Natalie Bennett Knowlton (1883-1951)

Mrs Natalie B. (Knowlton) Blair

Associated Houses

Blair Eyrie

Bar Harbor


Tuxedo Park

Echo Lawn

Balmville, Newburgh

She grew up between New York City and her mother's childhood home, Echo Lawn, at Newburgh, New York. In 1912, she married J. Insley Blair and the following year they built Blairhame at Tuxedo Park. Whereas as her husband's brother, C. Ledyard Blair, had pursued a career in finance, Insley enjoyed a privileged lifestyle of leisure. However, Natalie was more than just a lady of leisure. She is recognized today as, "the earliest woman collector of Americana of the first rank". She kept her collection in a series of "museum rooms" at Blairhame. She later donated the most part of this collection to the Museum of the City of New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the New-York Historical Society; and, the Cooper Union. She was also a noted sportswoman and both competed and excelled in tennis and golf. She also enjoyed salmon-fishing on the Restigouche River in Canada; canoeing on the Adirondack lakes; and, skiing and ice-skating in St. Moritz, Switzerland. After her husband died, she closed up Blairhame and moved to her apartment at 960 Fifth Avenue where she died. She and Insley were the parents of two daughters: (1) Natica, Mrs Screven Lorillard, and (2) Joan, who married first Henry Osborne Havemeyer and after he died she became Mrs J. Woodhull Overton. 
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 17/04/2020 and last updated on 26/04/2020.