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Charles Worthen Spencer papers, A1046

Identifier: A1046


  • 1818-1981

Access to Collection

Collection is open for research.

Biographical Note

Charles W. Spencer was born in Foxboro, Massachusetts. At the age of 8, Spencer moved to Waterville, Maine with his family. There he attended public schools and the Coburn classical Institute. Spencer’s father attended Colgate University for 3 years before enlisting for the Civil War, but Spencer decided to go Colby University where he graduated in 1890. Spencer also received his Ph. D. from Columbia in 1905. For two years following his graduation from Colby, Spencer was a teacher. Then he went to the University of Chicago to do graduate work. He remained there for two years as an Honorary Fellow, and took courses in History and Social Science. After becoming interested in the history of New York State, Spencer spent a year at Columbia investigating the topic. He planned to go to Harvard the next year as he had been awarded the Townsend Fellowship, but his plans were interrupted and he ended up coming to Colgate instead. He was a professor of History at Colgate from 1895-1905, a preceptor of history, politics, and economics at Princeton from 1905-1916, and a professor history at the University of Nevada from 1916-1921. Then in 1921, Spencer returned to Colgate as the Librarian of Colgate University. He remained in this position until his retirement in 1940. Over the years, Spencer did considerable work in the Bureau of Charities and Correction at the Columbian Exposition. He was also a musician and was noted as a skillful pianist. His scholarly attainments, courteous manner, and great enthusiasm for his work made him a well-liked colleague and professor. During the last five years of his life, Spencer’s health was poor. He had arteriosclerosis that may have contributed to the kidney failure that caused his death in 1966.


1.5 Cubic Feet (5 document boxes)

Language of Materials


Guide to the Charles Worthen Spencer papers
Kathleen Trychta and Sarah Keen; revised by Lora J. Davis
October 2, 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Script of description
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Language of description note

Repository Details

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

13 Oak Drive
Case Library and Geyer Center for Information Technology
Colgate University
Hamilton New York 13346 United States US
315-228-7934 (Fax)