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Louise Heron Blair Daura collection


Held at: Bryn Mawr College [Contact Us]Bryn Mawr College Library, 101 N. Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr 19010

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Bryn Mawr College. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Louise Heron Blair Daura was the daughter of Lewis Harvie Blair, a banker and manufacturer, and his second wife, Martha Ruffin Field. Louise graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1927. The wealthy Blair family lived in Richmond, Virginia, but after the death of Louise's father in 1916, her mother and sister Jean began to travel. Upon graduating from Bryn Mawr with a degree in English, Louise traveled to Vienna and Paris. In 1928 in Paris, she married her art teacher, the Catalan painter Pierre Daura. They lived in Paris for two years, then moved to Saint Cirq-la-Popie, a small town in Southern France. They restored their own house, built in 1236, and painted numerous frescoes within it. Martha, their only child, was born on September 24, 1930.

Pierre joined the Spanish Republican Army in 1937, while Louise and Martha remained in Saint Cirq-la-Popie. Louise wrote a series of letters to her family about going to visit Pierre while he was on leave in Barcelona in 1938. These letters vividly describe the living conditions and damage done to the towns of Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Pierre was wounded at the Battle of Teruel and sent home to France in 1938. In 1939, the Dauras went to Virginia, where they remained until 1947. After the war the Spanish government revoked Pierre's citizenship. After 1947, the Dauras lived in both Saint Cirq-la-Popie and Virginia. Louise lectured, and researched and documented pre-historic cave art in France as well. She was also a member of the Archaeological Society of America and the Société Préhistorique de France. Both she and Pierre continued to paint. Louise died on November 10, 1972, in Rockbridge Baths, Virginia.

The Louise Heron Blair Daura collection includes letters to Louise while she was at Bryn Mawr as well as letters written to her from family and friends while she traveled in Europe during the 1920s, and a series of letters written to her family while living in France after her marriage. The collection also contains Louise's essays and other writings from Bryn Mawr.

The collection is arranged into two series: "Series I, Correspondence" and "Series II, Other Papers."

Series I, Correspondence, is arranged by writer and then chronologically. Many of the letters are from Louise's mother and sisters. There are a series of letters written to Louise at Bryn Mawr from both her mother and her sister Jean while they were abroad in Europe during the winters of 1924-5 and 1926-7, which are separated from the rest of their letters. There are also letters to Louise written by friends from Bryn Mawr during the mid-1920s and a group of letters of advice from a consultation by questionnaire with the professional mystic Brown Landone. Drafts of Louise's letters to her family before and during the Spanish Civil War from Saint Cirq-la-Popie are included. Series II, Other Papers, is divided into "Bryn Mawr," "Writings," "Photographs," and "Other Materials." "Bryn Mawr" includes her compositions for class and her pamphlet, "The Idea of a College," a tongue-in-cheek rewriting of Bryn Mawr social life as a caste system based on seniority. It also includes Exam Insurance forms from a "company" that Louise formed with Edith Parsons, a friend from Bryn Mawr, for students to insure themselves against failing an exam. "Writings" includes a typewritten novel, "Rounding Out," and two shorter works. The two photographs are of the Cloisters and Jean Field Blair. "Other Materials" includes clippings, quotes, Louise's passport, her sketchbook from 1925, a notebook, and an index card file entitled: "Girls I Have Known," with comments on, and small photos of, some of her classmates.

The letters give rich descriptions of the life of an American living in Europe before and during the Spanish Civil War. Louise's essays and writings from Bryn Mawr give a sense of what Bryn Mawr was like in the mid-1920s. The collection would be of interest to those studying the experience of traveling in Europe during the 1920s, women's education during the 1920s, or Bryn Mawr College.

Purchased from Franklin Gilliam Rare Books, Charlottesville, VA, January 2001.

Bryn Mawr College
Finding Aid Author
Michelle Strizever, Melissa Torquato, Cassidy Gruber Baruth
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

The Louise Heron Blair Daura collection is the physical property of the Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns.

