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Melvin Leroy Merritt papers

Identifier: Ax 066

Scope and Contents

The collection concerns numerous aspects of forester Melvin Leroy Merritt's life but focuses primarily on his career with the Forest Service. The forestry material concerns Oregon, Alaska and the Philippines, where Merritt lived for three years. The collection contains correspondence, personal and professional journals/diaries, pictures, memos and professional reports for the various wildernesses under the supervision of Merritt. A good part of the collection is contained in the field diaries of Merritt and Juan Guthrie. These journals take up two complete boxes.

In addition to professional material, the Merritt papers contain personal and biographical information. A scrapbook in box 1 contains a brief family history of dates as well as newspaper clippings highlighting significant events relating to Merritt, including his wedding announcement, anniversaries, deaths, etc. The loose volume also contains family history. It was written by Merritt's grandmother in 1909. The Melvin Leroy Papers contain a wealth of information about the histories of the forests and the Forest Service of Alaska, Oregon and the Philippines.


  • 1870-1952


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Melvin Leroy Merritt born October 19, 1879 near West Union, Iowa was the son of Morris Merritt and Jennie Allnat Merritt. He was the fourth of six children who were raised on a farm outside of Grundy Center, Iowa. Raised on a farm, Merritt was used to hard work. Upon graduating high school in 1898, Merritt attended Iowa State College in Ames, where he graduated in 1903 with a degree from the Horticulture department. After his graduation from college, he remained in Ames for two years as in instructor in the Horticulture department.

In 1905, Merritt left his teaching position at Iowa State for a position with the Bureau of Forestry in Manila, the Philippines. He remained in the Philippines for three years, originally settling in Calapan on Mindoro but later moving back to the headquarters in Manila. Merritt was one of the few men from his small Iowa town who had traveled around the world when he returned to the United States in 1909.

Once Merritt returned to the United States, he gained a position with the United States Forestry Service, residing in Oregon. On September 30, 1913, he married Nellie I. Brown amongst all his family in Iowa. Nellie was also a graduate of Iowa State College. With Nellie, Merritt would have three children: Alice Gertrude born September 12, 1914, Melvin Leroy born November 12, 1921 and Morris Jr., born October 27, 1923. At the time of his marriage (1913), Merritt was a supervisor of the Deschutes National Forest at Bend. In 1921, the Merritt family moved to Juneau, Alaska, where Melvin received a promotion as the Assistant District Forester of National Forests of Alaska. He was the second man in charge at the headquarters in Juneau. Melvin Merritt remained in Alaska for thirteen years before being promoted once and again and returning to Oregon. That return took place in 1934, when Merritt took up the position of Assistant Regional Forester of the North Pacific Region of the Forest Service in charge of operation and fire control. Melvin Merritt remained in this position until his death in 1961.


3 linear feet (6 containers, 1 volume)

Language of Materials



The Melvin Leroy Merritt papers comprise family and professional material. The majority of the material focuses on Merritt's profession with the Forest Service, both in the United States and the Philippine Islands. The collection contains correspondence, private journals, as well as professional field diaries. In addition to Merritt's field journals, the collection also contains numerous field diaries of Juan Guthrie.


The Melvin Leroy Merritt papers are contained in one loose volume and six boxes and are not divided into series.

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Melvin Leroy Merritt papers Ax 066
Complete Description
Finding aid prepared by University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Finding aid written in English.
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA