Papers of Anne Spencer and the Spencer family [manuscript], 1829, 1864-2007.

ArchivalResource

Spencer, Anne, 1882-1975. Papers of Anne Spencer and the Spencer family [manuscript], 1829, 1864-2007.

Papers of Anne Spencer and the Spencer family [manuscript], 1829, 1864-2007.

The collection contains manuscript poems, ideas for poems, and articles by Spencer, including an autobiographical piece, 1956, sent to Lee Greene, typescript copies of some of her poems by Greene, and articles possibly written for a column in the Pittsburgh Courier, but never published. Prose manuscripts include "Bastion at Newark," "Chattel slavery or why I dislike Booker T," "Comments about herself spoken to Ben W. Fuson," "Dear children," "In the thicket" [regarding a short story by James Weldon Johnson], "LeRoi meets Lincoln," and "Virginia as Narcissus." Poetry manuscripts include "Any wife to any husband," "Ascetic," "At the carnival," "Before the feast of Shushan," "Black man o' mine," "Creed," "Dunbar," "Epitome," "For E.A.S.," "Failure," "For Jim, Easter Eve" [also titled "To James Weldon Johnson Easter Eve (1938-1948)]," "Grapes: Still-Life," "He said," "I have a friend," "Innocence," "Lady, lady," "Lemming: O Sweden," "Letter to my sister," "Liability," "Lines to a nasturtium," "Life-long, poor Browning," "Luther P. Jackson," "1975," "Neighbors," "Po' little lib," "Questing," "Requiem," "Rime for the Christmas baby," "The Sévignés," "Substitution," "Terrence, Terrence," "Translation," "White things," and "The wife-woman." There are also drafts and fragments of unfinished poems she constantly revised particularly "Big ditch and the river," "A dream of John Brown: on his return trip home." Themes and topics in untitled manuscripts and fragments include books and literature; family; African Americans, slavery, segregation, and civil rights; gardening and nature; historical and contemporary events and figures; politics and government particularly in Virginia; and religion. Correspondence of Anne Spencer is chiefly with and about family, friends fellow poets and anthologizers. Of interest are letters from Sterling A. Brown, Countee Cullen, Victor Daly, Arthur P. Davis, W.E.B. du Bois, Helen G. Edmonds, Murrell Edmunds, Ben Fuson, J. Lee Greene, Langston Hughes, Altona Trent Johns, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Grace Johnson, James Weldon Johnson, Charles S. Johnson, Alain LeRoy Locke, Harry Meacham, H. L. Mencken (copy), Amaza Meredith, Clarence Muse, Francis Coleman Rosenberger, Frank Silvera, Idella Purnell [Stone], Howard Thurman, and Carl Van Vechten, concerning her poetry and their own work. There are also letters to Andres Burris and to Cleveland Amory re Ellen Glasgow, James Branch Cabell and racism. Topics of interest in the correspondence include Langston Hughes, Adam Clayton Powell, Claude McKay, and William Raspberry, Jim Crow laws and segregation, and the Spencer family. There are many brief comments on people in the news and current events including the Democratic Presidential Convention of 1948 and the Republican Convention of 1952. There are numerous photographs of family and friends including Guy Bluford, Celinda Wright Humbles, Joe Louis, Amaza Meredith, Clarence Muse, and Ulysses S. Grant Patterson, as well as a Tuskegee Airmen convention and the faculty of the Virginia Theological Seminary. Financial and legal papers chiefly concern the Lynchburg, Va., property management business, tax business and chicken business of Edward Spencer. Many of his business ledgers were later reused by his widow for jotting down her poetry ideas. Contains an 1829 New Hampshire deed, an 1863 will, and the wills of Anne and her husband. Miscellaneous material includes material pertinent to an Anne Spencer Poetry Contest, the Friends of the Anne Spencer Memorial Foundation and the Virginia Landmarks Register inclusion for the Anne Spencer House as well as facsimiles of historic African American and historic broadsides; invitations; clippings; programs; a few papers concerning Chauncey Spencer, a Tuskeegee Airman, including a blueprint for a hangar at Dothan, Ala.; mimeograph copies of poetry by Gerald William Barrax; and a rough draft of "Searching for Anne Spencer" by Pat Doyle. The papers also contain an audiocassette "Remarks to the Fusons by poet Anne Spencer, 1969; and a mini-cassette labelled "Chauncey 4-14-99".

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