|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in 1 series: Series I: Lewis Harvie Blair Manuscripts.
Collection contains manuscript and typescript drafts of Lewis Harvie Blair's political work as well as a manuscript of his autobiography. There is also a draft of a letter to Oswald Garrison Villard referring to The Prosperity of the South.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
This collection has no restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Lewis Harvie Blair Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers processed Carrie Hintz 02/24/2012.
Finding aid written Carrie Hintz 02/27/2012.
2012-02-28 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Businessman, writer, and political thinker Lewis Harvie Blair was born in 1834 in Richmond, Virginia to Sarah Ann Eyre Heron and John G. Blair. The Blair family was an old and prominent Richmond family involved in numerous business and philanthropic concerns in the city. Blair's father was a well-known financier, and his father a respected reverend.
Blair remained in Richmond until he was seventeen, when his father's death prompted him to joint the United States military. He spent four years in the service, first as a merchant marine and then as an engineer in the Great Lakes lighthouse service based in Detroit, Michigan. In 1860 Blair returned to Virginia to try to establish a career in business. His early career ventures were cut short by the breakout of the American Civil War.
In 1862 Lewis Harvie Blair joined the Confederate army as a private. He remained an active member of the army throughout the duration of the Civil War, returning to Richmond after the close of the conflict. He began his career in the wholesale grocery business, and eventually grew to include manufacturing and selling dry goods, notably shoes. He also ran a successful real estate business.
Blair became increasingly interested in politics and political theory, and in 1886 began publishing books and articles on current affairs and political themes. His first book, Unwise Laws: a Consideration of the Operations of a Protective Tariff Upon Industry, Commerce, and Society, was a laissez-faire economics text. This was quickly followed up by a series of articles he published in the New York Independent, and later collected and published as a book entitled The Prosperity of the South Dependent on the Elevation of the Negro which called for the civil equality of all men and asserted that the South could not prosper unless it fostered racial equality. Later in life he distanced himself from these views and repudiated much of his writing on racial equality.
Blair's writing included not only a number of published texts, but other unpublished works including revisions of his previous work, articles, and an autobiography.
Blair was married twice, first to Alice Tayles Harrison, and then to Mattie Ruffin Field. He had seven children with his first wife, and four with his second. He died in Richmond, Virginia in 1916.