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City Releases 80,000 Newly Digitized Photos Showing Tampa’s Rich History

In celebration of Archives Awareness Week (July 9-15), the City of Tampa’s Archives and Records Division is releasing two recently digitized historic photographic collections to the public. The collections have never been shown beyond the city’s own archives, and were not previously available digitally.

Both a reservoir for curiosity and research, the digital archives will help connect residents to the vibrant history of their city, while providing academic with a new resource for following the development of Tampa.


Thousands of photos provide glimpse of Tampa in the 1940s 

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Collection was donated to the City in 1994 by the Tampa Historical Society. The collection covers the period between 1950 and 1990 with more than 30,000 images of events. Prominent city officials and dignitaries can be seen in these photos.

The Tampa Photo Supply Collection includes more than 50,000 images taken by local photographers Rose Rutigliano Weekley and Joseph Scolaro from 1940 until 1990. The collection shines on spotlight on West Tampa, Ybor City and South Tampa. These photos capture scenes of daily life in Tampa, as well as weddings and graduations.

Stream of events celebrate city’s past, presents and future

Archives Awareness Week was established in 1992 to convey the value of archives in the identification, preservation and conservation of historic records.


A series of events will highlight the principles behind Archives Awareness Week:

July 11

Tea and Lecture: Looking for Mr. Skinner at Henry B Plant Museum
The most famous visitors to the Tampa Bay Hotel left behind letters, diaries, and other documents that described their lives, but what can we know about the ordinary women and men who staffed this Gilded Age resort? Join Dr. Charles McGraw Groh, The University of Tampa, Chair/Associate Professor of History for a discussion of the research behind the exhibit Mr. Skinner at Your Service: The Labor of Fine Dining at the Tampa Bay Hotel. Begins at 10:30am. Henry B Plant Museum, 401 West Kennedy Boulevard.


July 12

History of Tampa at Tampa Bay History Center
The History Center will share snapshots and stories of the history of Tampa from the 1800s to modern times. Take a peek at the impact of Fort Brooke, Henry B. Plant, the immigrants of Cigar City, World War II and the Civil Rights Movement. Begins at 12:30pm. Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Old Water Street.


July 13

Tour of the African American History and Genealogy Library
An introduction to the library’s online resources that are available to learn about your African American ancestors. Discover research hints and strategies, and learn how to organize your data. This program will be followed by a tour of the African American History & Genealogy Library. 10:30am-noon. Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Library, 1505 Nebraska Street.

Imagery in the Archives at USF
The librarians at the University of South Florida’s Special Collections are eager to show off a newly acquired collection of vintage glass slides and other visual materials. Join them for a lantern slide show and a display of other visual materials, such as cigar labels, photographs, and rare books. Begins at 2pm. USF Libraries Special Collection, 4202 East Fowler Avenue.


July 14

Cuba en Tampa: The Many Generations at Tampa Bay History Center
The photo essay traces the historic and cultural connection of Tampa Bay with Cuba. Cubans are present in the Tampa story from earliest pioneer days to the cigar boom and beyond. Tampa played a major role in the first Cuban revolution and a minor one in the second Cuban revolution. Begins at 11am. Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Old Water Street.


July 15

Photo Identification for Genealogy at John F Germany Public Library
Learn to recognize the styles of the times, physical formats, and details in photos that help us determine photograph age and ancestor identity. Begins at 10:15am. John F Germany Public Library, 2-West Building 900 North Ashley Drive.

Remembering Cigar City: A History of Tampa’s Cigar Industry at John F Germany Public Library
Join Rodney Kite-Powell, Curator of History at the Tampa Bay History Center, for a look at the role of the cigar industry in the development of modern Tampa. Learn about the Latin communities of Ybor City and West Tampa, the vibrant social clubs and culture they created, and the hundreds of factories that earned Tampa the name “Cigar City.” Begins at 11:30am. John F. Germany Public Library, 2-West Building 900 North Ashley Drive.


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