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About the Author

Figures || 1: The Setting

For years, the Jacksonville Beaches promoted the phrase "Get sand in your shoes when you visit the Beaches and you'll always come back." After all, the Beaches are on a barrier island which offers water, sand surf, sun, entertainment, relaxation, and hospitality. The Beaches were casual; people never inquired too closely about personal origins or beliefs. Residents came from everywhere, either for visit or forever. Those who got "sand in their shoes" found themselves yearning to return.

That's what happened to Donald J. Mabry who has a long association with Jacksonville, Florida as does his family. His maternal grandmother and her children moved to Jacksonville about 1919 after his maternal grandfather died in south Georgia. His mother and father married there and, although, they lived other places, they often returned to visit her relatives. Mabry went to elementary schools in Jacksonville and Jacksonville Beach several times before finally settling at the Beaches in 1953. He was in the first graduating class of San Pablo Elementary School. He graduated from Duncan U. Fletcher Junior-Senior High School in 1959. At Fletcher, he was an honor student as well as treasurer, vice president, and president of the student body during his last three years. In addition, he was an award-winning editor of The Florida Key, the state Key Club newspaper, and participated in other school activities. Through the influence of Frank Doggett, the Fletcher principal who published scholarly books in U.S. literature, he was able to attend Kenyon College on scholarships.

     Like Doggett, he became an educator and scholar. Mabry holds the BA with honors from Kenyon, the M.Ed. from Bowling Green State University, and the Ph.D. with honors from Syracuse University. He taught at St. Johns River Community College in Palatka, Florida, Syracuse University, and Mississippi State University. At the University of Kansas, he was special assistant to the chancellor; at Mississippi State he served as special assistant to the president, associate dean of arts and sciences, director of the Biological and Physical Sciences Institute, and director of the Institute for the Humanities. He taught U.S., European, and Latin American history. In addition to writing articles an reviews for scholarly journals, he authored Mexico's Acción Nacional, The Mexican University and the State, Colonial Latin America, and World's Finest Beach; co-authored Neighbors-Mexico and the United States; and edited The Latin American Narcotics Trade and U. S. National Security. He has also written hundreds of articles and review. He has testified as an expert witness in both houses of Congress. Mabry was a pioneer in the use of the Intent by professional historians.

     Not surprising, he remains very active on the Internet and Web. His Historical Text Archive ( is a massive resource for the study and teaching of history and receives about nineteen million page views each year. He also maintains a Web site for Fletcher alumni (1937-1966) at His travel photography can be seen at

     He continues to do research on the history of the Jacksonville Beaches in addition to World's Finest Beach and the articles "A Man and Three Hotels,", "Neptune Beach, Florida Before 1931", and "Harcourt Bull's Atlantic Beach, Florida" all published by the HTA.