Munroe Family Papers, 1903-1979

By William E. Brown Jr.

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Collection Overview

Title: Munroe Family Papers, 1903-1979

ID: ASM0409

Creator: Ralph Middleton Munroe and family

Extent: 21.0 Boxes. More info below.

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The collection includes correspondence, logbooks, photographs albums, slides,  and diaries pertaining to various members of the Munroe Family who settled in Coconut Grove, Florida.

Biographical Note

Ralph Middleton "Commodore" Munroe, avid yachtsman, successful businessman, and celebrated patriarch of the Munroe family, made Coconut Grove his home in the late 1800s. Munroe and his family moved to South Florida from Staten Island, New York, to provide a more beneficial environment for his wife, Eva Maelia Hewitt, who suffered from tuberculosis. Unfortunately, both his wife and daughter succumbed to illness and died shortly after their move to Miami.

Munroe subsequently split his time between Staten Island and the Grove, often staying at the Peacock family hotel, The Bay View House, later known as the Peacock Inn. Several years before the turn of the century he bought land recognized today as the Barnacle State Historic Park, where he built his permanent home. Munroe also founded the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, and through his continual enjoyment of sailing and boating life, met his second wife, Jessie Wirth. They had two children, Wirth and Patty.

The Commodore's passion for the sea was only matched by his interest in photographing. Munroe's constant recording of the beauty of Miami with his camera provides an invaluable and lasting visual record of the time and place. The Ralph M. Munroe Family Papers consists of letters, diaries, household accounts, journals, and photographs chronicling the activities of one of South Florida's earliest families. Among the holdings are, the typescript of the popular autobiography, The Commodore's Story, as well as diaries written by Patty Munroe detailing South Florida "happenings."  Photographs offer at look at South Florida scenic sites during the first three decades of the twentieth century.

Administrative Information

Alternate Extent Statement: 19 boxes

Access Restrictions: The collection is open for research

Acquisition Source: Marilyn Catlow, 1994.

Related Materials:

Ralph M. Munroe Family Papers, 1882-1995

Ralph M. Munroe Family Papers (Digital Collection)

The Commodore's Story: Early Miami History (Digital Exhibit)

Alan Crockwell collection, 1873-1996

For more information please see Everglades Digital Library : Everglades Biographies, Ralph Middleton Munroe

Related Publications:

Kent, Gertrude M. The Coconut Grove School in Pioneer Days, 1887-1894. Coral Gables, Fla.: Parker Printing, 1972

Note: Several of the photographs in this collection are published in this booklet.

Munroe, Ralph. The Commodore's Story. Various printings and editions.

Parks, Arva Moore. The Forgotten Frontier: Florida through the Lens of Ralph Middleton Munroe. Miami, Fla.: Centennial Press, 2004.

Parks, Arva Moore. The History of Coconut Grove, Florida, 1821-1925. Thesis (M.A.), University of Miami, 1971.

Parks, Arva Moore. Miami: The Magic City. Miami, Fla.: Centennial Press, 1991.

Preferred Citation: Munroe Family Papers, Special Collections, University of Miami Libraries, Coral Gables, Florida.

Processing Information: Processed by William E. Brown Jr., September 1994.

Finding Aid Revision History: Revised by Beatrice Skokan, Manuscripts Librarian, 2015.

Box and Folder Listing

Box 1: Notebooks (Three ring binders), 1903-1952Add to your cart.
Ralph Munroe - Vincent Gilpin Letters.
Box 2: Typescript: Commodore's StoryAdd to your cart.
Also includes: Ship's logbook: Boston (?), 1884.
Box 3: Photograph albumsAdd to your cart.
Box 4: Letters : Patty Munroe, Mary ?, Bill - Patty, c 1910 - 1950Add to your cart.
Box 5: Letters: miscellaneaAdd to your cart.
Box 6: Color/Black and white slides: Patty MunroeAdd to your cart.
Box 7: Patty Munroe Diaries, 1910, 1914, 1941-42, 1944, 1946-55, 1961,79Add to your cart.

1921 (photocopy)

"Ramblings with Ralph" c. 1925

Box 8: PhotographsAdd to your cart.
Unidentified (from blue suitcase)
Box 9: PhotographsAdd to your cart.
Unidentified (from brown suitcase)
Box 10: "Lost in the Everglades"Add to your cart.
Box 11: Framed/matted photographsAdd to your cart.
Box 12: Framed/matted photographsAdd to your cart.
Box 13: Matted photographsAdd to your cart.
Box 14: Matted photographsAdd to your cart.
Box 15: Framed/matted photographsAdd to your cart.
Box 16: Matted photographsAdd to your cart.
Box 17: Matted photographsAdd to your cart.
Box 18: Matted photographsAdd to your cart.
Box 19: Oversized photographsAdd to your cart.
Box 20: Diaries of Patty W. Munroe, 1920-21, 1921-22, 1936-39Add to your cart.

Diary of Patty W. Munroe, 1920-1921

Diary of Patty W. Munroe, 1921-1922

Diary of Patty W. Munroe, 1936-1939

Note: The three Patty W. Munroe diaries were donated by her daughter, Marilyn Catlow.