Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
Blass Family Papers

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: Blass Family Papers,
Creator: Blass Family.
Inclusive dates: 1922, 2002
Extent: 7.5 cubic feet (in 8 boxes)
Collection includes love letters, postcards, notes, and telegrams sent between Kenneth Blass and his future wife Marie F. Kleiner, 1922-1927. Kenneth's letters document his membership in and activities with the Ku Klux Klan.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:


Access Restrictions:

Blass Family Papers are open for research.


The descendants reserve the right to publish any or all of this collection.

Preferred Citation:

Blass Family Papers, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


Arrangement is chronological.



Marie F. Kleiner (June 3, 1903-May 1976) of Greenwood Township in Clare County, Michigan, attended the summer teachers’ course at Central Michigan Normal School, now Central Michigan University (CMU), in 1921. She then taught in various one-room schoolhouses in Harrison, Michigan, 1921-1927. Her future husband, Kenneth Blass (May 31, 1897-April 1985) of Baldwin in Lake County, Michigan, worked as a postal worker in Detroit, 1921-1927. Kenneth and Marie were married on June 20, 1927. After their marriage and honeymoon they lived in Detroit from 1927 until 1953 when they returned to live in Baldwin (Mich.). Together they had four children: Kenmar E. and James M. Blass, Katherine C. Blass McBride, and Barbara E. Blass Wetzel, who is also a CMU graduate. (This information is from the collection and the Social Security Death Index website.)

Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of love letters, postcards, notes, and telegrams sent between Kenneth and Marie during their four year courtship, 1922-1927. Materials are organized chronologically, with a typed transcript of the correspondence on the front and the original materials (often a letter and envelope) on the back of a polyester page. The pages are organized chronologically into binders. One folder of press releases about the collection is included in the front of Box #1.

The letters provide a view of courtship, life, one-room schoolhouses, teaching, the daily struggles of a working man, and love in the 1920s. Kenneth was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. His letters notes his attitudes about and various social activities of the Ku Klux Klan in Michigan in the 1920s. He wanted to be married in a Ku Klux Klan ceremony, but Marie declined this idea.

Subject Terms

    • Ku Klux Klan (1915-)--Michigan.
    • Blass family.
    • Blass, Kenneth.
    • Blass, Marie F. Kleiner.
    • Love--United States.
    • Courtship--United States--History--20th century.
    • Teachers--Michigan--Clare County.
    • Rural schools--Michigan--Clare County.
    • Clare County (Mich.)--History.
    • Baldwin (Mich.)--Genealogy.
    • Lake County (Mich.)--Genealogy.
    • Detroit (Mich.)--History--20th century.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Blass Family Papers [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Press Releases, June-July 2002
    Box   1 F   2
    Binders, November-December 1922, January-February, May-June 1923
    Box   1 F   3
    Binders, July-December 1923
    Box   1 F   4
    Binders, January-August 1924
    Box   2 F   1
    Binders, September-October 1924
    Box   2 F   2
    Binders, November-December 1924
    Box   3 F   1
    Binders, January-February 1925
    Box   3 F   2
    Binders, March-April 1925
    Box   4 F   1
    Binders, May-September 1925
    Box   4 F   2
    Binders, October-November 10, 1925
    Box   4 F   3
    Binders, November 11-December 1925
    Box   5 F   1
    Binders, January-February 10, 1926
    Box   5 F   2
    Binders, February 11-March 1926
    Box   5 F   3
    Binders, April-May 9, 1926
    Box   6 F   1
    Binders, May 10-August 1926
    Box   6 F   2
    Binders, September-October 9, 1926
    Box   6 F   3
    Binders, October 10-November 19, 1926
    Box   7 F   1
    Binders, November 20-December 1926
    Box   7 F   2
    Binders, January-February 15, 1927
    Box   7 F   3
    Binders, February 16-March 1927
    Box   8 F   1
    Binders, April-May 1927
    Box   8 F   2
    Binders, June 29-December 1927