Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Bland Family Papers, 1665-1912

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, November 2011

Summary Information
Title: Bland family papers
Creator: Bland family
Inclusive dates: 1665-1912
Bulk dates: 1778-1834
Extent: 58 items
The Bland family papers contain correspondence, documents, and genealogical information related to the family of Theodoric Bland, a Continental Army officer, delegate to the Continental Congress, and Virginia politician.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1991, 1997. M-2719, M-3334.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Bland Family Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series I: Correspondence and Documents
  • Series II: Genealogy and Images
  • Series III: Bookplates and Printed Items

The Correspondence series is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.


Theodorick Bland was born in Virginia on March 21, 1742, and received much of his education in Great Britain, where he received a medical degree from the University of Edinburgh in 1763. He returned to Virginia a year later, and practiced medicine, but retired from medicine in the late 1860s, and became a planter and major slaveholder. Despite his connection with Great Britain, he was sympathetic to the revolutionary cause, and on June 24, 1775, he assisted several prominent figures in looting the governor's house. In 1776, he became captain of the regiment that was later called the First Regiment of Continental Light Dragoons, and he served in the Continental Army until November 1779, when he resigned his commission. In 1780, he joined the Continental Congress, and he served as a representative from Virginia until 1783, when he returned to his plantation and continued an intermittent political career as an Anti-Federalist member of the state assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives. He and his wife, Martha Daingerfield, had no children. He died on June 1, 1790.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Bland family papers contain correspondence, documents, and genealogical information related to the family of Theodoric Bland, a Continental Army officer, delegate to the Continental Congress, and Virginia politician. The earliest items in the Correspondence and Documents series are related to his ancestors, including a court document from "James Citty," listing a "Theo. Bland" as a member of the court (October 16, 1665), and a 1720 letter regarding British military affairs. The Theodoric Bland in this collection wrote the majority of items, often copies of his outgoing correspondence related to local and national politics in the latter years of the American Revolution; among these are letters to Benjamin Harrison and to Patrick Henry. Two items concern the Siege of Gibraltar, including a 1778 warrant for John Sweetland and a letter by Thomas Cranfield to his mother and father about his experiences during the siege (September 7, 1783). The collection also holds a muster roll of Lt. Purviss's Company, in a regiment of guards, from 1779. Later legal documents pertain to the career of Maryland judge Theodorick Bland, of another branch of the Virginia Bland family. Later material includes several personal letters to "Mr. and Mrs. Bland" from family and friends dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as responses to genealogical inquiries.

The Genealogy and Images series contains engravings and drawings of several Bland family members, including a detailed pencil drawing of P. E. Bland, who served as a colonel in the Civil War. Other genealogical notes trace branches of the family through the mid-19th and early-20th centuries.

The Bookplates and Printed Items series holds several bookplates, 20th century newspaper clippings, and pages from books.

Subject Terms

    • Genealogy.
    • Gibraltar--History--Siege, 1779-1783.
    • Harrison, Benjamin, ca. 1726-1791.
    • Henry, Patrick, 1736-1799.
    • Judges--Maryland.
    • United States. Continental Army--Registers.
    • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783.
    • United States--Politics and government--1783-1789.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Bland, P. E.
    • Bland, Theodorick, 1742-1790.
    • Bland, Theodorick, 1777-1846.
    Genre Terms:
    • Bookplates.
    • Legal documents.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Muster rolls.
    • Notes.
    • Portraits.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Correspondence and Documents [series]
    Box   13, Small Collections Folders   6-8
     16 March 1665-11 May 1912 (34 items)
    Genealogy and Images [series]
    Box   13, Small Collections Folder   9
     Undated (9 items)
    Bookplates and Printed Items [series]
    Box   13, Small Collections Folder   10
     Undated (15 items)
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    Bland, Theodorick, and Charles Campbell. The Bland Papers: Being a Selection from the Manuscripts of Colonel Theodorick Bland, Jr…To Which are Prefixed an Introduction, and a Memoir of Colonel Bland... Petersburg [Va.]: Printed by E. & J. C. Ruffin, 1840-1843.

    The Henry Clinton papers hold two letters intercepted from Theodorick Bland: May 22, 1781 and [July 24, 1781].


    Mattern, David B. "Bland, Theodorick." American National Biography Online. Oxford University Press, 2000.