Emma Gould Blocker

Born Palmyra, NY February 16, 1883, Died Cincinnati July 21, 1958.
Buried Palmyra Cemetery, NY

The 1910 Population Census listed Emma Beshore as residing with her husband Frank Beshore in Marion, IN. At that time Sylvanus Gould, Emma Gould Blocker’s father, lived in Marion with his wife. Following Frank Beshore’s death in 1918, Emma Gould relocated to Oxford for a short period of time. From January to May 1927, Emma Gould Beshore worked as a library desk assistant at Miami University Library. She lived at 18 East Collins Street. After leaving Oxford, Emma Beshore married John Edward Johnson, an attendant at the Gallipolis State Hospital. Emma Johnson helped raise three stepchildren. After 1930, the Johnsons moved to Cincinnati, where John Johnson died in 1937. Emma Gould’s parents moved to Cincinnati to live with their daughter during their declining years.

By 1940, Ms. Blocker was married to Louis DeMille Blocker, a physician in private practice in Cincinnati. Dr. Blocker was 72 years old and Mrs. Blocker was then 57. The census indicates Mrs. Blocker completed 4 years of college. Their residence was 369 Howell Avenue in the Clifton neighborhood of Cincinnati. Both Louis and Emma Gould Blocker died in 1958. Mrs. Blocker slipped at her home, fell and fractured her femur, and died from complications. William E. Shideler of Oxford and James Coogan of Cincinnati were the executors of Mrs. Blocker’s estate. Professor Shideler was chair of Miami’s Geology Dept. for 36 years and was a founder of Phi Kappa Tau, a national fraternity. He too died in 1958 (Shideler was born in 1886 and was almost exactly a contemporary of Blocker).

Following Mrs. Blocker’s death, her house in Cincinnati was sold. The total value of the assets received by Miami from the Blocker estate was $137,506. Funds from the house sale were used to purchase the McGuffey House in 1959 for $47,500. The conversion of the McGuffey house into a museum cost the University $18,715.

Mrs. Blocker’s will stipulated “the establishment and maintenance of a museum on the campus of said University to house my collection of art objects and antiques, part of said building to contain guest rooms for the use of visiting educators while at the University; for educational purposes, and to be known as the Blocker Foundation.”

In 1964, the value of the Blocker Fund was $162,000. The annual income was $4,250.

Sources: McGuffey Museum files, Miami University Archives; US Census: Population 1910-1940;
Emma Gould Blocker file, McGuffey Museum

S. Gordon
4 October 2013

The Emma Gould Blocker Fund at McGuffey House and Museum

Emma Gould Blocker’s legacy was realized after her death in 1958 when she left her estate to Miami University and in particular to McGuffey Museum. The set of furniture in the parlor and the Herschede tall case clock in the upper hall of today’s McGuffey House and Museum are part of a collection given to McGuffey Museum prior to Mrs. Blocker’s death. From an initial gift of $137,500 in 1959, Mrs. Blocker’s endowment gift has grown to where it now exceeds $530,000. Significantly, the Blocker endowment helped fund the renovation of the McGuffey House from 1999-2002.

Emma Gould Blocker’s farsighted and generous support of McGuffey Museum has also allowed the museum to re-open to the public after temporarily closing in 2009. A long-range goal of the museum is to build the endowment so it will be able to support a full-time staff member and allow the museum to re-open five days a week. In order to reach this goal, the Blocker Fund needs to reach an investment level of $1 million. A fully endowed McGuffey House and Museum will help protect its operations in perpetuity from the vicissitudes in the University’s financial support.

Your support of the Blocker Fund will directly benefit McGuffey House and Museum. An annual gift or provision in your estate plan will help ensure the Museum can sustain operations for many years to come.

Make a Gift Now

To discuss the potential estate advantages of making a gift to the Blocker Fund, contact Stephen C. Gordon, Administrator, College of Creative Arts, Miami University at gordonsc@miamioh.edu or (513) 529-8381.