In Search of Lucile Campbell: A Field Report from PHC/Citizen Curator Intern Amanda Hill

[This is the second of two blog posts by Amanda Hill, a Ph.D. candidate in Texts & Technology and a participant in the Spring 2015 Citizen Curator internship program at the Public History Center.]


lucille campbell

Lucile Campbell, 1931 [PHC Collection]

Late one Friday afternoon Betty Sample, the manager of collections at the Public History Center, asked me to research Lucile Campbell at the Sanford Museum. Ms. Campbell was an influential educator in Sanford, and we know she began teaching at Sanford Grammar School, where the Public History Center is now, in the 1940-1941 school year (she taught at another Sanford school prior to this). Because of her connection to Sanford Grammar School we wanted to know more. It’s our hope to create a History Trove built specifically for the Sanford community based on Ms. Campbell’s life experiences.

So I drove to the Sanford Museum at 4:30 p.m. hoping to get into the archives before they closed. Grace, a kind volunteer, greeted me and I asked to search the archives concerning Lucile Campbell.

“Really,” she said, “I had her in the sixth grade.”

Grace talked with me for a few minutes about her time with Campbell. She remembered her fondly and showed me part of a dance called the Highland Fling Ms. Campbell taught her years before.  It’s serendipitous moments like these that remind me why I love this work.

Grace helped me look through the Sanford City Directories to determine when Ms. Campbell was teaching and where she lived. She even remembered many of her former teacher’s houses, which was helpful in creating a timeline. Together, we discovered Ms. Campbell’s family came to Sanford from Tennessee during the Depression. The 1936 City Directory lists Campbell’s Security Feed and Seed Store at 201 West 1st  St. Later directories confirm this was her father’s store. It’s unclear whether or not Ms. Campbell arrived at that time as well. We do know the family is not listed in the City Directory for 1932 and directories for 1933-1935 are not available.

lucille class picture

Class Picture, 1946-1947  [PHC Collection]

During her three decade run as an educator in Sanford Campbell taught at Sanford Grammar School, Oviedo School, Westside Grammar School, and Pinecrest Elementary. She retired from teaching in 1970. Her legacy reaches well into the city and its citizens. When I spoke with Sanford Museum curator Alicia Clarke she mentioned Campbell was one of the first people she met after moving to the city, shortly before Campbell’s death in 1997. Clarke says she hears from numerous people all over Sanford about Campbell’s advanced and unique teaching style that included teaching her students Shakespeare and dance.

At the end of our meeting I showed Clarke a list of questions compiled by another researcher also looking into Ms. Campbell. I wanted to know if she had come across any of the names we still needed to look into. She immediately pointed to a name: Grace’s father. Next to his name was Grace’s name. Their names were under a list of names gathered from postcards in Ms. Campbell’s collection. Excited, I drove back to the PHC to look though the postcards in our archives. In the archive I found two postcards written by a young Grace and sent to her father while she was away on a trip. It’s unclear how these postcards came to be part of Ms. Campbell’s collection, however it is clear Ms. Campbell valued her relationship with her students. Her dedication truly sets her apart as a remarkable and influential educator from Sanford.


Looking for more information about Ms. Campbell? Read her obituary here:


The PHC would like to hear from her former students, fellow teachers, and community members about their memories of Lucile Campbell. Share your memories about her with us by emailing the PHC at