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Sam Gibbons collection

Identifier: MS-1996-02

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

Primarily covers his years in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1962-1996.


  • Created: 1940-2000
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1960-1996
  • Other: Date acquired: 01/01/1996


Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions.

Biographical or Historical Information

Sam M. Gibbons was born in Tampa Florida in 1920. His tenure in law school was interrupted by World War II, when he volunteered for the Army, and later for duty as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division. He served with distinction and in 1951 Gibbons was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, where he drafted the bill founding the University of South Florida in Hillsborough County. He founded USF’s Foundation and served as its first president, expanded the City of Tampa by annexing suburbs, founded the Southwest Florida Water Management District, and began programs to save the state money and prevent corruption. He joined the Florida Senate in 1958, serving one term before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1962.  Gibbons died in Tampa in 2012. As a member of Congress, Gibbons became known as a moderate democrat interested in free trade and tax reform. He joined Congress in time to vote for the land mark civil rights bill, Medicare, President Johnson’s War on Poverty, and to vote for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution giving the president the power to wage war in Vietnam, a vote he came to regret. He funneled Urban Renewal funds into Tampa’s crumbling inner city. In 1969, he joined the influential Ways and Means Committee, where he would sit until his retirement in 1996, spending much attention on the Subcommittee on Trade. He put his free trade beliefs into action with the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), passing two versions in the 1980s. He retired in 1996 after a stormy stint as the voice of opposition to the new Republican majority. During and after his career, he repeatedly called for the U.S. to lift its trade embargo against Cuba.


504.02 Linear Feet

370 boxes

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

Chronologically, broken up by committee and subject. The year and number code assigned to each box denotes the year in which papers were filed by Gibbons' office. Years on documents within the box may not reflect the year of filing.

Source of Acquisition

Sam Gibbons and Gibbons family, U.S. House of Representatives

Method of Acquisition


Sam Gibbons collection
A. Houle, 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the USF Libraries - Special Collections Repository

4202 East Fowler Ave.
Tampa FL 33620-5400 US