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.
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.
Restrictions on Access :
Collection is open to the public.
Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.Restrictions on Use :
Property rights reside with Special Collections & 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 & University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.
Archival may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.
Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.
If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.Preferred Citation :
[Identification of item], Melvin Leroy Merritt Papers, Ax 066, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.
The Melvin Leroy Merritt papers are contained in one loose volume and six boxes and are not divided into series.
Detailed Description of the Collection