Hugh Blair of Borgue

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Hugh Blair (1708 – 1760s)[1] was a laird from Borgue in Kirkcudbrightshire.

Hugh was the oldest son of David Blair and Grizell Blair.[2] Hugh had three siblings—a young brother John and two sisters. Hugh's father had died in 1716.[3]

In 1737, Hugh's younger brother John became his legal guardian ('curator'). In 1746, Blair married a surgeon's daughter named Nicholas [sic] Mitchell. In 1748, his brother (and guardian) John successfully sought to have the marriage annulled by the Commissary Court of Edinburgh.[1][4]

Hugh was alleged to have engaged in a number of unusual behaviours including:

  • Collecting bird feathers, twigs, and pieces of cloth.
  • Always wearing the same piece of clothing.
  • Requesting the same seat in church and engaging in repetitive acts.
  • Attending every nearby burial, regardless of whether he knew the deceased.
  • Making unannounced visits to others and being oblivious to social cues.

Modern writers have speculated that records of Hugh Blair might be consistent with a modern diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.[1][4]


  1. ^ a b c Rab Houston; Uta Frith (2000) Autism in History: The Case of Hugh Blair of Borgue, Blackwell, Malden, MA ISBN 978-0-63122-088-6
  2. ^ Look Inside: Autism in History: The Case of Hugh Blair of Borgue at
  3. ^ William Long (August 18, 2006). "Autism in History". Archived from the original on October 29, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Rab Houston and Uta Frith. Autism in History: The Case of Hugh Blair of Borgue. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000

External links[edit]