Here is Home: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Cross Creek

Project Partner:
Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm, Inc.
Contract Period:
September 20, 2017- September 30, 2018
Amount Awarded:
$5,000
Region Served:
North Central Florida

With the assistance of a $5,000 Florida Humanities Community Project Grant and sponsored by the Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm, Video Producer Sonya Doctorian produced a documentary on the life and legacy of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1896-1953) was an influential 20th century American author who spent much of her life wandering the sandy paths between the orange groves in the sweet citrus air and sunshine at her Cross Creek farm, observing and writing about her surroundings. She played an instrumental role in Florida history by realistically documenting the lives of her “Florida Cracker” neighbors, including the Southern dialect, animals, plants, and recipes of the wilderness region. Her writing achieved international fame, spreading awareness and appreciation for the rich history of Florida and the natural beauty of the state through famous works, such as The Yearling (1938), Cross Creek (1942), and Cross Creek Cookery (1942.)

Following creation of the documentary, a free admission public screening (funded by Florida Humanities and the Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm, Inc.) was held at the Matheson History Museum where Sonya Doctorian and Ann McCutchan, Rawlings’ biographer, held an energetic audience Q&A session, diving into the cultural history of early 1900’s Florida and the impact that Rawlings’ literary work had across the sunshine state. The screening drew in nearly 150 attendees and audience feedback on the documentary was overwhelmingly positive, with many describing the presentation as informative and of “PBS quality.” The life of the documentary will have a lasting and continual impact beyond the screening, including as an aid in making the Cross Creek Farm tour ADA accessible, utilized for research in the University of Florida Smathers Library Special Collection, and soon to be aired on public television and other educational venues.

Florida Humanities was thrilled to support the public humanities programming that accompanied this documentary to ensure that its impact was felt across the state and reached a diverse audience. While it serves a crucial role in preserving the rich history of Florida, the documentary also offers an important opportunity to expand education about Rawling’s legacy beyond the authentic Florida Cracker farmstead in order to both educate viewers on Floridian history and inspire a new generation to follow in the author’s footsteps through the creation of meaningful art, literature, and music.

Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm, Inc.

Partner Spotlight

Partner: Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm, Inc.

Project Director: Margaret Anne Pierce

About the Partner Organization: The Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm, Inc. is a Citizens Support Organization (CSO) through the Florida Department of Parks and Recreation whose mission is to support the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park. They conduct programs, foster activities, raise funds and make expenditures to facilitate programs within, enhance, and preserve the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park under the direction of and with priorities set by the Florida Division of Recreation and Parks and the park manager.

The Friends wish to sincerely thank the Florida Humanities for partnering with us in fascinating the creation of Sonya Doctorian’s outstanding overview of the life and work of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. It should be noted that the grant and the matching funds by the Friends paid for travel and production expenses; all of the expertise was donated by Ms. Doctorian and those who were interviewed in the project. Sadly, several interviewees who knew Ms. Rawlings and shared their memories have died since the filming. In this film, their memories are captured for future generations.

The Friends wish to sincerely thank the Florida Humanities for partnering with us in fascinating the creation of Sonya Doctorian’s outstanding overview of the life and work of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. It should be noted that the grant and the matching funds by the Friends paid for travel and production expenses; all of the expertise was donated by Ms. Doctorian and those who were interviewed in the project. Sadly, several interviewees who knew Ms. Rawlings and shared their memories have died since the filming. In this film, their memories are captured for future generations.