Main content

Theodore Spencer Journals


Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Spencer, Théodore, 1902-1949

A member of the Princeton Class of 1923, Theodore Spencer had a distinguished teaching and writing career. He received a Ph.D from Harvard University in 1928, and remained there as a teacher, becoming the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory in 1946. He was appointed lecturer in English literature at Cambridge University, England, in 1939--the first American to be so honored--but the World War prevented him from going. In 1942, Spencer gave the Lowell lectures on Shakespeare, published as Shakespeare and the Nature of Man, his most important work. Spencer also published essays, short stories, and poetry.

The collection consists of two personal journals kept by Spencer from 1 September 1937 to 15 December 1947 and a photograph of Spencer taken in 1945. During the war years, Harvard was a magnet for writers and provided a forum for literary theorists and critics. Through his teaching and writing, Spencer met and entertained many of the most significant modern American and English poets, including W. H. Auden, T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, John Crowe Ransom, and Allen Tate, as well as influential New Critic I. A. Richards. The journals document Spencer's academic and personal life during this creative literary period.

Gift of John Spencer, Princeton Class of 1953, in September 2007 (AM2008-31).

Folder Inventory added by Hilde Creager (2015) in 2012.

No appraisal information is available.

Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Collection Inventory

Journals, 1937-1947. 2 folders.
Physical Description

2 folders

2 Photographs of Theodore Spencer and a copy of his guestbook, 1941-1945. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Print, Suggest