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Edward Spencer papers

Identifier: MS-0149

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Scope and Contents

Papers consist largely of Edward Spencer's personal papers although there are some papers of his parents and of his grandson Gellert S. Alleman. Edward Spencer's papers relate to his literary career. The earliest papers are school notebooks from the Trinity School in Baltimore (1848-49) and Princeton University (1853-58). Spencer reused his student notebooks for his later literary work so some of these notebooks also contain his stories. Also in the papers are notebooks and drafts of Spencer's stories, essays, poems and plays as well as a large number of his printed news articles. The collection includes a copy of Spencer's full-length study of Delaware Senator Thomas F. Bayard. There is correspondence with Bayard as well. Spencer also worked with J. Thomas Sharf on several of his local histories, and the collection includes notes from this collaboration. Spencer carried detailed correspondence with William Hand Browne from 1870-76. Spencer's letters were returned and are part of the collection. Dr. Gellert S. Alleman collected a variety of secondary material relating to the life of Edward Spencer, and these notes and copies are a part of the collection. Especially well-documented is Spencer's play "Kit, The Arkansas Traveler."


  • Creation: 1803-1960


Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical Note

Edward Spencer was the son of Baltimore merchant Edward Spencer and his wife Guinelda Ethel Spencer. Spencer attended the Trinity School in Baltimore and Princeton University from 1853-1858 when he was awarded an A.M. degree. Spencer returned home to run the family farm "Martin's Nest" in Randallstown until 1876. During this period, Spencer wrote stories and articls which appeared in Putnam's Magazin, the Galaxy, Harper's and Southern Magazine. He was also a contributer to the Baltimore Sunday Telegram. In 1876 Spencer moved from Randallstown to Baltimore to become editor for Baltimore's Evening Bulletin. He moved to the staff of the Baltimore Sun in 1878 and remained there until retiring in 1881 due to failing health. In addition to his journalistic writing, Spencer wrote poems and several plays, one of which became the hit "Kit, The Arkansas Travler."

Spencer married Catherine Bradford Harrison (Braddie) in 1861.


4.17 Cubic Feet (7 legal size document boxes, 1 legal half-size document box, 2 flat boxes (15.5 x 12 x 3 inches))

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers of Edward Spencer in this collection were collected by his grandson Gellert Spencer Alleman (1913-1981). Spencer had appointed William Hand Browne his literary executor, and the Spencer papers missing from this collection apparently were retained by the Browne family. The Spencer papers that remained with the Spencer family were collected by Dr. Alleman and willed to his cousin Nan [Hayden] Agle (b. 1905). Mrs. Agle donated them to the Johns Hopkins University in 1985, 1987, 1990. Spencer's letters to his fiancée were donated March 1990. The accession number is 89-90.46. Additional letters (12) to Edward Spencer by various theatrical figures of the 19th century American stage, including Edwin Booth, Augustin Daly, and E.H. Southern, were donated in 2009. The accession number is 08-09.19.


Agle, Nan Hayden. "A Promise is to Keep: The True Story of A Former Slave and the Family She Adopted." Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Books, 1985.

Processing Information

This is no known processing information for this collection. The collection was named for Dr. Alleman at the request of the donor.

Edward Spencer papers
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA