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Gordon B. McKinney Collection

Identifier: MSS 80-47

Content Description

The collection consists of a typescript and galley proofs of Gordon McKinney's book, Southern Mountain Republicans, 1865-1900: Politics and the Appalachian Community, (University of North Carolina Press, 1978).

Also included in the collection are research and draft notes of several published articles by McKinney on politics in Appalachia. The articles are:

"The Mountain Republican Party-Army," Tennessee Historical Quarterly, 32.

"The Rise of the Hawk Machine in East Tennessee," Publications, East Tennessee Historical Society, 45.

"Farewell to the Bloody Shirt: The Decline of the Hawk Machine," Publications, East Tennessee Historical Society, 46.

"Mountain Republicans and the Negro, 1865-1900," Journal of Southern History, 41.

"Racism and the Electorate: Two Late Nineteenth Century Elections," Appalachian Journal, 1.

The addition to the collection contains material about Henry William Blair. The collection contains photocopies of correspondence to and from Blair, especially during his years in Congress. The correspondence covers both political topics and matters of family interest. New Hampshire election results for Congressional Representative, Governor, and constitutional issues comprise the second largest portion of the collection. Other items include Blair's resignation as envoy to China, applications for pensions and reports.

Henry William Blair (1834-1920) was a United States Representative and a Senator from New Hampshire. The son of William Henry and Lois (Baker) Blair was born at Compton, New Hampshire. Orphaned by the age of twelve, Blair lived with neighbors and worked his way through school. Health reasons prevented him from entering college, but in 1856 he studied law in a Plymouth law office. He was admitted to the bar in 1859. In 1860 he was appointed prosecuting attorney for Grafton County. On December 20, 1859, Blair married Eliza Ann Nelson. Correspondence between Henry and Eliza figures prominently in the collection.

During the Civil War, Blair served in the Union Army as captain (later promoted to lieutenant-colonel) of the Fifteenth Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry. Blair was wounded during the war. He continued to experience poor health in civilian life due to this army service.

Blair served as a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives (1866) and in the State Senate (1867 and 1868). He was elected as Republican to the United States House of Representatives for the Forty-fourth and Forty-fifth Congresses (March 4, 1875 - March 3, 1879). He was not a candidate for renomination in 1878, but was elected to the United States Senate in June 1879 and served June 1879 - March 1891. He was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1891. Also in 1891, he declined an appointment as judge of the district court of New Hampshire offered by President Harrison.

On March 6, 1891, Blair accepted the post of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to China. On his way to the Pacific coast, however, he was recalled due to objections from the Chinese government, which maintained that Blair's attitude on immigration rendered him persona non grata. The United States government protested this action, but Blair's resignation was accepted October 6, 1891. In 1892 Blair won election to the U.S. House for the Fifty-third Congress (March 4, 1893 - March 3, 1895), but was not a candidate for reelection in 1894. He retired from active politics in 1895, but remained in Washington, D.C. to practice law until his death March 14, 1920.

In his political views, Blair stood for sound money, the tariff, and the pension system. He held strong views on social concerns. In 1876 he introduced a joint resolution to the House to amend the Constitution and prohibit the manufacture, importation and sale of distilled liquors after January 1, 1900. He worked on several bills to involve the federal government in support of public schools. He introduce a resolution in the Senate in 1890 calling for a reduction of existing military and naval establishment and the creation of tribunals for the peaceful settlement of controversies. Blair was also interested in woman suffrage, labor problems, pensions legislation, prevention of a railroad monopoly, proper use of public lands, and the interests of Black citizens.


  • 1843 - 1978

Conditions Governing Use

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1.75 Linear Feet

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Repository Details

Part of the Hunter Library - Special Collections Repository

Cullowhee United States