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Winter Park Library Archive

Clara Louise Guild

Arriving in Winter Park in 1883, she was the first Rollins College graduate

Born in Boston, Massachusetts on June 5, 1864, Clara Guild loved to learn. She graduated from Boston High School and the Boston Latin School. She fully intended to attend Wellesley College in order to continue her studies, but her life took another course and she was transplanted to Central Florida.

In 1883, her father's health concerns caused him to move the family from Massachusetts to Florida. She arrived in Winter Park with father William, mother Laura, and older sister Alice. She was 19 years of age at the time.

Rollins College was in its infancy when Clara enrolled in the first class in 1885, and she became the first person to graduate from the school. In fact, she went on to earn her Masters degree in 1898. She began her teaching career in the Winter Park Schools. Later, she served as the principal at Sanford High School for 13 years before returning to teaching. Her later teaching career included positions at the Cathedral School in Orlando and Winter Park High School. Her career spanned 41 years.

As adults, Clara and her sister Alice resided at 419 N. Interlachen for many years. Clara was an active member of many Winter Park and Rollins organizations: the Rollins Alumni Association, the Congregational Church, the Winter Park Woman's Club, the Fortnightly Club, and a reading circle which ultimately became the Winter Park Circulating Library Association.

She died on August 2, 1945 after a long illness. She died in the home on Interlachen Avenue that she shared with her sister for so many years.

This article was written by former archivist, Barbara White, MLIS.

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