Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the Thomas Lindsey Blayney Papers, 1910-2004

Descriptive Summary

Title: Thomas Lindsey Blayney Papers
Dates: 1910-2004
Abstract: Papers of Thomas Lindsey Blayney, a founding member of the faculty of Rice Institute (now University) and Professor of German there from 1912- 1924; materials include records of his military service during World War I (1917-1919), and later appointments as president of Texas State Women’s College (1924-26) and dean of Carleton College (1926-46); also included are family memoirs, correspondence, photographs, and news clippings.
Identification: MS 64
Quantity: 0.5 lin. ft. (1 box)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library Rice University, Houston, TX

Biographical Note

Thomas Lindsey Blayney was born in Lebanon, Kentucky, on December 3, 1874. He spent his early childhood in Albany, New York, and after the death of his mother in 1881 moved with his father and younger brother to Frankfort, Kentucky, where his father served as a Presbyterian minister. Blayney graduated from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, in 1894, and went on to Europe for graduate studies, where he studied philology and comparative literature at Heidelberg University and received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees with honor in 1904.

In 1912 he became one of the founding faculty members of the newly-established Rice Institute in Houston, Texas (later Rice University). During his twelve years on the faculty there (1912-1924), Blayney was also much involved in the expanding civic and cultural life of Houston, particularly in the establishment of what was to become Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts, and in activities as a participant and lecturer in various community organizations. He was among the first faculty members at Rice to volunteer for military service during World War I and served from 1917 to 1919, during which time he was awarded the French Croix de Guerre among other honors. He returned to Rice after the war but left in 1924 to become president of Texas State Women’s College.

In 1926 he went on to become dean of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, serving in this capacity until his retirement in 1946. His first wife, Gertrude South Blayney, died in 1945; they had two sons, James M. Blayney and Lindsey Blayney, Jr. He later married Ida Walz, and after his retirement moved to Marine-on-St.-Croix, Minnesota, where he died March 13, 1971.

Scope and Contents

The Thomas Lindsey Blayney Papers, dating from 1910 to 2004, include an autobiographical letter written by Blayney to his sons, from which much information may be obtained about Blayney’s academic and community activities and his military service during World War I. Of special interest also are photographs of Blayney during his service in World War I, the ribbon from the French Croix de Guerre awarded him, and the numerous news clippings concerning his academic activities as a faculty member at the Rice Institute (1912-1924) and his role in the expanding cultural life of Houston during this period.


Access Restrictions

This material is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish material from the Blayney papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center.

Index Terms

Subjects (Organizations)
Rice University - faculty.

Related Material

See also other early Rice Institute material, including the campus newspaper and yearbook (the Rice Thresher and Rice Campanile, respectively), photographs, and alumni scrapbooks.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Thomas Lindsey Blayney Papers, 1910-2004, MS 64, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Acquisition Information

The Thomas Lindsey Blayney Papers were a gift from David Blayney, received February 6 and March 30, 2004.

Detailed Description of the Collection


Series I: Biographical Materials

1 Biographical material
2 Autobiographical letter to his sons, February 10, 1959


Series II: Correspondence & Writings, 1910-1974

3 “The History of Art as a College Discipline,” by Thomas Lindsey Blayney, Ph.D.; reprint, September, 1910
4 Correspondence – 1945
5 Scroll of Appreciation written by Lindsey Blayney following Rice University Semicentennial Celebration – 1962
6 Thomas Flaxman Scholarship honoring Dr. Lindsey Blayney – 1962
7 Correspondence, 1968-74


Series III: Newsclippings and obituaries, 1912-1971

8 Account of Lindsey Blayney’s death, by Ida Blayney – Spring, 1971
9 Newsclippings – 1912-1967
10 Compilation of newsclippings – 1912-1926


Series IV: World War I photographs and military ribbon, ca. 1914-1919

11 Photographs
12 Ribbon from French Croix de Guerre