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Esther Blanke Diaries

Identifier: nnhc-00092

Scope and Contents

This collection contains two handwritten travel diaries belonging to Chicago artist Esther Blanke. The first diary covers July 31-September 29, 1903 and the second covers October 2, 1903- January 28, 1904. Blanke documents her travels through Europe, which included visits to a significant number of cities, including Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp, Munich, Rothenburg, Heidelberg, Venice, Florence, Pallanza, Rome, Naples, Milan, and others. Much of the entries relate to her work as an artist, including descriptions of time spent sketching, painting, visiting museums and galleries, and attending an art school. She also describes social events, sightseeing, and train rides between cities. Esther's sister Marie Blanke, also a Chicago artist, appears in many of the entries.


  • 1903 - 1904


Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection.

Biographical / Historical

Esther Blanke (1882-1978) was born February 2, 1882 in Chicago. She was the daughter of George F. Blanke, a Superior Court judge born in Germany, and Marie A. Blanke, who was born in Wisconsin. Esther Blanke was an artist known for her watercolor and metalwork. Her sister Marie Elsa Blanke (1879-1961) was also a Chicago artist. Marie was a lover of Jane Heap, editor of the Little Review. Esther and Marie were part of the Arts and Crafts movement in Chicago. They lived together in Chicago for decades, including in residences on Deming Place, Dearborn Street, and LaSalle Street. Esther died in October 1978 in Evanston, Illinois.


.5 Linear Feet (in 1 box)

Language of Materials



This collection contains two handwritten travel diaries belonging to Chicago artist Esther Blanke. The diaries cover the years 1903-1904 and document her travels in Europe with her sister, Chicago artist Marie Blanke.


The diaries are arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Katz Fine Manuscripts.



Guide to the Esther Blanke Diaries
Allyson Smally
May 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Northside Neighborhood History Collection Repository

Sulzer Regional Library
Chicago Public Library
4455 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago IL 60625 United States
(312) 742-4455