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Patricia Yost will present her book Late to the Party in the Roaring ’20s and That Tropical Paradise Called Florida, based on the memoirs of her late husband, Robert, whose father was a successful New York businessman who, in 1925, dove headlong into the peak of Florida’s raging land boom. Through period photographs, she will shine a spotlight on the beginnings of the boom, from the ambitious land speculation in Miami and on to Boca Raton and the Palm Beaches. It was an exciting yet tragic time, built on unreasoned dreams of newfound wealth in that tropical paradise called Florida.
Florida was heralded a beacon of prosperity in the 1920s. It was the blazing Jazz Age, and land speculation was running wild — a frenzy fed by fantasy, glamour, and impossible dreams of new-found wealth in that tropical paradise they called Florida. Those who jumped in early, and got out early, were the winners. Those who followed were the dreamers. Late to the Party in the Roaring ‘20s introduces Ralph Yost, a successful, engaging salesman who, in 1925, tossed aside a prospering business in New York City to dive headlong into the peak of South Florida’s raging land boom. He was a city-bred clothing manufacturer, a personable fellow who wore spats and a derby hat; always had a diamond stickpin in his tie — and knew absolutely nothing about real estate. Follow Ralph and his optimistic conversion to landowner, lot seller, farmer, and home builder — a path taken by countless others who, like Ralph, soon found themselves stranded in Florida’s sun-drenched, land-bust ruins.
Florida Voices in generously supported by the Fred J. Brotherton Endowment for Literature, established at The Four Arts by the Fred J. Brotherton Charitable Foundation. Fred Brotherton, who died in 2003, was for many years a Benefactor of The Four Arts and a strong supporter of its programs. Florida Voices, featuring the state that was Mr. Brotherton’s winter home, serves as a continuing memorial to this much-respected member of The Four Arts.