Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Friends of PMSS
Edwin Howard Blashfield (1848-1936)
Grace Mary (Hall) Blashfield (1869-1947)
EDWIN AND GRACE MARY BLASHFIELD, Friends of PMSS
TAGS: Edwin and Grace Mary Blashfield, Edwin Howard Blashfield, Grace Mary Hall Blashfield, H.R.S. Benjamin, donations, bequests, paintings, muralists, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Library of Congress Reading Room dome, beaux-arts style, Public Works of Art Project, Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield, novelists, poets, singers
In the spring of 1948, H.R.S. Benjamin, then-Director of Pine Mountain Settlement School, submitted a report to the Board of Trustees that included a section on “Legacy Receipts.” Among the donations he listed were substantial amounts from Edwin and Grace Mary Blashfield. He wrote:
Recently we received from the estate of a long-time friend $6530.94. Last fall the same estate, that of Edwin and Grace Blashfield, gave us $5000. The total replaces very nearly the inroads made on endowment this past year. It is very encouraging but does remind us that we are losing valuable and reliable friends…. [GOVERNANCE 1948 Directors Report to BOT, May 1948, page 2.]
EDWIN HOWARD BLASHFIELD
Edwin Blashfield was a successful and well-respected American artist of genre paintings and murals. Although he began his studies in engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he eventually turned to a career in art, studying painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He then spent several years studying and exhibiting his work in France and Italy. It was in Italy where he honed his skills in fresco painting, “marked by delicacy and beauty of coloring,” according to his biography on wikipedia.com.
In America, his murals adorned many notable public and commercial buildings. He is best known for painting the mural on the dome of the Library of Congress Main Reading Room in Washington, D.C.
He served as president of several arts organizations, including National Society of Mural Painters and the National Academy of Design. His many honors included a Gold Medal by the National Academy of Design in 1934.
Public support of his beaux-arts style eventually turned its attention to the less embellishment, vivid colors, and political bent of the Public Works of Art Project murals and he closed his studio in 1933.
Edwin’s first wife was Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield (1858-1918). The couple wrote Italian Cities (1900) and translated Lives of the Painters by Vasari (4 vols., 1897). He later married Grace Mary Hall (1869-1947).
Edwin Howard Blashfield was born in 1848 in Manhattan, New York, and died at the age of 88 at his summer home on Cape Cod. He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York City.
GRACE MARY HALL BLASHFIELDGrace Mary Hall was born in 1869 in Boston, Massachusetts, into an artistically talented family. Her mother was a concert singer and her father, a concert tour conductor. She had two sisters, Gertrude Anna Hall Brownell (1863-1961), a writer, and Edna Devia “Marguerite” Hall Locke (1862-1925), a contralto singer in concerts and churches. Grace herself published a novel, Letters from Gigi, in 1909 and several poems and essays in magazines.
Ten years after Edwin’s first wife, Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield, died, he married Grace Mary Hall in 1928.
A newspaper clipping, headlined “Mrs. Edwin H. Blashfield: Artist’s Widow Dies — Much of His Fortune Goes to Charity” can be found on a findagrave.org page for Grace Mary Blashfield. Announcing her death, it includes information about the couple’s bequests, likely explaining the source of their gifts to Pine Mountain:
…Of his [Edwin Blashfield’s] estate of slightly more than a million dollars, he bequeathed to his widow $100,000 and the interest for life of nearly all the residue. One-half of this remainder will now be shared by fifteen religious, educational and philanthropic groups….
After her husband died, Grace Mary lived with her sister Gertrude in New York City. Grace Mary Hall Blashfield died in 1947 in Manhattan, New York, at age 77.
To date, the details of the Blashfields’ connection to Pine Mountain Settlement School is not known, beyond the statement by H.R.S. Benjamin that the couple were donors and “longtime friends” of the School. New information will be added as it becomes available.
|Title||Edwin and Grace Mary Blashfield|
|Alt. Title|| Edwin Howard Blashfield ; Edwin H. Blashfield ; Edwin Blashfield ;
Grace Mary Hall ; Grace Mary Hall Blashfield ; Mrs. Edwin Blashfield ;
|Creator||Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.|
|Alt. Creator||Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;|
|Subject Keyword||Edwin and Grace Mary Blashfield, Edwin Howard Blashfield, Grace Mary Hall Blashfield, H.R.S. Benjamin, donations, bequests, paintings, muralists, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Library of Congress Reading Room dome, beaux-arts style, Public Works of Art, Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield, novelists, poets, singers|
|Subject LCSH||Blashfield, Edwin Howard, — 1848-1936.
Blashfield, Grace Mary Hall — 1869-1947.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.
|Publisher||Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.|
|Type||Collections ; text ; image ;|
|Format||Original and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet.|
|Source||Series 09: BIOGRAPHY|
|Relation||Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 09: BIOGRAPHY.|
|Coverage Temporal||1848 – 1961|
|Coverage Spatial||Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; France, ;Italy ; Cambridge, MA ; Philadelphia, PA ; Washington, DC ; Cape Cod, MA ; New York City, NY ; Boston, MA ;|
|Rights||Any display, publication, or public use must credit the Pine Mountain Settlement School. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.|
|Description||Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers of Edwin H. Blashfield and Grace Mary Blashfield ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Edwin H. Blashfield and Grace Mary Blashfield ;|
|Citation||“[Identification of Item],” [Collection Name] [Series Number, if applicable]. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.|
|Processed By||Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;|
|“Edwin Howland Blashfield.” Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC. https://americanart.si.edu/artist/edwin-howland-blashfield-6357 ; accessed 2022-09-23. Internet resource.
“Edwin Blashfield.” Wikipedia.com. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Blashfield ; accessed 2022-09-23. ; accessed 2022-09-23. Internet resource.
“Edwin Howland Blashfield.” Wikimedia photograph. File: Edwin Howland Blashfield cph.3b20866.jpg – Wikimedia Commons ; accessed 2022-09-23. Internet resource.
Familysearch.org Family Tree for Edwin Howland Blashfield. https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/details/9S93-GDV ; accessed 25 September 2022. Internet resource.
“GOVERNANCE 1948 Directors Report to BOT.” Series 07: DIRECTORS. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.
“Grace Hall Papers.” University of Georgia, Special Collections Library,, Athens, GA. https://sclfind.libs.uga.edu/sclfind/view?docId=ead/ms209.xml&doc.view=print;chunk.id= Accessed 2022-09-23. Internet resource.
“Grace Mary Hall Blashfield.” Findagrave.com ; Accessed 2022-09-23. Internet resource. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/97232957/grace-mary-blashfield
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