Name and location of repository
Level of description
- 1928 - 2004 (Creation)
Name of creator
Name of creator
Ellen Marr Spector was born in 1920 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Spector had little formal training in music, but was blessed with a natural ability to read music and carry a tune. She began performing at the age of 8 years old when she auditioned for The Children’s Hour, a radio variety show starring children. She was a series regular until the age of 16. In her teen years she formed a duo with her former costar Norman “Red” Benson. They were known as “The Sweethearts of the Air” and would perform regularly on radio station WCAU. Later they joined with another former costar, Charlie Swier and formed “The Dandies.” They performed in night clubs around Philadelphia. At the age of 22 she married Aaron Spector. She continued singing on the radio but soon gave up her career to raise her two children.
In the 1950s and 1960s her career was reborn in a new form. She began performing at synagogues in professional productions. Her singing and acting career began anew. She also cofounded Phoenix Productions, which performed musicals for children. Spector and her troupe toured around Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. Throughout the summer they would perform weekly at the Shady Grove Music Fair. Spector performed the role of Jingles the clown. In this role, Ellen led the children of the audience into the fantasy world of theatre. One reviewer, in describing her rapport with her young audiences, said, “She can reach out over the audience with invisible fingertips and to each and every little boy and girl until they fall under her friendly spell.” Her involvement with Phoenix Productions would mark the final phase of her career as a performer. Having started as a child performer on a radio show designed for children, it is fitting that her final years as a performer were with a children’s theatre company. She seems to have come full circle, and never wavered from her goal of bringing music and entertainment to audiences of all ages.
Content and structure elements
Scope and content
System of arrangement
The collection is arranged in 10 series according to subject.
Series 1: Biographical
Series 2: Musical Plays
Series 3: Plays, Short Stories and Poems.
Series 4: Music
Series 5: Cartoons
Series 6: Professional Correspondence
Series 7: Lectures
Series 8: Ellen Spector
Series 9: Audio and Visual Media
Series 10: Huret Spector Gallery
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Conditions governing access
Conditions governing reproduction
Languages of the material