Paul Blanshard Papers

Bentley Historical Library banner

Paul Blanshard papers

The materials in this online repository form part of a larger Paul Blanshard papers collection held by the Bentley Historical Library. For a more complete index to the materials, please consult the collection's online finding aid.

For questions or more information, please contact the Bentley Historical Library's Division of Reference and Access Services

Author and social and religious commentator. Papers include correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, scrapbooks and drafts of articles and books, and other papers, including material concerning his student years at the University of Michigan, as Congregational minister, educational director of the Amalgamated Textile Workers of America, assistant editor of

Paul B. Blanshard was an author and a noted social and religious commentator, perhaps best known for his book American Freedom and Catholic Power. Blanshard was born in Fredericksburg, Ohio in 1892. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1914 then did graduate work at Harvard, Columbia, and Union Theological Seminary. He was ordained a congregational minister in 1917 and served a brief period as pastor of a church in Tampa, Florida. In 1918, Blanshard left the ministry for the trade union movement. From 1920 to 1924 he was educational director for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America in Rochester, New York, and in 1925 he served as field secretary of the League for Industrial Democracy, which position he held until 1933.

With the depression, Blanshard became increasingly involved with issues of urban reform. From 1930 to 1933, he served as executive director of the City Affairs Committee of New York City. Here he led investigations on the problem of municipal corruption and this eventually led to a position with the reform-minded La Guardia administration. During World War II, Blanshard worked as an economic analyst and consultant to the Caribbean Commission of the Department of State. He left in 1946 to become a full-time writer.

The subject that most exercised Blanshard as a writer was the Roman Catholic Church, particularly its political power and influence. In Blanshard's view, according to one writer, the Roman Catholic Church was "institutionally antithetical to democracy and politically antagonistic to American pluralism and individual liberty." Blanshard was most vehement in his denunciation of the church's hierarchy which he felt used its power in the United States to control policy on matters of education, social issues, and foreign affairs. Blanshard expatiated this theme in several books, the most important of these being American Freedom and Catholic Power published in 1949.

Blanshard was married three times. In 1915, he married Julia Sweet Anderson who died in 1934. In 1935, he married Mary Hillyer Kolski who died in 1965, and in 1965, he married Beatrice Mayer. Blanshard had two sons, Paul Blanshard, Jr. (b. 1919) and Rufus (b. 1921), and a twin brother (Percival) Brand Blanshard, a prominent professor of philosophy at Yale University. Blanshard died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1980.

For more detailed biographical information, the researcher should consult Blanshard's autobiography Personal and Controversial (1974). There are also files in the collection containing biographical and genealogical information (see Summary Content List).

Please note:

Copyright has not been transferred to the Regents of the University of Michigan.

Access to digitized sound recordings may be limited to the reading room of the Bentley Historical Library, located on the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan.

Recent Deposits RSS Feed

View more

Search Deep Blue

Advanced Search

Browse by

My Account


Coming Soon

MLibrary logo