University of Texas Arlington

Alex W. Spence Papers:

A Guide



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Spence, Alex W.
Title: Alex W. Spence Papers
Dates: 1911-1987
1911-1919
Abstract: Alexander White Spence was a Dallas, Texas, resident who served in World War I. He began officer training as a second lieutenant at Camp Leon Springs, Texas, in August 1917, and was transferred to Camp Bowie in Fort Worth, Texas, the following October. Spence served with the U. S. Army Infantry, 36th Division, of the American Expeditionary Forces, primarily in France, and attained the rank of captain. After the war, Spence received his Bachelor of Law degree from Columbia University and returned to Dallas. He worked as an attorney for a number of years and served as president of the Dallas Board of Education. Spence introduced the concept of a junior high school to the Dallas public school system. He died in June 1934. Dallas' first junior high, Alex W. Spence, opened on February 1, 1940, and was named in his honor. This collection is comprised of military and personal papers of Alex W. Spence. The military papers relate to Spence's service in the U.S. Army 36th Infantry Division, part of the American Expeditionary Force in France during World War I. They include a history of 36th Infantry Division operations in France; field, special, and secret orders; biographical sketches of officers; photographs; and lists of officers, appointments, infantry casualties; and Croix de Guerre and Medal Militaire recipients. Three "Boosts and Knocks" journals contain memos and commentary from soldiers and division commanders regarding the embarkation camp at St. Nazaire, France, 1919. Personal papers include a speech delivered by Spence at a 1911 Dallas High School debate "to discuss briefly with a Southern audience the great Southern question, the problem of the Negro," in which he takes a progressive position on issues of education, voting rights, and social issues. Included in the collection are letters received by Spence in response to the transcript of his debate remarks published in the Dallas Morning News. Penned by both Caucasian and Negro correspondents, the letters are both laudatory and critical of his opinions. Letters written home to his wife written during World War I are also included.
Identification: AR457
Extent: 1 manuscript box, 1 oversize box (0.45 linear ft.)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library

Biographical Note

Alexander White Spence was a Dallas, Texas, resident who served in World War I. He began officer training as a second lieutenant at Camp Leon Springs, Texas, in August 1917, and was transferred to Camp Bowie in Fort Worth, the following October. Spence served with the U. S. Army Infantry, 36th Division, of the American Expeditionary Forces, primarily in France, and attained the rank of captain. After the war, Spence received his Bachelor of Law degree from Columbia University and returned to Dallas. He worked as an attorney for a number of years and served as president of the Dallas Board of Education. Spence introduced the concept of a junior high school to the Dallas public school system. He died in June 1934. Dallas' first junior high, Alex W. Spence, opened on February 1, 1940, and was named in his honor.

Sources:


  • "Alex Spence." Dallas Morning News. June 16, 1934: p. 2.
  • Alex W. Spence Biographical Information. Alex W. Spence Junior High School, Dallas, Texas, 2005.
  • "Funeral Ceremony for Alex Spence Held at Twilight." Dallas Morning News. June 16, 1934: p. 3.

Scope and Contents

This collection is comprised of military and personal papers of Alex W. Spence. The military papers relate to Spence's service in the U.S. Army 36th Infantry Division, part of the American Expeditionary Force in France during World War I. They include a history of 36th Infantry Division operations in France; field, special, and secret orders; biographical sketches of officers; photographs; and lists of officers, appointments, infantry casualties; and Croix de Guerre and Medal Militaire recipients. Three "Boosts and Knocks" journals contain memos and commentary from soldiers and division commanders regarding the embarkation camp at St. Nazaire, France, 1919. Personal papers include a speech delivered by Spence at a 1911 Dallas High School debate "to discuss briefly with a Southern audience the great Southern question, the problem of the Negro," in which he takes a progressive position on issues of education, voting rights, and social issues. Included in the collection are letters received by Spence in response to the transcript of his debate remarks published in the Dallas Morning News. Penned by both Caucasian and Negro correspondents, the letters are both laudatory and critical of his opinions. Letters written home to his wife written during World War I are also included.


Organization

Series I. Military Papers, 1917-1919, undated 0.37 linear ft. (16 folders, 1 oversize box)
Series II. Personal Papers, 1911-1987, 0.08 linear ft. (5 folders)

Restrictions

Access

Open for research.

Literary Rights Statement

Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.


Index Terms

These materials are indexed under the following headings in the catalog of The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Persons
Spence., Alex W.--Archives.
Organizations
United States.--Army--Infantry Division, 36th--Photographs.
United States.--Army.--Infantry Division, 36th--Registers.
Subjects
Soldiers--Texas--Dallas--Archives
World War, 1914-1918--Personal narratives, American
World War, 1914-1918--Photographs.
Alternate Titles
Historical Manuscripts Collection

Separated Material

02166GA217: Henry M. Winans World War II Essays


Administrative Information

Provenance

The Alex W. Spence Papers were among the the papers of A. C. Greene Papers donated by Greene to Special Collections, June 6, 1989.

Citation

Alex W. Spence Papers, 1911-1987, AR457, Box Number, Folder Number, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.

Acquisition

Gift, June 6, 1989.

Accessioned as number 98-1.

