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Dr. J. Owen and Joy Blache Family Collection

Identifier: P1053

Scope and Contents

The Dr. J. Owen and Joy Blache Family Collection contains snapshots, studio portraits, and photo albums showing Dr. Julian Owen Blache, Director of Pathology at Homer G. Phillips Hospital; Joy Pettiford Blache, a graduate of the Homer G. Phillips School of Nursing; and their children, Frank and Joan Blache. The photographs document the lives of a well-to-do African American family in St. Louis, largely during the period of the 1940s through the 1960s. Photographs show Frank and Joan as babies, children, and young adults; family holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and birthdays; family trips; dinners and parties; and numerous extended family and friends, who are occasionally identified. Additional photographs show Joy as a baby and young woman. Of particular note are several portraits showing Joy posed in her nursing uniform; snapshots showing Joy with other nursing students or nurses; portraits of J. Owen wearing his Army uniform; and a group portrait of Homer G. Phillips Hospital Staff.

The collection also contains a small clippings file with magazine and newspaper clippings related to the family, including obituaries for Dr. J. Owen Blache and Frank Blache. Newspaper clippings have been photocopied for preservation purposes. In addition, a “School Memory Book” documents Joy Pettiford Blache’s junior and senior years of high school (1928-1929) and contains autographs from classmates, teachers, and family members.


  • 1909-1992

Conditions Governing Access

No viewing restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. The user assumes full responsibility for conforming to the laws of copyright.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. J. Owen Blache (1900-1964) attended medical school at Howard University and, following an internship, was trained as a pathologist at Homer G. Phillips Hospital. After a stint in the army from 1942-45, he returned to Homer G. Phillips where he was made Director of Pathology, a position he held for the rest of his career. He was also an active civic leader, serving as the president of the St. Louis Urban League (1957-58) and was appointed by the president of the School Board to probe desegregation in public schools shortly before his death. He was a Senior Warden of the All Saint's Episcopal Church and was voted "Man of the Year" by the Bishop and Diocesan Council. His wife, Joy Blache (1912-1996), was a trained nurse and graduate of the Homer G. Phillips School of Nursing. They had two children: Frank Blache (1940-1960) and Joan Blache (1943-2007).


1.25 Cubic Feet ( (4 boxes; 3 oversize folders; 5 topical negative sets))

Language of Materials



Photographs are arranged in folders based on primary subject of the photograph. These groups were identified and sorted prior to donation.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

No physical or technical restrictions.

Additional Indexes

Folder list available.

Donor Information

Collection donated by the estate of Joan Blache, 2021.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital copies and item-level records of select images are posted as they are created and can be accessed through the Online Collections on the Missouri Historical Society website (

Digitized images are generated from the original item whenever possible and files are adjusted only to ensure an accurate representation. Master files are saved in TIF format and JPEG viewing files are automatically generated from the master files.


Photographs; Albums; Negatives

Processing Information

Processed by Lauren Sallwasser, 2021.

Guide to the Dr. J. Owen and Joy Blache Family Collection.
EAD by Lauren Sallwasser using ArchivesSpace.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Missouri Historical Society, Photographs and Prints Department Repository

Library and Research Center
225 South Skinker Boulevard
St. Louis MO 63105