Guide to the Frank A. Spencer (1913-2001) Papers

Collection Title: Frank A. Spencer (1913-2001) Papers
Dates: 1941-1998
Identification: 24/5
Creator: Spencer, Francis A. (Francis Auten), 1913-
Extent: 12 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: The Frank A. Spencer papers fill eleven and one-half boxes and span the years 1941 to 1998. They are divided into biographical files, correspondence, course files, Airline Pilots Association and American Pilots Association files, publications files, research files, speech files, and transportation conference materials.
Acquisition Information: Transferred to the University Archives from the Transportation Center on September 5, 2003 (Accession #03-186).
Processing Information: Meghan Courtney; August 14, 2006.
Separated Materials: Approximately four linear feet of duplicates and extraneous materials were discarded during accessioning.
Conditions Governing Access: None.
Repository: Northwestern University Archives
Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/archives
Email: archives@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-3354

Biographical/Historical Information

Frank A. (Francis Auten) Spencer was born July 7, 1913, in Evanston, Illinois, to Frank E. and Mildred Auten Spencer. Following in his father's footsteps, Spencer attended Northwestern University. He was an involved student and a cheerleader at Northwestern sporting events. Spencer took his bachelor of science degree in economics in 1936. An aviation enthusiast, he earned his pilot's license while a student at Northwestern. Spencer joined NU's faculty in 1973 and retired in 1983.

Spencer continued his formal education at Princeton University where he earned his M.A. degree in 1938 in economics. Princeton awarded him a doctoral degree, also in economics, in 1941. While a graduate student, Spencer served on the staff of the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. There he assisted in the production of the publication, Air Mail Payment and the Government. In 1942, he worked as an economist for the Civil Aeronautics Board.

Spencer was a pilot with the U.S. Army Air Transport Command during World War II. He flew military transports to Europe and North Africa and DC-10s to Hawaii, Australia, and New Zealand. He was honorably discharged from the military on July 27, 1944.

Spencer's career as an aviator continued after the war. After a brief stint with Trans World Airlines, Spencer worked as a commercial pilot for American Airlines from 1944 to 1973. While at American he involved himself in the work of pilots' unions. He served as a negotiator for the Air Line Pilots Association for fourteen years. Thereafter, he was National Secretary of the same union for eight years. Later, he was appointed Chief Air Line Pilots Association Economic Witness before the Presidential Emergency Board. He was also chairman of the Allied Pilots Association's Grievance Committee from 1963 to 1973.

In 1973, after his sixtieth birthday, Spencer was forced into retirement from his work as a pilot. He had attempted to train for a flight officer's position, as those occupying that job often were allowed to work until age sixty-five. American ignored his requests for training, claiming that the Federal Aviation Administration required all flight crew to retire at age sixty. Spencer charged the company with age discrimination. In 1976, three years after filing his initial grievance, Spencer lost his case. He became a consultant for the Allied Pilots Association in 1974.

Spencer joined the faculty of Northwestern University in 1973 with a joint appointment as a lecturer in transportation policy and management in the Graduate School of Management and the Transportation Center. He became an assistant to the director of the Transportation Center in 1974 and an associate professor of policy and environment in 1975. Northwestern named Spencer emeritus professor upon his retirement in 1983.

Spencer's experience with academia, the military, and commercial aviation qualified him to work as a consultant for a wide range of groups including the National Mediation Board, NASA, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, System Designs Concepts, McKinsey and Company, Trans Systems Corporation, Transtar Pilots Association, Ansett Airlines, United Airlines, the J. L. Ritchie Company, and Forecast Consulting Group.

Spencer published one book and over thirty articles and research reports on airline labor relations and airline deregulation. Spencer co-wrote many of these articles with Frank Cassell, his friend and colleague at the Transportation Center.

