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Klaus & Elisabeth C. Speer Papers

Identifier: M352

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of various writings concerning the Speers' time at the University of Southern Mississippi.


  • Creation: circa 1963-1965

Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical / Historical

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.


.80 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



Personal diaries of Elisabeth Speer, family Christmas letters, and scrapbook of newspaper clippings concerning Civil Rights Movement in 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.


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.

Related Materials

M345 Victoria Gray Adams Papers

M351 Herbert Randall Freedom Summer Photographs

M483 Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld Collection

M555 Ira Grupper and Bob Beech Civil Rights Collection

Klaus & Elisabeth C. Speer Papers
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001