University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the W. Frank Blair Papers, 1935-1986

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Blair, William Franklin, 1912-1984
Title: Blair, W. Frank, Papers
Dates: 1935-1986
Abstract: William Franklin (W. Frank, or just Frank) Blair was a professor of Zoology at The University of Texas at Austin. The papers include professional and personal correspondence, war department documents, diplomas, photographs, scientific society materials, and field notebooks.
Accession No.: 91-349
OCLC No.: 949796467
Extent: 1 ft.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

William Franklin (W. Frank, or just Frank) Blair was born June 25, 1912, in Dayton, Texas. He attended the University of Tulsa from 1930 to 1934. There he met and married a university librarian, Fern Antel. The couple moved to Gainesville, Florida, where Frank obtained his MS degree in 1936. They then traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Frank earned his PhD in 1938 and worked as a Research Scientist. A major topic of his study was concepts of mammalian home range, and he also spent time studying in the Black Mesa area of Oklahoma, the Big Bend region of Texas, and the White Sands region of New Mexico.

Frank was drafted into the Army during World War II, serving in the Air Force Altitude Training and Survival programs, and providing insight on survival by use of natural foods. After an honorable discharge as Captain, Frank joined the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin in 1946 and was promoted to Professor in 1955. He led many field expeditions to study the biota of regions in Texas. He became Emeritus Professor in 1982.

Frank Blair was a member of multiple scientific committees, societies, and conferences. Along with hundreds of articles, he also authored or edited major works including "Manual of Vertebrates", "Biology of the Genus Bufo", and "Vertebrate Speciation". In addition, he dedicated service to The University of Texas at Austin, serving as Director of the Brackenridge Field Laboratory, Winedale Planning Committee, the committee to recommend a Dean for the College of Natural Sciences, and various institute for Latin American Studies committees. He was elected to a variety of scientific society offices over the years and was awarded numerous honors, including the Joseph Priestly Award and the AIBS Distinguished Service Award.

W. Frank Blair made major and lasting contributions to ecology and evolution. He inspired the establishment of the Frank and Fern Blair Fund at UT to support field work by graduate students. He died in 1984 in Austin.


Memorial Resolution for William Franklin Blair

Scope and Contents

The W. Frank Blair Papers, 1935-1986, contain professional and personal correspondence, society membership rosters and conference materials, photographs and slides, field notebooks and research reports, War Department documents and rations, and correspondence, clippings, and press concerning Blair's awards and honors. The papers document a few of the many facets of Blair's life and career, including his devotion to his wife, his time in the Army, his passions for field ecology and The University of Texas, and his dedicated leadership to his students. Professional correspondence of Clark Hubbs, Assistant Professor of Zoology, is also included. Additionally, the papers contain Blair's diplomas, collected newsletters and newspaper clippings from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and personal documents including a drawing, address book, and payment schedule for his automobile.


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

These papers are stored remotely. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Blair, William Franklin, 1912-1984
Hubbs, Clark
Subjects (Organizations)
University of Texas at Austin. Department of Zoology
Big Bend Region (Tex.)
Austin (Tex.)
Tulsa (Okla.)

Related Material

See also the William Franklin Blair Photographs, ca. 1912-1980 and the Clark Hubbs Papers, 1947-1986.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

W. Frank Blair Papers, 1935-1986, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jessi Fishman, March 2016

Detailed Description of the Papers



CDL2/M421 Professional correspondence, 1950s-1970s
Field notebooks, report, undated
Diplomas, 1935, 1938, 1968
Personal correspondence, 1939, 1941-1942, undated
Personal documents, 1938, undated
Tulsa Collegian and Tulsa newspaper clippings, 1933-1935
War Department documents and rations, 1939-1943
Society membership rosters, 1948-1957
Society photographs and meeting materials, 1964-1967
Awards and honors, 1977, undated
Memorial resolution and correspondence, 1985-1986
Photographs and slides