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.