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Marian Alexander Spencer and Donald Spencer Papers

Identifier: US-91-02; US-16-05; US-17-01

Scope and Content

The Marian and Donald Spencer Papers include material related to Marian Spencer's political career and Donald Spencer's involvement with numerous community organizations in Cincinnati.

Marian's papers include awards, photographs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, reports, and publications related to Spencer's political career and involvement in Cincinnati organizations including the Women's City Club of Greater Cincinnati, the Cincinnati School Board, and the NAACP. The collection also includes information on Spencer's involvement with civil rights and equality issues in Cincinnati including the fight to desegregate Cincinnati's public schools.

Donald Spencer's papers relate to his time on the Cincinnati Parks Board, the Cincinnati Symphony Board, the Avondale Community Council. The papers also include some of his original musical compositions.


  • 1935-2016


Language of Materials

The records are in English

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

Biography of Marian A. Spencer and Donald Spencer

Marian Alexander Spencer is a Cincinnati civil rights activist. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati, Spencer was involved in the struggle to desegregate Cincinnati's Coney Island Amusement Park and was the first African American woman elected to Cincinnati's City Council. She has been involved with numerous organizations including the NAACP, Women's City Club of Greater Cincinnati and Housing Opportunities Made Equal. She also served on the Cincinnati Public School Board.

Donald Spencer was a teacher in the Cincinnati Public Schools for 18 years before changing careers and becoming one of the first African American real estate brokers in Cincinnati. He was also the first African American chair of the Board of Trustee at Ohio University and an activist for voting rights and ending discrimination. Spencer was active in fighting for Civil Rights starting with his time as a student at the University of Cincinnati in the 1930s and was involved in starting Quadres, an African American student organization at a time when black students were barred from most student organizations on campus.

Donald and Marian Spencer were married in 1940 and had two sons. Donald passed away in 2010 at the age of 95.


22 Linear Feet (22 boxes)


Papers of Marian and Donald Spencer, 1935-2016, including correspondence, awards, photographs, news clippings, and materials of Cincinnati, Ohio civil rights activists.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged into three series. The first series consists exclusively of material of Marian Spencer and contains items from two different accruals acquired by the Archives and Rare Books Library at separate times (US-91-02 and US-16-05). The second series consists exclusively of items relating to Donald Spencer and also includes material from US-91-02 and US-16-05. The third series contains material related to both Marian and Donald Spencer and consists of material from the most recent material acquired by the Archives and Rare Books Library (US-17-01).

Physical Location

Archives and Rare Books Library

Guide to the Marian Alexander Spencer and Donald Spencer Papers
Edited Full Draft
Finding aid prepared by Archives and Rare Books Staff
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