Showing 7 results

Archival description
Robert Allan Spencer fonds
Print preview View:

Education

Robert Spencer received his elementary, high school, and undergraduate education in Montreal, at Kensington School, the High School of Montreal, and McGill University respectively. The files relating to these stages of Professor Spencer’s education contain correspondence, report cards and certificates, term papers, programmes for student dinners and graduation ceremonies, short stories, student newspapers and yearbooks, flyers and other material relating to student organizations, and social activities.
The basic arrangement is by the institutions that Professor Spencer attended, with some files on teacher training during and after his undergraduate years at McGill.

Professor Spencer was on military service in Europe from 1942 to 1946. Once back in Canada, he decided to undertake post-graduate work in history. C.P. Stacey, Director of the Historical Section of the General Staff at Canadian Military Headquarters in London, England, for which Spencer had been working since the beginning of 1946 under the direction of Eric Harrison, could not find funds to assist him. Harrison, who in civil life was a professor of history at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, supported Spencer’s applications for scholarships; he was successful in getting the James C. Cumming Fellowship from Trinity College in the University of Toronto. From 1946 to 1950, he also received ‘university training” funds from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Spencer spent a year (1946-1947) at the U of T, studying under Professors Ralph Flenley and G.P. de T. Glazebrook and reading widely. His MA thesis, “History of the Fifteenth Canadian Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, 1941-1945”, was essentially the study he had written while with the Canadian Forces in the Netherlands in 1945; 1,000 copies of which had been printed by Elsevier in Amsterdam.

Following his graduation from the University of Toronto, Spencer applied to study modern history at Oxford University and was accepted by St. John’s College. He received funding from McGill University (Moyse Travelling Fellowship worth $350), the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire (Overseas Scholarship, $800), and part (₤30) of a scholarship from the British Council. In September, 1947 he sailed on the Queen Mary to Southampton. He studied under W. Norton Medlicott and A.J.P. Taylor, receiving his B.Litt in 1950. He was then accepted to do a Doctor of Philosophy.

The files relating to his graduate studies contain correspondence, official documents, essays, programmes, flyers, press clippings, booklets relating to Oxford, St. John’s College, and the Bodleian Library, greeting cards and other souvenirs of his time at Oxford.

Canada. Canadian Officers' Training Corps, University of Toronto Contingent

This series consists of the financial and administrative records of the Board of Trustees, including photographs of special events. It also includes documentation of a project to publish the history of the COTC that was never completed. Spencer subsequently wrote his own history of the COTC, the notes and correspondence of which are included under Series 10: Publications.

Robert Allan Spencer fonds

  • UTA 1797
  • Fonds
  • 1919-2012

This fonds documents the administrative and teaching duties of Robert Spencer, as a Professor Emeritus of History and a specialist in European history, especially German history in the 19th and 20th centuries. They also document his education and his participation in World War II; his extensive international research, publications and speaking engagements; as well as his involvement with professional associations and organizations such as the University of Toronto Contingent, Canadian Officers Training Corps (COTC), the International Studies Programme and the Graduate Centre for International Studies, Altantik-Brücke, and the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE). Included is personal correspondence, correspondence with international organizations, government departments, embassies and consulates; lecture notes; manuscripts and addresses.

Also present are two sous-fonds. The first is the personal papers of his wife, Ruth Margaret Church Spencer, who served with the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRENS) during World War II as a base librarian and afterwards as the first professional librarian at Canada House in London. The second consists of files compiled by Ralph Flenley, a specialist in German history and sometime chair of the Department of History: examination questions, student mark books, and drafts of an unpublished manuscript on Anglo-German relations.

Spencer, Robert Allan

Personal and biographical

This series contains material relating to Professor Spencer’s birth, childhood and later birthdays; childhood stories, plays, and poems; reunions and other post-graduate activities at McGill University and the University of Oxford; honours received; and files relating to the residences that he had owned. Also present are copies of his curriculum vitae, security documents regarding the Department of External Affairs, and material reflecting his long association with the Canadian military in the form of Remembrance Day ceremonies and VE-Day and other celebrations related to World War II.

Travel

This series documents Professor Spencer’s travels, both for pleasure and for academic and other professional purposes. The first of his trips documented here is to New York City in 1946; the last is to Europe in 2011.

The files contain an assortment of flight information, correspondence, itineraries, invitations, notes, postcards, diaries and reports (indicated below where they exist), programmes for a wide variety of events, menus, tickets, passenger lists, booklets, maps, photographs, press clippings, and other memorabilia. The arrangement is chronological by trip. Beginning in April, 1977 and continuing while he was director until his retirement in 1986, a lot of Professor Spencer’s travel was done as an extension of the work of the Centre for International Studies. For the first of these trips, he wrote a detailed report of his activities. The often extensive correspondence in these files ranges from that with Canadian government, consular, and military officials to military officials at NATO and elsewhere in Europe and England, to academic and government personnel in Western Europe. Included are files on Professor Spencer’s involvement with the Atlantic Council of Canada, the Committee on Atlantic Studies, and the Canadian Studies Association.

Some of the folders in this series contain correspondence, postcards, reports, and other items that are well outside the dates of the activities being described.

The photoprints, postcards, and artifacts (pin buttons) have been retained in the relevant files. Files containing receipts only (such as transportation, car rentals, luggage, and accommodation) were not kept and the retention of such material in other files is selective. Fax paper, where present, has been photocopied and the original faxes, most of which had deteriorated badly, have been destroyed.

Additional information about some of these trips can be found in Series 7: Correspondence.

Correspondence

The letters at the beginning of this series (in accession B2013-0005) consist of Spencer’s letters home while on military training and active duty (1941-1946), beginning with letters sent from Canada (June 1941 – March 1943) and then from overseas (June 1943 – July 1946). Spencer began numbering his letters home on 28 February 1943 when he was about to be stationed at Camp Debert, Nova Scotia. Between then and 23 March 1945 he wrote at least 312 letters home; then started, but did not maintain, a new numbering system.

These are followed by various family letters, including some sent by Spencer (1943-1947), letters to and from third parties, letters to and from his parents between 1946 and 1950, and letters (1946-1948) between Robert and Ruth Church whom he married on 22 June 1948. Bob’s letters to Ruth were always mailed to the Office of the High Commissioner at Canada House where she worked. The family correspondence, which included some from Robert’s parents (his father, Charles Allan, died on 2 August 1972), his brothers (Colin and Wilson), and later his and Ruth’s children (Charles, Valerie, and Katherine) continues until 2010. From the mid-1990s, there are no letters from Ruth.

The arrangement in this section of correspondence is grouped by correspondents but is largely chronological. Fax paper has been photocopied and the original faxes have been destroyed.

The correspondence in accession B2010-0024 relates mostly to professional, not family, matters. It includes Professor Spencer’s ongoing correspondence and dealings with various government departments, embassies, consulates, international, national and local organizations other than the COTC and Atlantik-Brücke. For more information, also see Series 9, which includes information on Spencer’s extensive roster of speaking engagements, and Series 11, which documents his attendance at various conferences, seminars, roundtables and panel discussions. The arrangement for this section is alphabetical by organization.

Included with the letters are numerous postcards and a few photoprints.