Roberta Jean Blair was born in Salisbury, North Carolina. In 1944 she attended the first Summer Art Institute at Black Mountain College. The art faculty at that time included Jean Charlot, Jose de Creeft, Josef and Anni Albers and Josef Breitenbach among others.
Starting in 1944 photography courses were offered during the College's summer sessions. A photograph taken by Roberta Jean Blair (from the Summer of 1944) of Josef Breitenbach (and Josef Albers) teaching an outdoor photography class is in the collection of the Western Regional Archives, Ashville, North Carolina.
A personal account of her time at Black Mountain College is included in a book by Mervin Lane
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