Spencer was active in efforts to upgrade Transportation Center facilities, worked to raise funds, and made significant personal gifts toward the construction of a new building, Chambers Hall, completed in 1999. In recognition of his contributions, the Frank A. Spencer conference room bears his name. Spencer's generous financial gifts also helped to establish an endowed professorship, the William A. Patterson Distinguished Chair in Transportation.

Spencer also lobbied to have the Northwestern Transportation Library moved from its basement location when the University Library was restructured in the mid-1990's. His arguments that the library was the largest of its kind in the United States helped win it the fifth-floor location it now occupies.

In recognition of his generosity to Northwestern, the University named Spencer and his wife members of its Henry Wade Rogers Society in 1987. The Northwestern Alumni Association presented Spencer with its Service Award in 1997.

In 1996 the Northwestern University Transportation Center published Spencer's history, The Way it Was: Flight Crews.

Frank A. Spencer died of heart failure on May 8, 2001, leaving behind his second wife Catherine. Spencer's first wife, Geraldine Whitrock Spencer, died February 2, 1984.

Scope and Content

The Frank A. Spencer papers fill eleven and one-half boxes and span the years 1941 to 1998. They are divided into biographical files, correspondence, course files, Airline Pilots Association and American Pilots Association files, publications files, research files, speech files, and transportation conference materials.

The biographical files fill one box. They contain Spencer's flight logs, clippings and press releases, tributes from Northwestern University, resumes, and other items.

The correspondence files fill half a box and are divided into four subcategories: airline industry, personal, transportation building, and Northwestern University business. The airline industry file contains correspondence to and from airline executives and typically conveying Spencer's opinions for airline improvement. Included is a 1957 letter from United States Vice President Richard M. Nixon. The personal file contains letters and notes to and from Spencer's contacts outside of work, such as family and home improvement professionals. The transportation building file represents Spencer's attempts to fund and expedite the construction of what became Chambers Hall. University business correspondence reflects Spencer's dealings with Northwestern University and its bureaucracy.

The course files fill approximately one and one-half boxes and contain materials on courses that Spencer appears to have audited within the Transportation Center as well as on those he taught. These files mainly include lecture notes but often include syllabi and other handouts.

Files relating to the Airline Pilots Association and the American Pilots Association fill most of box four and pertain to the cases of pilots brought before Spencer and union colleagues. With the American Pilots Association and the Air Line Pilots Association Spencer negotiated many cases that are unrepresented here because of a 1990s purging of files in preparation for a move. Thus, the files found here represent only a small sample of Spencer's participation in the unions' affairs. Notable in this category are the three folders on Spencer's own age discrimination case.

Publication files fill approximately two boxes and contain many of Spencer's articles and research reports. The files contain drafts and notes as well as the occasional transportation journal or magazine in which the work appeared.

Research files fill approximately half a box and include both handwritten and typed notes Spencer made in preparation for writing an article. One large file contains selected airline statistics for the majority of the 1970's.

The speech files fill just under one box and consist of notes and outlines for presentations Spencer delivered, often at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management or at transportation conventions.

The transportation conference notes fill approximately three and one half boxes. They represent Spencer's participation in many transportation-related symposia and conventions during the period of his service at Northwestern. These files consist of stenographic pads filled with notes and reflections on the content and effect of the programs presented at these industry related gatherings.

