Voices of Minnesota

Oral History Interview with Edson W. Spencer

DATE: December 1, 2009

INTERVIEWER: James E. Fogerty

Edson W. Spencer was born in Illinois in 1926, and was educated at William College and at Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He worked for Sears Roebuck before joining Honeywell, Inc. in 1954. He was president and CEO of Honeywell from 1974 until his retirement in 1987. He was elected a trustee of the Ford Foundation in 1977, and served as the Foundation’s chairman from 1988-1992.

In the interview Spencer discusses his early life in Chicago and Pennsylvania; education at Williams College and at Oxford University; service in the U.S. Navy; work with Sears Roebuck and life in Venezuela as a Sears representative. He also discusses the decision to join Honeywell 1954, life in postwar Japan developing Honeywell business; lifelong interest in Japan and in Asian affairs; service as president and CEO of Honeywell; the company's ventures in to computers and aviation technology; and his work with the Ford Foundation and the Mayo Clinic Foundation.


TRANSCRIPT: 35 pages