Preliminary Guide to the Willis B. Merriam and Florence Merriam Papers 1940-1983

Summary Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Merriam, Florence Coardy.
Merriam, Willis Bungay
Preliminary Guide to the Willis B. Merriam and Florence Merriam Papers
Date [inclusive]
2.0 boxes.
Location note
(MASC staff use) 2-14-24-1.
This collection consists of papers of Willis B. Merriam and Florence Merriam of Pullman, WA.

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Biographical/Historical note

Willis B. Merriam (1905-1986) was born in Spokane, Washington to Willis and Madge Bungay Merriam. He attended North Central High School followed by the State Normal School at Cheney (now Eastern Washington University), where he graduated in 1928. After two years in Alaska, Willis and his wife Florence Coardy Merriam moved to Seattle, where he earned advanced degrees in geography from the University of Washington. In 1936, Merriam began teaching geography at Eastern Washington College of Education (EWU) until 1940. While there, Merriam helped establish the Northwest Scientific Association. During World War II, he was head of the U.S. Army Specialized Training Program (map reading) at the University of Oregon.

In 1945, Willis and Florence Merriam settled in Pullman, where he taught at Washington State University until his retirement in 1970. He taught various aspects of geography, including economic geography, conservation of natural resources, and South American geography, but his specialty was European geography. Both Willis and Florence Merriam liked to travel, and he became well known for the slides he took on their travels. He was a popular professor during his tenure, and remained a popular speaker in Spokane and Pullman for his slides and frequent lectures. He was involved in numerous community groups, including the Pullman Kiwanis, Early Day Toastmasters, Lambda Chi Alpha social fraternity, the Squires Male Choir, and Music Makers Mixed Choir. He was also an actor, and acted in multiple plays that Florence, produced. He helped to found the Pullman Community Theater. Willis Merriam died in 1986 after a bout with cancer.

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Scope and Contents note

This collection includes correspondence, writings, publications, diaries, notes, news clippings, scrapbooks, programs, posters, and photographs. One noteworthy item is a description of a trip down Hells Canyon and the Snake River gorge in 1947.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries 2018-08-02
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open and available for research use.

Conditions Governing Use note

Copyright restrictions apply.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Florence Coardy Merriam donated this collection to the Washington State University Libraries in 1987 (MS.1987.17).

Processing Information note

This is an unprocessed collection. Any arrangement reflects either a pre-existing order from the records' creators or previous custodians, or preliminary sorting performed by staff.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

Florence Coardy Merriam Papers, 1926-1993 (Cage 858).

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Washington State University--Faculty--Archives.

Personal Name(s)

  • Merriam, Florence Coardy.


  • Colleges and Universities

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