The Ward M. Canaday Center

for Special Collections

The University of Toledo

Finding Aid

Doreen Canaday Spitzer Papers


Size: .25 linear ft.

Provenance: Gift of Doreen Canaday Spitzer, 2002

Access: open

Related Collections: Ward M. Canaday Collection, MSS-072

Processing Note:

Copyright: The literary rights to this collection are assumed to rest with the person(s) responsible for the production of the particular items within the collection, or with their heirs or assigns.  Researchers bear full legal responsibility for the acquisition to publish from any part of said collection per Title 17, United States Code.  The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections may reserve the right to intervene as intermediary at its own discretion.

Completed by: Sara R. Wise, September 30, 2002

Biographical Sketch

            Doreen Canaday Spitzer, daughter of Miriam and Ward Canaday, was born on December 5, 1914, in New Castle, Indiana. After two years there, the family moved to Toledo, Ohio, where her father began work in the automobile industry for Willys-Overland.  She was sent to Dongan Hall, a small boarding- and day-school on Staten Island, in 1927. Her father's business success allowed her to continue her education through the Depression and she was accepted at Bryn Mawr College.
            After graduating from Bryn Mawr in 1936 and intent on finding a career in archaeology, the family took a trip to Greece.  Doreen remained there to study at the American School of Classical Studies until the increasing imminence of war forced her to return to the U.S. in 1938. Spending a month in Cambridge gave her the opportunity to spend time with Lyman Spitzer, a postdoctoral fellow in astronomy from Harvard and they were engaged just after the Christmas of 1939. The newlywed couple moved to an apartment in New York City, and they were soon the parents of four.
In December of 1941, the government awarded a contract to Willys-Overland for the production of Ward Canaday's brain-child, the "General Purpose Vehicle," the "GP," or as it is now known, the Jeep. The extraordinary success of her father's business during the war allowed the family significant financial liberties to begin philanthropic and cultural work and investments. The family contributed to the rebuilding of the Stoa of Attalos as the Agora Museum in Greece where Ms. Spitzer worked on archaeological excavation. Various buildings and libraries were also constructed from gifts and Ms. Spitzer continued this work after her parents’ death.
In 1977, Ms. Spitzer contacted Leslie Sheridan, director of the University of Toledo's library, about constructing a facility to honor her father who had served as president of the Friends of the University of Toledo Library for over 50 years.  Arrangements were made for the construction of a special center within Carlson Library dedicated to the preservation and use of special collections. The center was named The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections and was financed through the generous gift of Doreen Canaday Spitzer. The center was dedicated on September 26, 1979.

Scope and Content Note

            The D.C. Spitzer papers are mainly comprised of correspondence relating to the establishment of the Ward M. Canaday Center at the University of Toledo. The Correspondence series is arranged as general correspondence from faculty and concerned persons, correspondence to Leslie Sheridan, and correspondence to and from Doreen Canaday Spitzer regarding the construction and initial administration of the center. There is also paperwork, bulletins and advertisements regarding the dedication of the center, correspondence and minutes of meetings from the Friends of the University of Toledo Libraries, newspaper articles, a copy of the winter 2000 Toledo Alumni Magazine, and various miscellaneous materials concerning the center.

Folder List


































       Correspondence, (1975-2000)

       Correspondence, To Leslie Sheridan (1979-1992)

       Correspondence, From Ms. Spitzer (1977-2000)

       Correspondence, To Ms. Spitzer (1977-2000)

    Dedication/Establishment of W.M. Canaday Center

    Friends of the University of Toledo Libraries


    Newspaper Articles

    Toledo Alumni Magazine


Last Updated: 6/27/22