Who is Mary Blood? What is the Blood Ball anyway?

In Mary Blood’s honor, Columbia hosts an annual “Blood Ball”. This year, the formal dance will be held on March 7th in the 1104 S Wabash building. Doors open at 7pm.

Mary Blood's Birthplace

It is easy to confuse Columbia’s first president with Mary Queen of England. Bloody Mary and Mary Blood actually share no relation, not a distant cousin, not a game for children, nor an alcoholic beverage.

Mary_Blood 01

Mary Blood attended what is now Framingham State University. After graduating, she taught at the Eliot School in Boston, during a time when the school began teaching courses that “satisfied that instinctive desire of human beings to create” including sewing, cooking, drawing and painting.

Mary went back to school in 1880 for a degree in Oratory. She was a faculty member at Emerson College in Boston from 1883 to 1890.

In 1890, Mary and Ida Morey-Riley, co-founder of Columbia, left the New England area to establish Columbia School of Oratory in Chicago. It was generally a teacher’s school and graduates were qualified to teach English, Speech and Drama. Many courses were also offered for people wanting to lecture or preform.

Miss Mary A. Blood

While being a president and educator at Columbia, Mary was also an active member of the National Association of Elocutionists, The Women’s Christian Temperance Union and other community groups.

Mary died at age 76 on July 25th, 1927 at the college. Her funeral service was held near the school, and many alumni attended. Her epitaph reads “She was one of the founders and for 37 years the president of the Columbia College of Expression in Chicago, Illinois.” She is buried in Hollis, New Hampshire, her hometown.

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