Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Blair, M.A.I. mss., 1684-1897, consist of letters and documents which had been collected by Mrs. Blair and mounted as extra-illustrations in Washington Irving, The Life of George Washington, G.P. Putnam, New York, 1855-1859, thus extending the set from five volumes to ten. The volumes, prepared about 1894 to 1897 (the mounting paper is watermarked J. Whatman 1894 and 1895) were owned by Mary A. I. (Mitchell) Blair, the wife of Chauncey Justus Blair, and Chicago art collector and benefactor who died in 1940 at age 84. The content of the collection, built around the life of George Washington and his contemporaries, has a strong emphasis upon the American Revolutionary War period. With the materials are two complete holograph chapters in ink, XXVII and XXVIII, of Irving's Life of George Washington. Individual title pages in watercolor, dated Chicago, 1894, and now preserved in a separate folder, preceded each of the volumes. The letters and documents, removed from the bound set, are described more fully in the Manuscripts Catalog. Some items are in oversize folders. The collection is accompanied by the binding, which was done by Henry Stikeman, and end paper of Volume One. The maps, paper money, portraits, and views illustrating the volumes, as well as the printed text, were transferred to the Lilly Library Book Department with the exceptions of those engravings bearing the holograph signatures of Samuel Arlent Edwards, Albert Rosenthal, and Max Rosenthal. A printed George Washington invitation for 179- remains with the collection.

Collection size: 235 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.