Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Spencer, Théodore, 1902-1949
Theodore Spencer Journals
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.2 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1


Consists of personal journals of Theodore Spencer, American poet and essayist, and distinguished Harvard University literature professor.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

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.

Collection Creator Biography:

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.

Collection History


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


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

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

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

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.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Theodore Spencer Journals; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1