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James "Jimmie" Rider Roy (1912-1998) participated in the 1930 inaugural Patriotic Pilgrimage, a program started by Ruth Bryan Owen. Owen organized the annual pilgrimage for thirty-six students, a boy and a girl from every high school in her district, to Washington, D.C. for a week to study American history and government. Roy represented Vero Beach High School in Indian River County. Shortly after, Roy graduated and moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in search of work and to pursue higher education. He and Owen remained close, corresponding for several years. Roy began studying at the University of Pittsburgh in 1940, later attended Colgate Rochester Divinity School and began his ministry in New York in 1946. In 1951 he moved back to South Florida and served several churches in the region, dedicating his ministry to helping the unfortunate and working with young people.
Ruth Bryan Owen, born in 1885 in Jacksonville, Illinois, was the oldest child of William Jennings Bryan and Mary Elizabeth Baird Bryan. William Jennings Bryan was a three-time Democratic presidential nominee and Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson. After World War I, she and her husband Major Reginald Owen moved to Coconut Grove, Florida. Ruth Bryan Owen began a career as a lecturer and in 1925 was named vice-chairman of the Board of Regents at the University of Miami. After the death of her husband in 1927, Owen decided to run for political office. In 1929, Owen was elected to the Seventy-first Congress and re-elected to the Seventy-second Congress as the representative of Florida's Fourth Congressional District. She was the first congresswoman elected from the South. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her as Ambassador to Denmark, making her the first female U.S. representative in that high a diplomatic post. Ruth Bryan Owen died in 1954 while visiting Denmark.
This collection contains several letters from Ruth Bryan Owen to James "Jimmie" Rider Roy that document their relationship, often discussing mutual acquaintances, Jimmie's difficulties in finding work after graduation, Owen's responsibilities as Congresswoman, and their shared love of Florida. There is also a letter from Owen's daughter Kitty that describes her home life in Miami, Florida. The collection also includes two unidentified and undated photographs, one of which is autographed to Jimmie, color photocopies of the correspondence, and biographical information for Kitty Owen Spence and Nell Dorr (Koons), both of whom are mentioned in the letters.
Folder listing available. 0
Additional Physical Form:
Location of Originals/Duplicates:
For more materials on Ruth Bryan Owens, see Collection N2004-1, Ruth Bryan Owen Papers, 1901-2008 (1.5 cubic feet).
Electronic Records Access:
Subject Access Fields:
Owen, Ruth Bryan, 1885-1954.
Students Florida Women legislators Florida