USF St. Petersburg campus Faculty Publications

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September 2014

Date Available

September 2014


A guide to sources about (Thomas) LeRoy Collins, the thirty-third governor of Florida. Born in 1909, Collins served as a state legislator in both the House of Representatives and Senate. Following the untimely death of Governor Dan McCarty in 1953, Collins decided to run against Acting Governor (and Senate President) Charley E. Johns in a 1954 election to complete the second half of McCarty's term. Collins won the election. He became the first and only governor to run for a second consecutive term under the 1885 Florida constitution after the Florida Supreme Court ruled that he could run for reelection in 1956. After his gubernatorial service (1955-1961), he became the president of the National Association of Broadcasters and the first director of the Community Relations Service under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Collins was regarded as one of the most important political leaders of Florida during the twentieth century. He passed away in 1991.


Documents in this collection include an annotated biography of LeRoy Collins written in 1988 by the author as part of an exit requirement for the Pro-Seminar in History at USF. The author enrolled in a summer 1988 term class on the history of biography, taught by Professor James Swanson, at the USF Tampa campus. The author's research led to a subsequent directed readings course in the fall 1988 semester with Dr. Gary Mormino, who served at the time as a professor of History at USF Tampa and the Executive Director of the Florida Historical Society. Correspondence between the author and LeRoy Collins shows the dialog they had at a time when Collins was reflecting on his life's work and legacy. The author had an opportunity to interview Governor Collins at his Tallahassee law office in 1989. The author completed his B.A. degree in History at USF in December 1988.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Schnur_and_LeRoy_Collins_Correspondence.pdf (512 kB)
Correspondence between LeRoy Collins and Schnur