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Florida’s Female Pioneers

March 12 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Peggy Macdonald

We are thrilled to welcome back public historian, author, and former executive director, Dr. Peggy Macdonald, to speak at the Matheson about “Florida’s Female Pioneers.” A book signing will follow her presentation.

In this presentation Dr. Macdonald examines some of the women who have shaped Florida, including: Dr. Esther Hill Hawks, a physician who ran the first racially integrated free school in Florida–and probably the nation–after the Civil War; Harriet Beecher Stowe, who kick-started Florida’s tourism industry with her 1873 book, Palmetto Leaves; Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, a pioneering educator and civil rights leader whose statue will soon replace Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith’s statue at the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol; Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, the first and only female Florida Seminole tribal chair and the first female tribal chair of any American Indian tribe in the nation; and May Mann Jennings, a suffragist and conservationist who was once known as the most powerful woman in Florida. Florida’s “Three Marjorie(y)s”–Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Marjorie Harris Carr and Marjory Stoneman Douglas–are also featured. The talk is illustrated by stereographs and historic postcards from the Matheson’s photographic collection, the State Archives of Florida, the private collection of Mimi Carr, and other repositories.

Dr. Peggy Macdonald is a public historian and adjunct professor of history at Stetson University. A native Gainesvilleian, she has written about local and Florida history and culture for Gainesville Magazine, Our Town Magazine, Senior Times and FORUM Magazine. In 2014, the University Press of Florida published her first book, “Marjorie Harris Carr: Defender of Florida’s Environment.” She is currently working on a new book on Florida’s female pioneers. Dr. Macdonald gives presentations on Florida women’s history as a speaker with the Florida Humanities Council’s Florida Talks program and serves on the Alachua County Historical Commission. She is an alumna of the University of Florida, where she received a Ph.D. in American history in 2010. Dr. Macdonald served as Executive Director of the Matheson History Museum from 2015 to 2019.

This program is sponsored in part by Visit Gainesville / Alachua County, FL and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.


March 12
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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Matheson History Museum
513 E University Ave
Gainesville, FL 32601 United States
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