Name and location of repository
Level of description
Ralph Munroe Family collection - 1916-1971
- 1916-1971 (Creation)
10.00 Cubic feet
Name of creator
After spending several winters in in the Miami area, Ralph Munroe took up permanent residence in the settlement that would become Coconut Grove in 1884. A renowed designer of sailboats, an nventor and photographer, he also made a living salvaging shipwrecks on the Florida reefs for the Coastal Wrecking Company.
Munroe was one of the founders of Coconut Grove and helped organize the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club. Installed as club's first commodore, he was thereafter affectionately known as "The Commodore". A widower, he married Jessie Wirth in 1895, and with their children, Wirth and Patty, lived at The Barnacle which he had built in 1891. The family occupied the house until 1968 when it was sold at a nominal price to the Sate of Florida for use as a historic site and museum.
Name of creator
Content and structure elements
Scope and content
Correspondence, school reports, Miami High School yearbooks, the Adirondack-Florida School Christmas letters, club membership directories, photographs, newspaper clippings, Eleventh Judical Circuit grand jury report and other ephemera mostly pertaining to the interests and pursuits of Ralph Munroe and his son, Wirth. Of interest are two letters from an Associate at the American Museum of Natural History asking Ralph to provide data on the capture of a Whale Shark in off the Florida Keys.
Tea Chest correspondence, invoices and guest book. The Tea Chest was a Coconut Grove tea room and gift shop. Material reflects a wide variety of items for the shop, many handcrafted, and includes letters from the United Society of Shakers, Cowan Pottery, and enterprises run by women across the country, as well as invoices from Miami area businesses.
Ralph M. Munroe photographs, 1883-1915: Views reflect Munroe's nautical and family interests.
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use elements
Conditions governing access
The collection is open for research.
Glass negative originals not available due to fragility.
As a preservation measure, researchers must view the reference set of printed reproductions.
Conditions governing reproduction
Permission from HistoryMiami staff is required prior to reproduction of drawings and photographs in a publication. Please contact archives staff for more information.
Languages of the material
Scripts of the material
Language and script notes
Acquisition and appraisal elements
Immediate source of acquisition
Gift of Patty Munroe Catlow, 1985
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information
Photographic prints accession number: 2012-228
Related materials elements
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related archival materials
HistoryMiami Museum's objects collections contain one of Munroe's cameras, as well as other Munroe family memorabilia.
Please reach out to email@example.com for inquiries.
For further biographical information and reproductions of about 200 of the images, see The Forgotten Frontier, by Arva Moore Parks (Miami: Banyan Books, 1977).
See also Munroe's autobiography, The Commodore's Story (Miami: Historical Association of Southern Florida, 1985), originally published 1930.
Description control element
Rules or conventions
© Copyright 2019 HistoryMiami Archives & Research Center. All rights reserved.
Subject access points
Place access points
Name access points
- Adirondack-Florida School (Subject)
- Miami Senior High School (Miami, Fla.) (Subject)
- Munroe family (Subject)
- Munroe, Ralph Middleton (Subject)