Dorothy Speare papers , 1914-1948

Overview of the Collection

Speare, Dorothy, 1898-1951
Dorothy Speare papers
1914-1948 (inclusive)
7.5 linear feet, (5 containers)  :  5 record storage boxes
Collection Number
Ax 366
Dorothy Speare (1898-1951) was an opera singer turned author who wrote the novel Dancers in the Dark. The collection consists of Speare's manuscripts, correspondence, personal files, and school and college papers.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UO Libraries--SCUA
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 5413463068
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Additional Reference Guides

Paper finding aid with additional information is available in Special Collections & University Archives.

See the Current Collection Guide for detailed description and requesting options.

Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Dorothy Speare (1898-1951) was born in Newton Center, Massachusetts, and educated at Smith College and Radcliffe College. Between 1926 and 1930 she worked toward an operatic career, but was forced to abandon opera due to illness. From 1931 to 1934 she was a scenario writer in Hollywood. After that, Speare became a full time author, writing such books as Dancers in the Dark and Spring on 52nd St.. From 1948 to 1951 Speare taught creative writing at Boston University.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of Speare's manuscripts, correspondence, personal files, and school and college papers.

The manuscripts consist of 9 novels, 47 short stories, 4 plays, and a collection of printed pieces. Novels included are: Behind the Moon, Head of the Bay, Linda, Nowadays, Of Human Error, The Road to Needles, Spring on 52nd St., and Week of the Tournament. Among the plays is the manuscript of Prima Donna which became the motion picture, One Night of Love.

The correspondence is extensive with 538 general and professional letters and an additional 478 family letters. Major correspondents include: Russel Davenport, Joseph H. Goodspeed, Dorothy Heyward, Vincent Lawrence, Robert Nathan, Franklin Christmas (Speare's 1st husband), Charles J. Hubbard (her 2nd husband), and Edward Ray Speare (her father).

Personal files include publicity photos as well as a section of materials related to Speare's opera career.

The papers also include 48 volumes of manuscripts and published items written when the author was a student in high school, at Smith College, and a student in George Pierce Baker's 47 Workshop, Radcliffe, 1919. A few of Miss Speare's manuscripts are held by Boston University.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • American fiction--20th century
  • American fiction--Women authors
  • American literature--20th century
  • American literature--Women authors
  • Authors, American--20th century
  • Sopranos (Singers)--United States
  • Women authors, American--20th century

Personal Names

  • Speare, Dorothy, 1898-1951
  • Speare, Dorothy, 1898-1951

Form or Genre Terms

  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts for publication
  • Novels
  • Plays
  • Short stories