The University of Southern Mississippi -- McCain Library and Archives
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Collection Title: Speer (Klaus & Elisabeth C.) Papers
Collection Number: M352
Dates: ca. 1963 - 1965
Volume: .80 cubic foot
Provenance: This collection was donated by Mr. Thomas L. Price on July 30, 2001; by Mr. Daniel Speer, son of Klaus and Elisabeth Speer, on October 12, 2001; and by Mrs. Bettye N. White on November 5, 2001.
Restrictions: Available for research use by the serious student and scholar.
In the summer of 1963 Dr. Klaus Speer, his wife Elisabeth, and their son Danny moved from Houston Texas to Hattiesburg Mississippi so that Dr. Speer could begin teaching in the Music Department of The University of Southern Mississippi.
In 1964, as civil rights organizations became increasingly active in Mississippi, the Speer family was both outwardly sympathetic with the movement and outspoken about their political opinions. The Speer family attended picnics hosted by civil rights activists and often entertained Civil Rights workers and student volunteers in their home.
While teaching at the University of Southern Mississippi, Dr. Klaus Speer had earned a Masters of Library Science Degree. In 1965 he resigned his position at USM to become the first rare books custodian at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester and moved with his family to New York.
Dr. Klaus Speer retired from his position as rare books custodian in 1976 and died in 1979. At the time of this writing, Daniel J. Speer resides in Trumansburg, New York, and Elisabeth C. Speer, resides in a nearby nursing home.
This collection consists of various writings concerning the Speers' time at the University of Southern Mississippi. Included is a scrapbook compiled by Elisabeth Speer of newspaper articles about the Civil Rights movement from December 1964-March 1965 and three annual form letters. (Photocopies of the scrapbook are available for general research. Originals are available under the supervision of Archives staff.) The Speer family produced the form letters to correspond with friends and family during Christmas. Also included are three of Elisabeth Speer's diaries in which she discusses not only her daily social activities, but also various visits with prominent people of the civil rights movement. These include Rev. Bob Beech, Rabbi David Ben-Ami, Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld, Rev. John E. Cameron, Lana Beard, Victoria Gray Adams, and Fannie Lou Hamer.
AM 99-56 Grupper (Ira) and Beech (Bob) Civil Rights Collection, 1960s
M483 Lelyveld (Rabbi Arthur J.) Collection, 1964
M351 Randall (Herbert) Freedom Summer Photographs, 1964-2001