Sunday, May 22, 2022




Who was Marjory Stoneman Douglas?

Well, if you don’t know, or if you want to know more, about this extraordinary conservationist who lived for 108 year (no, it’s not a typo, she was born in 1890 and died in 1998), here’s a new book that summarizes her life and the issues that concerned her.

Recent residents and visitors to south Florida will appreciate the background information – colonial history in the state and Miami, early drainage schemes which lead to land booms, and the depressing neglect of our precious environment in more recent years. It all leads up to what made this tenacious campaigner for our welfare into such an environmental prophet.

Marjory got off the train in Florida in 1915, worked on the “Miami Herald” as a journalist where her father Frank was founder and editor, wrote short stories for the “Saturday Evening Post”, and then produced her classic book “The Everglades: River of Grass”. She lamented that the authorities concentrated on draining the broad, freely-meandering, stream for flood control or agriculture without considering what would happen to the rest of the lands when they were starving for moisture.

Her writing and speeches and lobbying eventually changed the way we think about this special area and the importance of water flow through the bottom half of the state.

The author of “GRANDMA OF THE GLADES”, who has written several other short local histories, summarizes the relevant facts in this brief biography but also includes many old photos and some wonderful quotes from Marjory’s friends to elaborate on what an interesting and influential person she was. The book is just enough to give you an appreciation of a unique woman in Florida history and to encourage you to delve deeper into the recommended reading.

Copies of “GRANDMA OF THE GLADES: A Brief Biography of Marjory Stoneman Douglas” by Marya Repko are available for sale at $10 in retail outlet around Everglades City and from the publisher at or by phoning (239) 695-2905. Marya is a local historian who has produced works about Everglades City, the Fakahatchee, Deaconess Bedell, and Sanibel.

If you want to learn more about Marjory Stoneman Douglas, come to a free lecture on Friday, January 28, at 3:00 p.m. in the Naples Preserve.

Marya will give an illustrated lecture about the subject of her new book “GRANDMA OF THE GLADES” and will have copies available to sign.

Naples Preserve is at the corner of US-41 (Tamiami Trail) and Fleischmann Blvd, just south of Coastland Mall. It is open to the public and everyone is welcome. Arrive early for a stroll around the wonderful wilderness.

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