Early Key West Account Found in Charleston

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One of the earliest known travelogues of the Florida Keys and Key West has been uncovered in South Carolina at the College of Charleston. It establishes, among other things, that Key West’s reputation for drunkenness and questionable behavior has done nothing to dissuade talented writers from visiting the place for 165 years.


Major Archive Donated to Key West Library

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The Monroe County Public Library in Key West is the new owner of a major historical collection following a ceremony this morning in the Florida Keys History Room. Local dignitaries including City of Key West Mayor Craig Cates and Monroe County Mayor Pro-Tem Heather Carruthers attended along with representatives of …Read More


Immortal Bird / Delinquent Library Patron

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Another paper treasure from the Key West library: the last library card of great American playwright Tennessee Williams; paired with the “urgent request” to return an overdue biography of John Keats, whose “Ode to a Nightingale,” includes the line “Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!” Tennessee, nicknamed “Bird” …Read More


Lanford Wilson, 1937-2011

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Lanford Wilson died this week. The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright was 73. Wilson participated in the Seminar twice, first in 1986 for an event dedicated to the work of Tennessee Williams; and again in 1990, for “New Directions in American Theater.” He served as an adviser to our board for the …Read More


Hildegard Ott Russell’s Spanish Limes

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Alongside Key West’s tradition of acclaimed writers-in-residence like Elizabeth Bishop and Wallace Stevens lies the output of obscure authors whose work met the world through small press and self-publishing ventures. We found this autographed copy of Hildegard Ott Russell’s 1964 Spanish Limes an’ I got ’em Sweet at Bargain Books on Truman Avenue about two years ago. The collection of 100 poems appears to have brought together more than 30 years of Russell’s previously published and new work. It includes a foreword by Florida Poet Laureate Vivian Yeiser Laramore Rader and six silhouette cuttings by Phoebe Hazelwood Morse.