We acquired a really cool piece for the collection this week to help support one of the Museum’s archival collections. The collection is the William McBlair Papers (MS0018) and it’s one of the Library’s best slavery-related collections. It includes official documentation of McBlair’s US Navy activities and letters to his wife. The collection also documents his Civil War service during which time he supervised the building of the CSS Atlanta (which he then commanded).
William McBlair was appointed a midshipman in 1824. He served on various duty stations, including Falmouth, Massachusetts and Norfolk, Virginia. As a Lieutenant Commander McBlair commanded the armed storeship USS Erie (it had been converted from a sloop-of-war in 1843) and made several voyages to supply the African and Mediterranean Squadrons.