Blaford, Barbara (1922-2021) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Blaford, Barbara (1922-2021)
Fuller Form: Barbara Virgiline (Gray) Blaford

Historical Note:

Barbara Blaford was born near the town of Allerton, IL, later moving with her family to Urbana, IL. She began learning to play the cornet at nine years old, and in high school became the only female member of the Urbana High School Marching Band's brass section. As a member of the Urbana High School Band, she competed in several high school band competitions. After high school, she continued to play cornet in the University of Illinois' summer band, in an all-girls dance band, and throughout her life.

Blaford was inspired to learn cornet from older relatives; notably Helen Blaisdel, her aunt, whose brother, Elbert Blaisdel, participated in WWI and played cornet there. Elbert Blaisdel's cornet is a highlight of this collection, which also includes correspondence between him and his mother, Barbara's grandmother, during WWI.

Sources: Barbara Blaford obituary, and conversation and correspondence with Bonnie Blaford, her daughter.
Note Author: Maia Perez

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