Scope and Contents
The Thomas Lindsey Blayney Papers, dating from 1893 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 Croix de Guerre medal awarded to him by the French, and the numerous newspaper 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.
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.