The Papers of the Panton, Leslie and Company Project was a documentary program to gather the history of the largest trading post in the Southeastern United States. Over 200,000 documents were gathered
and arranged chronologically to produce 26 reels of microfilm, along with a published Guide to the Panton, Leslie, and Company Papers. The microfilm and guide are located in the John C. Pace Library on the 2nd floor and also in the University Archives and West Florida History Center.
In the original 1986 published Guide, each document is cataloged by date, language, place written, the writer and receiver, source, and a paragraph description of the contents of the document. The index to the Guide is very limited (few subjects) so users need to read through the individual descriptions to find names of ships, trade with Indians, and other topics. As a chronological guide, its strength lies in being able to identify issues and problems for a particular year.
Gale Publishing (now Gale-Cengage) who produced and sells the microfilm and guide, has created a new online PDF Guide, available through their website as well as here, that is arranged by creator/author of each document. It is searchable in that the descriptions can be searched electronically which provides a greater access than the original published Guide. Users should be cautioned that the document abstracts are occasionally dissimilar, so a search of “ship” or “ships” or “vessels” will bring up different entries.
The University Archives and West Florida History Center also holds much of the source material of the documentary project including the East Florida Papers, Forbes Papers, Spanish legajos on microfilm, and other collections as well as those documents found in the Project where permission was denied to include them in the microfilm collection.
In the intervening years since the original Papers, the Archives has acquired the Panton Family Papers and the Innerarity Family Papers, both new collections with substantial materials that shed additional light on the activities of the Company.
--Dean DeBolt, November 2011
In 1981, the University of West Florida Libraries published the Bibliography of West Florida (4 vols.). Edited by the first Director of the Library James. A. Servies, this set is an annotated bibliography of published works that deal with any aspect of West Florida history. The staff of the John C. Pace Library spent over a decade compiling references to books, government documents, journal articles, theses and dissertation, and other printed sources. Volumes 1-2 cover materials printed between 1535 and 1971, with Volume 3 as the index to Volumes 1-2. Volume 4 covers materials printed between 1971 and 1981 (as well as new discoveries for the 1535-1971 period) and includes an index. These published volumes are available for use in the University Archives and West Florida History Center as well as the Reference Department of the John C. Pace Library. They are not online at the present time.
Upon the retirement of Mr. Servies in 1984, responsibility for the Bibliography of West Florida moved to the Special Collections Department (now University Archives and West Florida History Center) and editorship of the University Librarian/Archivist Dean DeBolt. Since that time, library staff have continued to compile further references.
This publication represents “Volume 5” of the BWF set covering new discoveries of the 1535-1981 period as well as materials from 1981 through 2011. It is not indexed traditionally as the previous volumes but rather it can be searched for words, phrases, and names. Care has been taken for many entries to embed key terminology within the annotations to enable such searching.
The Department will continue to identify and annotate materials for the Bibliography and will occasionally update “Volume 5” as needed.