Lucile Speer Interview, February 17, 1981


Lucile Speer


Diann Wiesner



Download Audio Interview (75.2 MB)

Download Transcript of Lucile Speer Interview, February 17, 1981 (272 KB)


Lucile Speer recalls the history of the University of Montana Library (then Montana State University Library). She describes being hired by Gertrude Buckhous, the first trained librarian at the University, when the library was just one room in the basement of Main Hall in 1922. Speer reminisces about her introduction to the library profession, having first taught freshman English in Kalispell, Montana, before being diagnosed with osteomyelitis and accepting an apprenticeship at the UM Library from Winifred Feighner. Speer discusses her wages, schooling, and how the profession was referred to as “library economy.” She mentions Phillip O. Keeney’s hiring as the head librarian, the improvements he made to the library, and how he dealt with a budget crisis. She also recalls how Sidney Cox, an English professor at the University, was fired for printing an article containing profanity in The Frontier.


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Document Type

Oral History


Library science; Speer, Lucile – Interviews; Academic librarians -- Montana -- 20th century; Academic librarians -- Montana – Interviews; Academic libraries -- Montana – History; Montana State University (Missoula, Mont.) -- History; Montana State University (Missoula, Mont.). Library -- History; Montana State University (Missoula, Mont.) -- Faculty; College teachers' unions -- Montana -- Missoula – History; Buckhous, Gertrude, -1931; University of Montana--Missoula – History; Cox, Sidney, 1889-1952; Keeney, Philip O. (Philip Olin), 1891-1962; Maclean, Norman, 1902-1990; Academic libraries -- Montana -- Finance – History; Library education -- Montana – History; Library economy; Craig, Mary; Feighner, Winifred; The Frontier (Missoula, Mont.)

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

Lucile Speer Interviews Oral History Project, OH 046, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 /

Oral History Number

OH 046-006

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 sound cassette (01:00:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (12 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

01:00:01 minutes

Local Filename

OH_046_006.mp3; OH_046_006.pdf

Lucile Speer Interview, February 17, 1981