Subjects

Corporate Name

Air Line Pilots Association--History

Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). Transportation Center

Personal Name

Spencer, Francis A. (Francis Auten), 1913-

Subjects

Air pilots--United States

Transportation and state--United States--Study and teaching


Container List / Contents

  • Biographical Files
    • American Airlines Pilot Logbooks, 1962-1971, n.d.Box 1, Folder 1
    • Clippings and Press Releases, 1941-1997Box 1, Folder 2
    • Death, 2001Box 1, Folder 3
    • General, 1997, n.d.Box 1, Folder 4
    • Northwestern University: Air Transportation Endowment, 1992Box 1, Folder 5
    • Northwestern University: Alumni Awards, 1986, 1997Box 1, Folder 6
    • Northwestern University: Henry Wade Rogers Society, 1987-1988Box 1, Folder 7
    • Northwestern University: Transportation Library Endowment Reception Guestbook, 1992Box 1, Folder 8
    • Resumés, 1977-1995Box 1, Folder 9
    • United States Air Force: Honorable Discharge Certificate, n.d.Box 1, Folder 10
  • Correspondence
    • General Correspondence: Airline Industry, 1957, 1975 – 1997Box 2, Folder 1
    • General Correspondence: Personal, 1975 – 1997Box 2, Folder 2
    • General Correspondence: Transportation Center Building, 1976 – 1997Box 2, Folder 3
    • General Correspondence: University Business, 1975 – 1997Box 2, Folder 4
  • Courses Attended
    • D 40 (1), 1975Box 2, Folder 5
    • D 40 (2), 1975Box 2, Folder 6
    • D 41, 1972Box 2, Folder 7
    • D 41, 1976Box 2, Folder 8
    • D 42, 1973Box 2, Folder 9
    • D 44, 1976Box 2, Folder 10
    • D 44: Handouts, 1976Box 2, Folder 11
    • D 45, 1976Box 2, Folder 12
    • D 52, 1976Box 3, Folder 1
    • D 52, 1977Box 3, Folder 2
    • E 12, n.d.Box 3, Folder 3
  • Courses Taught
    • D 40, 1974Box 3, Folder 4
    • D 40: Notes, 1974Box 3, Folder 5
    • D 42, 1974 – 1975Box 3, Folder 6
    • D 75: Issues in Transportation, n.d.Box 3, Folder 7
    • D 75: Syllabus, 1976 – 1978Box 4, Folder 1
    • E 12: Student Papers, 1974Box 4, Folder 2
  • Airline Pilots Association and the American Pilots Association Files
    • Age Discrimination Case (1), 1973 – 1976Box 4, Folder 3
    • Age Discrimination Case (2), 1973 – 1976Box 4, Folder 4
    • Age Discrimination Case (3), 1973 – 1976Box 4, Folder 5
    • Eight Hour Law: History and Regulation, 1946 – 1954Box 4, Folder 6
    • Flight Time Grievance: Air Line Pilots Association, 1954 – 1956Box 4, Folder 7
    • Pilot Arbitration Articles, 1992Box 4, Folder 8
    • Pilots Board of Adjustments, 1975Box 4, Folder 9
  • Publications
    • Administered and Economic Labor Markets, n.d.Box 4, Folder 10
    • Alternatives to the Hub, 1985Box 4, Folder 11
    • Aircraft Selection, 1978Box 4, Folder 12
    • Aircraft Selection and Evaluation, 1981Box 4, Folder 13
    • Air Data Panel, n.d.Box 5, Folder 1
    • Airline Deregulation in the United States, 1986Box 5, Folder 2
    • Airline Deregulation in the United States, 1987Box 5, Folder 3
    • Airline Future: Cloudy or Blue Skies Ahead?, 1987Box 5, Folder 4
    • Airline Labor Management Relations, 1995Box 5, Folder 5
    • Airline Labor Relations, 1985Box 5, Folder 6
    • Airline Labor Regulation Under Deregulation, 1986Box 5, Folder 7
    • Airline Labor : Return of Oligopoly, 1986Box 5, Folder 8
    • Airline Outlook: Survival of the Fittest, 1983Box 5, Folder 9
    • Airlines and Labor: Summer 1984 Status Report, 1984Box 5, Folder 10
