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Dr. Junius E. Dovell (1911-1986)

photo of Doctor Junius Elmore Dovell
Dr. J. E. Dovell
Thesis - A History of the Everglades of Florida

Dovell's thesis source materials

The Everglades Before Reclamation

The Everglades, a Florida Frontier

Book review of The Everglades: River of Grass

Historical Photos

(Image restored by Christopher T. King at the SFWMD. Click on the image to view a larger version).

Dr. Junius E. Dovell was an important contributor to the understanding of the history of the Everglades. In 1947, the 36-year-old historian compiled three hundred source materials describing the Everglades area from which had had 1,379 footnotes in his PhD thesis. Dovell has written a large number of articles, book reviews and press reports on the history and government of Florida and is referenced within the Florida Historical Quarterly archives. His work continues to be important, as acknowledged by journalist Michael Grunwald, author of the book "The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise" that was published in 2006.

Dovell was interested in Florida's history since his childhood, a fascination shared by his parents. His mother, Alma Amelia Chapman, came to Orlando in 1884 at the age of 12 from Newberry, South Carolina. His father, Milton Obidiah Dovell, settled in Orlando in 1886 from the town of Luray in the Old Dominion of Virginia.

Dovell was educated in Orlando, Florida through ninth grade, at which point he enrolled at the Bailey Military Institute in Greenwood, South Carolina. He graduated in 1929 with high honors and as champion high school debater of South Carolina, already possessing presentation and factual detail skills that are well evident in his later writing. He attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio from 1929 to 1931, the University of Florida in 1931, and he graduated with a bachelors degree and a masters degree from John B. Stetson University in 1933 and 1934 respectively.

From 1934 to 1939, Dovell taught in the public schools of Orlando, Florida, and in 1936, he married Lois Adrienne Daane at the edge of Lake Okeechobee. Lois's father, Dr. Adrian Daane, died that same year. At the time, Daane was director of the University of Florida Experiment Station at Belle Glade.

From 1938 to 1939, Dovell attended the University of North Carolina for graduate school. He returned to the Orlando schools for another year in 1940, but in 1941 he returned to continue graduate work at Chapel Hill. In 1942, he accepted an interim appointment as professor of history at Flora Macdonald College in Red Springs, North Carolina.

In 1942, he was appointed a lieutenant (junior grade) in the United States Naval Reserve, and he served with distinction in active duty until 1945, achieving the rank of lieutenant commander. In 1946, Dovell returned to graduate school and was made an instructor in social sciences at the University of North Carolina, from which he received Ph.D. in 1947.

In June 1946, Dovell again returned to his native state and accepted a position as assistant professor of history and political science at the University of Florida. Dr. Dovell retired in 1967.

The children of Dr. and Mrs. Dovell are Alma Elizabeth, Adrian Junius, Mildred Beth and Catherine Jean.

Source material for this information: "Biographical Sketch of Dr. J. E. Dovell", Florida's Business, May 1955

Read Michael Grunwald's account of the significance of Junius Dovell's historical work regarding the Everglades...

Without a doubt, 1947 was the most important year in the history of the Everglades. Everglades National Park was established that year, ensuring federal protection for the marsh, but two hurricanes overwhelmed South Florida that year, ensuring the development of a federal flood-control project that has ravaged the marsh. That was also the year that a veteran newspaper reporter named Marjory Stoneman Douglas introduced the marsh to the world in her book "The Everglades: River of Grass," declaring in her first sentence that 'there are no other Everglades in the world.'

Junius Elmore Dovell also wrote about the Everglades in 1947, completing a dissertation titled "A History of the Everglades of Florida" for his doctorate at the University of North Carolina. It was never published, and it never had a sliver of the impact of River of Grass. Dovell was not a lyrical writer, and he didn't seem to grasp the beauty of the Everglades. He didn't even try to gush about its 'vast glittering openness' or 'the miracle of the light,' as Douglas did in her first page. He stuck to the facts.

And I, for one, am glad he did. River of Grass was also supposed to be a history of the Everglades, but Douglas didn't include any footnotes, and she took more than a few liberties with the facts for the sake of her story. Dovell did not take any liberties, and he documented where he uncovered every fact; when I wrote my own Everglades history, "The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise," I found Dovell's work more useful. His meticulous accounts of the Everglades sugar industry, the Everglades development industry, and the politics of the Everglades were indispensable to my research. They will be indispensable to future historians as well.

I don't want to make Dovell sound like an automaton; he had a genuine passion for Florida history. And I don't want to make Douglas sound like a dilettante; she was a reporter at heart, and picked the brains of some of the best Everglades geologists, biologists and historians. But it's fitting that Douglas became a famous Everglades activist, crusading for the ecosystem she loved, while Dovell became a well-respected Florida historian, documenting the stories of his state. There is a place for passion, and there is a place for objectivity. In 1947, the Everglades was the place that got both.

