By Beatrice Colastin Skokan and Athena N. Jackson
Title: Finlay B. Matheson Collection
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.
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.
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.
Alternate Extent Statement:
Gift of Mr. Finlay B. Matheson.
Ralph M. Munroe Family Papers, 1882-1995.
Finlay B. Matheson Collection, Special Collections, University of Miami Libraries, Coral Gables, Florida.
Processed by Cory Czajkowski under the supervision of Beatrice Skokan, 2012.
Box and Folder Listing
- Series 1: Photographs
- Box 1: Hand colored Robinson photos, 1917
- Hand colored images of Matheson family residences.
- Box 2: Fifty ariel photographs of Key Biscayne and Coconut Grove
- 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, 1926
- 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, 1928
- "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", 1927
- Box 5A: Photo album titled, "Trip to Jamaica, the Isthmus, Colombia and Costa Rica 1927" aboard steamship "Carillo", 1927
- Box 6: Aloha Cruise 1912 - 1913, two volumes, Volume I, 1912-1913
- Box 7: Aloha Around the World 1921 - 1922, Volume II, 1921-1922
- Box 8: Off and On Calabash Florida Keys, Three weeks in April and May, 1913
- Box 9: Pictures of "Swastika" and early shots of Coconut Grove, Florida Keys, etc.
- Box 10: Year 1927 album, 1927
- 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, 1910-1919
- 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. 1927
- Box 14: Year 1930 album, 1930
- 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", 1927
- 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, 1928-1929
- Box 17: Photo album titled "Trinity 1938", 1938
- 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, 1929
- Box 19: Album titled, "Years 1928 & 1929", 1928-1929
- 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, 1929
- 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, 1925-1926
- Box 22: Album titled, "Marmion Cuban Cruise - April 18th to June 7th, 1928", 1928
- 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"
- 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", 1926-1927
- 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", 1926
- 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, Mangroves
- Box 27: Album titled, "Various pictures - years 1903 to 1920", 1903-1920
- 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. 1927
- 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 Biscayne
- Slat House, beach scene, nursery on Key Biscayne, barn under construction
- Box 31: Photographs of WlJ. Matheson's yacht "Seaforth"
- 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. 1927
- 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, 1930
- 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", 1925-1930
- Photographs by Richard B. Hoit
- Box 35: Sepia photographs by Richard B. Hoit, photographer
- "Mashta" on Key Biscayne
- Box 36: Photographs by Richard B. Hoit, photographer
- "Swastika" in Coconut Grove
- Box 37: Album titled, "Cruise of Aloha, August 4th, 1925 to November 6th, 1925", 1924-1925
- Box 38: Photo album titled, "Sea and Land Cruise, 1928", 1928
- Havana, Panama, California, Grand Canyon in an album of 14 pages
- Box 39: Album titled, "Swastika, Coconut Grove Florida 1914", 1914
- Some of the photographs were taken by Ernest L. Crandal of Washington, DC
- Box 40: Album titled, "Marpesa"
- This is a speed boat that belonged to W.J.Matheson. These pictures were taken by Brown and Dawson, Stanford, Connecticut