    • Can United States Airlines Make it Internationally?, 1990Box 5, Folder 11
    • Creeping Shadows of Re-Regulation, 1987Box 5, Folder 12
    • Eastern Strike and Changes in Collective Bargaining, 1989Box 5, Folder 13
    • Eight Years of Deregulation, 1987Box 5, Folder 14
    • Employment and Labor in the Airline Industry, 1983Box 5, Folder 15
    • Employment and Labor Dept. of Transportation Report, 1984Box 5, Folder 16
    • Federal Aviation Administration National Plan for Aviation, 1990Box 5, Folder 17
    • History of International Routes, n.d.Box 6, Folder 1
    • Jet Retirement Notes, n.d.Box 6, Folder 2
    • Labor Management Relations Under Deregulation, n.d.Box 6, Folder 3
    • Labor's Role in Airline Takeovers, n.d.Box 6, Folder 4
    • Labour Strategies, 1989Box 6, Folder 5
    • Leveling the Playing Field, 1987Box 6, Folder 6
    • Policy Bargaining, October 1995Box 6, Folder 7
    • Pressure Toward Re-Regulation, 1983Box 6, Folder 8
    • Recent Airline Leveraged Buy-Outs, 1989Box 6, Folder 9
    • Revolution in Wage Policy and Labor / Management Relations, 1985Box 6, Folder 10
    • Route Awards in International Air Transportation, 1975Box 6, Folder 11
    • The Short-Term Future of Air Transportation, 1991Box 6, Folder 12
    • Research Proposal : Jet Retirement Study, 1976Box 6, Folder 13
    • Two Tier Wage Systems, July 1985Box 6, Folder 14
    • Labor Management Strategies, 1993Box 6, Folder 15
    • Labor Management: Kittyhawk to Global Aeropolitics, 1994Box 6, Folder 16
    • Private Industry Distorted by Aeropolitics, 1994Box 6, Folder 17
    • "The Way it Was : Flight Crews" : Notes, 1996Box 6, Folder 18
  • Research Files
    • Aging Aircraft Study, 1991Box 6, Folder 19
    • Air Cargo Study, n.d.Box 6, Folder 20
    • Article Notes, 1985Box 7, Folder 1
    • News Clippings, 1976 – 1986Box 7, Folder 2
    • News Summaries, 1989Box 7, Folder 3
    • Research Notes : Interviews, 1983Box 7, Folder 4
    • Statistics, n.d.Box 7, Folder 5
  • Speech Files
    • Airline Strategies : Transportation Research Board Presentation, 1988Box 7, Folder 6
    • Collective Bargaining : Airlines, 1992Box 7, Folder 7
    • Deregulation: Before and After, 1985Box 7, Folder 8
    • Economics of Airline Transport : United Airlines Executives, 1988Box 7, Folder 9
    • Recent Changes in Labor Management Relations, 1990Box 7, Folder 10
    • Regulation of Collective Action, May 1976Box 7, Folder 11
    • Short – Term Outlook for Commercial Aviation, 1991Box 7, Folder 12
    • Struggle for Survival in the Turbulent Seas of Airline Deregulation: D 10 lecture, 1986Box 7, Folder 13
    • Technology, Aeropolitics and Economics: Embry – Riddle Aeronautical University, November 1994Box 7, Folder 14
    • Technology, Economics and Corporate Strategies, June 1973Box 7, Folder 15
    • Ten Years of Deregulation, 1988Box 7, Folder 16
    • Transportation Library Endowment SpeechBox 7, Folder 17
    • Transportation Policy: Kellogg, November 1992Box 7, Folder 18
    • What's the Score in '84? D 10 lecture, April 1984Box 7, Folder 19
  • Transportation Conference Notes
    • American Bar Association Forum on Air and Space Law, 1988Box 8, Folder 1
    • Aging Aircraft, 1990Box 8, Folder 2
    • Aircraft Noise Abatement, n.d.Box 8, Folder 3
    • Airline Safety Conference, June 1986Box 8, Folder 4
    • Airline Wage Rates and Productivity, 1982 - 1983Box 8, Folder 5
