March 2021
Dear Friends,

Here we are, 210 years after Harriet Beecher Stowe was born....still learning about her contributions to our culture, literature and history. We are very excited to be participating in two different Zoom events about Stowe in March and April. We hope you will be able to attend. The March program is in honor of Women's History Month.

Mrs. Stowe loved March in Mandarin because of the bursting forth of flowers - especially the orange blossoms, magnolias and jessamine. In Palmetto Leaves, in the chapter called "Yellow Jessamine" and dated March 14, 1972, she describes:

"The yellow jessamine, which before grew under the shadow of the trees, now, exultant in the sunshine which was let in upon it, has made a triumphant and abounding growth, such as we never saw anywhere else. It is the very Ariel of flowers - the tricksy sprite, full of life and grace and sweetness; and it seems to take capricious pleasure in rambling everywhere, and masquerading in the foliage of every kind of tree. Now its yellow bells twinkle down like stars from the prickly holly, where it has turned the solemn old evergreen into a blossoming garland."

This photo was taken last week in Walter Jones Historical Park - look around and you will see the bells of yellow jessamine everywhere - just as Harriet described.

Sandy Arpen
Blue Star Families event
Mandarin Museum & Historical Society is proud to be a participant of a special Zoom program about Harriet Beecher Stowe. It is presented by the Blue Star Families organization, which supports military families across the US. They have opened this meeting to MMHS friends, however, since we have established a partnership with the NAS/Jax chapter. If interested, you must register in advance.
The program will focus on Harriet’s early life in Cincinnati, Ohio and her later life in Mandarin - honoring Mrs. Stowe during Women’s History Month.
Christina Hartlieb, Executive Director of Cincinnati's Harriet Beecher Stowe House, will explain how Harriet’s 18 years living in Cincinnati – a border city – enabled her to write the popular and important anti-slavery novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”
Sandy Arpen will share information about the impact Harriet had on the community of Mandarin and on the state of Florida during her 17 years of “wintering” in Mandarin - after the Civil War, from 1867 to 1884. She has often been called an early “snowbird.” There is some truth to that, because she did love the climate, natural beauty and slow pace of winters in Florida. However, Harriet had a mission - a mission to bring northern thought and values into the reformative process in the South. She fulfilled that mission in many ways, which will also be discussed.
“Meet Harriet: The Life and Legacy of Harriet Beecher Stowe” will be presented virtually through Zoom on Sunday, March 14th at 4pm.

Rodney Hurst receives Stetson Kennedy Foundation Award

On February 18, MMHS hosted our first ever Zoom program featuring Rodney L. Hurst Sr. in honor of Black History Month. It was an amazing lecture, attended virtually by 51 people!

Before the lecture began, the Stetson Kennedy Foundation presented to Mr. Hurst, their annual “Fellow Man and Mother Earth Award,” which recognizes an individual's outstanding achievement in promoting environmental kinship, human rights or the preservation of traditional culture.
Stetson Kennedy spent his entire adult life fighting for human rights, including infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan in the 1940s. The Foundation recognized and honored Mr. Hurst for his outstanding achievement as a civil rights activist, award winning author, community leader and black historian.
In 1960, at just 16 years old, Rodney was President of the Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP. He and others led the sit-in demonstrations in downtown Jacksonville just months after the sit-ins in Greensboro and Nashville. He was there on Ax Handle Saturday on August 27, 1960.

Because of the local “blackout” of news of the demonstration and attacks, his book “It was never about a hot dog and a Coke,” detailing his eyewitness account, is the only historically accurate description of the 1960 Jacksonville sit-ins and Ax Handle Saturday. For over 60 years now, Rodney has been a fighter for equal rights and a chronicler of the struggle to achieve them. He has written two books and co-authored another with Dr. Rudy F. Jamison, Jr.

Mandarin Newsline

The March 2021 edition of the Mandarin Newsline will be out in the next couple of days. It includes an article about Mandarin Cemetery and the walking tour of historic graves that you can take any time.

This free newspaper is our chief way of sharing history stories, events and programs with the public. They are able to publish free papers due to the robust local advertising. Please pay attention to the ads and shop and eat at those businesses that support the community in this way. To read the entire Newsline click HERE and click "digital editions" link at the top of the page.
In Our Collection

Last month we received a very special Lee Adams, the #1 issued print of the Mimi & Lee Adams Environmental Award. One of Mandarin's most beloved artists, Adams (1922-1971) specialized in plants, tropical fruits and birds. "Adams and his wife Mimi Stockton Adams, a local environmental activist, died in a car accident in 1971. The City of Jacksonville named a park in Avondale after them, and created the Mimi and Lee Adams Environmental Award to recognize citizens’ contributions to natural conservation and preservation." (

This drawing of cedar waxwing birds has been the subject of every award given since 1973. The very first recipient was Frank Hill, a County Forester for St. Johns, Clay and Duval Counties until 1964, when he became District Forester for the Jacksonville District of the new Division of Forestry. Mr. Hill was known for his work in land and timber management, environmental education in schools and fire control. This award was very special to him, because he was friends with the Adamses.

We are grateful to Mr. Hill's son John and his family, who donated this piece to the Mandarin Museum.

Outdoor Frog Sale

March 13

10 am - 1pm

We are happy to announce another Frog and Gift Shop Sale on Saturday, March 13. We will still be outside under the oak trees, offering a large variety of frogs and sea turtles, as well as books and artist prints on the porch. Please wear a mask and please stay separated from people not in your family group, as we are still following COVID safety measures.

This outdoor sale is our primary income right now. We especially thank Don Bowden, Mandarin's Frog Man, for making these delightful creatures as a fundraiser for MMHS. And to volunteers Kaye Hartley, Wendy Short, and Susan Cason for always being there to help.
Welcome visitors from Cincinnati

In February, our Volunteer Coordinator, Paula Suhey, had the pleasure of giving a private tour to a couple who volunteer at the Harriet Beecher Stowe House museum in Cincinnati. Ed and Sally Umbach walked the park, visited the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour, the historical marker and the Mandarin Community Club site during their visit.
The Mandarin Museum and the Schoolhouse are usually open on Saturdays from 9-4. All other historic buildings in Walter Jones Historical Park (11964 Mandarin Rd.) AND the Mandarin Store and Post Office (12471 Mandarin Rd.), are usually open from 10-2 on the first Saturday.

School field trips and youth or adult group tours are scheduled mostly during the week - by appointment. Call 268-0784 or email us at to make a reservation.   
However, these activities are not available at this time due to COVID-19. Reopening will be announced as soon as a date is determined.

We always need more volunteers, as they are the backbone of our organization. If you would like more information CLICK HERE or email Paula Suhey, Volunteer Coordinator at and she will give you a call and tell you all about the opportunities we have. Information is also available by clicking HERE
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Thank you to our community partners

MISSION: Mandarin Museum & Historical Society shares the stories of Mandarin's history, culture and natural resources by providing engaging programs that educate, entertain and inspire.

Mandarin Museum & Historical Society