William Cameron Blackett Scrapbook, Circa 1900-1937

William Cameron Blackett personal archive. HUM 136

New Acquisition / William Cameron Blackett scrapbook circa 1900-1937

The Harvard University Archives recently acquired a scrapbook compiled by William Cameron Blackett (1890-1925), a member of the Harvard College Class of 1912. Blackett’s carefully saved photographs, theatre programs, ticket stubs, postcards, dance cards, news clippings, and other ephemera document life at Harvard and beyond, such as:

  • Harvard Lacrosse, Sigma Alpha Phi, the Speakers’ Club, and the Aeronautical Society
  • Brantwood, a summer camp for boys in Greenfield, New Hampshire, in 1911 and 1912
  • hiking and canoeing trips taken in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and Ontario, Canada
  • service in artillery and aerial observation units during World War I, with a particular emphasis on relationships developed during Blackett’s recovery in France from wounds received after the armistice

A native of Somerville, Massachusetts, William Cameron Blackett received his AB degree from Harvard in February 1913. Following graduation, he worked as a sales manager for Boston’s E.B. Badger & Sons before enlisting for military service during World War I. Blackett served in field artillery and aerial observation, and spent time overseas in France. While returning from the front after the armistice was declared, he survived a train wreck in December 1918 and recovered in a hospital in Beaugency France. Blackett married Priscilla Badger in 1920; they had three children. Blackett died on August 23, 1925, in a railroad accident in Winnetka, Illinois while traveling to visit a college classmate.

This scrapbook adds to the rich collection of 19th and 20th century scrapbooks compiled by Harvard students that are collected by the Harvard University Archives. The visual charm and tangible appeal of the different material forms in these scrapbooks make them particularly valuable to users since they can reveal culture through their compilation of ephemera as well as illustrate an individual’s interaction with that culture.

For further information, see the finding aid for the William Cameron Blackett personal archive


Note: The Schlesinger Library holds the Papers of Priscilla Dewey Houghton, the daughter of Blackett; her papers include courtship letters
exchanged between Blackett and his future wife, Priscilla Badger, in 1920.  Houghton Library's Theatre Collection holds the Papers of Priscilla B.
Dewey, the daughter of Blackett.