Morris Edmund Speare

Morris Edmund Speare

Birth
Russia
Death 27 Feb 1974 (aged 89)
District Of Columbia, USA
Burial
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Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA
Plot Section: F, Lot: 326, Grave: 0
Memorial ID 185428004 · View Source
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Morris Edmund Speare was born Morris Soperstein, the eldest child of Mary Rosenberg (Chazan) and Jacob Soperstein. He arrived with them to Boston as a small child in 1886 or 1888; his two siblings were born in Boston. He modified this biography to give the impression that he was from a Christian family and that he was born in Boston.

One story is that Morris changed the last name from Soperstein to Spear to go to Harvard. "Born in Russia, Morris went to Harvard, where he became a snob. He decided Lowell Street (where his parents had lived since they came to the U.S.) was not a proper address for a Harvard man, and he found a large house at the end of the car line, on Maplewood Square, in Malden" (on Salem Street). The name change was made official in 1904. Morris graduated from Harvard cum laude in 1908. Sometime around the year (1915) he married Florence Jay Lewis, Morris added the e to Spear: Morris Edmund Speare, and often signed his writing as M. Edmund Speare.

Morris taught rhetoric at Colby College (1910-11); he taught at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (1911-14), then at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis (1916-21). He completed his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins in 1923. He lived in New York City for most of his career, with teaching posts in English (St. John's University, 1932-39, and Hunter College, 1940-45) and primarily as editor for Pocket Books and Knopf publishers. He lived in the Chevy Chase section of Washington, D.C. late in life.

Pocket Books was publisher of the first mass-market paperback books. Morris's first edited volume of poetry – "The Pocket Book of Verse; Great English and American Poems" – was published by Pocket Books in 1940. He was also the editor of such volumes as "The Pocket Book of Short Stories" (1941), "World's Great Short Stories” (1942) and, in 1943: “Great French Short Stories,” “Tales of Terror,” “World’s Great Mystery Stories,” and “World’s Great Detective Stories.”
He was the author of two books: "Vital Forces in Current Events; Readings on Presentday Affairs from Contemporary Leaders and Thinkers" (1920) and "The Political Novel; Its Development in England and in America" (1924).
He was also, with Walter Black Norris, the editor of "World War Issues and Ideals; Readings in Contemporary History and Literature" (1918).
See Library of Congress catalog for Morris E. Speare's complete publications.

Morris was a believer in communication with the dead; see "Unknown but Known; My Adventure into the Meditative Dimension" (1969) by Arthur Ford, who cites Morris’s summary of several sittings when Ford brought messages for Morris from his wife Florence after her death; Morris left money to a fellow believer to watch for signals or messages from him after his own death. He was writing a creative work based on his experiences in parapsychology when he died, one month before turning 90.

Florence was a playwright and writer. Morris and Florence had no children. In 2018, a DNA match (and subsequent discovery of original birth certificate) linked Morris as the father of a baby boy who was given up for adoption in 1920 (and died in 1994), leaving Morris with biological descendants.


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  • Maintained by: TCS
  • Originally Created by: L A Childress
  • Added: 23 Nov 2017
  • Find A Grave Memorial 185428004
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Morris Edmund Speare (21 Mar 1884–27 Feb 1974), Find A Grave Memorial no. 185428004, citing Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA ; Maintained by TCS (contributor 49895823) .