A History of the Everglades of Florida

map showing location of the EvergladesBy Junius Elmore Dovell

A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the University of North Carolina in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of History

Chapel Hill

Approved by: Fletcher M. Green, Advisor

(An unpublished manuscript)

Table of Contents

Preface [HTML file]

Maps [HTML file]

  1. Location of the Everglades [HTML file]
  2. Watershed of Lake Okeechobee [HTML file]
  3. High Water Marks on the Shore of Lake Okeechobee, September, 1928, Hurricane [HTML file]


  1. Physical Description [HTML file]
    1. Geological Background [HTML file]
    2. Soil Deposits [HTML file]
    3. Flora and Fauna [HTML file]
  2. Arrival of Man [.TXT file]
    1. First Inhabitants
    2. Early Explorers
    3. First Tourists
    4. Seminole
  3. Federal and State Attempts at Reclamation of the Everglades [.TXT file]
    1. State Action to Secure the Title
    2. Buckingham Smith Report
    3. Swamp and Overflowed Land Grant Act
    4. Creation of the Internal Improvement Fund
  4. Private Attempts at Reclamation of the Everglades [.TXT file]
    1. Receivership of the Internal Improvement Fund
    2. Disston Drainage Contracts
  5. Latter-Day Explorers and the Natives [.TXT file]
    1. The Explorers
    2. The Natives
  6. Origin of the Everglades Drainage District [.TXT file]
    1. Years of Indecision
    2. Spade Work of Jennings
    3. The People Chose: N. B. Broward and Drainage
  7. Early Operations in the District
    1. The Drainage Administration
    2. The Wright Report
    3. The First Land Boom
  8. Congressional Investigation of the Everglades Project
    1. The Calm Before the Storm
    2. Background of the Congressional Investigation
    3. The Battle Lines are Drawn: Investigation
  9. Examination of the Drainage Scheme
    1. Mead-Metcalf-Hazen Report
    2. Florida Everglades Engineering Commission
  10. 'Glades Life in the Early Days
  11. Sugar and the Second Land Boom
    1. Growing Pains
    2. Sugar and the Land Boom
  12. The 1926 Hurricane and the [Gov.] Martin Bond Proposal
    1. The Hurricane
    2. The Twenty
    3. The Dayton Morgan Report
  13. The 1928 Hurricane and Federal Participation
    1. The Hurricane
    2. Federal Participation
  14. Home Rule for the Everglades
    1. Default of the Bonds
    2. Refunding the Bonded Debt
  15. The Contemporary Scene
    1. Agriculture and Industry
    2. Conservation Movement
    3. Everglades National Park

Conclusion [HTML file]

Bibliography [.TXT file]

Information about on-line reading and printing of historic documents

This document has been scanned from the original hard-copy. It has been made available, in full, in PDF format. In addition, certain sections of the document are made available as HTML. Because this is a scanned, historical, document, we are unable to provide a fully-accessible version of this entire document at this time. If you cannot fully access the information in these documents, please contact Heather S. Henkel at hhenkel@usgs.gov.

Please note - some PDF files are very large (over 4 MB) and may take some time to download, depending on your system.

You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to view these PDF files.

Title/Preface/Table of Contents/Maps
Chapter I | Chapter II | Chapter III
Chapter IV | Chapter V | Chapter VI
Chapter VII | Chapter VIII | Chapter IX
Chapter X | Chapter XI | Chapter XII
Chapter XIII | Chapter XIV | Chapter XV
Conclusion | Bibliography

Entire Document File (50.5 MB)

The following sections are available in HTML:

Table of Contents
Chapter I: Section 1, Section 2, Section 3

The following sections are available as .TXT files:

Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI

Note: The text of additional chapters will be added in the future

The Everglades Before Reclamation

The Everglades Before Reclamation by J. E. Dovell, THE FLORIDA HISTORICAL QUARTERLY, Volume XXVI July 1947 Number 1 (Pages 1 - 43) (permission to post this article was granted by the Florida Historical Society). The Florida Historical Quarterly (ISSN 0015-4113) is published by the Florida Historical Society, Cocoa, Florida, in cooperation with the Department of History, University of Central Florida, Orlando.

This article is derived from Dr. Dovell's thesis "A History of the Everglades of Florida".

The Everglades, a Florida Frontier

Dovell, Junius E.: The Everglades, a Florida Frontier, Agricultural history: Volume 22, Number 3 (Pages 187-197) Agricultural History Society, Fargo, N.D. : July, 1948 (available from the JSTOR website)

J.E. Dovell's review of The Everglades: River of Grass

The Florida Historical Quarterly
Volume XXVI January 1948 Number 3
Book Review (Pages 275 - 278)

The Everglades: River of Grass.
By Marjory Stoneman Douglas
(New York : Rhinehart and Company, 1947. pp. 406.)

J.E. Dovell's review:

The publication of Mrs. Douglas's volume on the Everglades marks the third study of Florida's natural waterways in the Rivers of America series. With the previously published books on the Suwanee and the St. Johns, the Everglades volume ranks Florida with Virginia as another state to be thrice honored...[read more]

photo of Junius, Lois, Beth, and Gordon Watson at Cypress Lodge on Lake Okeechobee
photo of Lois, Alma, and Jud Dovell
Jud and Lois Dovell on their wedding day, June 4, 1936, along with Lois' sister, Beth, and Gordon Watson. [larger image] Lois and Jud Dovell with daughter Alma circa 1941. [larger image]

photo of Jud Dovell with a fellow serviceman during his time in the Navy
family photo of Adrian, Catherine, Lois, Jud and Beth Dovell circa 1956
Jud Dovell (above, left) in the Navy during WWII. He was the signals officer on a hospital ship in the South Pacific. [larger image] Adrian, Catherine, Lois, Jud (back row) and Beth Dovell (front) circa 1956. [larger image]

photo of Jud and Lois Dovell, 1966
photo of Jud Dovell in his favorite chair at home, 1977
Jud and Lois Dovell, 1966. [larger image] Jud Dovell in his favorite chair at home, 1977. [larger image]

Thanks to Adrian Dovell, Robert Mooney, Tracy Enright, Joel VanArman, Mark Finn, and Jay Goodwin for volunteering their time to help make this memorial available.

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Last updated: 04 September, 2013 @ 02:07 PM(TJE)