James Blair (1656-1743)

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James Blair

This page is currently under construction. Please check back for updates. 1/31/2017.

The Reverend James Blair, the first president of the College of William and Mary, was born in Banffshire, Scotland and educated at Marischal College (University of Aberdeen). Blair was president of the College from its founding in 1693 until his death on April 18, 1743. As commissary of the Bishop of London, James Blair had a tremendous influence on the established Virginia church. Blair wed Sara Harrison in 1687.

A statue
James Blair Statue
of James Blair was installed between Tyler Hall and Blair Hall during Homecoming Week 1993 as part of the College’s tercentenary celebration. The statue was sculpted by Lewis Cohen, professor of art and art history at the College of William and Mary. Cohen estimated that he created 25 to 30 models of Blair before he found a look with which he was happy.

An oil painting of James Blair by Charles Bridges is owned by the College of William and Mary and hangs in the Great Hall of the Wren Building.

His grandnephew, John Blair, served as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court.

College of William and Mary President Succeeded by
James Blair

1693 - 1743

William Dawson

1743 - 1752

Material in the Special Collections Research Center

Further Reading


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A Note About The Contents Of This Wiki
The information available in this wiki is the best available from known documents and sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of the College of William and Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information available here is the best available from known documents and sources at the time it was written. Information in this wiki is not complete as new information continues to be uncovered in the Swem Library's Special Collections Research Center and elsewhere. Researchers are strongly encouraged to use the Special Collections search tools for their research as the information contained in this wiki is by no means comprehensive.