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On Monday, September 25, 2023, at 4:30pm in The Alcazar Room of City Hall, the City of St. Augustine City Commission will recognize Dr. Susan Richbourg Parker, presenting her with the city’s highest honor, the Order of La Florida, for her commitment to sharing the authentic history of St. Augustine, with an exceptional depth of research, influence, and understanding.
Growing up in St. Augustine, Parker likes to say that she was “surrounded by the vestiges of centuries of history.” Today she specializes in the Spanish presence in the South. Her current research focus is epidemics in colonial Florida, and she is writing a book about the Governor’s House Site in St Augustine. Parker’s goal is the inclusion of La Florida as an essential element of U.S. history.
For nearly 30 years, Parker wrote the Sunday history column, “The Oldest City" for The St. Augustine Record, from 1996 to 2023. The stories brought to life events from the past in a way that was very relatable to the everyday reader.
Parker free lances as a researcher, writer, editor, and historical projects consultant. She served as Director of Research for the PBS documentary about colonial St. Augustine, "Secrets of Spanish La Florida" (Secrets of the Dead PBS series), and in 2020, she was chosen Clerk Historian for the St. Johns County Clerk of Courts. She was the executive director of the St. Augustine Historical Society and a historian with the Florida Department of State.
Her recent publications include Oldest City: The History of Saint Augustine (2019). Her chapter about the St. Augustine parish as the heart of the colonial community is forthcoming in a book published by Notre Dame University Press.
In May 2022, she was honored to speak in Miami -- on the deck of the Spanish Navy training sailing vessel -- before Queen Sofia of Spain (queen mother) and Carlos del Toro, U.S. Secretary of the Navy. In August 2022, she spoke at The Historic New Orleans Collection’s forum on the Spanish South.
Parker has two sons, a daughter, and four granddaughters. She lives at St. Augustine Beach with two rescue dogs.
The award presentation will be streaming live online at www.CityStAugTV.com and on-demand the following day.
For media inquiries, contact Melissa Wissel, Communications Director, at 904.293.3307.