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Dorothy Speare papers

Identifier: Ax 366

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of Speare's manuscripts, correspondence, personal files, and school and college papers.

The manuscripts consist of 9 novels, 47 short stories, 4 plays, and a collection of printed pieces. Novels included are: Behind the Moon, Head of the Bay, Linda, Nowadays, Of Human Error, The Road to Needles, Spring on 52nd St., and Week of the Tournament. Among the plays is the manuscript of Prima Donna which became the motion picture, One Night of Love. This series also contains correspondence, reviews and fan letters, and source material for Spring on 52nd Street.

The correspondence is extensive with 538 general and professional letters and an additional 478 family letters. Major correspondents include: Russell Davenport, Joseph H. Goodspeed, Dorothy Heyward, Vincent Lawrence, Robert Nathan, Franklin Christmas (Speare's 1st husband), Charles J. Hubbard (her 2nd husband), and Edward Ray Speare (her father).

Personal files include publicity photos as well as a section of materials related to Speare's opera career.

The papers also include 48 volumes of manuscripts and published items written when the author was a student in high school, at Smith College, and a student in George Pierce Baker's 47 Workshop, Radcliffe, 1919. A few of Miss Speare's manuscripts are held by Boston University.


  • 1914-1948


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Dorothy Speare (1898-1951) was born in Newton Center, Massachusetts, and educated at Smith College and Radcliffe College. Between 1926 and 1930 she worked toward an operatic career, but was forced to abandon opera due to illness. From 1931 to 1934 she was a scenario writer in Hollywood. After that, Speare became a full time author, writing such books as Dancers in the Dark and Spring on 52nd St.. From 1948 to 1951 Speare taught creative writing at Boston University.


7.5 linear feet (5 containers) : 5 record storage boxes

Language of Materials



Dorothy Speare (1898-1951) was an opera singer turned author who wrote the novel Dancers in the Dark. The collection consists of Speare's manuscripts, correspondence, personal files, and school and college papers.


Collection is organized into the following series: Manuscripts, Correspondence, Operatic Career, Personal Files (including School and College Papers).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Lucius Thayer, 1967-1968.

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Dorothy Speare Papers
Complete Description
Finding aid prepared by University of Oregon Libraries, Archivists' Toolkit Project Team and Austin Munsell
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English
Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA