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Finlay B. Matheson Collection


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Subject Terms

Administrative Information

Detailed Description


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Finlay B. Matheson Collection | University of Miami Special Collections

By Beatrice Colastin Skokan and Athena N. Jackson

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Collection Overview

Title: Finlay B. Matheson CollectionAdd to your cart.View associated digital content.

ID: ASM0216

Creator: Matheson, Finlay B.

Extent: 16.0 Linear Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The collection is organized and arranged as follows: Maps and Plans, Photographs and Images, and Books and Printed Items.

Formats/Genres: Photographs, Postcards

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Finlay B. Matheson collection include more than 2,411 photographs; 112 maps, surveys, and architectural plans; and 13 books related to William John Matheson and his immediate family.

Drawings, postcards, and some of the first aerial view photographs of Key Biscayne, Coconut Grove, the Miami River, and the Florida Keys are represented in the collection. The materials give a glimpse into the burgeoning social life of early inhabitants who gathered at the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club. The Florida landscape is captured throughout the various albums and scrapbooks and attests to a more leisurely lifestyle before the advent of skyscrapers and multi-lane highways.

Biographical Note

William J. Matheson was a philanthropist, agriculturalist, and pioneer developer in South Florida in the early 20th century. His agricultural experiments, social activities, travels, and estate are recorded in this collection and offer a unique visual history of Key Biscayne. Matheson served as commodore of the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club from 1912 until 1923. His annual Chowder Party on the Key became a highlight event of the season. In the early 20th century, Matheson traveled on a world cruise with his friend Arthur Curtiss James aboard his yacht, Aloha. Matheson also supported the development of south Florida, and nearly one hundred maps, plans, and images document his visionary work - including architectural plans for three of his residences, two of which are no longer standing. In 1940, Matheson's children donated more than 800 acres to Dade County for what would become Crandon Park.

Subject/Index Terms

Cities and towns - Florida
Hurricane damage - Florida - Miami
Miami (Florida) - Buildings, structures, etc.
University of Miami - Pictorial works

Administrative Information

Alternate Extent Statement: 43 boxes

Acquisition Method: Gift of Mr. Finlay B. Matheson.

Related Materials: Ralph M. Munroe Family Papers, 1882-1995.

Preferred Citation: Finlay B. Matheson Collection, Special Collections, University of Miami Libraries, Coral Gables, Florida.

Processing Information: Processed by Cory Czajkowski under the supervision of Beatrice Skokan, 2012.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Photographs],

