, memorabilia, and scholarship. One of the goals of this paper is to reveal the presence of this awe-inspiring mass of records, letters, v writings, and photographs, and to encourage other scholars to pursue mining the hidden treasures lying within this great historical accumulation.