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Nettie Spencer Papers, 1878-1920

By Finding aid prepared by Lawrence A. Landis.

Collection Overview

Title: Nettie Spencer Papers, 1878-1920

ID: MSS SpencerN

Primary Creator: Spencer, Nettie

Extent: 0.24 cubic feet. More info below.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Nettie Spencer Papers consist of letters to Spencer written by sailor William Barrett in 1884 and a scrapbook of programs and ephemera assembled by Spencer, primarily from Corvallis College. Spencer graduated from Corvallis College in 1882.

Scope and Content Notes

The papers consist of two series. Series one contains letters written to Nettie Spencer by William Barrett, a sailor on the bark Carrie Winslow. The letters describe Barrett's experiences on board the ship and at ports of call. They also describe the relationship between Spencer and Barrett. Several were written in 1884 and chronologically arranged; others are undated but were probably written at about the same time. Series two is a small scrapbook that contains programs of drama productions, musical and literary events, teachers institutes, Corvallis College commencements (1881 & 1882), and meetings of organizations. Most are from Corvallis and Portland and date from 1878 to 1897.

An addition to the Spencer Papers (Accession 2009:019) is made up of a primer in the Anglo-Saxon language (old English) that Nettie used as a student at Corvallis State Agricultural College. In addition to translations of words and passages written in the text by Spencer, the reader also contains sketches of flowers and plants and notations reflecting Nettie's colorful thoughts about her teachers, the class, the language itself, and her fellow classmates, whom she ranks according to "meanness."

Biographical / Historical Notes

Nettie Spencer was born near Corvallis in 1861 to Oregon pioneer parents. She graduated from Corvallis College in 1882, and spent the next several years teaching and studying at various places in the U.S. and abroad, including Portland, Davenport College (North Carolina), Berlin, Paris, London and India. She returned to Oregon in 1916 and taught at Eugene and Roseburg High Schools. Spencer received a masters degree in sociology from Oregon State in 1928. She was a charter member of the Mazamas, a Portland mountain climbing club, and in 1935 was elected president of the Oregon State Women's Press Club. Spencer died in Portland in 1953.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 1 box

Statement on Access: Collection open for research.

Physical Access Note: Physical condition of the scrapbook may preclude photocopying.

Related Materials: Additional biographical information on Nettie Spencer can be found in her OSU Memorabilia Collection (MSS MC) file. Photographs of Spencer are located in Harriet's Photograph Collection (P HC) HC0718, HC1519 and HC1593.

Preferred Citation: Nettie Spencer Papers (MSS SpencerN), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.


Spencer, Nettie

People, Places, and Topics

Carrie Winslow (Bark)
Corvallis College
Spencer, Nettie
Student activities--Oregon--Corvallis.
University History

Forms of Material


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.