Merrill K. Riddick was born on March 7, 1895 in Madison, Wisconsin. He moved to eastern Montana at the age of 11. His father, Carl Riddick, served two terms as a U.S. Congressman for the Eastern District of Montana in 1919 and 1921. At the age of 16 Merrill K. Riddick began traveling throughout the Northwest and became interested in the emerging field of aviation. In 1917, Riddick was a member of the first graduating class from the Army Air Force Aeronautics School in San Diego, California. He was sent to Europe during World War I to serve as an instructor and to fly reconnaissance.
After the war, Riddick was among the first airmail pilots. Riddick and Charles A. Lindbergh barnstormed together and flew in the Harry Perkins Air Circus. While barnstorming Riddick met and married (on the same day) his wife, Helen May Williams, from West Virginia. They had three children. In 1928, Riddick was an instructor at the first aviation preparatory school in Rochester, New York, where he instructed future president Franklin D. Roosevelt. Riddick re-joined the Air Force during World War II and served as a technical instructor.
Riddick moved back to Montana after the war but continued traveling. After his wife's death in 1949, Riddick became involved in politics. He was a resident of Granite County during his political campaigns, which were centered around natural resource management and campaign finance reform. He wrote and published the Journal of Applied Human Ecology, which focused on his plans for resource development. He ran for Montana governor in 1968, U.S. Congress in 1972, and was a presidential candidate in 1976, 1980, and 1984, but never won an election. Riddick ran for his self-created political party, the Magneto-hydrodynamics-Puritan Epic-Prohibition Party, and would not accept campaign contributions. Riddick campaigned across the nation, traveling only by passenger bus. After his presidential campaigns Riddick moved to Annapolis, Maryland, and lived with his sister, Ruth. Riddick died on March 9, 1988, in Annapolis.
This collection contains correspondence including both letters and postcards, 1975-1980; publications by Merrill K. Riddick of the Journal of Applied Human Ecology,1966-1973; a short biography about Merrill K. Riddick, 1976; papers from his gubernatorial campaign of 1968 and U.S. senate campaign of 1972 and copies of statement of candidacy for presidential campaign of 1980 and 1984; newspaper clippings, 1975-1988; a dedication speech for a bust of Charles A. Lindbergh, 1975; and three photos, 1980.
Restrictions on Access :
Researchers must use collection in accordance with the policies of Archives and Special Collections, the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, and The University of Montana--Missoula.Restrictions on Use :
Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. and any other applicable statutes. Copyright not transferred to The University of Montana.Preferred Citation :
[Name of document or photograph number], Merrill K. Riddick Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, The University of Montana--Missoula.
The collection is divided into five series:
Series I: Correspondence, 4 folders, 1975-1980
Series II: Publications, 1 folder, 1966-1976
Series III: Campaign Papers, 1 folder, 1968-1981
Series IV: Clippings and Copies, 1 folder, 1975-1988
Series V: Photographs, 3 folders, 1980
Detailed Description of the Collection
This series includes letters from Merrill K. Riddick to Marge Page of Phillipsburg, Montana, and one partial letter to Ms. Mary Ann Wallace. There is also a Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Newsletter dated September 1977 as an attachment to a letter. There are multiple postcards from Merrill K. Riddick to Marge Page tracking his travels during the 1976 and 1980 presidential campaign. There are two postcards that are not from Riddick but are addressed to Marge Page and speak of Riddick.
This series is divided between letters and postcards, both arranged chronologically.
This series includes five copies of the Journal of Applied Human Ecology. Two copies were dated August 2, 1966; two copies are dated February 1970; and one copy is dated May 1970; double copies contain hand written corrections or additional information. Also included is a short biography of Riddick written in 1976.
This series includes campaign papers Riddick used in 1968 and 1972. It also includes copies of Riddick's statement of candidacy for the 1980 and 1984 presidential elections.
This series contains remarks by Mr. Laurance S. Rockefeller at a Charles Lindbergh bust dedication. It also includes newspaper clippings from Montana, Annapolis, Maryland, and Washington D.C. A 1987 letter from Riddick's sister, Ruth, to Marge Page accompanies an article. Five obituaries are included in this series.
This series includes three photographs with a letter to Marge Page, March. Two photos are of Riddick, one in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and one in Annapolis, Maryland, in front of Riddick's sister's house. One photo is of a Fort Lauderdale residential street.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.