Series 1: PhotographsAdd to your cart.
Box 1: Hand colored Robinson photos, 1917Add to your cart.
Hand colored images of Matheson family residences.
Box 2: Fifty ariel photographs of Key Biscayne and Coconut GroveAdd to your cart.
Most of the photographs are from Key Biscayne with a few from Coconut Grove.
Box 3: Hurricane damage showing damage at "Entrada", Hugh Matheson's estate, Coconut Grove and Key Biscayne, 1926Add to your cart.
Additional smaller photographs and postcards are included. Postcards show hurricane damage in downtown Miami.
Box 4: G.W. Romer photographs of Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, "Swastika", Biscayne Bay Yacht Club Chowder Party, February 22, 1928Add to your cart.
"Swastika" was the name of one of the Matheson family's estates.
Box 5: Photo album titled, "Trip to Jamaica, the Isthmus, Colombia and Costa Rica 1927" aboard steamship "Carillo", 1927Add to your cart.
Box 5A: Photo album titled, "Trip to Jamaica, the Isthmus, Colombia and Costa Rica 1927" aboard steamship "Carillo", 1927Add to your cart.
Box 6: Aloha Cruise 1912 - 1913, two volumes, Volume I, 1912-1913Add to your cart.
Box 7: Aloha Around the World 1921 - 1922, Volume II, 1921-1922Add to your cart.
Box 8: Off and On Calabash Florida Keys, Three weeks in April and May, 1913Add to your cart.
Box 9: Pictures of "Swastika" and early shots of Coconut Grove, Florida Keys, etc.Add to your cart.
Box 10: Year 1927 album, 1927Add to your cart.
Family and friends at a party at "Swastika" on Key Biscayne, "Four Way Lodge", Isla Morada, Windley Key, "Fort Hill", Key Biscayne construction, aerial photographs by R.B. Holt, etc.
Box 12: Photo album of Mashta construction, Key Biscayne, Dredge on Key Biscayne, Old House in Coconut Grove, 1910-1919Add to your cart.
Box 13: Hurricane damage on Key Biscayne, Coconut Grove, Hugh M. Matheson's house, Swastika (Malcolm Matheson's house), Downtown Miami, BBYC Chowder Party on Key Biscayne, "Marmion", Coconut Grove Boat Yard, etc., c. 1927Add to your cart.
Box 14: Year 1930 album, 1930Add to your cart.
A review of the city of Miami taken from "Miami Maid"; aerial view of "Swastika"; Indian Key; Matacumbe; Key Biscayne Yacht Club Chowder Party; "Seaforth" hauled out in Key West; Lignumvitae House, Key Biscayne; Coconut Palms; Galapagos Tortoises; "Marmion Cruise Scientific Expedition to the Bahama Islands, March 16 thru April 22, 1930". Additional photos from 1932; Entrada Canal; "Gilby" Coconut Grove.
Box 15: Key Biscayne; dredging, land clearing, construction work, water wheel and artesian well, Hugh Matheson sitting on dredge pipe; additions to packing house; downtown Miami; construction of Mashta; cruising on Biscayne Bay; Larry Huntington at Chowder party, 1927; "Four Way Lodge", 1927Add to your cart.
Box 16: Coconut Grove, Key Biscayne, Biscayne Bay Yacht Club Chowder Party 1929, downtown Miami office; boats: "Chum" at Bimini 1928, "Marmion", "Snug", "Gilby" all 1928; postcards and pictures of Jamaica; Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas; "Marmion" race off Miami Beach 1928, 1928-1929Add to your cart.
Box 17: Photo album titled "Trinity 1938", 1938Add to your cart.
Trinity house and street scenes at Port Antonio, Jamaica; Shorepark Hotel, Jamaica; Lease of "Trinity" from Hugh Matheson to Alfred R. Whitney 1937; a few newspaper clippings dated 1938 about "Paragon" arrival in Jamaica; also included are a few photos of Lignumvitae Key
Box 18: Photos of "Seaforth" yacht owned by W.J Matheson; photos and postcards of Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Maritinique, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Tobago, British Guiana; postcards and photos of Miami, Huntingon, NY, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Manhattan, Marblehead, MA, and northeast harbor in Maine; whisky, rum, and beer labels at the back of the album; map showing the Caribbean cruise going to British Guiana and the West Indies, 1929Add to your cart.
Box 19: Album titled, "Years 1928 & 1929", 1928-1929Add to your cart.
Key Biscayne; construction of bridge, jetty, pile driving and construction of bath house; "Marmion" at Coconut Grove Baot Works; "Miami Maid"; cleaning out "Swastika" basin; Brett Estate; "Masha" grounds and nursery on Key Biscayne; trip to Eastern Shore, MD, October 1929; view of Lakehurst Hanger; Masonic temple, Alexandria, VA; home at 4205 Douglas Road; after blow of 1929; Matacumbe; Windley Key; Isla Morada; Lignumvitae Key Biscayne
Box 20: Cruise on "Seaforth" leaving Miami April 21, 1929; Nassau, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. John's, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Tobago, British Guiana, Trinidad, Curacao, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, 1929Add to your cart.
