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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Tom and Ruth Blanchard Chautauqua Collection

Collection Overview

Date Span: 19071982
Creator: Blanchard, Tom
Extent: .50 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0150.12
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Chautauqua and radio performers. Correspondence, clippings, photographs, and ephemera.

Access: This collection is open for research.Photographs

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: These papers were given to the University of Iowa Libraries by Mary L. McGee in June 2006.

Preferred Citation: Tom and Ruth Blanchard Chautauqua Collection, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

Tom Blanchard was born in Gardiner, Maine, attended Bates College, and the Boston Lyceum School. Following the death of his first wife, he met Ruth Moore in 1921 in Blair, Nebraska, where he appeared on the Chautauqua circuit as a member of the New England Male Quartet. Ruth, born in Omaha, Nebraska, attended Dana College, Trinity Seminary, and Nebraska Wesleyan, followed by Boston Lyceum School where she studied music. They were married in 1923. In 1925, Tom and Ruth formed a duo and appeared with the Redpath and Dominion Chautauquas, where they performed unaccompanied duets, whistling duets, readings, sketches, and impersonations. After two years, Tom became a superintendent on the Gulf Coast Circuit. Beginning in 1927, they performed for radio stations in Nebraska and Iowa. Upon moving to Chicago in 1931, Tom had his own radio show on WGN, The Whistler and His Dog and later moved to network programs, with Ruth appearing with him on some of the shows. The year 1942 found them returning to Blair, where both taught school. In 1953 they moved to Alaska for two years, then returned to Blair. Tom became superintendent of the Washington County Schools in Nebraska in 1956.

This collection contains material related to Tom and Ruth Blanchard's appearances in Chautauqua and radio, including correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and ephemera such as Chautauqua programs from Blair, Nebraska. Also present are items related to their later years together spent in Blair.
A manuscript register for the Redpath Chautauqua Bureau, as well as other small Chautauqua collections, is accessible at the following URL:

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Chautauqua Programs: Blair, Nebraska (13); Waterville, Maine; Paris, Tennessee; Crowley, Louisiana; Mason City, Illinois; Newberry, South Carolina; Wray, Colorado; Clay Center, Kansas - 1907-1921
  • Correspondence, including 3 first day issue Chautauqua stamps and envelopes
  • Nebraska Chautauqua, summer - 1975
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Photographs
  • Posters, advertisements, and talent brochures
  • Publications related to radio, including WLS, Johnson's Radio News, etc.
  • Scripts and other material for performances, including skits, readings, radio programs, etc. Many were used in Chautauqua (2 folders)
  • White Entertainment Bureau News - 1923-1924

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Blanchard, Ruth
Blanchard, Thomas

20th century



Genre/Form of Materials:
Clippings (Information artifacts)