Monument in Coconut Grove will honor Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Marjory Stoneman Douglas received an honorary Doctor of Letters from University of Miami President Henry King Stanford in 1952. Photo: University of Miami Libraries Special Collections
By Barbara Gutierrez

Marjory Stoneman Douglas received an honorary Doctor of Letters from University of Miami President Henry King Stanford in 1952. Photo: University of Miami Libraries Special Collections

Monument in Coconut Grove will honor Marjory Stoneman Douglas

By Barbara Gutierrez
The streaming service Hulu has launched a program to increase the number of statues honoring historic women in the country. Archival material about the activist from the University Libraries’ Special Collections will help provide information for the project.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas is known as the “Mother of the Everglades” for her tireless battle to preserve that unique vast wetlands that many call “the river of grass,” a name coined in one of her most famous books. 

Many in South Florida are aware of her battles—for the environment, women’s rights, and civil rights. Starting this summer, her name will gain a wider audience. Hulu, the streaming service, realizing that only 8 percent of all national monuments are dedicated to women, have launched an initiative to erect permanent structures honoring historic women called “Made by Her: Monuments.”

Rendering of Douglas monument in Peacock Park
The monument honoring Marjory Stoneman Douglas will be located in Peacock Park. Rendering courtesy of Hulu

Hulu has commissioned three monuments to honor outstanding women to be erected near their hometowns that will be designed and created by visual artist Saya Woolfalk. Douglas’s monument will be located in Miami’s Peacock Park in Coconut Grove, minutes from her home. A monument to honor Coretta Scott King—the activist, civil rights leader, and the wife of Martin Luther King Jr.—will be erected in Atlanta. And former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will have one unveiled in her honor in Los Angeles in 2022.

All the monuments have the official support of each woman’s estate, along with community and government leaders.

The University of Miami Libraries holds the Douglas papers, an archive that contains hundreds of Marjory Stoneman Douglas’s letters, documents, pictures, diaries, newspaper articles, videos, awards, and other primary source material documenting her life and work. Hulu reached out to library administrators to check copyright issues and to gather information and documents to inform the design of the monument, as well as materials for a forthcoming video on the three women who have been honored. 

“This transformative initiative addresses the underrepresentation of women in the national landscape of monuments,” said Lisa Fish, associate dean of collection strategies for University Libraries. “Marjory Stoneman Douglas rightly belongs to the cadre of women honored in this project. She was an extraordinary force whose talents, commitment, and passion saved the Everglades from destruction. Her legacy is an indelible contribution to environmental conservation in the United States and throughout the world.” 

Fish added that University Libraries is both thrilled that Hulu selected Douglas for one of these important monuments and deeply honored to have had the opportunity to contribute significant content from Special Collections to the Douglas monument. 

Cristina Favretto, head of Special Collections, thinks it is fitting that Douglas was chosen as one of the women to be honored.

“Throughout her very eventful 108 years, Marjory Stoneman Douglas fought many battles: for women's rights, civil rights, and environmental rights,” said Favretto. “She had patience, tenacity, and wit, but best of all she had the ability to inspire and motivate those around her. In other words: she was a leader.”

Douglas led a long, extraordinary life, and established herself as one of South Florida's premier personalities of the 20th century. Douglas worked as a writer and an assistant editor for the Miami Herald and later as an award-winning short story writer.

She became an environmental and political activist. Her most popular and acclaimed work, “Everglades: River of Grass, a Natural and Historical Guide to the Famed Florida Wetlands,” raised public consciousness about the need to conserve and reclaim the Everglades as a priceless and critically balanced natural environment.

She also enjoyed a robust relationship with the University. Douglas was a "Short Story Coach" in the Department of English from 1927 to 1929 and associate professor of English from 1929 to 1933.

At the 1942 Winter Institute of Literature, she lectured on the “Rise and Fall of the Short Story.” In 1952, Douglas was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters by the University.

She served as editor of the University of Miami Press from 1960-1963, and was the founder-president of the University of Miami Friends of the Library. 

Hulu plans to feature a video with the stories of the three women on its website in August.

Douglas’s statue will sit within the oak hammock of Peacock Park. It will have a place to sit, surrounded by the beauty of nature.