Jean Spencer (1933-1992), a University of Maryland graduate, was an expert in the area of state and local government. In 1966, Governor Tawes selected Spencer to work as staff director of the Commission for the Modernization of the Maryland Government. In 1967, she became the assistant director of the Governor's Task Force on Modern Management under Governor Spiro T. Agnew. Spencer was also the research staff director for the Maryland Consitutional Convention of 1967-1968. While working for Governor Agnew in 1968, Spencer made recommendations to Agnew in favor of reactivating the Commission on the Status of Women, originally formed by Governor Tawes in 1965. In 1969, Spencer followed Agnew to the White House when he was elected vice president for Richard Nixon. As Special Assistant to the Vice President for Research, Spencer was responsible for basic and program research in support of the vice president and his stff. After Agnew resigned in 1973, Spencer became more involved in Maryland's higher education. In 1990, she became the deputy chancellor for the University of Maryland System. Spencer's papers consist of correspondence, memos, clippings, reports, memorabilia, and photographs, primarily from her time with the Office of the Vice President and the Office of the Governor in Maryland.
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9.92 Linear Feet
24 Photographs : mixture of color and B/W photographs
The papers of Jean Spencer span the years 1951 to March 10, 2009 and consist of correspondence, memos, newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs, memorabilia, publications, scrapbooks, and research gathered while she worked for Spiro Agnew, both during his term as governor of Maryland and as vice president. Also included are materials gathered by Spencer during her work in the 1970s through the 1990s with Maryland state higher education. Topics covered include the Constitutional Convention of Maryland in 1967, the Executive Reorganization Committee, the Equal Rights Amendment, and the status of women. Also included is a copy of Agnew's vice-presidential resignation letter, as well as memos from the early careers of Donald Rumsfeld and Pat Buchanan.
Jean Elizabeth Spencer was born on March 28, 1933. She received a B.S., an M.A. in Political Science in 1961 and a Ph.D. in 1966, all from the University of Maryland. After earning her Ph.D., she became a research associate at the Bureau of Governmental Research, College of Business and Public Administration at the University of Maryland.
Based on her expertise and experience in the area of state and local government, Governor Tawes selected Spencer to work as staff director of the Commission for the Modernization of the Maryland Government, headed by John Curlett, in 1966. In 1967, she became the assistant director of the Governor's Task Force on Modern Management under Governor Spiro Agnew and continued in this position under Governor Mandel. During this time, she arranged for the creation of the Executive Reorganization Committee, also headed by Curlett, to continue the work of the former commission and to develop a comprehensive plan of reorganization to submit to the Maryland General Assembly in 1969. Governor Mandel implemented state executive branch reorganization to form a cabinet system based on recommendations from the Commission. Spencer was also the research staff director for the Maryland Constitutional Convention of 1967-1968, which drafted a proposed state constitution that was hailed across the country as a model for state government reform. It was later defeated in a referendum vote in 1968, although many of its amendments were eventually adopted. While working for Governor Agnew in 1968, Spencer also made recommendations to Agnew in favor of reactivating the Commission on the Status of Women, originally formed by Governor Tawes in 1965, and of which Spencer was staff advisor. It was renamed the Maryland Commission for Women and established by law under Governor Mandel in 1971.
In 1969, Spencer followed Agnew to the White House when he was elected vice president under Richard Nixon. As Special Assistant to the Vice President for Research, Spencer was responsible for basic and program research in support of activities and initiatives to be undertaken by the vice president and his staff, maintaining updated briefing books on substantive foreign and domestic policy concerns of the Administration, reviewing and proposing replies to correspondence from the academic and professional community, and maintaining files of all articles published by the vice president or members of the vice president's staff. She also helped organize the Republican Women's Convention of 1972, and campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment.
After Agnew resigned from the vice presidency in October 1973, Spencer became special assistant to Presidential Counselor Anne Armstrong in the Office of Women's Programs before returning to Maryland. She held several positions with the Board of Trustees of the State Universities and Colleges before being appointed Executive Director in 1978. In 1988, she was instrumental in developing the plan for the reorganization of Maryland's higher education system, combining all publicly-funded four year colleges and universities in Maryland into one organization. In 1990, she became the deputy chancellor, and thus the then highest-ranking woman, in the University of Maryland system. When the position was abolished in 1991, due to cost-cutting measures implemented by Chancellor Donald Langenberg, Spencer took a leave of absence for writing and research.
On March 19, 1992, Jean Spencer died from a pulmonary embolus at the age of fifty-eight. Three sisters survived her. In 1993, the Maryland Commission for Women and the Women Legislators of Maryland added her posthumously to the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame.
This collection is organized into eight series:
Jean Spencer's three sisters, Janet Hartnett, Judith Heisinger, and Jacqueline Porthouse, donated the papers to the University of Maryland Libraries in 1997. The sisters donated additional materials in December 2003. Janet Hartnett donated two scrapbooks in November 2019.
The materials were placed in acid-free folders and housed in acid-free boxes. Oversized materials were separated and some larger photographs were removed from their frames and placed in and oversize flat box. Photographs, when practical, were sleeved in mylar. Memorabilia items were separated, wrapped in tissue or housed in envelopes, individually numbered, and added to the Memorabilia Collection. Staples were removed from documents, and newspaper clippings that were deteriorating were photocopied onto acid-free paper or placed between two sheets of acid-free paper. Duplicate items were discarded. 13 additional photographs were incorporated into the collection in 2006. Two scrapbooks were incorporated into collection in 2020; the scrapbooks were removed from binders and put into two photo binders.