Processing Information

The Alex W. Spence Papers were processed and finding aid prepared by Tara Kirk in May 2005. The finding aid was updated and encoded by Brenda S. McClurkin in December 2012.


Note to the Researcher

Some items in the collection are fragile, please handle with care.


Container List

Military Papers, 1917-1919, undated
0.37 linear ft. (16 folders, 1 oversize box)

Subseries A. 36th Division History, 1918, undated
Box Folder
1 1 Biographies, undated
2 History of Operations in France, 1918
Subseries B. Correspondence, 1918-1919
Box Folder
1 3 Correspondence, 1919
Letter to the commanding general of the 36th Division from the adjutant general regarding the delivery and use of military photographs; letter from Alex Spence to Dallas/Fort Worth newspapers giving them permission to use 36th Division photographs, June 10, 1919; and a response to Spence from The Houston Chronicle managing editor, June 19, 1919.
4 King George V, April, 1918
King George V welcomed U.S. troops to Europe and commended them for their efforts. Alex Spence sent this note to his wife, August 1918.
5 Memoranda, 1918
Memo congratulating the 36th Division on a swift operation in capturing German prisoners on October 14, 1918; memo to commanding officers of the 36th Division informing them that the firing had ceased (the war was over), November 11, 1918.
Subseries C. Lists and Rosters, 1917-1918, undated
Box Folder
1 6 Award Recipients, undated
Lists of 36th Division Distinguished Service Cross recipients and 36th Division Croix de Guerre recipients.
7 Casualty Lists, undated
List of 36th Division officers killed-in-action or died of wounds.
8 Rosters, 1918, undated
Roster of officers, 36th Division, AEF, October 1918; roster of officers, 71st Brigade, October 19, 1918; undated roster of officers, 72nd Infantry Brigade, 143rd Infantry, 144th Infantry, 133rd Machine Gun Battalion, 131st Machine Gun Battalion, 111th Field Signal Battalion, 11th Supply Train, 111th Engineers, and 111th Military Police.
9 Training and Reassignment Lists, 1917, undated
List of appointments and participants at Camp Leon Springs training camp, August 8, 1917; lists of 36th Division officers reassigned or returning to the United States (manuscript).
Subseries D. Orders, 1917-1919
Box Folder
1 10 36th Division Field Order, 1919
Field Order No. 29, Disposition of Units, January 3, 1919.
11 French Army Secret Order, 1918
21st Corps d'Armee of France secret order, October 11, 1918.
12 36th Division Secret Orders, 1918
Secret Order No. 6, Distribution of Units, October 10, 1918; Secret Order No. 2025, 11th A.C. HQ Artillery, October 25, 1918; Secret Order Plan of Liaison (Unit Code Names and Signals,) October 22-24, 1918.
13 Special Orders, 1917-1919
40th Division HQ Special Order No. 56, Transfer of Officers to Camp Bowie, Texas, and other locations, October 25, 1917; 36th Division HQ, Special Order No. 121 authorizing travel of Alex W. Spence and Frank A. Loftus to LeMans, France, May 3, 1919.
Subseries E. Photographs, 1917-1918, undated
Box Folder
1 14 American Expeditionary Forcers and 36th Division, 1918, undated
General Smith with John Huelen and General Whitworth; Division Adjutant Ousley and Assistant Chief of Staff Culberson; German prisoner; Division fighting in France; General Smith giving over command to the French Army; 111th Engineers building a road; General John Pershing; Chaplain Harry Hollister Kline.
15 Battle Sites and Scenes, undated
Military band; snowy trenches; war damaged church and wreckage; 36th Division command post and dugouts.
16 General Smith and Staff, 1917, undated
General Smith portrait; General Smith with his staff, aides, and other soldiers in France.
Series F. Journals, 1919
Box
OS398 "Boosts and Knocks" Journals, 1919
Three journals of commentary from soldiers occupying Camp No. 1, Base Station No. 1, St. Nazaire, France. Contains signed handwritten comments, typed letters, and memos from various individuals complimenting the camps's operation or offering suggestions for improvement, February-July, 1919.



Personal Papers, 1911-1987, undated
0.08 linear ft. (5 folders)

Box Folder
1 17 Family Correspondence, 1918
Letters from Spence to his wife discussing French culture, the German surrender, and the end of the war.
18 Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1934, 1987
Letter to Alex Spence from the Yale Law Journal requesting his contribution to their monthly publication, 1934 (possibly after his death); and a letter to Mrs. Alex Spence from the Dallas Historical Society asking for more information on Alex Spence and the possible donation of his World War I uniform.
19 Newspaper Clipping, 1912
Rice Institute dedicatory poem, "Texas."
20 Speech, 1911
Presented by Alex Spence, age 18, at a debate at Dallas High School Spence addresses the "great southern question, the problem of the Negroes in the South." Includes a manuscript copy, typescript copy, and clipping of the published speech as published in the Dallas Morning News.
21 Speech Response, 1911
Letters to Alex Spence responding to his Dallas High School debate speech which was reprinted in the Dallas Morning News. Correspondents are Caucasian and Negro, and are both laudatory and critical of Spence's opinions. Two letters mention Prohibition Clubs in Marlin and Falls County.