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Robert Allan Spencer fonds
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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history and sometime chair of the Department of History: examination questions, student mark books, and drafts of an unpublished manuscript on Anglo-German relations.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.