unc logo

Collection Number: 03964

Collection Title: William Oscar Spears Papers, 1914-1934.

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities; this finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Collection Overview

Size 1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 480 items)
Abstract William Oscar Spears (1885-1966) of Chattanooga, Tenn., was a United States naval officer who retired as a rear admiral. The collection contains the personal and family papers of Spears, the bulk consisting of detailed letters to his wife, Blanche Snodgrass Spears, concerning his missions to Brazil, 1919-1927, and Peru, 1930-1933; and his service visits to Panama, Cuba, and other South American countries. There are many references to social activities and local political events, including references to riots and political strife in Lima, Peru, 1930-1932; and descriptions of conflict in Havana, Cuba in 1933-1934. Other topics of discussion include Spears's command of various ships in the Atlantic Fleet, his shore life in the United States, naval staff affairs in Washington, D.C., and activities of his family in Chattanooga. Letters from his son, William Junior, relate to his first year at the United States Naval Academy, 1934. Volumes include the household account book of Blanche Spears, 1915-1917, and three volumes of Spears's addresses, printed in Spanish, circa 1930, and an account ledger, 1888.
Creator Spears, William Oscar, 1885-1966.
Language English
Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Restrictions to Use
No usage restrictions.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the William Oscar Spears Papers, #3964, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Purchased from Terry Alford of Annandale, Va., in 1973.
Additional Descriptive Resources
A copy of the original finding aid for this collection is filed in folder 1a.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

William Oscar Spears (1885-1966) of Chattanooga, Tenn., was a United States naval officer who retired as a rear admiral. His assignments included service in Brazil, Peru, Cuba, and Panama.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection contains the personal and family papers of William Oscar Spears (1885-1966). The bulk of the collection consists of detailed letters to his wife, Blanche Snodgrass Spears, concerning his missions to Brazil, 1919-1927, and Peru, 1930-1933; and his service visits to Panama, Cuba, and other South American countries. There are many references to social activities and local political events, including references to riots and political strife in Lima, Peru, 1930-1932; and descriptions of conflict in Havana, Cuba in 1933-1934. Other topics of discussion include Spears's command of various ships in the Atlantic Fleet, his shore life in the United States, naval staff affairs in Washington, D.C., and activities of his family in Chattanooga, Tenn. Letters from his son, William Junior, relate to his first year at the United States Naval Academy, 1934. Volumes include the household account book of Blanche Spears, 1915-1917, and three volumes of Spears's addresses, printed in Spanish, circa 1930, and an account ledger, 1888.

Back to Top

Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934.

Folder 1a

Original finding aid #03964, Series: "William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934." Folder 1a

Folder 1

Collection survey #03964, Series: "William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934." Folder 1

Folder 2

1914, 1917-1918 #03964, Series: "William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934." Folder 2

Folder 3

April-December 1919 #03964, Series: "William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934." Folder 3

Folder 4

1920, 1922 #03964, Series: "William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934." Folder 4

Folder 5

May-December 1923 #03964, Series: "William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934." Folder 5

Folder 6

1924-1926 #03964, Series: "William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934." Folder 6

Folder 7

1927-1928 #03964, Series: "William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934." Folder 7

Folder 8

1929 #03964, Series: "William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934." Folder 8

Folder 9-10

Folder 9

Folder 10

1930 #03964, Series: "William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934." Folder 9-10

Folder 11

1931 #03964, Series: "William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934." Folder 11

Folder 12-13

Folder 12

Folder 13

1932 #03964, Series: "William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934." Folder 12-13

Folder 14

1933 #03964, Series: "William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934." Folder 14

Folder 15-16

Folder 15

Folder 16

1934 #03964, Series: "William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934." Folder 15-16

Folder 17

Furniture receipts from Brazil, 1923-1925; unidentifed photographs #03964, Series: "William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934." Folder 17

Folder 18

Volume 1: Notebook, 1915-1917 #03964, Series: "William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934." Folder 18

Folder 19

Volume 2: Conferencias del Curso de la Escuela Superior de Guerra Naval: Derecho Internacional, undated #03964, Series: "William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934." Folder 19

Folder 20

Volume 3: Conferencias del Curso de la Escuela Superior de Guerra naval: Por el Capitan de Navio W. O. Sparks, de la Mision Naval Norteamericana , 1930 #03964, Series: "William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934." Folder 20

Folder 21

Volume 4: Reglamente de la Base Naval de San Lorenzo, 1930 #03964, Series: "William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934." Folder 21

Folder 22

Volume 5: Account ledger, 1888 #03964, Series: "William Oscar Spears Papers, 1888-1934." Folder 22

Back to Top

Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007

Updated by: Adam Fielding, Kate Stratton, and Jodi Berkowitz, January 2011

This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

Diacritics and other special characters have been omitted from this finding aid to facilitate keyword searching in web browsers.

Back to Top