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Guide to the John C. Merriam papers, 1882-1945 (bulk 1904-1945)
BANC MSS C-B 970  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: John C. Merriam Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1882-1945
    Date (bulk): (1904-1945)
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-B 970
    Creator: Merriam, John C. (John Campbell), 1869-1945
    Extent: Number of containers: 9 cartons, 1 box (Linear feet: 11.75)
    Repository: The Bancroft Library.
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: Correspondence, manuscripts and reprints of writings, and some subject files relating to Merriam's career at the University of California as well as his work in palaeontology and conservation.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html. 
    Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html .

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], John C. Merriam papers, BANC MSS C-B 970, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Associated Collections

    • Associated collection: John C. Merriam papers (MSS32706; Library of Congress).

    Alternate Forms Available

    Copies of Letters of J.C. Hawver, d. 1914 available on microfilm; negative (BNEG Box 2729) and positive.

    Acquisition Information

    The John C. Merriam papers were gifted to the Bancroft Library by Lawrence C. Merriam and Charles W. Merriam in 1963 and 1970.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Merriam, John C. (John Campbell), 1869-1945--Archives
    University of California (1868-1952). Department of Paleontology
    Save-the-Redwoods League
    National parks and reserves--United States
    Paleontology--California--La Brea Pits
    Faculty papers


    Born in Iowa, Oct, 20, 1869, John Campbell Merriam, palaeontologist, educator and administrator, grew up in the Midwest, where he attended Lenox College. After obtaining his doctorate from Munich, Merriam came to the University of California as an instructor of palaeontology and historical geology in 1894, becoming a full professor in 1912, and Dean of the Faculties in 1920.
    While at the University, he worked on the question of the authenticity of the Calaveras skull, explored shell mounds for fossils and Indian artefacts in conjunction with the Department of Anthropology, studied the John Day fauna in Oregon, the fossil beds of Virgin Valley, Nevada, and extinct faunas of the Mohave area. Of great interest to him was the discovery of fossil remains in the La Brea tar pits of southern California. It was due in large part to Merriam's foresight that the material found in the pits was preserved for scientific research. Merriam was also involved in the negotiations with Annie Alexander for the establishment of the University's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. As a member of the University Press Editorial Committee, he actively supported publication of reports on palaeontological discoveries. Merriam resigned in June 1920 to become president of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, a post he retained until 1938. He was also a Regent of the Smithsonian from 1928.
    Merriam belonged to many scientific societies and was particularly interested in the formation of a palaeontological society which would publish current articles. He always retained an interest in the West, and, as president of the Save-the-Redwoods League, was active in the conservation movement in California.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists largely of incoming and outgoing correspondence dating mainly from circa 1904 to 1919 and from 1940 to 1945. Merriam's correspondence dating from the 1920s and 1930s is in the John C. Merriam papers at the Library of Congress. Also in the collection are typed manuscripts of some of Merriam's articles, addresses, lectures, and memoranda dating from circa 1912 to 1945. Among these are Merriam's writings relating to his interest in National Parks (Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and Crater Lake, in particular, but also to the idea of National Parks more generally). The collection also includes some files relating to organizations such as the University of California, Save-the-Redwoods League and the National Parks Association.