Archives and Special Collections
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Boston, MA 02115
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Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note


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Collection
Title:Frank Palmer Speare papers
Dates:1878-1984
Call Number:M1

Scope and Content Note

The papers of Frank Palmer Speare (FPS) were given to the NU Archives and Special Collections Department by FPS's granddaughter Katherine Calvert in May 1986. At that time, the collection contained both FPS's personal papers and the records of the Office of the President (1917-1940). In December 1994, the FPS papers were separated into two collection, the Frank Palmer Speare Papers (M 1), and Office of the President (1917-1940), Records, 1896-1951 (A 1).

The collection comprises approximately 1 cubic foot of material, the bulk of which dates from 1911 to 1948. The collection is arranged alphabetically and consists of autobiographical notes, correspondence, financial records, photographs, music, and writings.

Autobiographical Notes (Box 1, folders 2-5) describe in detail FPS's life experiences from early childhood, and include his professional life. The collection also includes genealogical materials (Box 2, folder 24), including FPS's family tree, collected or written between 1931 and 1954.

The biographical materials consist of newspaper clippings, magazine articles, and citations from reference books (Box 1, folder 6 and Box 4, folder 45). Of special interest are clippings from New Hampshire newspapers of cartoons that poke fun at FPS and his wife (Box 2, folder 38).

The collection contains numerous examples of FPS's writings, including short stories, essays, and poems, as well as jokes and rhymes (Box 2, folders 36-38; Box 3, folders 39-42; Box 4, folder 52). Also included is a collection of music scores and lyrics written by FPS (Box 3, folder 43 and Box 4, folders 53-60).

The book "The Educational Octopus" by Gleason Archer (Box 1, folder 1), founder of Suffolk Law School, contains interesting references to FPS's role in higher education and his efforts, as NU President, to prevent Archer and his brother from opening Suffolk Law School. FPS has written a few notes on the pages of the book.

Subjects covered in Correspondence (Box 1, folders 11-14 and Box 4, folder 46) include family legal matters; recommendations; congratulations on his marriage to KS; his daughter's progress in school; his honorary LL.D. degree from Harvard University; invitations to dinner; thank you notes; and Christmas greetings. Also included in Correspondence is a "letter" FPS wrote to his dying horse and a lock of the horse's mane (Box 1, folder 13).

The collection contains information about the clubs FPS belonged to, including the Bald Head Club, the Lake Winnipesaukee Yacht Club, and the Massachusetts Schoolmasters' Club (Box 1, folders 8-10).

The collection also includes Katherine Speare's papers. The materials include information on her efforts to legally change her name from Katie May to Katherine (Box 2, folder 30), and class notes (Box 2, folders 31-32).

Materials relating to Marjorie Speare-Yerxa (Box 2, folders 33-34) include school reports, invitations, letters from FPS, and "Oyster Cookery," a book co-authored by her and published in 1984.

The collection also includes photographs of FPS, his daughter Marjorie, and Merrymount Beach, New Hampshire (Box 2, folder 29). There are also photographs of the Chandler Secretarial School (1941: Box 4, Folder 76), the Speare residence Wingate' (1934: Box 4, Folder 80), and a photo album of Merrymount (1903: Box 5) included in the collection.