A Guide to the W. Frank Blair Papers, 1935-1986
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.
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.
This collection is open for research use.
These papers are stored remotely. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval.
W. Frank Blair Papers, 1935-1986, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Jessi Fishman, March 2016
Detailed Description of the Papers