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Inventory of the Janin Family Collection, 1735-1932
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Subject Matter

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Janin Family Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1735-1932
    Creator: Janin Family
    Extent: 23,699 pieces
    Repository: The Huntington Library
    San Marino, California 91108
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Acquired from the Washington Cathedral through the agency of Colonel Thomas M. Spaulding in 1936 and 1937. Additional letters and other papers were acquired in 1946, from Louis Janin of San Francisco; in 1965 from Howard H. Peckham; and in 1968 from Elliot A. P. Evans.


    Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL .

    Publication Rights

    In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Janin Family Collection, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Family papers of Albert Covington Janin and Violet (Blair) Janin, including several sub-collections of the extended Blair and Janin families.
    • 1) James Lawrence Blair (1819-1853), son of Francis Preston Blair, was a U.S. naval officer. In San Francisco in 1849, he acquired property and established the first steamship line on the Sacramento River. He resigned from the Navy in 1851, died suddenly in San Francisco, leaving widow, Mary Serena Eliza (Jesup) Blair, daughter of Thomas Sidney Jesup, and three children: Violet, Jesup, and Lucy James. His estate was administered by his brother Montgomery Blair. The James L. Blair papers of 165 pieces were formerly catalogued separately, but are now combined with the Janin Family Collection.
    • 2) Thomas Sidney Jesup, Major-General in the U.S. Army, married Ann Heron Groghan. They had one son, Charles E. Jesup, and four daughters: Mary Serena Eliza (Jesup) Blair, Jane (Jesup) Nicholson, Lucy (Jesup) Sitgreaves, and Julia Clark Jesup. The Jesup family section of the collection consists of 630 pieces, of which 48 are Thomas Sidney Jesup papers, and 460 those of Julia Clark Jesup, mainly letters to her sister Mary and her niece Violet.
    • 3) Mary Serena Eliza (Jesup) Blair. Papers are contained in Boxes 3-5 and 60-61 in the collection.
    • 4) Violet (Blair) Janin lived her entire life in the family home on Lafayette Square near the White House in Washington, D.C., although she travelled in Europe and elsewhere, and lived during brief periods in New Orleans soon after her marriage in 1874. Her life was devoted mainly to her mother, Washington society and club work. She was president of the National Society of Colonial Dames, treasurer of the National Society of Children of the American Revolution, etc., and an active member of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage. Her friends were prominent in social and diplomatic circles, while she herself was a leader in the most exclusive circles of her time. The nine boxes of her personal papers, in addition to the massive correspondence addressed to her by many famous and important persons of her time, give an effective background to Washington society from the point of view of a wealthy upper class woman from c. 1860 - c. 1930.
    • 5) Lucy James (Blair) Wheeler married Major George Montague Wheeler, engineer and West Point graduate, and accompanied him to his military posts, in Denver and elsewhere in the U.S. and Europe. Their life together was filled with hardships, which ruined the health of both. There are 434 letters from Lucy to her mother in the collection, and 36 pieces of other correspondence and papers. There are also 340 pieces of correspondence and miscellaneous papers of George M. Wheeler.
    • 6) Croghan family, Kentucky lands, Mammoth Cave: William Croghan of Kentucky married Lucy Clark, sister of George Rogers Clark. Their three surviving sons were John, George and William. Their daughter Ann Heron Croghan married Thomas Sidney Jesup. John Croghan, who never married, purchased lands in Kentucky from Franklin Gorin, containing the Mammoth Cave, which upon his death was willed to the children of his sister and brothers, and their descendents. The history of Mammoth Cave from the time of purchase by John Croghan in 1839, until 1932 when it became a National Park, is contained in the 7 boxes of Cave material, and throughout the massive family correspondence in the collection. Although, in the second and third generations, the number of heirs increased, most of the Cave property was owned by Violet (Blair) Janin.
    • 7) Louis Alexander Janin (1803-1874) was born and educated in Vienna, emigrated to the U. S. in 1828, established residence in New Orleans, was naturalized, admitted to the bar, opened law offices, invested in sugar plantations. He married Juliet Covington. Six sons reached maturity and were educated mainly in Europe. Three of the sons, Louis, Henry, and Alexis, engaged in mining activities in California, Nevada, Japan and elsewhere; Eugene Janin was killed in the Battle of Manassas in 1862; Edward Janin engaged in business in Minnesota, California, etc. Albert Covington Janin married Violet Blair, practiced law and entered into politics in New Orleans, operated a canal in Louisiana, practiced law in New York and Washington, and later managed the Mammoth Cave Estate in Kentucky. The Louis Janin papers were formerly catalogued as the Louis Janin Correspondence (876 pieces), but are now combined with the Janin Family Collection. The Albert Covington Janin papers, exclusive of correspondence received by him from other persons, are contained in 6 boxes (15-19, 63)

    Scope and Content

    The extended Blair-Janin-Jesup-Croghan family came to include numerous relatives in all parts of the U. S., many of them in frequent contact with each other. Most of the collection falls between 1850-1930; the earlier pieces are mainly land papers from Louisiana and Kenrucky. The collection is arranged alphabetically, by author, in 69 boxes. A complete inventory is available to readers, and cards for the principal authors are filed in the Alphabetical Section of the Manuscripts Catalogue.

    Subject Matter

    • Blair House (Washington, D. C.)
    • Daughters of the American Revolution
    • Denver (Colorado)
    • Indiana Territory - land titles
    • Kentucky - land titles
    • Louisiana - canals
    • Louisiana - land titles
    • Louisiana - Politics and government
    • Mammoth Cave (Kentucky)
    • Mining - Australia
    • Missouri - land titles
    • National Cathedral Association (Washington, D. C.)
    • National Parks
    • National Society of Children of the American Revolution
    • National Society of Colonial Dames
    • National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage
    • New Orleans - Politics and government
    • New Orleans - Society and customs
    • New Orleans-St. Louis - Ocean Canal and Transportation Company
    • San Francisco - Real Estate
    • Washington, D. C. - Society and customs
    • Washington, D. C. - Real Estate