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Charles Spain Papers

 Collection
Identifier: WSP000016
Series 1: Personal papers, correspondence and memorabilia; a small amount of general business correspondence; congratulatory letters received on retirement in 1939; miscellaneous items related to retirement; assorted clippings.

Series 2: Professional publications and speeches; reprints; manuscripts of journal articles; notes for speeches given.

Series 3: A scrapbook dealing with the history of the Detroit Board of Education between 1907 and 1929.

Series 4: The Spain family scrapbook; a transcription of Spain's father's gold-hunting trip to Colorado in 1859.

Dates

  • 1919 - 1944

Creator

Access

Collection is open for research.

Use

Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.

Extent

1.5 Linear Feet (3 MB)

Abstract

Born in 1869 in Indiana, Charles Spain earned his degrees from University of Michigan, completing his Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1923. He began his education career in the public schools of Grand Rapids, serving as teacher and principal. He transferred to the Detroit Public School system in 1901 as vice principal of the Washington Normal School, and became principal in 1902. Promoted to supervisor of primary grades in 1906, Spain was responsible for curriculum reorganization and administration in early elementary grades. He was instrumental in the organization of the school system’s three collegiate units: The College of the City of Detroit, the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery, and the Detroit Teacher’s College. Spain held progressive ideas about the role of art, music, physical education, theater, arts and the school library in elementary education which gained strong popularity in the following years.

History

Born in 1869, Charles Spain was educated in the public schools of South Bend, Indiana and the University of Michigan from which he received three degrees, a bachelor's in 1893, a master's in 1920 and a doctorate in philosophy in 1923. His career as an educator began in the Grand Rapids public schools where he served as both a teacher and a principal. He entered the Detroit public school system in 1901 as a vice principal of the Washington Normal School, becoming principal in the following year. In 1906 he was appointed supervisor of primary grades, a position which involved responsibility for curriculum-reorganization and administration in early elementary grades. In 1913, Spain became General Supervisor of Elementary Education and, in the following year, was promoted to the position of Assistant Superintendent of Schools under Superintendent Charles Chadsey. When Frank Cody was elected Superintendent by the Detroit Board of Education in 1919, Spain became Deputy Superintendent with responsibility for the technical administration of the entire school system. As a result of the rapidly growing importance of the school system's collegiate units, the College of the City of Detroit, the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery, and the Detroit Teachers College, he was named Executive Vice President of University Education in 1933, a title later changed to Executive Vice President of Wayne University. On his retirement in 1939 he received an honorary doctor of laws degree and the title Vice Presi-dent Emeritus.

Although Charles Spain was instrumental in the organization of the school system's collegiate units into Wayne University, his most important work was done in the field of elementary education where he enjoyed a considerable reputation and nation-wide prominence. Although his early work received little attention outside of the Detroit area, his progressive ideas about the role of art, music, physical education, theater arts and the school library in elementary education later gained wide approval. He was one of the first school administrators to work closely with architects to design buildings better suited to individual educational curricula. A frequent contributor to educational journals, his articles on "Platoon Schools" in 1920 and "The Public Elementary School Plant" in 1930 attracted considerable attention.

Arrangement

Arranged in 4 series - Series 1 (Box 1), Series 2 (Boxes 2-3), Series 3 (Box 3), and Series 4 (Box 4). Material is arranged alphabetically and then chronologically within each series.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Title
Charles Spain Papers
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA