1961 Diary and Ephemera of the honorable Andrew Jackson Musselman Jr: Florida Lawyer, Democrat Member of the House of Representatives and Judge

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On offer is a fascinating daily diary kept by a lawyer who would go on to be elected to Florida’s House of Representatives and be appointed to the bench. The diary is large, measuring 12 inches by 7.5 inches. There are 365 pages plus memoranda and the volume is approximately 90% complete. The diary is in fair to poor condition. The diary appears to have once had a hardbound cover which is no longer with the diary. The spine is slightly damaged and many pages are stained (see photos). However, the handwriting is quite legible. Of special interest are the newspaper clippings and articles included which reference momentous events of the day.

The author of the diary is the Honorable Andrew Jackson Musselman, Jr (known as either Jack Musselman or Andrew J. Musselman Jr), a lawyer who resided and practiced in Florida. Musselman was born in 1926 and, during college, served in the United States Navy for two years, stationed in Hawaii. Following his discharge in 1948, Musselman studied law. After receiving his law degree in 1950, he moved to Pompano Beach, Florida and opened a law practice. A member of the Democratic party, he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1955, representing Broward County, where he served until 1958. He continued his legal practice until 1986, when Florida Governor Bob Graham appointed him to the bench to serve an unexpired term. He lost his seat on the bench in an election shortly after, but was re-appointed to the bench in 1988 by Governor Bob Graham, and worked the rest of his career on the bench and as head of the probate division until his retirement in 1995, at age 70. Musselman died suddenly, in the company of his wife Anne and some friends, in 1997 at the age of 71.

The diary covers the daily activities of his law practice, and in his greater community and country, and includes many personal references. The year he kept his diary, 1961, was also a year in which many significant events in American history took place, as well as significant events in Musselman’s life and legal practice. Excerpts from the diary give a flavor for how Musselman discussed such events: 

“I didn't earn much money today but worked hard…The cases pending include a rape case where the client is Uylsses Landran a Dominican who's accused by a young blond woman of raping her January 5, in the evening. They arrested him a week later January 12 and Mrs. Landran calls me that night after I was asleep. She called me today from the farmers market where she found a man she said looked like her husband. She is a brave energetic woman and I admire her…” [Jan 19]

“...Anne and I had a long discussion about our relationship today. Anne is reading a new book on child psychology and is dealing with this most difficult subject. There are some good ideas in the books she's reading however. Annie Laurie Greene committed suicide this morning in a most horrible fashion. She hung herself in a tree in the yard of her house. They found her about 6:00am this morning…” [Jan 22]

“...Met with Fred Van Lenner, John Moore, M.N. Weir, Gaines (Gaines dog food) for lunch at the Boca Raton Club. Met Sam Snead [American Professional Golfer] who was sitting at their table with them. We discussed harness racing possibilities and Mr. Weir recommended that Mr. Van Lenney meet Tom Manuel this afternoon at 4:00pm which he did…” [Jan 23].

“...It looks as if Dave Oliver is going to buy the judgement and we will assign it to him so he can collect it back. Bought lunch for Jack Cheaney at Coach House Harbor. He is pondering his business future at great length. We always discuss the possible merger of the title companies and other general discussions about the ineptitude of different lawyers...John I. Whitworth is having trouble with a negro who almost killed him a week ago. He called several times. Barry Goldwater and McCarthy debated tonight…” [Jan 26].

“Today got Anne a bottle of "Flambeau" perfume as her Valentine present. We had a horrible night last night Betty Maas underwent a very depressed condition of such nature that Anne and I were afraid she was going to take her own life. Dr. Haber says she is capable of it and we talked to him last night as well as to Dr. Rowls. We decided to issue an ultimatum to her to get in the hospital or we would commit her...:” [Feb 14]

Musselman certainly noted important events including the results of the 1960 general election:

“...The big news today was the inauguration of President J.F. Kennedy. His inaugural address was a masterpiece of literary style. I hope he's able to vary the mood of the people of U.S. I know he does mine to a large degree. Clipped his speech out of Lauderdale News to keep....It was 20 degrees in Washington and heavy winds and snow. Herbert Hoover plane had to turn around and come back to Florida after being in the air nine hours trying to land in Washington. The snow storm prevented it …” [Jan 20]. 

In addition to the diary entries, Musselman kept newspaper articles tucked into his diary. These describe some of the momentous events that transpired in 1961. There is an article, accompanied by photographs of the recovery of Allan Shepard and Gus Grissom after their first successful venture into space. Another details the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in an effort to overturn Fidel Castro's government. Many other clippings deal with life and events in Florida, his own community and his family.

This is an excellent picture of a busy professional building his career and family life in post-WWII America. For a social historian, it offers insights into the minds-set of white, middle class Americans at a time when their country was on the verge of enormous change brought on by the Cuba Crisis, Kennedy Assassination, Vietnam War and the rise of the civil rights movement.

Please don't hesitate to contact us for more information or to request photos. (Kindly include the SKU, listed on this page above the price, in your e-mail so we can more easily answer your questions.)

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