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Blizard, Margaret Louise Murray, 1919-1985. Papers of Margaret Louise Murray Blizard, 1929-1985: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: 82-M43--85-M151
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Margaret Louise Murray Blizard, 1919-1985
Title: Papers of Margaret Louise Murray Blizard, 1929-1985
Date(s): 1929-1985
Quantity: 10 linear feet (10 cartons) plus 1 folio folder, 1 folio+ folder, 3 oversize folders, and 1 folio volume)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, printed material, photographs, etc., of Margaret Louise Murray Blizard, public health official, Democratic Party worker, and lawyer.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 82-M43, 83-M82, 84-M158, 85-M1, 85-M151
This collection was given to the Schlesinger Library by Margaret Louise Murray Blizard and her family beginning in March l982.

Processing Information:

Processed: November 1986
By: Jane S. Knowles

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Margaret Louise Murray Blizard is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Margaret Louise Murray Blizard Papers, 1929-1985; item description, dates. 82-M43--85-M151, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.


Margaret Louise Murray Blizard, public health official, Democratic Party worker, and lawyer was the daughter of John H. and Mary C. Murray, and grew up in an Irish-Catholic family in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston. She attended Our Lady of Lourdes School and was graduated from Boston Girls' High School in 1936.
She prepared for teaching at Teachers' College of the City of Boston (later Boston Normal, and then Boston State), earning a B.S. Ed. in 1940 and an Ed. M. in 1941. She taught biology and chemistry in Boston public schools in 1942 and then joined an experimental public health program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she earned an M.P.H. in 1943. In 1946 she married Frederick W. Blizard; their three daughters, Janet, Carol, and Christine were born in 1947, 1955, and 1957. Blizard earned her J.D. from Suffolk University in 1963.
In the public health field, Blizard was Education Coordinator in the Boston Health Department, 1943-1945, 1946-1947, Director of Health Education for the Cambridge Tuberculosis and Health Association, 1945-1946, Coordinator of the Massachusetts Chest X-Ray Program in 1949, and Chief Coordinator of Health Education for Massachusetts, 1950-1956. She was Administrative and Legal Assistant to the Commissioner of Public Health until her retirement in 1981 (?).
When Blizard was denied promotion to the post of Deputy Commissioner in 1972, she filed a charge of discrimination based on sex and age with the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination. As a result her office was changed, she lost her secretary, her assignments were altered, and she was excluded from staff meetings and day to day contact with fellow staff members. In November l972 Blizard filed a second charge of discrimination with the Equal Economic Opportunity Commission which in July l974 issued a determination finding probable cause. Blizard filed suit in 1975 under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and lost her case in 1977. She won an appeal in 1978 but lost a second appeal in 1979. In 1981 she was reassigned out of the Commissioner's office, and retired shortly afterwards.
As part of her duties for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Blizard was involved in labor relations, in mental health, in studying a National Health Insurance proposal, and in serving on the Governor's Commission on the Status of Women.
In a volunteer capacity, Blizard was active in many health organizations and associations: she was fellow, American Public Health Association (1950-1985); director, Massachusetts Public Health Association; president, Massachusetts Health Council, 1970-1971; trustee, Norwood Hospital, 1967-1978; trustee, Medfield State Hospital, 1963-1967; president, Medfield Foundation for Mental Health Research, 1967-1969; honorary director of the Massachusetts 4-H Foundation, and national and state director for the Epilepsy Foundation of America Inc.
As a lawyer Blizard was associated with Kathleen Ryan Dacey, l963-1964, served as legal counsel for the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee, 1964-1968, and belonged to many state legal associations including, the Massachusetts Government Lawyers Association, for which she served as director, 1973-1977.
Blizard was active in the Democratic Party in the town of Norwood, and at the state and national level. Besides being a member of the League of Women Voters in Norwood, 1957-1962, she was elected to the Democratic Town Committee of Norwood, 1960 and 1964. She ran unsuccessfully for the State Senate, 1956, and served as vice-president, then president, of Democratic Women on Wheels, 1959-1961. She was elected Democratic State Committeewoman, 1964 and l968, national convention alternate (1964) and delegate (1968), and delegate to the state conventions in 1964, 1966, and 1970. She participated in numerous campaigns, especially as state chairman of "Women for Humphrey." She was appointed a member the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS), 1966-1968, and lobbied for the elimination discrimination in the promotion of women in the armed forces.
Blizard was honored for her community and political service on numerous occasions. She was named "Woman Doer" by the Massachusetts Federation of Democratic Women, 1967, given the "Distinguished Citizen" award by Norwood LWV, 1968, named woman of the year by the Norwood Business and Professional Woman's Club, 1976, and given the Women of Achievement Award by the Massachusetts State Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs in 1977.
Blizard died of cancer in 1985.


This collection of personal and professional papers is divided into the following three series:
I. Personal papers, 1-71. Photographs, resumes, clippings, correspondence with family and friends, and records of school and college.
II. Employment, 72-122. Files relating to her employment as a public health official and related assignments, including the Governor's Commission on the Status of Women. Also included are the records of the discrimination case filed against the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
III. Civic, political, and other voluntary activities, 123-301. Includes records of activities in health organizations, Democratic Party politics, women's clubs, legal associations, and DACOWITS.
Printed material about women in Massachusetts has been removed and filed where appropriate in the Schlesinger Library vertical files. Printed material about national and state politicians and about public health issues has been given to the John F. Kennedy Library, Countway Library and other appropriate libraries.


Preliminary index of correspondents

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Boston (Mass.)--Social life and customs
Irish Americans
Massachusetts--Politics and government
Political campaigns
Politics, Practical
Public health
Public health administration
Sex discrimination against women
Women--Political activity
Boston (Mass.). Department of Health and Hospitals
Burke, James
Cambridge Tuberculosis and Health Association
Catholic Church--Massachusetts--Boston
Dacey, Kathleen Ryan
Danovitch, Alan
Democratic Party (Mass.)
Democratic Women on Wheels
Dukakis, Michael S. (Michael Stanley), 1933-
Galbraith, John Kenneth, 1908-2006
Girls' High School (Boston, Mass)
Heckler, Margaret
Hicks, Louise Day
Humphrey, Hubert H. (Hubert Horatio), 1911-1978
Kennedy, Edward M. (Edward Moore), 1932-2009
Kennedy, Joan Bennett
Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963
Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968
King, Edward J., 1925-2006
Louchheim, Katie, 1903-1991
Massachusetts Association of Women Lawyers
Massachusetts. Department of Public Health
Massachusetts. Governor's Commission on the Status of Women
Massachusetts Institute of Technology--Students
Massachusetts Society for Social Hygiene
McCarthy, Eugene J., 1916-2005
McGovern, George S. (George Stanley), 1922-2012
Muskie, Edmund S., 1914-1996
National Association of Women Lawyers
Peabody, Endicott
Stevenson, Adlai E. (Adlai Ewing), 1900-1965
Suffolk University. Law School
United States. Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services