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Elinor Gordon Blair

Growing up on a College Campus, 1913-1927

Visit the Elinor Gordon Blair website created and maintained by Dr. Theresa R. McDevitt.

Elinor in 1916

Elinor Gordon Blair and the Indiana Normal School

Elinor Gordon Blair is the daughter of McClellan Gordon and Emma Elizabeth Reinhardt. Her father was a Mathematics professor at Indiana Normal School from 1892 to 1927, and her mother was a teacher and graduate of Indiana Normal School. Elinor Reinhardt Gordon was born in 1913, when faculty members and their families lived and worked on campus. Elinor Gordon Blair's early years were closely intertwined with daily life of Indiana Normal School. As a child, she was widely known by students and faculty. Above is a page from the 1916 Instano yearbook, which jokingly listed her as the president of the freshman class.

McClellan Gordon Indiana Normal School Faculty

Her father, McClellan Gordon, taught Mathematics at Indiana Normal School for thirty-five years. In 1910, he married Emma Reinhardt, an Indiana Normal School alumna. Their only daughter, Elinor, was born in 1913. McClellan Gordon taught Mathematics, ran the bookstore, and coached several sport teams, including baseball and women's tennis and field hockey. His life centered on the school community. Before getting married, McClellan Gordon lived on campus in rooms in Sutton Hall. After getting married in 1910, the Gordons lived in the Smith Mansion overseeing twelve Normal School students. The family ate their meals in the school dining room in Thomas Sutton Hall.

Smith Hall at Indiana Normal School

More photographs and history of the Indiana Normal School are available below in the Normal Herald Supplement, and in MG 129: Elinor Gordon Blair Collection in the IUP Special Collections and University Archives.

Further Reading

  • 1924-1925 Normal Herald Supplement, Pages 1-23, Pages 24-42, and Pages 42-61
  • Ron Juliette and Dale E. Landon. Indiana University of Pennsylvania: our homage and our love. 1991.
  • John Edward Merryman. The Indiana Store, 1875-1975: Pennsylvania's first state university. 1976.


  • Special Collections and University Archives
  • Stapleton Library, Room 302
    431 South Eleventh Street
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-3039
  • Fax: 724-357-4891
  • Office Hours
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  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed