Skip to Content

Spencer Family Diplomas

 Collection — Box: 1, 1+
Identifier: MS 218
The collection contains diplomas from grammar school, normal school, college, and law school for Natalie Max Spencer; her son, Robert W. Spencer; her daughter-in-law, Mary Pearl Elder Spencer; and her granddaughter, Karen L. Spencer spanning the 20th century in Buffalo and Geneseo, New York. Also included are teaching and bar certifications.

Dates

  • 1909-1988

Creator

Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms of Access

The Spencer Family Diplomas, 1909-1988 are open for research.

Copyright

Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Extent

2.08 Linear Feet (1 half manuscript box, 1 oversize flat box)

Overview

The collection contains diplomas from grammar school, normal school, college, and law school for Natalie Max Spencer; her son, Robert W. Spencer; her daughter-in-law, Mary Pearl Elder Spencer; and her granddaughter, Karen L. Spencer spanning the 20th century in Buffalo and Geneseo, New York. Also included are teaching and bar certifications.

Biographical Note

Natalie Max [Spencer](March 17, 1892-June 25, 1979)

Natalie Max was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. At age eleven, when her mother died, Natalie was sent out for domestic service but continued her education gaining a teaching certificate from the State Normal School in Buffalo. She received a diploma to teach kindergarten in the Buffalo Schools in 1915. She married Fred Spencer circa 1919 and raised two sons, Robert and Donald. She was a life long learner. When Fred died in 1938, Natalie ran the family's auto repair business by reading the car manuals and instructing the young men who worked in the shop on how to do the repairs. She went on to teach her eight grandchildren many life skills including organic gardening, knitting, and card games.

Robert Wayne Spencer (June 22, 1921- January 14, 2012)

Eldest son of Natalie Max and Fred Spencer, Robert was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. He graduated from Riverside High School in 1938. On the night his father was dying shortly before graduation, his father admonished him to continue his college education despite the pressure he would receive from family to stay home and care for his mother. Robert entered the State Teachers College at Geneseo in the fall of 1938 at age 17. He graduated in June 1942, was inducted into the army, attended officer training school, and served in the Pacific theatre during World War II. He married Mary Pearl Elder, a fellow Geneseo graduate, on October 30, 1942. They had four children: Mary Ann (1943), Robert Stewart (1948), Karen Lee (1950), and Kevin Bruce (1953). After the war, Robert and Mary moved to Eden, New York where Robert taught high school science for a few years before working as a carpenter and opening his home and pool construction business. In 1963 he entered the State University of New York at Buffalo for graduate studies in political science. He finished his course work for a Ph.D. but before he could complete his dissertation he was hired by the Chancellor of the State University of New York (SUNY) to work in the Long Range Planning Office in Albany in 1967. He retired from SUNY in 1983 and moved back to North Buffalo. In 1999 he and Mary moved in to Canterbury Woods, the area's first life-care facility where Robert established "Canterbury University" - a resident-led continuing education program. When he began to lose his vision, he learned to use the Kurzweil software on his computer so he could continue to scan and listen to books. At the age of 90 and legally blind he continued to read four to five books a week. The Spencers have eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.Robert Spencer died on January 14th, 2012.

Mary Pearl Elder Spencer (August 4, 1920- )

Mary Elder was born in Buffalo, New York, elder daughter of Stewart W. and Caroline Ambler Elder. She grew up in Williamsville, a suburb of Buffalo. She attended the Academy Street School receiving her Williamsville High School diploma in Latin in 1938. She attended the State Teachers College at Geneseo graduating with a Bachelor of Education degree and teachers certificate in June, 1942. She began her kindergarten teaching career in Speculator, New York but left to marry Robert W. Spencer in Dover, Delaware on October 30, 1942. She served as a substitute teacher in the Eden Central School District for many years before returning to full-time kindergarten teaching there in 1960. From 1967 to 1983, she taught kindergarten in the Shenendahowa Central School District, Clifton Park, New York. Mary and Bob attended 110 Elder Hostels continuing to set an example of life-long learning to their children and grandchildren. Like her mother before her, Mary continues to do her daily crossword puzzle.

Karen Lee Spencer (December 26, 1950- )

Arrangement

This collection is arranged by name.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated by Karen Spencer in June 2011.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection unless missing diplomas are recovered.

Related Resources

  1. 1/2/1094, State University of New York Planning Documents and Records, 1967-1981
  2. 8/1/50, Office of Planning and Development Records,1964-1966

Processing Information

Processed by Karen Spencer, June 2011.

Creator

Source

Title
Finding Aid for the Spencer Family Diplomas
Status
completed
Author
Finding aid prepared by Karen Spencer, June 2011.
Date
2011
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
und

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

Contact:
420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-2916
716-645-3714 (Fax)