This is a cruise aboard "Seaforth" through the Caribbean to British Guiana which ended June 5, 1929; there are newspeaper clippings outlining this cruise included.
Box 21: Tom Mitchell's wedding at St. Stevens in Coconut Grove, March 30th, 1925; Key Largo Club, Bimini, Coconut Grove, Swastika, Miami Beach, Key Largo; Biscayne Bay Yacht Club Chowder Party; Cloister Boca Raton, The Hollywood Hotel, Palm Beach, Sunny Isles Casino, Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, downtown Miami, Cape Florida Light House, Lignumvitae, Isla Morada, Julia Tuttle Apaprtment Hotel Miami Bayfront, The Everglades Hotel, 1925-1926Add to your cart.
Box 22: Album titled, "Marmion Cuban Cruise - April 18th to June 7th, 1928", 1928Add to your cart.
First part of album photographs of Cuba and some postcards; "Marmion" race off Miami Beach, 1928, Albermarle sound, Chesapeake Canal 1930; Easton, Maryland; St. Michael's, Eastern Shore; Naval Academy Annapolis Maryland; and Andros Island
Box 23: Album titled, "Hail Sailors Jack and Jill"Add to your cart.
photos of "Azara", Hugh M. Matheson's 113 foot three masted schooner. "Babe" a 30 foot Sparkman and Stephens design cutter; Biscayne Bay Yacht Club flag raising; various boats in Coconut Grove and the Caribbean
Box 24: Album titled, "Florida Hurricane, September 17th - 18th, 1926 Rehabilitation", 1926-1927Add to your cart.
Photos of Key Biscayne, Swastika, packing house in downtown Miami, Mashta. Many of the photographs were taken approximately one year after the hurricane in 1927; some photos of Matheson Hammock, stoen wall at Matheson Hammock started June 13th, 1927.
Box 25: Album titled, "Florida Hurricane, September 17th - 18th, 1926", 1926Add to your cart.
Letter from Hugh M. Matheson to his father W.J. Matheson detailing the hurricane damage (letter dated September 25th, 1926); Hurrican damage showing: Key Biscayne, Coconut Grove, Dowtown Miami, Swastica house at 4205 Douglas Road
Box 26: Pictures of Mashta, Coconuts on Key Biscayne, Swastika, MangrovesAdd to your cart.
Box 27: Album titled, "Various pictures - years 1903 to 1920", 1903-1920Add to your cart.
This album was obtained from Finlay L. Matheson. Pictures of Coconut Grove, Key Biscayne, Ilsa Morada, Lignumvitae, Adirondacks, Catskill. This album includes miscellaneous subjects and locations.
Box 29: Photographs, ca. 1927Add to your cart.
W.J. and Hugh Matheson's Miami office at S.W. 2nd Avenue and the Miami River, House at Matheson Hammock, two-family apartment, superintendent's house Key Biscayne, Commissary Building Key Biscayne, donkeys with barn in the background Key Biscayne, Hugh M. Matheson sitting on dredge pipe with dredge "Bartlett" in the background, workers on Key Biscayne with Hugh M. Matheson in the foreground, artisian well driving a water wheel and pump Key Biscayne, tractor with homemade trailor distributing sea weed mulch for newly set coconut palms - September 1927, dredge "bartlett" working at the west end of south canal (Pines Canal), south line canal jettys, pile driver, dredge "Davis" pumping fill Key Biscayne, jetty work, south line canal (Pines Canal) Key Biscayne
Box 30: Photos of Key BiscayneAdd to your cart.
Slat House, beach scene, nursery on Key Biscayne, barn under construction
Box 31: Photographs of WlJ. Matheson's yacht "Seaforth"Add to your cart.
The boat captain's name is Captain Comquest; he was later captain for Hugh Matheson Sr. on the boat "Paragon" and one postcard of the yacht, "Seaforth"
Box 32: Photographs taken by G.W. Romer, Photographer, ca. 1927Add to your cart.
water explosions near downtown Miami, Swastika, a few beach scenes (of Key  Biscayne?), photos taken from albums "Swastika 1927"
Box 33: Photographs by G.W. Romer, Photographer, 1930Add to your cart.
Album titles "Biscayne Bay Yacht Club Picnic, February 22nd" with shots of boat and picnic.
Box 34: Album titles "Mashta-Key Biscayne, Virginia Key, Aerial view by Hoit", 1925-1930Add to your cart.
Photographs by Richard B. Hoit
Box 35: Sepia photographs by Richard B. Hoit, photographerAdd to your cart.
"Mashta" on Key Biscayne
Box 36: Photographs by Richard B. Hoit, photographerAdd to your cart.
"Swastika" in Coconut Grove
Box 37: Album titled, "Cruise of Aloha, August 4th, 1925 to November 6th, 1925", 1924-1925Add to your cart.
Box 38: Photo album titled, "Sea and Land Cruise, 1928", 1928Add to your cart.
Havana, Panama, California, Grand Canyon in an album of 14 pages
Box 39: Album titled, "Swastika, Coconut Grove Florida 1914", 1914Add to your cart.
Some of the photographs were taken by Ernest L. Crandal of Washington, DC
Box 40: Album titled, "Marpesa"Add to your cart.
This is a speed boat that belonged to W.J.Matheson. These pictures were taken by Brown and Dawson, Stanford, Connecticut

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[Series 1: Photographs],

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