Open main menu

Clinton Ledyard Blair (July 16, 1867 – February 7, 1949) was a prominent American investment banker and yachtsman.[1]

C. Ledyard Blair
C. Ledyard Blair.png
Clinton Ledyard Blair

(1867-07-16)July 16, 1867
DiedFebruary 7, 1949(1949-02-07) (aged 81)
EducationLawrenceville School
Alma materPrinceton University
OccupationInvestment banker
Florence Osborne Jennings
(m. 1891; her death 1931)

Harriet Stewart Brown
(m. 1936; his death 1949)
Parent(s)DeWitt Clinton Blair
Mary Anna Kimball
RelativesJohn Insley Blair (grandfather)


Early yearsEdit

Blair was the grandson of John Insley Blair, one of the wealthiest men of the 19th century, and the son of DeWitt Clinton Blair and Mary Anna Kimball Blair. Born in Belvidere, New Jersey, he attended the Lawrenceville School and then Princeton University, graduating in 1890 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.[2]


While still a senior at Princeton, Blair joined his father and grandfather in founding the banking firm of Blair & Company, primarily to manage railroad interests linked to the Gould family. The firm underwrote a $50 million bond issue of the Western Pacific Railroad and helped in the financial management of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad and the Western Maryland Railroad.[3]

After Blair & Company merged with the firm of William Salomon & Co. in April 1920 (under the name of Blair & Co., Inc.), Ledyard Blair was named chairman of the board of directors. He was also the director of several railway companies, including the Clinchfield Railroad, the Sussex Railroad, and the Green Bay and Western Railroad.[3] Blair & Co. was active in assisting with the mergers of oil companies. In 1924-1925, the firm arranged a deal in which Standard Oil of Indiana obtained control of the Pan American Petroleum and Transport Company and Lago Petroleum Company in Venezuela.[4]

Society lifeEdit

Blair's home, Blairsden

An avid yachtsman, Blair was named Commodore of the New York Yacht Club in 1910. During World War I, he turned over his 254-foot steel yacht, Diana, to the U.S. government and gave up yachting. At the outbreak of the war in 1914, Blair was on the SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie, a North German Lloyd ocean liner, sailing from New York City to Plymouth, England. Nearing Plymouth, news of hostilities forced the ship to turn back. Blair took the helm and safely piloted the ship to Bar Harbor, Maine, where his family had a summer home. The ship was carrying $10 million in gold and $3.5 million in silver.[5]

Blairsden, Ledyard Blair's opulent 38-room mansion in Peapack-Gladstone, New Jersey, was built between 1898 and 1903.[6] Blair threw lavish weddings for each of the Blair daughters, all held at Blairsden. He also owned a mansion in New York City, now known as C. Ledyard Blair House. In addition to Blairsden, he had residences in Newport, Rhode Island, "Honeysuckle Lodge," and Bermuda, "Deepdene."[3]

Personal lifeEdit

On October 1, 1891, he married Florence Osborne Jennings (1869–1931) and they had four daughters:[7][8]

  • Marjory Bruce Blair (1893–1975), a twin who married William Clark (1891–1957) in 1913.[5]
  • Florence Ledyard Blair (1893–1982), a twin who married Herbert Rivington Pyne (1892–1952), son of Percy Rivington Pyne II, in 1917.[5]
  • Edith Dodd Blair (1896–1988), who married Richard Gambrill (1890–1952) in 1917.[5]
  • Marie Louise Blair (1899–1994), who married Maj. Gen. Pierpont Morgan Hamilton (1898–1982) in 1919.[9][5] She later married Washington Everardus Bogardus (1896–1931)[10] and James Bethune Campbell (1909–1983).[11][12]

Blair's first wife Florence died on November 15, 1931. In 1936, he married Harriet Stewart Brown (1884–1953), the widow of Thomas Suffern Tailer (1866–1928) and daughter of Baltimore banker Alexander Brown.[3]

Blair died on February 7, 1949 in Manhattan and was buried in Saint Bernards Cemetery, beside his first wife Florence. .[3]


  1. ^ "C. Ledyard Blair seated". The Library of Congress. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  2. ^ "From Princeton's vault: A young millionaire's scrapbook". Princeton Alumni Weekly. 21 January 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e "C. Ledyard Blair, Banker, 82, Dead".The New York Times, February 8, 1949. Accessed March 12, 2008.
  4. ^ Swaine 1946, p. 433.
  5. ^ a b c d e Schleicher, William A. and Susan Winter. In the Somerset Hills: The Landed Gentry. Arcadia, 1997.
  6. ^ Blairsden from Historical Society of Sommerset Hills
  7. ^ Scannell's New Jersey First Citizens, 1917-1918. J.J. Scannell, 1918.
  8. ^ Leonard, John William; Mohr, William Frederick; Holmes, Frank R.; Knox, Herman Warren; Downs, 0infield Scott (1907). Who's who in New York City and State. L.R. Hamersly Company. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  9. ^ "Miss Blair, Bride of P.M. Hamilton" The New York Times, September 12, 1919. Accessed March 12, 2008.
  10. ^ "W.E. BOGARDUS DEAD; FORMERLY A BANKER; Descendant of a Famous Dutch Family Had Lived Eleven Years in Honolulu". The New York Times. 25 December 1931. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  11. ^ Waggoner, Walter H. (16 March 1982). "P.M. HAMILTON, 83, DIES ON THE COAST". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  12. ^ Backhouse, Constance; Backhouse, Nancy L. (January 31, 2005). The Heiress vs the Establishment: Mrs. Campbell's Campaign for Legal Justice. UBC Press. ISBN 9780774850735. Retrieved 16 May 2017.