Ku Klux Klan Material

Ku Klux Klan Material

Pensacola, 1920s

The University of West Florida Historic Trust holds hundreds of documents and objects related to the 1920s Pensacola Ku Klux Klan. 

This material traces one chapter in the local history of America's most enduring hate group. The majority of this material became part of the UWF Historic Trust Collection in November 2019. With the exception of 33 published Klan tracts, all 232 documents and photographs related to the 1920s KKK that have been identified in the Historic Trust’s Archive have been digitized and can be viewed online at the UWF Digital Library.

The 1920s KKK-related items in the UWF Historic Trust collection include:

Klavern Ledger (ca. 1922-1925)This 7¾” by 13” ledger book documents membership and activities of Pensacola’s Ku Klux Klan between 1922 and 1925. It includes a chronological list documenting payment of initiation fees, membership dues, special assessments, and the purchase of robes between October 1922 and December 1924. The ledger also includes financial information for the 1923-1924 fiscal year, meeting minutes for February to June 1925, an undated list of 487 members and their assigned robe number, as well as several miscellaneous lists. Every page of this handwritten, disorganized ledger, including the front and rear covers, has been scanned. Pages 108-118 were previously removed from the ledger. The back cover includes the title: “T.T. Wentworth Jr., Bicycles Sporting Goods” and it appears the ledger was maintained by T.T. Wentworth Jr. in his capacity as the Pensacola klavern’s Kligrapp (secretary).

Correspondence (ca. 1924-1941): The majority of the digitized collection consists of various letters, postcards, and other correspondence. This correspondence dates from 1924 to 1941. The bulk of correspondence dates to 1926-1927, which is likely due to a September 1926 order from I.E. Phillips, Grand Dragon (leader) of the Florida Klan, for klaverns to retain copies of all correspondence sent to/from the state office. The majority of correspondence sent from the Pensacola Klan is on letterhead for T.T. Wentworth Jr.’s bicycle and hardware business. Some correspondence is signed by Wentworth, others are signed “Exalted Cyclops” or “E.C.,” the leadership position Wentworth held in the Pensacola Klan during this time. Contextual evidence suggests the vast majority of these letters were either written to or by Wentworth. Exceptions are clearly noted in the document metadata. Additional correspondence includes postcards and official Klan announcements.

Photographs: Five photographs are part of the digitized collection. Two depict Klansmen taking part in funeral services in unidentified cemeteries and likely date from 1924-1927. Two depict public initiations and likely date from 1923-1927. A final photograph depicting a Klan cross burning dated November 15, 1958 is also included, representative of the photographs and other archival material held by the UWF Historic Trust Archives related to the post-World War II Ku Klux Klan.

Miscellaneous: The digitized collection includes a variety of other types of documents, including broadsides; a case file of a Klan internal judicial proceeding; ballots on the expulsion of a Klansman; newspaper clippings; receipts; and membership cards.

Objects: The UWF Historic Trust also contains an extensive collection of physical objects related to 1920s Ku Klux Klan, including robes, hoods, patches, and multiple crosses used in public ceremonies.

To learn more about Pensacola's 1920s Ku Klux Klan in Pensacola and the legacies of this history; read “ Pensacola's Ku Klux Klan and T.T. Wentworth Jr. A Preliminary Report." Written by Dr. Jamin Wells in consultation with a twelve-member community advisory group in the Spring of 2021, this preliminary report details the history of the 1920s Pensacola Klan and the role of its final leader, T.T. Wentworth Jr. It also suggests potential legacies of this history on Pensacola and the Historic Trust.