John T. Merrifield and Virginia Broderson attended Oregon State College and earned degrees in 1941 (Virginia) and 1942 (John). They were married in 1942. After serving in the Navy during World War II, John returned to Corvallis to work as an engineer at the CH2M engineering firm, where Virginia was also employed as a secretary. In 1948, the Merrifields moved to Portland where John began a long and distinguished career as a civil engineer with the firm of Moffatt, Nichol, and Taylor Structural Engineers. During his career, he designed a number of prominent structures in Portland, including the Memorial Coliseum, Morrison Bridge, Hilton Hotel, and Good Samaritan Hospital. John was active and held leadership positions in several professional engineering organizations, including the Structural Engineers of Oregon, the Oregon Building Congress, and the American Society of Civil Engineers. John retired in 1989 as a vice president of Moffatt, Nichol, and Bonney. Virginia died in January 2007 and John in October 2007.
The John T. and Virginia E. Merrifield Collection documents the Merrifields' student years at Oregon State, John's career as a civil engineer and involvement in professional engineering organizations, and their family. The collection includes artifacts, a baby book, certificates, correspondence, curriculum vitae, notebooks, plaques, publications, scrapbooks, sound recordings, and a student paper.
The two scrapbooks were assembled by Virginia and contain correspondence, event programs, photographs, newspaper clippings, and publications documenting John's engineering career and the military service of Virginia's father, Arthur Broderson, in World War I. The baby book reflects the childhood of the Merrifields' daughter, Kathy, and is housed in a box with examples of Kathy's art, newspaper clippings, and a photograph. Correspondence sent to Kathy after her father's death in 2007 include stories about John from friends and former co-workers.
The materials from the Merrifields' student years include a paper written by John, A Quantitative Survey of the Corvallis Sewage, as an undergraduate thesis in civil engineering and a notebook generated by Virginia for a shorthand class. John's paper was selected as the best student paper by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), for which he received a one-year free membership in the organization.
The collection includes a wallet designed by Arthur Broderson for John and a registered professional engineer rubber stamp. Two audiocassette tapes include a recording of John's funeral service in 2007.
John T. and Virginia E. Merrifield Collection, Oregon State University Archives, Corvallis, Oregon.