J. J. Daniel

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J.J. Daniel
Born February 29, 1916
Jacksonville, Florida
Died August 7, 1990(1990-08-07) (aged 74)
Jacksonville, Florida
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Florida
Princeton University
Known for Being designated a Great Floridian

Jaquelin James Daniel (1916 – August 7, 1990), known professionally as J. J. Daniel, was an American lawyer, businessman, civic leader and newspaper publisher. Mostly forgotten in Jacksonville, Florida, where he was born and lived for most of his adulthood, he was once one of its most powerful people.[1]

Family and early life[edit]

J. J. Daniel was born in 1916 into a powerful Jacksonville, Florida family. His great-grandfather was an attorney and lumberman who came to Florida in 1846. His grandfather, for whom he was named, was a Colonel in the Civil War and one of the most influential citizens of postbellum Jacksonville. He was also a principal in the prestigious Jacksonville law firm Fleming and Daniel. The Colonel reorganized the Chamber of Commerce and served as President of the Citizens' Auxiliary Association before dying from Jacksonville's Yellow fever epidemic of 1888. Daniel's father was a prominent lawyer and leader in the Urban League.

Daniel played football at Princeton University, then received his law degree in 1942 from the University of Florida. He served in the U.S. Navy in World War II and took part in the Invasion of Normandy. After the war, he joined his father’s Jacksonville law firm.

Career[edit]

In 1960, he became the president of Stockton, Whatley, Davin & Co., one of the largest mortgage banking and real estate firms in the Southeast. From 1976 until 1982, he helmed both the Florida Times-Union and Jacksonville Journal as publisher. His grandfather, in 1888, became the first president of Florida Publishing Company, original owner of the Florida Times-Union. The company bought the Jacksonville Journal in 1959.

Consolidation[edit]

Daniel's powerful personality, unquestioned integrity, strong leadership and history of civic involvement made him the obvious choice when it came time to choose a leader to design a new government and write its charter in the wake of widespread corruption and waste in local government during the 1960s.

The Local Government Study Commission was created by the Florida legislature in 1966 to develop a plan to merge city and county services. In 1968, Daniel led the effort to establish the only consolidated government in the state of Florida and one of the few in the nation. In reviewing John Fischer's Vital Signs, Time noted that according to Fischer "[t]he hero of the consolidation of Jacksonville, Fla., where the voters in five municipalities chose to form one central government, is an enthusiastic oligarch named J.J. Daniel, who got his way simply because 'he knew almost everybody of consequence in the community.'"[2]

Influence and later years[edit]

In 1977, while naming him among the 10 most powerful people in Florida, the St. Petersburg Times described him as "a pillar of the North Florida business and political establishment...probably Jacksonville's most respected citizen."[1]

J. J. Daniel served on the Florida Board of Control from 1957-1961 and the Florida Board of Regents from 1971-1982. He was chairman of both boards and was instrumental in getting the University of North Florida established in Jacksonville. The administration building at the school was named J. J. Daniel Hall and dedicated to his memory in February, 1991 following his death.[3]

He was influential in the establishment of Episcopal High School of Jacksonville, and served on many non-profit boards including the American Red Cross, the District Welfare Board and the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.

Jaquelin James Daniel died in 1990 and was named a Great Floridian by the Florida Department of State, an honor extended to individuals who made major contributions to the progress and welfare of the state of Florida. His Great Floridian plaque can be viewed at the Florida Times-Union Building in Jacksonville.[4]

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