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Florida Gulf Coast University Special Collections
Collection ID: 02/01/18

Koreshan Collection, 1850-1980

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Location of this collection:
10501 FGCU Boulevard South
Fort Myers, FL 33965, USA
239-590-7658
Restrictions:
Materials may be viewed at the Florida Gulf Coast University Library's Archives, Special Collections, and Digital Initiatives, the reading room is located on the third floor of FGCU Library, room 322, and is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm. If you would like to view any of the digitized collection please visit our repository, [url=https://fgcu.digital.flvc.org/islandora/search/?type=edismax&collection=fgcu%3A020306]DigitalFGCU[/url]. For more information please visit the departments webpage.

Collection description

Summary

Abstract:
The Koreshan Collection offers a rare glimpse into a charismatic leader and his followers as they endeavored to create a thriving utopian community. Lead by their prophet Cyrus R. Teed (later referring to himself as the Hebrew translation "Koresh"), the group relocated to establish their "New Jerusalem" in Estero, Florida in 1894. The Koreshan Unity espoused radical new doctrine that was a union of reincarnation, alchemy, religio-science, and Koresh's most radical concept: the belief that the earth is truly concave and the universe resides finite within. The collection of photographs, ephemera, monographs, sheet music, correspondence, and furniture document the utopian community's industrious nature. Though their community operated on collectivist ideals, the Koreshans sustained their fellowship by operating a bakery and general store, as well as owning and operating a printing press to create original texts, religious publications, the Flaming Sword, and the American Eagle Newspaper. Koresh was a prolific writer, publishing numerous books. The members of the Unity placed great emphasis on fine art, theater, and chamber music, maintaining their Victorian sensibility. Due to generous gifts from The College of Life Foundation and the Koreshan State Park, the FGCU Library's Archives, Special Collections, & Digital Initiatives will be able to preserve and provide access to this rich piece of Southwest Florida history.
Extent:
240.00 Linear Feet
Language:
English .

Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access:

Materials may be viewed at the Florida Gulf Coast University Library's Archives, Special Collections, and Digital Initiatives, the reading room is located on the third floor of FGCU Library, room 322, and is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm. If you would like to view any of the digitized collection please visit our repository, [url=https://fgcu.digital.flvc.org/islandora/search/?type=edismax&collection=fgcu%3A020306]DigitalFGCU[/url]. For more information please visit the departments webpage.

Background

Scope and Content:

Consists of publications produced by the Koreshan Unity (notably The Flaming Sword and American Eagle), Koreshan Unity members' records, personal papers, photographs, correspondence, monographs, sheet music, musical instruments, paintings, and personal belongings and writings, as well as scholarship and research produced on the Koreshan Unity, and documentation post the property being managed by the Florida State Parks, 1850-1999.

Acquisition information:

College of Life Foundation and the Koreshan State Historic Site

The FGCU Library's Archives, Special Collections, and Digital Initiatives acquisition of the Koreshan materials began with the generous donation of monographs from The College of Life Foundation in the Fall of 2014. This initial donation became the impetus for our Spring 2015 exhibition, The Koreshans. The FGCU Library's Archives and Special Collections partnered with the Koreshan State Historic Site (now known as Koreshan State Park) to include their extensive collection of photographs to be exhibited and digitized by the library to provide global access to the historic collection. Due to the collaborative work of the FGCU Library, Florida Archives, The College of Life Foundation, and the Koreshan State Park, the public had the unique opportunity to view materials that have not been in the same room in fifty years. The success of the exhibition provided the opportunity for the State Park and the FGCU Archives to continue their partnership in preserving the legacy of the Koreshan Unity and its members. In the fall of 2016, the Koreshan State Historic Site gifted the Library with their archival collection to be preserved and used for scholarship in perpetuity.

The Koreshan Collection consists of photographs, personal papers, music scores, ephemera, monographs, paintings, and musical instruments; nearly 250 linear feet of material.

Collection inventory