Remembering Christine Wigfall Morris
Christine Wigfall Morris, affectionately known as Miss Chris, was hired by the city of Clearwater, Florida, in July, 1949 as its first African-American librarian. Prior to working for the city, she had never been inside a public library because local segregation practices did not encourage African Americans to visit one . . . Morris helped to spearhead the opening of the facility designated as the Negro Library in April 1950, located in a storefront. An innovator even then in terms of library services, Morris implemented a voter registration program, began a tutorial program for residents preparing for high school equivalency exams, and started a summer program for children featuring storytelling, movies, and puppet shows. -- from American Libraries Magazine, March 16, 2011.
Morris helped establish the Edward Allen Henry, Jr. Special Collection on Negro Culture and History at her library in 1970. It is now known as the Christine Wigfall Morris African American Collection at the Clearwater North Greenwood Library. The collection was renamed in her honor upon her retirement from the library in 1982.
The Christine Wigfall Morris African American Collection
The Clearwater North Greenwood Library houses the Christine Wigfall Morris African American Collection, a significant collection of African American literature and history. The collection features more than 4,300 items, including biographies, magazines, literature, music, and films.
Christine Wigfall Morris' Autobiography
Christine Wigfall Morris: Stories of Family, Community, and History recalls Morris' 33 years as a librarian and community leader in Clearwater.
Pinellas Memory is a collaboration of PPLC libraries dedicated to preserving and sharing the unique history of Pinellas County through an accessible, online archive.
Contributing libraries, listed below, are engaged in an ongoing process of increasing public access to full text newspaper articles, archival photographs, video and film recordings, and other digitized historical media contained in the libraries’ collections. New material is added on an ongoing basis; users are invited to browse each library’s collection individually, or search the entire collection by keyword.
Clearwater Sun Newspaper Collection
The Clearwater Sun newspaper was published from May 1, 1914 to July 27, 1989. Issues are available on microfilm from 1925-1989 at the Clearwater Main Library and online at pinellasmemory.org. Cataloging and processing digital copies from the microfilm is an ongoing staff- and volunteer-driven project. Please contact the library to request research assistance.
Clearwater Sun Photograph Archive
The Clearwater Main Library maintains the Clearwater Sun Photograph Archive, which contains more than 60,000 printed photographs and negatives organized by topic. A selection of these photographs has been digitized and shared on pinellasmemory.org. Initial coverage includes library and city events and locations, followed by local community organizations.
What's What in Clearwater Tourist Guides
The city of Clearwater began publishing What’s What in Clearwater tourist guides in 1933 to welcome winter visitors to the city and to inform them about the many places and activities of interest in and around Clearwater.
A selection of these guides have been digitized and shared on pinellasmemory.org.
Clearwater Flying Company Collection
The Clearwater Flying Company collection features aerial photography of Pinellas County and nearby counties taken during the late 1950's and early 1960's. Photographs from the daily operations of the company are also included. These may be viewed on pinellasmemory.org and plotted by location via Google Maps and Google Earth (Chrome browser required). The Clearwater Flying Company incorporated in 1944 and operated until 1973. The company slogan was "A Plane To Fit Your Need." Staff included Robert D. Bickerstaffe Jr., President, and Robert G. Varner, Manager.
Clearwater Community History Collections
The Clearwater Community History collections contain local history documents and memorabilia from Clearwater families, community groups, schools, and organizations.
The Clearwater Public Library System maintains a popular collection of city directories, useful for researching people and businesses over time. A selection of this collection has been digitized and is available for searching in the Internet Archive.
High School Yearbooks
Browse volumes of Clearwater High School's "Aqua Clara Yearbook" dating back to 1916.
WPA Pinellas Newspaper Indexes
These volumes index articles published by the Works Progress Administration on various subjects within local, historic Pinellas County newspapers.
The Heritage Studio of Community Memory
Interact, preserve, and discover local history at the Heritage Studio of Community Memory on the 4th floor of the Clearwater Main Library. Visit to use a variety of digitization equipment to convert old photos, videos, and audio recordings into easily shareable digital formats. Additionally, the Heritage Studio is home to extensive collections of local and Florida history and genealogy resources to help you learn about the past.
Pinellas Genealogy Society
The Pinellas Genealogy Society is located at Largo Public Library, where they offer free classes, additional research databases, including cemetery indices, print material, and in-person assistance.
Ancestry: Library Edition
Ancestry is an invaluable resource for genealogists and family researchers looking for census records, immigration information, passenger lists, birth, marriage, death and military records. This service may only be used from inside the library.
Fold3 provides convenient access to military records, including the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served. Over 537 million original documents with millions added every month. The internet's best Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWII and Vietnam War collections.
Access the Florida Newspaper Database, the Library of Congress Newspaper Navigator, the Clearwater Sun, the Safety Harbor Herald, the St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay Times, the Tampa Tribune, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and several historical newspaper databases.
The Wickman Collection of Books of the Sea
The initial Wickman Collection of Books of the Sea was donated in 1962 by the Clearwater Power Squadron Boating Club in honor of fellow member, author, photographer, and yachtsman Carl Robert Wickman. The original gift of 300 books was expanded by the Power Squadron and is continually developed and refined by the Clearwater Public Library System. The current collection consists of more than 2,000 items focused on marine topics. It is housed on the third floor of the Clearwater Main Library.
Microfilm Newspaper Holdings
The following newspapers are available on microfilm at the Clearwater Main Library. They may be used on site using the library's microfilm reader. Please speak with a librarian at the third-floor Reference Desk for access.
- Clearwater Sun: January 1925-May 1989
- St. Petersburg Times (Tampa Bay Times): 1970-present
- New York Times: 1930-2009
- Wall Street Journal: 1968-2006
The Clearwater Main Library maintains a collection of vintage magazines going back to the first half of the 20th century, as well as current subscriptions to more than 200 magazines and newspapers. Please speak with a librarian at the third-floor Reference Desk for access.
Click here to browse our local history print collection.
Clearwater Historical Society
The Mission of the Clearwater Historical Society is to educate, collect, preserve, exhibit, and promote the people, culture, and events of Clearwater’s rich past.