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Blair family papers

Identifier: MSS 11694

Scope and Contents

The Blair family papers (1821-1949) contains the personal correspondence of Lewis Harvie Blair, Martha Ruffin Feild Blair, and Jean Feild Blair Helion; drafts of various works by Lewis H. Blair; a copy of Lewis H. Blair’s "On the Prosperity of the South;" unpublished writings from Mr. Blair’s family members; interior decorating books by Brown Landone; personal finances; a sampling of checks; letters and financial documents from the Hideaway Motor Court; insurance documents; photographs of family and friends; photographs of buildings; blank postcards and holiday cards; memorabilia and ephemera. The collection does not include any letters, memorabilia or documents from the United States Civil War.


  • Creation: 1821-1949 (bulk 1920-1940)

Biographical Note

Lewis Harvie Blair was born Richmond, Virginia on June 21, 1834 to John Geddes Blair and Sara Ann Eyre Heron Blair. He served in the Confederate army from 1862-1865. After the war, Blair was a businessman and author. After years of contributing letters to Richmond newspapers about politics and economics, in 1886 he published his first book, "Unwise Laws: A Consideration of the Operations of a Protective Tariff upon Industry, Commerce, and Society." In 1889 Blair published, "The Prosperity of the South Dependent upon the Elevation of the Negro." His work argued that it was in the economic interest of the South to educate African Americans. In 1867 he married Alice Wayles Harrison; the union produced seven children -- six sons and one daughter. Alice died on February 5, 1894 and on October 27, 1898 he married Martha Ruffin Feild. Lewis Blair and Martha R. Feild had 4 daughters: Jean Feild Blair Helion, Jospehine Mayo Blair Miller, Louise Heron Blair Daura, and Mary Skipwith Blair. Lewis Harvie Blair died of a heart attack on November 26, 1916.

Source: from the Dictionary of Virginia Biography

Martha Ruffin Feild Blair was born on January 27, 1867 in Boydton, Virginia to Jane Bland Ruffin and John Shaw Feild. Martha Ruffin Feild married Lewis Harvie Blair on October 17, 1898. Their union produced four daughters: Jean Feild Blair Helion, Josephine Mayo Blair Miller, Louise Heron Blair Daura, and Mary Skipwith Blair. Martha R. Feild Blair died on April 27, 1962 in Rockbridge Baths, Virginia. More information of Martha R.F. Blair can be found in the “personal correspondence” series of the Blair Family Papers.

Jean Feild Blair Helion was born on May 21, 1900 to Martha Ruffin Feild Blair and Lewis Harvie Blair. While in Paris, Jean met French artist Jean Helion. They married in Richmond, Virginia in 1932. They had one son, Louis Helion Blair, born February 9, 1939. She died on October 23, 1944. More information on Jean Feild Blair Helion can be found in the personal correspondence series of the Blair Family Papers.


21 Cubic Feet (40 legal sized document boxes; 8 oversized folders)

Language of Materials



The Blair family papers are organized into five series. Series one consists of personal correspondence between members of the Blair family and their associates (boxes 1-18). Series two consists of writings by Lewis H. Blair and his family (boxes 19-24).This series consists of two subseries -- the writings of Lewis H. Blair (boxes 19-21) and the writings of his family and friends (boxes 22-24). Series three consists of financial documents (boxes 25-32). There are three sub-series: personal finances (boxes 25-28), documents from the business Hideaway Motor Court (boxes 29-31), and insurance forms (box 32). Series four consists of visual artifacts like photographs, negatives, and blank postcards (boxes 33-35). Series five consists of miscellaneous artifacts and ephemera including newspapers, cookbooks, and drawings (boxes 36-44). Materials in each series are arranged chronologically.


Gift of Joyce Strohkorb, 31 October 2000

Related Materials

gmoa001, Pierre Daura archive, Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia

BMC-M12, Louise Heron Blair Daura collection, Bryn Mawr College

Blair family papers
In Progress
Jeannie Sellick
December 2018
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States