James Blair, 1656–1743, Church of England clergyman, missionary to colonial Virginia, and founder of the College of William and Mary, b. Scotland. At the request of the bishop of London, Blair traveled to Virginia in 1685 to revive and reform the church in the colony. He returned to England (1691) to petition for a college, which when chartered in 1693 was named William and Mary after the monarchs. Blair was made president for life. In 1694 he was appointed by the king to the Virginia council, of which he was a lifelong member (except for a brief period) and in 1740–41 president. With Henry Hartwell and Edward Chilton, Blair wrote The Present State of Virginia and the College (1727, ed. by H. D. Farish, 1940).
See biography by P. Rouse (1971).