Like many of you, your Duval Audubon board members are spending more time at home because of the worldwide health crisis. Conservation director Carolyn Antman recently came across several boxes full of binders with news clippings, letters, and other documents collected during the early years of our chapter, which was formed in February of 1939 with 24 charter members.
Carolyn and board president Carol Bailey-White have been going through the notebooks with the ultimate goal of compiling a timeline of our chapter’s fascinating history, a long-term project that won’t be complete for quite some time. But some stories really stand out, and as the project progresses, we will be sharing some of the most interesting stories as we come across them.
One of the documents is an article that was published in the Florida Times-Union on March 17, 1966. It tells the story of local artist Burt E. Pringle, who won the United States Postal Service design contest that year for the stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. His artwork depicts a bird flying north and another flying south above the United States-Canadian border, and the design was described by then Jacksonville Postmaster James E. Workman, Jr. as being “the most beautiful one the post office has received in a long time.”
Mr. Pringle, who passed away last year at the age of 90, was a skilled watercolor artist and member of the Florida Watercolor Society, and also designed commemorative medallions for the National Park Service and other high-profile celebrations. Over the years, he designed several additional United States postage stamps and received honors from the United Nations for his graphic postal designs. He was also a talented poet and published nine volumes of poetry, most featuring his own artwork on the cover. His published works are still available on Amazon and other online outlets. A true Renaissance man, Mr. Pringle was also an accomplished ballroom dancer, and has been credited for establishing two local dance clubs, Club Savoy in Jacksonville (now closed) and The Riverview Club in St. Augustine.
Although we couldn’t find any evidence that Mr. Pringle had ever been directly involved with our chapter, his stamp design commemorating the MBTA connects his remarkable life with our own love of birds and nature. We salute you, Mr. Pringle!
--Carol Bailey-White, President