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Guide to the Blanche Potter Photograph Albums & Travel Journals
1904-1939
 MS 3100

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Larry Weimer

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 24, 2022
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical / Historical

Blanche Potter was born in New York City on January 2, 1864. She was the daughter of wealthy New York businessman, real estate developer and politician Orlando B. Potter (1823-1894) and his wife, Martha Green Wiley Potter (1822-1879). Orlando Potter died intestate and his estate was divided among his four children, including his 600 acre farm in Ossining, a portion of which was inherited by Blanche.

Blanche was a philanthropist and at least from 1910, and possibly before, she was engaged in various causes, especially those concerning health and welfare. Among other positions, from 1910 until her death she was a member of the board of Bellevue Hospital's Training School for Nurses, and from 1910 to 1927 she was Chair of the auxiliary of Bellevue's Tuberculosis Division.

Blanche lived for thirty years with another woman, Emma Louise Christie (who seems to have used Louise as her call name), which is suggestive of a possibly gay relationship. Christie was born September 1, 1869, at Haverstraw, New York. She became a Registered Nurse (R.N.), graduating from the Bellevue Training School in 1894. In 1907, according to Christie's brief obituary in the New York Times, which seems likely to have been written by Potter, she "became the beloved friend and constant companion of Miss Blanche Potter, with whom until her death, she made her home at 45 Park Ave., New York City."

For the last thirty years of Christie's life, she and Potter lived together in New York City and at Potter's country home in Ossining. They also traveled widely together, along with other women, as documented in this collection of Potter's travel journals and photograph albums.

In 1937, Louise Christie died while on a visit to her family home in Thiells, in Haverstraw, NY. Potter sold her home in Ossining shortly afterward. Potter died on October 5, 1942, and is buried with her parents and sisters in Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery.

[The above note is based on notes provided by the dealer from whom the collection was acquired (a copy of the notes is included in the first box of the collection) and the obituaries in the New York Times of Blanche Potter (October 6, 1942) and E. Louise Christie (July 5, 1937).]