MacJannet Blensdorf, Charlotte
- Existence: 1901 -- 1999 - 1999
Charlotte Blensdorf MacJannet(1901-1999) was the wife of Tufts alum and benefactor Donald Ross MacJannet (1894-1986). The MacJannets were educators who operated their own international schools and camps. In 1979 the MacJannets generously donated their property, an 11th century monastery in Talloires, France, to Tufts for use as the Tufts Center for European Studies.
In 1932, Charlotte Blensdorf (1901-1999), a German teacher of the Dalcroze method, met Donald MacJannet at an educational conference in Nice, France. They married November 5, 1932 in the Marylebone Town Hall in London. The MacJannet schools (Trocadero and Elms schools) operated for seventeen years, closing in the early 1940s. The camps continued until 1964, with a brief hiatus during World War II. During the war, the MacJannets returned to the United States, operating a school and camp in Idaho and helping with the war effort in Washington, D.C. In 1944, they established the Vacation School of French with Tufts College. Located in Arlington, MA, the purpose of the summer school was to educate people in French language and culture so that they might take up rehabilitation work in post-war France.
In 1944, Tufts president Leonard Carmichael called on the MacJannets to help consolidate the college's dental and medical schools in the new Harrison Avenue, Boston campus. As soon as they were able, the MacJannets returned to France to resume their camps' normal operations. This work also involved aid to French orphans, children who were the camp's first attendees after the war.
The MacJannets purchased an eleventh century Benedictine priory in Talloires France in 1958. MacJannet restored the building for use as an educational facility, using it for twenty years as a center to house educational and cultural events, drawing people from around the world. In 1979, the MacJannets turned the property over to Tufts University, which established its European campus and conference center on the premises. The MacJannets split their time thereafter between Talloires and their home in Geneva.
After her husband's death, Charlotte Blensdorf MacJannet continued the work they had begun together until her death in 1999.