Collection Inventory

Martha Ruffin Field: Richmond; Rockbridge Baths; Brooklyn, 1918 February 9 - 1938 March 26.
Box 1 Folder 1
Leila Blair: South Richmond, 1920 October 28- 1925 November 5.
Box 1 Folder 2
Includes a letter from Beatrice Singer to Jean Field Blair, 1923-1942.
Box 1 Folder 3
Arthur --: S. S. Edenton at Sea; Honolulu; Newark; London; Brooklyn , 1924 November 6-1926 September 26.
Box 1 Folder 4
Jean Field Blair; Martha Ruffin Field: Marseille; Napoli; Florence; RMS Antonia "Somewhere in the Gulf of St. Lawrence;" Paris; Madrid, 1924 December 28 - 1925 October 11; 1926 September 20 - 1927 February 15.
Box 1 Folder 5
Edith Parsons: Bermuda; Pottersville; New York; Atlantic City, 1925 January 1-1926 August 19.
Box 1 Folder 6
Brown Landone: Hackensack, 1925 April 27-May 19.
Box 1 Folder 7
Florence Elliot: Paris, 1925 September 22-1926 January 25.
Box 1 Folder 8
Frances Thayor: Williamsburg; Worcester; Martha's Vineyard, 1925 September 25-1927 June 10.
Box 1 Folder 9
Henry Parsons: New York; Savannah; Birmingham, 1926 March 3- December 21.
Box 2 Folder 1
Anne ---, Williamsburg, 1926 December 13-1927 March 9.
Box 2 Folder 2
Louise Heron Blair Daura: Rockbridge Baths; Saint Cirq-la-Popie; Verdaguer, 1935 February 11-1937 August 20.
Box 2 Folder 3-4
Batsam: Chamonix, n.y. July 1.
Box 2 Folder 5
Thank You Card "From Your Friends" Pottersville , 1926.
Box 2 Folder 5
The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co: Philadelphia (in re: Blair's exam 'insurance' scheme), 1925 May 18.
Box 2 Folder 5
Walter Dabney Blair: New York, 1927 March 9.
Box 2 Folder 5

First Year English Composition "Nero", 1923 November 23.
Box 4 Folder 1
First Year English Composition "The Meanest Flower That Blows ---", 1923 December 11.
Box 4 Folder 1
Second Year English Composition "The Last Lay of the Minstrel", 1924 December 11.
Box 4 Folder 1
Second Year English Composition "Tod and Heywood", 1924 December 3.
Box 4 Folder 1
Second Year English Composition "De Rerum Natura" , 1925 February 26.
Box 4 Folder 1
Second Year English Composition, untitled, 1925 March 5.
Box 4 Folder 1
Second Year English Composition "What Price Liberty", 1925 March 9.
Box 4 Folder 1
Second Year English Composition "The Children's Hour", 1925 April 2.
Box 4 Folder 1
Experimental Writing "A la Mode" , 1926 April 26.
Box 4 Folder 1
Applications for Insurance from the Blair-Parsons Mutual Examination Insurance Company. 14 Filled Out, Many Blank , 1925 February-June.
Box 2 Folder 6
Two Pamphlets and Draft of "Idea of a College", by Louise Heron Blair, 1927.
Box 2 Folder 7
Bryn Mawr College Course Card, 1924-5.
Box 2 Folder 8
Original and Photocopy of "'De Rerum Natura: A Course in Practical Plumbing for the College Girl".
Box 2 Folder 8
'Julius, Squeeze Her!' A Play in Two Acts. Translation from the Latin of Terence by Louise Blair.
Box 2 Folder 9
'La Vie Parisienne' by Nemini Worth, Submitted by Louise Heron Blair.
Box 2 Folder 10
"Rounding Out" A Novel. 361 Pages typed with corrections .
Box 3 Folder 1-4
The Cloisters.
Box 3 Folder 5
Jean Blair.
Box 3 Folder 5
John S. Feild (sic). "Notes on Progress of Work at Southern Stove Wks New Plant So. Richmond, Va." , 1919 October 24-1920 February21.
Box 3 Folder 6
"Girls I Have Known". Index card file of thirty-six girls with descriptions and seven photos, 1924-1927.
Box 3 Folder 7
Passport and Visas, 1925-1926.
Box 3 Folder 8
Sketchbook of Louise Heron Blair. Images of Rhine, Carcasonne, Tours, Loches, Lourdes, sketches of people, clothing, etc., 1925 July 6.
Box 3 Folder 9
Written quotes, jokes, definitions and poems, humorous clippings, "Lines Written on the Second Anniversary of a Wedding", "Psychopathic Notes".
Box 3 Folder 10
Sign with "Quiet! Please do not disturb the occupant of this room -- the Author".
Box 3 Folder 10
Clipping: "Miss Jean Blair to be Presented: Richmond Girl among Americans before King and Queen of England.".
Box 3 Folder 10
Photocopy of "1987 in Review Obituaries" with Jean Hélion (husband of her sister Jean).
Box 3 Folder 10
Photocopy of description of the Blair House - Private Parties, Dinners, Receptions, Luncheons.
Box 3 Folder 10

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