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Special Collections: Guide to the Blaisdell Family Papers

Arranged and described by Hansie Grignon; edited by Brenda Howitson Steeves
November 2010

Collection title: Blaisdell Family Papers.
Provenance: Purchased from Lynn Morin, West Townsend, MA in 2001.
Collection number: MS 1650.
Dates of collection: 1863-1956 (inclusive); 1880s-1930s (bulk).
Size of collection: One record carton.
Conservation note: Materials transferred to acid-free storage containers.
Preferred citation: Blaisdell Family Papers, Special Collections, Raymond H. Fogler Library, University of Maine.
Restrictions on access and use: Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.

Biography

Frank William Blaisdell (ca. 1845–1931) was born in Waterboro, Maine. He later moved to Goodwin’s Mills, a village in Lyman, Maine, and then to South Waterboro. In about 1921 he moved to Alfred, Maine, where he lived until his death in 1931. Blaisdell was a farmer as well as the treasurer of Waterboro. He appears to have had extensive financial and legal dealings and to have served as executor for estates of various individuals. He was an active member of the South Waterboro Baptist Church and of the Odd Fellows Enterprise Lodge No. 36 in Waterboro and was also president of the Waterboro Magazine Club.

On October 25, 1871, Blaisdell married Lucy Brown Peirce, daughter of James H. Peirce and Lucy B. Appleton Peirce. She was born in Waterboro on March 24, 1842 and died in the mid-1920s. The couple had two children: Mary Emma Blaisdell, born April 11, 1878, and Elizabeth Peirce Blaisdell, born March 28, 1882.

Mary Blaisdell graduated from Colby College in 1901 and married the Rev. Arthur Train Belknap of Andover, Massachusetts on January 1, 1902. They had four children: Elizabeth Peirce Belknap, born March 13, 1904 in Andover; Katherine Blaisdell Belknap, born May 26, 1906 in Providence; Janet Hosmer Belknap, born January 25, 1910 in Franklin, Indiana; and Mary Constance Belknap. Arthur Belknap attended Brown University and Sioux Falls College. He also earned degrees from Newton Theological Institute, University of Halle, and Harvard University. He served as a dean of Mansfield College, where Mary also worked as a librarian. He retired in 1941 and died in 1946.

Elizabeth Peirce Blaisdell graduated from Colby College in 1905 and taught at Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C. She married the Rev. Edwin B. Dolan in 1937 or 1938; they lived in Alfred, Maine and in Melrose Highlands, Massachusetts. She died in 1956.

Janet Hosmer Belknap married William Peirce Randel (born 1909) in 1934. They had two children, William Peirce Randel Jr. (known as Randy) and Elizabeth P. Randel. William Randel Sr. earned his bachelor’s degree from Denison University and went on to become the director of American Studies at Florida State University. The family lived in Tallahassee and traveled together to Finland in 1951 and to Greece and England in 1955-1956 on a Fulbright scholarship.

Mary Constance (Connie) Belknap attended Denison University and then married William R. Straughn, Jr., a bacteriologist. They lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. William Straughn taught at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine from 1944 to 1976. He was also involved in Mansfield University. Connie wrote "Poetry and Me a Poet," which was edited by her daughter, Dorothy Lloyd Straughn Beveridge.

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains personal papers of various members of the Blaisdell family especially of Frank W. Blaisdell. The majority of his papers are legal documents, receipts and correspondence from his business dealings and his activities as executor for the estates of Amelia Pitts and Cordelia Roberts. His papers also include daily diaries from 1879, 1880, 1883, 1887 and 1889 as well as records reflecting his involvement with the Baptist church in South Waterboro and with the I.O.O.F. Lodge in Waterboro.

The collection also contains papers of Elizabeth Blaisdell Dolan. She appears to have handled her father's estate after his death in 1931; most of her papers are financial and tax documents concerning investments and other financial arrangements. Two personal memorandum books and a small amount of correspondence also make up part of her papers.

The collection also contains a few items belonging to William and Janet Belknap Randel, including two scrapbooks of family trips to Finland, Greece and England as well as diplomas, membership certificates and citations from various universities.

Box List

Box 1

Folder

1 Blaisdell family: miscellaneous personal correspondence, 1889-1890, undated

Papers of Frank Blaisdell

2 Account book, 1874; diaries, 1879, 1880, 1883, 1887, 1889

3 Legal and financial documents, receipts, etc., 1880s-1926

4 Documents re estate of Amelia Pitts, 1870s-1902

5 Documents re estate of Cordelia Roberts, 1890s; legal documents re Sarah Roberts, 1901-1909

6 Records, South Waterboro Baptist Church, 1880s-1903 (Includes letter and receipt from John Calvin Stevens and Albert Winslow Cobb, Portland architects, for church floor plans)

7 Records, I.O.O.F. Enterprise Lodge No. 36 (Waterboro), 1880s-1907

8 Flyer: Waterboro Magazine Club, 1921 (F.W. Blaisdell, Pres.)

Papers of Elizabeth P. Blaisdell Dolan

9 Correspondence; memo books, 1907, 1910, undated

10-12 Correspondence, financial information, investment records, receipts for shares bought and sold, tax bills, etc., 1930s-1950s

13 Blaisdell family photographs

14-15 Miscellaneous papers and objects

Randel family papers

16 Scrapbook of trip to Finland, 1951

17 Scrapbook of trip to Greece and England, 1955-1956

18 Randel membership certificates, citations, etc.

19 William Randel: diploma from Denison University, 1981

Finding Aids for selected manuscript collections in the Special Collections Department at Fogler Library are accessible online in URSUS, in a browsable Guide to Manuscript Collections. Please contact Special Collections at spc@umit.maine.edu or (207) 581-1686 for further information.

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Special Collections Staff: spc@umit.maine.edu | Revised: 01/10/2014
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