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Adam Knight Spence and John Wesley Work collection

 Collection
Identifier: aarl90-001

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of papers of Adam Knight Spence and John Wesley Work from ca. 1851-1936. The papers contain materials relating to their interest in Negro folk music and involvement in the Fisk Jubilee Singers in the early twentieth century. Includes musical scores and arrangements, correspondence regarding the travels of the singers, printed materials, as well as correspondence (1906-1921) and classroom papers (1931) pertaining to John Work. The collection contains correspondence of Adam Knight Spence and other family members, including his brother Edwin A. Spence, his sister Julie Spence, his wife Elizabeth Fisk Spence, and his daughter Mary Spence. Of particular interest is extensive correspondence (1888-1891) from Henrietta Matson, principal of the Akola Girls' English School in Berar, India, to Elizabeth and Mary Spence regarding the education and social conditions in India at the time. Other materials include a variety of printed matter (1871-1936) relating to Fisk University.

Dates

  • 1851-1936

Creator

Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on research use of this collection.

Copyright Restrictions

Prior permission from the Research Library must be obtained in writing before any portion of this collection can be published or reproduced.

Historical Sketch

Professor A. K. Spence was the second principal of "Fisk School" (later University) in Nashville, Tenn. from 1870 until 1875. He was born in Scotland but lived most of his life in America. Before coming to Fisk, he taught Greek and French at Michigan University in Ann Arbor, Mich. He was brought to Fisk to bring the "college idea" to the school which was founded by the American Missionary Association and the Freedmen's Bureau in 1865. He was greatly interested in music and for 11 years lead the Mozart Society at Fisk. He also served in various administrative capacities at Fisk University once a new president was appointed in 1875 until his death in 1900.

Professor John Wesley Work

Professor John Wesley Work was a product of Fisk University, having graduated in 1895. He taught public school in Tullahoma, Tenn. after graduation and studied one year at Harvard Univ. He received a Master of Arts degree in Latin and Greek from Fisk in 1898. In 1900 he was made Director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. He also was a professor of Latin from 1906 to 1923.

Professor Work's greatest contribution at Fisk was his research and writing about Negro folk music. He published collections of folk songs and served as advisor to the Fisk Jubilee Singers.

In 1923, Professor Work was called to the presidency of Roger Williams University.

Extent

3.0 Cubic feet

Overview

The collection consists of papers of Adam Knight Spence and John Wesley Work from ca. 1851-1936. The papers contain materials relating to their interest in Negro folk music and involvement in the Fisk Jubilee Singers in the early twentieth century. Includes musical scores and arrangements, correspondence regarding the travels of the singers, printed materials, as well as correspondence (1906-1921) and classroom papers (1931) pertaining to John Work. The collection contains correspondence of Adam Knight Spence and other family members, including his brother Edwin A. Spence, his sister Julie Spence, his wife Elizabeth Fisk Spence, and his daughter Mary Spence. Of particular interest is extensive correspondence (1888-1891) from Henrietta Matson, principal of the Akola Girls' English School in Berar, India, to Elizabeth and Mary Spence regarding the education and social conditions in India at the time. Other materials include a variety of printed matter (1871-1936) relating to Fisk University.

Series

  1. I. Printed Material, 1887-1930
  2. II. Professor John Work, 1882-1931
  3. III. Images, 1908
  4. IV. Correspondence, 1851-1921
  5. V. Other Institutions, 1903-1921
  6. VI. Fisk University, 1871-1936

Related Archival Materials note

Mary E. Spence papers, Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee; Mary E. Spence papers, Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, Emory University.
Title
Inventory of the Adam Knight Spence and John Wesley Work Collection aarl90-001 aarl90-001
Author
Finding aid prepared by Finding aid prepared by Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History
Date
2004 September 15

Repository Details

Part of the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History Repository

Contact:
101 Auburn Avenue NE
Atlanta GA 30303
404-613-4032