I am a Novice/Beginner and have been practicing for 5 weeks on an acoustic.

One issue I have that I have not seen addressed is that my anular curls in so much that when I read exercises for beginners that state:

"Place your left hand fingers on their starting frets...", that I cannot.

My fingers won't cover but 2 frets. As I reach up from e to E my pinky actually curls in about one half of one fret. If I close my fingers on my left hand one at a time my pinky curls in a full 1 1/2 inches to the center of the palm of my hand. If I hold down the E with both my index and pinky I can only get the index onto the fret for F and the pinky on to the fret for F sharp. If I lift my 4 to spread it to the 3rd fret my index just curls in to the same spacing.

I have somewhat large hands but my index and 4th finger curl in so much when I try to hold notes on the E that they move together and are on adjacent frets.

What exercises are there to spread out these fingers and get them to move apart?

If I hold one finger down on a note and then physically move the other farther away, the other finger just moves closer to the same one fret spacing.

So what can I do to get these fingers to spread out?

Songs I am playing slowly and poorly include:
Wish You Were Here
Knockin' on Heaven's Door
Louie Louie
Heart of Gold
This Land is Your Land

Many thanks in advance for mercy upon a newcomer.
When I started playing I had pretty much the same problem. All you really need to do is practice and it'll usually fix itself. Good luck.
Yeah, I reckon you're just going to have to suffer through it for a while until you get used to making those kinds of stretches.
Also, if you're putting your left hand fretting thumb over the neck, you're going to be limiting your reach, the thumb should be behind the neck (around the centre) for greatest reach and finger independence.
Speed is a by-product of shut the fuck up.
If you are a beginner, don't start playing in 1st position. Common mistake. Most people can and will overcome initial struggle, but it's unnecessary frustration and stress and can lead to bad habits. Get a capo, put it on 4th fret and play the same chords in 5th position. After a month or two you should be good to go.