|Columbia University Archives|
At a Glance
Although this small collection is arranged in just one series it naturally divides into several distinct categories of materials. Files of materials relate to Blake's activities at Columbia University, the Women's Faculty Club, and her involvement with the Manhattanville Community Center. Files are arranged roughly alphabetically along these topics. Background biographical information provided with the donation is filed at the start of the collection and miscellaneous correspondence and items are found in the last box.
The bulk of the collection consists of the correspondence of Elizabeth (Betty) Blake as well as records of the groups (e.g., meeting minutes, membership lists, event invitations, and financial records) with which she was involved. These include the Women's Faculty Club, Phi Delta Gamma, and the Manhattanville Community Centers. There are also miscellaneous newspaper clippings and two sheets of Columbia University commemorative postage stamps as well as a few small booklets about Columbia University, its 1954 Bicentennial celebrations, and lectures given at the University.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
This collection is located offsite. 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); Elizabeth Blake Papers; Box and Folder (if known); University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Historical Subject Files, 1870s-2012. [Bulk Dates: 1968-1972], UA#0002
Morningside Area Alliance records, 1947-1992, UA#0076
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Source of acquisition--Elizabeth (Bettina) Blake. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--2009.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers processed, Linda Arthur (SEAS 2014), under the direction of Jocelyn Wilk 01/2014.
Finding Aid written by Linda Arthur, January 2014.
Machine readable finding aid encoded in EAD by PTL 2014.
2014-03-25 File created.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
2022-02-11 Access note change. Collection now stored offsite. (JR)
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Elizabeth Cady Stanton Blake was raised in early 1900s New England. She enjoyed a comfortable childhood in New York until her father's death in 1906, at which time the family relocated to New Hampshire for a short while, finally settling in Jamaica Plain in Massachusetts where Elizabeth, better known as Betty, finished her schooling. After finishing high school Betty dreamed of college, but due to poor health enrolled instead at the Knox School, a finishing school in New York. It was there that she discovered her passion for the arts. She continued on to study with the Art Students' League and several private tutors, finally settling down in a small cabin back in Silver Beach.
In the spring of 1925 Betty Stanton chanced to meet one William Harold Blake, when a high school English teacher who had taught them both (ten years apart) invited the pair to see her off on a trip to England. The couple found they had much in common with their family histories though they were rather opposite in temperament. None the less, Betty and Billy Blake were married on March 26, 1927. Once married, Betty felt obligated to forgo directing portrait classes and her professional portrait painting, but Billy's position as Head of the English Department for the Horace Mann School for Boys gave her ample opportunities to be involved in organizations at Columbia University, as well as in their surrounding community. Betty was a member of many organizations including the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors, the National Association of Women Artists, the Columbia University Women's Faculty Club, and the Columbia Committee for Community Service.
In 1929 Betty became pregnant with the couple's only child Elizabeth Stanton Blake, better known as Bettina. Through the Depression era Betty and Billy continued to be very active on campus while raising Bettina. At Columbia, Betty was dedicated to the Women's Faculty Club, war relief efforts, art on campus, the Columbia University Committee for Community Service, and with many other campus groups and activities. In the broader community she helped with outreach to less fortunate children by her active participation with the Mannhattanville Community Centers which gave these children a safe place outside of school, and enriched their studies. Even after Billy's retirement in 1952 and his death in 1965 Betty remained very involved on campus and in the community until the mid-1970s when her age made volunteering too difficult. Elizabeth Blake died in 1981.