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Donald Spencer papers

Identifier: US-01-34

Scope and Content

Personal papers of Donald Spencer during his years as a student at the University of Cincinnati including materials related to the Quadres, Fresh Painters, and Kappa Alpha Psi. The collection includes photographs, programs for plays, newsletters, and correspondence.


  • 1935-1942


Language of Materials

The records are in English

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

Biography of Donald A. Spencer, Sr.

Donald A. Spencer, Sr. was born March 5, 1915 to Josephine and Donald Spencer. He began attending high school at Withrow High School in Cincinnati but finished at Walnut Hills High School after his family moved. He was instrumental in integrating the Junior-Senior Prom at Walnut Hills. He attended the University of Cincinnati where he received his BA in 1936, BSEd in 1937, and Masters of Education in 1940. When Spencer entered the University of Cincinnati no extracurricular activities were open to African-American students. Spencer organized the Quadres, a group of African-American students who performed musical comedies and wrote their own music and songs. Spencer also helped to found the Kappa Alpha Psi chapter at UC furthering opening doors for African-American students at UC.

After graduating from UC, Spencer began teaching. During his teaching career, he was on the faculty at Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary in the West End, Douglass School in Walnut Hills, and Bloom Junior High in the West End. Shortly after buying his first home in 1944, he began moonlighting as a realtor. After 18 years of teaching, he began working as a realtor full-time for his firm, Donald A. Spencer and Associates. Spencer was one of the first African-American realtors in Cincinnati and in 1986 was named as the first African-American broker on the Cincinnati Board of Realtors.

Spencer was also active on the boards of the Ohio Valley Goodwill, the Fenwick Club, Family Housing Developers, Friends of Cincinnati Parks, and the Walnut Hills High School Foundation. He was active in the Boy's Club, the Cincinnatus Association, the City of Cincinnati Board of Housing Appeals, Task Force on Racial Isolation in Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati's Historic Conservation Board, and was a trustee at the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church.

Spencer received the Charles P. Taft Civic Gumption Award from the Cincinnati Charter Committee, was named a Great Living Cincinnatian by the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce in 2005, and an overlook was named for him in Eden Park. Spencer passed away in 2010. He was married to Marian Alexander Spencer and they had two children.


1.08 Linear Feet


Personal papers of Donald Spencer during his years as a student at the University of Cincinnati.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged into folders by material type.

Physical Location

Archives and Rare Books

Finding aid for the Donald Spencer papers, 1935-1942
Edited Full Draft
Finding aid prepared by Archives and Rare Books Library
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Rare Books Library Repository

8th Floor Blegen Library
2602 University Circle
P.O. Box 210113
Cincinnati Ohio 45221-0113