The Historical Society of Sarasota County

Creating an awareness of the rich historical heritage of Sarasota County, Florida

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Too busy to join in on the Giving Challenge?

The Historical Society of Srasota County hopes you'll participate in The Giving Challenge in Sarasota County!The Giving Challenge is a wonderful opportunity for us all to join together in support of our favorite non-profits that make life so great here in Sarasota County.

And it’s nice to be part of the crowd… but what if you’ll be busy from noon on Tuesday Sept 1 to noon the next day, and unable to take the time to dig out your credit card, go online, find the link to HSoSC, and decide on a donation amount (tip: if you didn’t donate last year, your gift will be DOUBLED thanks to the Patterson Foundation so your gift means twice as much to the Historical Society!)?

The Historical Society' of Sarasota Countys Site ManagerAs usual, our charming Site Manager, Linda, can help you participate in the Giving Challenge! Just call our office at  941-364-9076 Tu-Fr 10 to 2, or email Linda directly 24/7 at and she can help you help us!

UPDATE: The link to go directly the HSoSC’s page in the Giving Challenge is It will only be operational between noon Tuesday Sept 1 and noon Weds, but you can bookmark it now!


Growing up in the Circus: Sarasota native tells all

Join Sarasota native, Sarah Wheeler Chapman, on April 15 at the Brown Bag Book Luncheon at the Historical Society of Sarasota County.

Chapman is the author of two books. Simply Sarah, her cookbook, is a light-hearted story done in a circus format with anecdotes of her circus family and their travels. It blends photos and 180 yummy recipes.

balancing act sarah wheeler chapmanChapman’s memoir, Balancing Act Memoir of a Florida Youth,  describes her five-acre home on Worrington Street and the Trail, her marriage to Danny Chapman, and her notable family: sister a beauty queen; aging dad who operated the Off Shore Bar on Bay Road; drop-dead gorgeous brother; strange mom; and herself, the quiet one busy with church, 4-H, and getting molested on Turtle Beach, at a time (1960), when kids were good.

Sarah kept secrets well…until she published her memoir in 2014. Determination and a keen sense of balance piloted her through her teens, the circus, parenting, and furthering her education. She shares insights from Ringling Circus, Clown College, and the perils of aerial work. The circus provides a backdrop to the deep topic of the memoir—abuse.

Don’t miss this chance to meet Sarah Wheeler Chapman at the last Brown Bag Book Lunch this season on April 15. No reservations needed. See you at 11:30 in the Crocker Memorial Church, and remember to pack a lunch! Beverages provided by the Historical Society. BBBLs are free to members and $5 for guests. Both of Chapman’s books will be available for purchase and autographing at the luncheon.


From Moons Ohio to Ca’ d’Zan

Mable Ringling Revealed: Mable Ringling as presented by the Historical Society of Sarasota CountyA Conversations at The Crocker presentation with rare photos of Mable Ringling and her time in Sarasota bring to life her lasting influence on this city 
Mable Burton Ringling (1875-1929) is remembered as the wife of John Ringling, America’s circus king.  But she was much more than the gracious hostess of Ca’ d’Zan, her Sarasota mansion. Her influence is felt today on the west coast of Florida where she oversaw the construction of the couple’s 57-room Venetian Gothic mansion on Sarasota Bay.

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Earlye Musicke in Historic Crocker Church

On Wednesday, April 1, 2015 the Sarasota Earlye Musicke Consort will be performing for the third season in a row for members and guests of the Historical Society of Sarasota County.  The program will be presented at the Crocker Memorial Church in Pioneer Park,  1260 12th Street (between US41 and Cocoanut Avenue) beginning at 7pm.

An early musical instrument

This is a viol de gamba!

The members of this consort, performing in period costume, play music dating from the 14th century to the 21st century on recorders and viols. This concert is free for HSOSC members; a $5 donation is requested from guests.  The group is led by Charlotte Trautwein.

The Sarasota Earlye Musicke Consort was recently awarded a 15 year certificate by the National American Recorder Society, recognizing the ensemble’s contribution to Sarasota and the surrounding communities.  The Sarasota chapter of ARS recently hosted the national board meetings for ARS at the Crocker Memorial Church, where they gather for class and group playing for intermediate and advanced players every week.

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Could YOU survive a shipwreck of the Atocha in 1622 Florida?

We are thrilled to present, at the next Brown Bag Book Lunch (BBBL), the author of a thrilling historical adventure novel, Henry Duggan.

Henry Diggan, author, presents at the Historical Society of Sarasota County on March 18 2015On Wednesday March 18, from 11:30a to 1:30p, enjoy Mr. Duggan’s tales of historical research and novel writing that have Continue reading

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Brown Bag Book Lunch: Discuss & munch with the author of “Shade in the Sunshine State”

AAuthor Liz Coursenuthor, editor, and publisher Elizabeth H. Coursen will be featured at this month’s Brown Bag Book Lunch at the Historical Society of Sarasota County on Wed. Feb. 18, in the historic Crocker Memorial Church. She will be speaking on Continue reading

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Want to be a docent on the Tour of Homes? We have TWO opportunities!

The Historical Society of Sarasota County is seeking volunteers to help with
2 Tour Of Homes events in March, 2015 

As HSoSC, we love to reach out and help our peers in historical groups. Right now, we have two opportunities for you to step up and reach out.

The Sarasota Alliance for Historical Preservation (SAHP) is hosting Continue reading