Contents and Arrangement

Papers of Francis Preston Blair, 1640-1911 (mostly 1791-1876)

54 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The papers of Francis Preston Blair, journalist and politician, consist of writings, correspondence, documents, materials regarding Blair as a subject, printed matter, papers of other persons, and additional papers. The writings include his speeches, editorials, addresses, articles, essays, and general works; these date from 1830, when Blair was called to Washington, D.C., by President Andrew Jackson to edit the Globe, the official newspaper of the Democratic administration. Although he never held an elected office, Blair was considered a person of political importance and influence in the mid-19th century, and his correspondence is indicative of this, containing letters from Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), Martin Van Buren (1782-1862), and Andrew Johnson (1808-1875), as well as senators Lewis Cass (1782-1866), John Charles Fremont (1813-1890), and John Jordan Crittenden (1787-1863), and congressmen Schuyler Colfax (1823-1885), Edward Livingston (1764-1836), and Thomas Patrick Moore (1797-1853).

Also included is family correspondence, especially with his sons, Francis "Frank" Preston Blair, Jr. (1821-1875, Princeton Class of 1841), lawyer, general, and politician, and Montgomery Blair (1813-1883), lawyer, statesman, and postmaster general in President Abraham Lincoln's cabinet, and daughter, Elizabeth Blair Lee, wife of Admiral Samuel Phillips Lee and mother of Blair Lee.

In addition, there are documents including Blair's last will and testament, financial papers such as receipts, checks, checkbooks, and account books. Among papers of others persons, there is correspondence of Andrew Jackson, manuscripts contributed to the Globe, and old family papers, many of them relating to the family of Eliza Violet Gist, Blair's wife.


Arranged by genre of material.

Collection History


No materials were separated during 2017 processing.


Reprocessing and description enhancement for portions of this collection were sponsored by the Delafield Fund.

Processing Information

The collection was initially arranged by a Mrs. Larrabee, whose work was completed by Caroline W. Hiatt in 1948.

The collection was later processed by Judith Golden in 1992. Finding aid written by Judith Golden in 1992.

Portions of the finding aid were revised by Kelly Bolding in 2017, with assistance from Julia English '19 and Fiona Bell '18.

A box of oversize materials, formerly housed in Box 441, were rehoused into flat files in September 2021. As a result, there is no Box 441.

Some materials in this collection were treated for mold in 2018.

During 2022, restrictions were lifted as part of a restrictions review project.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Papers of Francis Preston Blair; Blair and Lee Family Papers, C0614, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (mss): Boxes 1-50; 453-454; 470-471