Research Programs: Scholarly Editions and Translations

Period of Performance

9/1/2021 - 8/31/2022

Funding Totals

$100,000.00 (approved)
$100,000.00 (awarded)

Documenting Black Jacksonville: The Viola Muse Digital Edition

FAIN: RQ-279778-21

University of North Florida (Jacksonville, FL 32224-7699)
Laura Heffernan (Project Director: December 2020 to present)

Preparation for digital publication of the interview notes of Viola Muse (1891-1981), a writer who took part in the Florida Federal Writers Project from 1936 to 1940. (12 months) 

The Viola Muse Digital Edition will present the 73 discrete manuscript and typescript documents (totaling 262 pages) that comprise the Viola Muse Collection at the Jacksonville Historical Society. Muse was a local hairdresser and an interviewer/writer with the Negro Writers Division of the Florida Federal Writers Project (1936-40). Our edition will provide images and transcriptions of her fieldwork on Black society and Black history in Jacksonville as well as a scholarly introduction and headnotes/annotations for the documents.

Media Coverage

University of North Florida Project Highlights 1930s Black Life (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Matt Soergel
Publication: Jacksonville Times-Union
Date: 10/8/2021

UNF Preserving 1930s-era African American Writings by Violet [sic] Muse (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Max Marbut
Publication: Jax Daily Record
Date: 9/30/2021

'Documenting Black Jacksonville': UNF professors publish interviews 85 years later (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Renata Di Gregorio
Publication: First Coast News
Date: 12/8/2021

Digital Humanities Institute releases Viola Muse digital archive of 1930s-era African American writings (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Byron Jones
Publication: UNF Newsroom
Date: 11/4/2022
Abstract: UNF Press Release about the publication of the Viola Muse Digital Edition

Associated Products

Viola Muse Digital Edition (Database/Archive/Digital Edition)
Title: Viola Muse Digital Edition
Author: Laura Heffernan
Author: Tru Leverette
Author: Clayton McCarl
Abstract: Viola B. Muse (1898-1981) worked from 1936 through 1939 as an interviewer and writer in the Negro Writers Unit of the Florida Federal Writers Project in Jacksonville, Florida. Muse and the other writers in the Negro Writers Unit, including Zora Neale Hurston, attempted to document the achievements and folkways of African-American communities in Florida, and in Jacksonville specifically. The Viola Muse Digital Edition (VMDE) publishes Muse’s Federal Writers Project notes and drafts for the first time, preserving Muse’s documents as images while also transcribing them into faithful and readable formats. The VMDE includes historical maps that locate the homes of Muse’s interview subjects and other localities mentioned, along with contextual essays on Muse’s biography, the history of the Florida Federal Writers Project and the Florida Negro Writers Unit, and the geography of early 20th-century African American Jacksonville.
Year: 2022
Primary URL:
Access Model: Open Access