In honor of Candy Clifford

Those of you who knew Candy, a dedicated dancers and Waltz Time committee member, may know that she was a lighthouse historian. A research catalog has been named in her honor. Press release follows.

A major lighthouse history resource now is available online with the release by the United States Lighthouse Society of a searchable database that includes information and images from 19 sources including lighthouse and private collections and the National Archives.

The J. Candace Clifford Lighthouse Research Catalog, released this month, is a still-growing resource within the Society’s extensive 35-year-old archive, the nation’s leading resource for lighthouse heritage and history. The online portion of the archive now has about 2.4 terabytes of information, including more than 381,000 photographs.

The newly-released catalog, named for an expert lighthouse researcher who helped launched the project but did not live to see its release, has been under construction for 30 months. Eleven major contributors worked on the project, some of them contributing the results of their own life’s work in lighthouse research.

“Although it is being released, it is not fully complete and work will continue to add more of every kind of data over the next several years,” said Great Lakes-based lighthouse research expert Thomas Tag, a leader of the project.

Information was compiled not only from the National Archives but from the U.S. Coast Guard, Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, Lighthouse Friends, and individual collections – including the work of Ms. Clifford, a nationally loved and respected researcher who died of a brain cancer last August at the age of 57.

The catalog at contains data on 1,157 American lighthouses, 174 lightships, 237 lighthouse tenders (ships) and more than 17,000 persons – lighthouse keepers, vessel crews and other personnel. There are 21 different kinds of lighthouse-related objects cataloged, including oil houses, keeper’s quarters and Fresnel lenses. There are 25 entries under the categories of “privys,” for example, and 40 lighthouse station barns.

More than 1,800 lighthouse postcards are cataloged, and the database includes more photographs of lighthouse keepers than any other source.

The complete archives of the Society, one of the nation’s leading lighthouse heritage organizations, also includes the national inventory of surviving classical Fresnel lenses, and also has searchable history and heritage resources on its extensive website. The organization’s goal is to maintain a complete national resource on lighthouse history.

The Society’s non-digital archive, the USLHS Wayne Wheeler Library, recently was moved to the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia, under a long-term transfer agreement reached after a national search through the Council of American Maritime Museums. The paper library now is an identified section within the extensive international collection of the Mariners’ Museum Library, easily accessible to researchers. The two organizations will cooperate on lighthouse research requests.

The U.S. Lighthouse Society is a not-for-profit membership organization headquartered at the light station on Point No Point, Washington, near the entrance to Puget Sound. For information on the archives, membership, teacher resources, lighthouse tours and other Society programs, visit

United States Lighthouse Society

9005 Point No Point Road NE

Hansville, WA 98340

Phone: (415) 362-7255   Fax: (415) 362-7464

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