    • Air Transportation Research International Forum, 1977Box 8, Folder 6
    • Air Transportation Research International Forum, 1982Box 8, Folder 7
    • Air Transportation Research International Forum, 1984Box 8, Folder 8
    • Air Transportation Research International Forum, 1985Box 8, Folder 9
    • Air Transportation Research International Forum, 1986Box 8, Folder 10
    • Air Transportation Research International Forum, 1987Box 8, Folder 11
    • Air Transportation Research International Forum, 1987Box 8, Folder 12
    • Air Transportation Research International Forum, 1988Box 8, Folder 13
    • Air Transportation Research International Forum, 1990Box 8, Folder 14
    • Air Transportation Research International Forum, 1990Box 8, Folder 15
    • Aviation Conference, n.d.Box 9, Folder 1
    • AVMARK Used Aircraft Conference, Nov. 1985Box 9, Folder 2
    • AVMARK Used Aircraft Conference, 1991Box 9, Folder 3
    • Canadian Symposium, 1989Box 9, Folder 4
    • Center for Aviation Systems Reliability, 1991Box 9, Folder 5
    • Collective Bargaining in Transportation, 1977 – 1978Box 9, Folder 6
    • Congestion Conference, 1989Box 9, Folder 7
    • Deregulation and Airline Labor, 1983 – 1984Box 9, Folder 8
    • Employment and Labor Environment in the Airline Industry, 1983Box 9, Folder 9
    • Federal Aviation Administration Forecast, 1979Box 9, Folder 10
    • Federal Aviation Administration Forecast, 1982 – 1983Box 9, Folder 11
    • Federal Aviation Administration Forecast, 1987Box 9, Folder 12
    • Federal Aviation Administration Forecast, 1989Box 9, Folder 13
    • Federal Aviation Administration : Jet Retirement, 1991Box 10, Folder 1
    • Forecast International, 1990Box 10, Folder 2
    • Future of International Regulation of Air Transportation, 1993Box 10, Folder 3
    • International Noise Abatement, 1978Box 10, Folder 4
    • International Noise Abatement, 1979Box 10, Folder 5
    • Lufthansa Colloquium, 1988Box 10, Folder 6
    • NASA Aircraft Retirement Study (1), n.d.Box 10, Folder 7
    • NASA Aircraft Retirement Study (2), n.d.Box 10, Folder 8
    • National Mediation Board Symposium, 1976Box 10, Folder 9
    • National Mediation Board Conference, 1987Box 10, Folder 10
    • The New Frontier: Airline Labor Relations in the Global Era, 1993Box 10, Folder 11
    • Noise Symposium, 1990Box 10, Folder 12
    • Oil Pipeline Conference, 1978Box 11, Folder 1
    • Phoenix International Symposium, 1990Box 11, Folder 2
    • Salomon Brothers Transportation Conference, 1989Box 11, Folder 3
    • Salomon Brothers Transportation Conference, 1990Box 11, Folder 4
    • Salomon Brothers Transportation Conference, 1992Box 11, Folder 5
    • Salomon Brothers Transportation Conference, 1993Box 11, Folder 6
    • Salomon Brothers Transportation Conference, 1995Box 11, Folder 7
    • Salomon Brothers Transportation Conference, 1998Box 11, Folder 8
    • Towards the Global Airline, March 1988Box 11, Folder 9
    • Transportation Deregulation and Safety Conference, June 1987Box 11, Folder 10
    • Transportation Labor Seminar, 1977Box 11, Folder 11
    • Transportation Research Board, 1991Box 11, Folder 12
    • Transportation Research Board, January 1992Box 12, Folder 1
    • Transportation Research Board Workshop, 1993Box 12, Folder 2
  • Notes
    • Notes, 1986Box 12, Folder 3
    • Notes, 1987Box 12, Folder 4
    • Summaries of Conference Notes, n.d.Box 12, Folder 5
    • Unidentified Notes, n.d.Box 12, Folder 6