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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1231

Papers of Mary Folsom Blair, 1857-2022 (inclusive), 1893-1918 (bulk)


Diaries, correspondence, photographs, and other materials documenting Mary Folsom Blair's personal life, education, and work as a teacher and Phil Primack's correspondence and research files relating to his book, 'Put it Down on Paper': The Words and Life of Mary Folsom Blair: a Fifty-Year Search.


  • 1857-2022
  • Majority of material found within 1893-1918


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Mary Folsom Blair is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


2.5 linear feet ((6 file boxes) plus 6 photograph folders, 10 slides)

The papers of Mary Folsom Blair contain diaries, correspondence, photographs, and other materials documenting Blair's personal life, education, and work as a teacher. Diaries contain commentary on Blair's work as a teacher; news about family and friends, including the deaths and marriages; reflections on her unmarried status and accomplishments; record her feelings about teaching, faith, and friendship; and document time spent at Arcady, Blair's cabin on Pawtuckaway Lake in New Hampshire. Correspondence consists mainly of letters to Blair from friends and her future husband, Edmund Blair. Letters from friends, many of whom were teachers, document their employment situations and contain news of friends and family, including reports of illnesses and deaths. Letters from Edmund contain mentions of his work as a firefighter in Hopedale, Massachusetts, and later at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard; expressions of his love for Mary; mentions of social activities including playing baseball, watching basketball games, going to movies, and trips to surrounding communities; and commentary on current events, including his indecision over whether or not to enlist in the military during World War I and his decision to defer enlistment by taking a job at the shipyard. Also included in the collection are Phil Primack's correspondence and research files relating to his book, 'Put it Down on Paper': The Words and Life of Mary Folsom Blair: a Fifty-Year Search (Loom Press 2023). Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online. Folders are arranged alphabetically.


Mary Evelyn Folsom Blair, daughter of Thomas C. and Mary Bickford Folsom, was born July 8, 1881, in West Epping, New Hampshire. She graduated from Sanborn Seminary in 1900 and was a special student at Radcliffe College from 1916 to 1917. In 1918, she married Edmund George Blair (1888-1969), a printer and insurance agent who served as Epping selectman and New Hampshire state representative. Hired as a teacher in West Epping in 1901, Blair later taught in Epping and Stratham, New Hampshire, and Foxboro and Winthrop, Massachusetts, schools before returning to West Epping, where she also served as principal. She retired in 1951. An active member of the Quaker community, Blair was also a 4-H leader and a member of the Epping chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Epping Women's Club. She died January 14, 1973.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2023-M142, 2023-M131

The papers of May Folsom Blair were given to the Schlesinger Library by Neal Folsom and Phil Primack in July 2022 and October 2023.

Processing Information

Processed: April 2023

By: Johanna Carll

Accession number 2023-M131 contained original copies of letters from Mary Folsom Blair to Anne Reed. They were added to folder #6.18 in November 2023, replacing scans of the letters that were sent previously.

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Blair, Mary Folsom. Papers of Mary Folsom Blair, 1857-2022 (inclusive), 1893-1918 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Alice Jeannette Ward Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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