UWF in the Community

Maritime book collection now available at University of West Florida

Archaeologists, historians and the casually curious can all find gold in a rare and distinctive collection of maritime books recently donated to the University of West Florida’s library.

Whether the subject of interest is a legal document, a personal diary or notes about shipwreck remains, researchers are likely to find something in the hundreds of volumes gathered during three decades by Savannah, Georgia-based U.S. Army Corps of Engineers archaeologist Judy Linn Wood.

“The breadth of the collection is its strength,” said Amy Mitchell-Cook, chair of the UWF Department of History. “It’s not just compendiums of shipwrecks and maritime artifacts, and it’s not just Georgia-based. It’s much broader, and some books tie into culture, ceramics, stoneware – even gender issues.”

The range of subjects is evident by a quick inventory of the numerous titles, including “Vikings and America,” “America and the Sea: A Maritime History,” “She Captains,” “Ghost Fleet: The Sunken Ships Of Bikini Atoll,” “Merchant Steam Vessels of the U.S. 1790-1868,” “A Sketch of the History of Key West,” “Uniform Buttons of the U.S. 1776- 1865,” and “Shipbuilding in Colonial America.”

Wood, who retired in 2011 and died last year, was recognized by the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for “decades of tireless promotion of maritime heritage, submerged cultural resource identification, investigation and preservation.”

Colleagues praised Wood for her depth of knowledge of Southern maritime history and underwater archaeology. Her impressive personal library will significantly add to maritime research at UWF, said Mitchell-Cook.