Scope and Content
Title: Naomi Blair Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1930s-1960s
Collection number: MSS 006
Extent: 6 document cases
2 cubic feet
Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research.
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[Identification of item], Naomi Blair Papers, MSS 006, Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, Los Angeles.
Naomi Blair was born on March 21, 1902 and grew up in central Wisconsin. Her family was of French-Canadian descent and her
father was a miner in Wisconsin.
From Wisconsin she moved to New York where she attended the Nursing School of New York University (NYU). Included in the collection
are notes and mimeographed handouts from her classes at NYU from about 1939 to 1947 (her insurance policies indicate that
she had become a registered nurse). In 1948, Blair moved to Southern California, where she had a brother living. The exact
date of her death is not known, but it is estimated to be in the late 1970s.
It appears from Blair's papers that she was quite concerned with political and social issues. There is evidence that she was
involved with the Communist Party (CP) beginning in the 1930s and that she was also involved with labor organizing in Wisconsin
and with civil rights activities.
Her brother Fred Blair was the chairman of the Wisconsin CP and her other brother John was part of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
that fought in the Spanish Civil War. He was for a time a prisoner of war and his sister was very active in the cause to free
him. While in California she worked with the Independent Progressive Party, particularly on civil rights issues.
Scope and Content
The Naomi Blair Collection covers the period of the late 1930s to approximately 1970. It is arranged in three series: PERSONAL,
EDUCATION and ORGANIZATIONS.
In the PERSONAL Series there is a letter from Peggy Dennis asking Blair about Peggy's husband Gene who had been Secretary
of the Communist Party of the United States in the 1950s. The response is a very long letter that goes into great detail about
Blair's activities and remembrances about the CP in Wisconsin in the 1930s. In addition to correspondence, this series contains
insurance and financial records which were retained because they provide rudimentary biographical information about Blair,
such as her date of birth, and, in the absence of more substantial personal papers, give some indication of her daily life.
The EDUCATION Series contains material on Blair's training as a nurse and notes from Communist Party classes she attended
in Southern California.
It is from the ORGANIZATIONS series that the most information about her interests can be obtained. Here are different pamphlets
and publications that she received or collected. She gathered material on Black rights, HUAC, and Latin America in addition
to other social and political concerns.