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Guide to the Hersey Everett Spence papers, 1794; 1904-1973

Abstract

Hersey Everett Spence was a minister, educator, and writer. After graduating from Trinity College in 1908 he spent ten years in the pastorate before returning to his alma mater in 1918 as Professor of Religious Education and Biblical Literature.

The collection contains correspondence, writings (poems, plays, eulogies by Smith), clippings, a sound recording, and other printed material reflecting the opinions and career of H.E. Spence. The materials in the collection range in date from 1794; 1904-1973; with the bulk of the materials dating from 1938 to 1970.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
University Archives, Duke University
Creator
Spence, Hersey Everett, 1882-1973.
Title
Hersey Everett Spence papers 1794; 1904-1973
Language of Material
English
Extent
2.88 Linear Feet, 1000 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

The Hersey Everett Spence papers contain correspondence, writings (poems, plays, eulogies by Smith), clippings, a sound recording, and other printed material reflecting the opinions and career of H.E. Spence. Spence was noted for his outspokenness on the state of the University and on matters such as desegregation (he was not in favor) and athletics (he was in favor). Other subjects present include: biography and family genealogy; the Methodist Retirement Home; and the Duke Memorial Methodist Church (both in Durham, NC). The collection includes over 100 unpublished poems; a copy of Spence's "When Preacher's Meet", a volume concerning the NC Pastor's School; the typescript of "I Remember" (1954) [400 pages, titled "Fifty Years of Alma Mater"]; and a taped interview (12 June 1970; no transcript). The materials in the collection range in date from 1794; 1904-1973; with the bulk of the materials dating from 1938 to 1970.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Collection is open for research.

In off-site storage; 48 hours advanced notice required for use.

Originals of audio media are closed to patron use. Please consult with University Archives staff to arrange for use copies to be made.

warning Use Restrictions

Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Contents of the Collection

Billfold and Letter, August 23, 18?
Box 1
Biography and Genealogy, 1794; 1938-1971
Box 1
Blowing Rock Methodist Church, 1949-1969
Box 1
Clippings, 1939-1969
Box 1
Duke Memorial Methodist Church, 1946-1972
Box 1
Folder includes class agenda for religious Education 2A, Fall 1928; miscellaneous correspondence including letters to: Charles Jordan and Harold Bosley (Divinity School Dean) with regard to the possibility of admitting African-American students to the Divinity School; Herbert Herring in reference to preserving the religion class requirement for students, 12 July 1945; Eddie Cameron, in regard to the poor performance of the football team, 9 November 1958.
Box 1
Methodist Retirement Home, Annual Reports, 1963-1970 (1965 missing), Audit Report 1968 (2 folders)
Box 1
Methodist Retirement Home, Drama Programs and Newsletters, 1963-1971 (incomplete)
Box 1
Miscellany, 1910-1970
Box 1
Methodist Retirement Home, Miscellaneous correspondence, 1963-1973
Box 1
Folder includes mostly letters from Spence to Mrs. Spence; from nieces and nephews to the Spences; and from Mrs. Spence's brother.
Box 1
Including:
Box 1
Memorials: Claude M. Flowers, James Cannon
Box 1
Tributes: Robert Lee Flowers, Wilbur Wade Card; Dr. Timothy Plyer, Sr.; Henry Rudolph Dwire
Box 1
Eulogies: Holland Holton; Gilbert T. Rowe, J.A. Speed, C.B. Markham
Box 1
Prayer: Robert Lee Flowers' funeral
Box 1
Fifty Years of Alma Mater, typed manuscript pages 1-150
Box 1
Fifty Years of Alma Mater, typed manuscript pages 151-280
Box 1
Fifty Years of Alma Mater, typed manuscript pages 281-408
Box 1
Undated plays by Spence. 2 copies of Ruth: A Drama in Four Acts, dated 4 April 1923 (copy 1 belonged to Herminia Haynes, Trinity '23, copy 2 to Bessie Smith, includes notes and changes to the script). Other plays include: Samuel, Esther, Barabbas, The First Easter Morning, Sacrifice of Isaac, Amos, The Handwriting of the Wall (based on chapter 5 of the Old Testament book of Daniel), and The Christmas Dagger.
Box 1
Undated plays by Spence. Including: How Come Christmas (an Uncle Remus-type story about Santa Claus); and The Alchemist (about the founding of Duke University)
Box 1
Poetry, 1913-1969
Box 2
Sophomore English Paper, 1904
Box 2
Unpublished Poems
Box 2
When Preachers Meet, hardcover volume, 1962
Box 2
Writings, miscellaneous, 1927-1964
Box 2
Photographs
Box 2
Taped interview, June 12, 1970 (audio 1/4" tape, 7" reel)
Box 2
Oversize clippings, 1932-1969
Box 3
Spence Family charts, prepared by Margaret P. Bray, 1970-1971 (3)
Box 3

