Scope and Contents
From the Collection:
Records of the Class of 1917, dating from 1913-2000, consisting of event programs, examinations, meeting minutes, photo album, biographical information on alumnae, class directories, Secretary and Treasurer’s records, reunion records, photographs and photo albums, and a diploma; concerning undergraduate and alumnae activities. Also includes a file relating to the College Hall Fire of 1914, and some records relating to May-ling Soong Chiang who became the First Lady of the Republic of China (see also MSS-001). Of note are the papers of Eleanor Blair, the Alumnae President of the Class of 1917 who was responsible for the restoration of the original College Hall pillars, and who authored the book “Wellesley College and Community” (1974), and the artworks of Harriet Ames Fuller.
Biographical / Historical
"Eleanor Blair (1894-1992) was born in Montour Falls, New York, to David Coyle Blair, a coal dealer, and Annie Whitmore. Along with her parents, Eleanor also grew up with her aunt Almira Whitmore, who lived in the house with them until Eleanor was at least 15. A younger brother, Albert, joined the family when Eleanor was eight years old. Eleanor attended Wellesley College. In her first year (1914) the College Hall burned to the ground. During her time as Alumnae President for the Class of 1917, Eleanor found the beautiful, original, College Hall columns piled up in the Grounds Department service yard, and she fought to have them reinstated as a memorial to the loss attributed by the fire. In 1972, the fragments were reassembled and placed close to their original location. Thanks to Eleanor these columns still stand today. Eleanor wrote and compiled the book, Wellesley College and Community, in 1974, using her own photographs of her alma mater school. Eleanor continued her education at Columbia University, earning a Master's degree. During World War II, Eleanor was employed by the National Defense Research Committee, working on publications at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology radiation laboratory. After the war Eleanor went into teaching. She taught at Salem College in North Carolina, Ferry Hall in Illinois, Masters School in Dobbs Ferry New York, the Bancroft School in Worcester Massachusetts, and Dana Hall in Wellesley Massachusetts. At Dana Hall Eleanor was the head of the English Department, until 1943. Eleanor was a very close friend of poet-novelist, and lesbian icon, May Sarton... and Cecile de Banke, a professor of speech at Wellesley College was Eleanor's long-time companion."
(Source: "Eleanor Blair - Biography," BookLives. URL https://booklives.ca/islandora/object/booklives:529. Accessed March 25, 2020.)