Historical Note

Born in South Mills, North Carolina (June 12, 1882) and educated at Trinity College, Durham (A.B., 1907; A.M. 1908) and Duke University (B.D., 1927) Hersey Everett Spence was a minister, educator, and writer. After graduating from Trinity in 1908 he spent ten years in the pastorate before returning to his alma mater in 1918 as Professor of Religious Education and Biblical Literature. (This is believed to be the first appointment of a Professor of Religious Education in a southern college.)

Spence was active in Methodist education throughout North Carolina, and well known through his service on the North Carolina Pastors' School, the Sunday School Board, and the Methodist Board of Education, as well as, for his pastorates held in Raleigh, Durham, Sanford, and Blowing Rock. He taught the Heresy Spence Sunday School Class at Duke Memorial Methodist Church for forty years. At his retirement in 1952 it was believed that Dr. Spence had taught about two-thirds of the Methodist ministers then serving in North Carolina.

Spence was also known as a public speaker and author of poetry and religious drama. For twenty years he wrote and directed the Christmas Pageant a main feature of the Duke University Christmas exercises. His Choral Communion Service-the Rhapsody of Redemption-was also a fixture of the pre-Easter season at Duke and often played to overflow capacity in the University Chapel. Over the years he produced many pageants and poem for religious, educational, and civic occasions as well as radio broadcasts. A number of his programs were used throughout the Southeast and in the Methodist Church at large. A listing of his formal publications include: "Reveries in Rhyme," "A Guide to Bible Study," "Ruth," "Marching Men of Methodism," "When Cross Roads Cross Again," "Old Testament Dramas," "The Bishop's Crusade," "Pageants," and "Holidays and Holy Days."

On October 8, 1913, Spence married Bessie Octavia Whitted of Durham. Mrs. Spence an alumna of Trinity College, Duke University (A.B, A.M.), and the University of Chicago (B.D.) taught for a number of years in the local Durham city schools, and in 1928-1929 was the Dean of Girls at Durham High School. In 1929-1930 she became an assistant professor of Biblical Literature in the Department of Religion at Duke University. The Spence's retired from Duke University in 1952 after a combined 60 years of service.

Upon his retirement Professor Spence was honored with the distinction of being the first recipient at Duke University of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. He was also granted honorary degrees from Asbury Theological Seminary (Doctor of Divinity) and High Point College (Doctor of Letters).

Hersey Everett Spence died September 30, 1973. Mrs. Spence followed soon after passing away on October 7, 1973.

Subject Headings

Related Material

  • Biographical Reference Collection, 1972 - 2004. (University Archives, Duke University.)
  • William Preston Few Records and Papers, 1814 - 1971 and undated (bulk 1911-1940) (University Archives, Duke University.)
  • News Service Biographical Files, circa 1930s - 2004. (University Archives, Duke University.)
  • University Archives Photograph Collection, 1861-ongoing. (University Archives, Duke University.)

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Hersey Everett Spence Papers, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Hersey Everett Spence papers were received by the University Archives as a transfer in 1955, 1962-1968, 1973-1974, 1988.

Processing Information

Processed by Sherrie Bowser, September 2008

Encoded by Sherrie Bowser, October 2008

Accessions 48-2094, 62-523, 65-192, 68-107, 73-16, 74-111, A88-0033 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and our local Style Guide.

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.