E. Merrill Root papers, 1917-1967  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Root, E. Merrill (Edward Merrill), 1895-1973
Title
E. Merrill Root papers
Dates
1917-1967 (inclusive)
Quantity
2.0 linear feet, (5 containers)
Collection Number
Coll 051
Summary
E. Merrill Root (1895-1973) was a poet, college English teacher, and anti-Communist activist. The collection includes correspondence, manuscripts, poetry, lectures, photographs, and reviews of his literary efforts.
Repository
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.
UO Libraries--SPC, 1299
University of Oregon
Eugene OR
97403-1299
Telephone: 541-346-3068
Fax: 541-346-3485
spcarref@uoregon.edu
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public.

Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.

Collection includes sound recordings or moving images to which access is restricted. Access to these materials is governed by repository policy and may require the production of listening or viewing copies. Researchers requiring access must notify Special Collections & University Archives in advance and pay fees for reproduction services as necessary.

Additional Reference Guides
Other Finding Aids note

See the Collective Name Index to the Research Collection of Conservative and Libertarian Studies for a cross-referenced index to names of correspondents in this collection, if any, and 37 related University of Oregon collections, including dates of correspondence. See index instructions on use.

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

E. Merrill Root (1895-1973) dedicated his life to crafting poetry, teaching college English, and rooting out Communists and Marxist propaganda from the American educational system.

The son of a Congregational minister, Root was brought up in the Providence, Rhode Island area. He graduated, in 1917, from Amherst College where he studied under Robert Frost, a poet he admired tremendously. During World War I. Root was a conscientious objector, and went to France under the auspices of the American Friends Service Committee. Upon his return from France, Root studied at Andover Theological Seminary. In 1920 he joined the faculty of Earlham College, a small Quaker institution in Richmond, Indiana, where he taught until his retirement in 1960.

In the late 1930s E. Merrill Root metamorphosed from a devout Quaker and pacifist to an active rightist. He claimed that "my education occurred, when I found... that modern liberalism was coming to mean liberal government, not liberal man." Root first exploded into political print with "Darkness at Noon in American Colleges" ( Human Events, July 30, 1952), an article in which he warned parents that their sons and daughters were catching the "polio of collectivism" at college. Apparently the parents failed to listen because in 1954 Root sought to drive his theme home with Collectivism on the Campus, a book in which he proclaimed that communism was rampant in American institutions of higher learning. While Root's new book did not do very well, it brought his name to the attention of Ira E. Westbrook, a conservative attorney and member of the Evanston, Illinois High School Board. Westbrook asked Root to check high school history books for "un-American" thoughts. In Brainwashing in the High Schools Merrill Root proclaimed that the United States was losing the cold war and that the blame rested with history textbooks, which brainwashed students by distorting the truth and indoctrinating them with collectivist ideas. This book rocketed Root to fame in conservative circles, and launched him on the lecture circuit and into state legislative hearings as an "expert" on communism in education. Root also became a member of the Textbook Evaluation Committee of Operation Textbook, an activity sponsored by America's Future under the direction of Lucille Cardin Crain, the former editor of the Educational Reviewer.

As well as his vitriolic writings on subversion in education, Merrill Root published several books of poetry that met with a measure of critical acclaim; amongst his admirers was Robert Frost. Root also wrote a non-critical biography of the notorious Frank Harris.

E. Merrill Root died in 1973 at Kennebunkport, Maine.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The E. Merrill Root papers include correspondence, manuscripts, published poetry and articles, lectures, reviews of his literary efforts, collected conservative materials and a cassette of Root reading his poetry.

The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent and includes letters to and from that person. Enclosures have been filed behind the letter with which they came. Of interest are young Merrill's letters written from France, 1917-1918 (box 1, folder 8) as they are in sharp contrast to the conservative spirit of his later years. Noted correspondents include William F. Buckley, Jr., Lucille Cardin Crain, Max Eastman, Thomas E. Jones, Edmund A. Opitz, and Robert Welch. A holograph quote by Frank Harris has also been filed in this series.

Collectivism on the Campuses and 4 untitled articles comprise the manuscript series. Numerous published poetry and articles follow, first those as tearsheets, then those included in the magazine or pamphlet in which they were published. They are filed alphabetically by title.

Root's lectures, both in manuscript and printed form, articles about Root, reviews of his works, textbook publishing houses' defenses against Brainwashing in the High Schools by Root, memorabilia, and collected conservative literature conclude the boxed material. Stored separately is a film, "Facts Forum: UNESCO Good or Bad Influence," November 1, 1955.

One badly damaged photograph of a childhood vacation spot is shelved as PH057 and one broadside for a Root lecture at the Wisconsin Conservative Club has been removed to the Broadside Collection.

The researcher should be aware that there are also E. Merrill Root Papers at Amherst College in Massachusetts.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives. 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 material 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], E. Merrill Root papers, Coll 051, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series I:  CorrespondenceReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
1 1
Ash, Dickson H., Mrs
1 1
Bailey, Frank
1 1
Balfour, L.G
1 1
Beebe, Dan L.
1 1
Begin, Z. L.
1 1
Benson, George S.
1 1
Blackburn, Mary
1 1
Blazey, Arthur G.
1 1
Browne, Benjamin P.
1 1
Buckley, William F., Jr. (Root to editors of National Review)
1 1
Butler, Charles M.
1 1
Cassey, Bill
1 1
Chamberlain, William
1 1
Chapman, C.W
1 1
Christian Freedom Foundation (Howard E. Kershner)
1 1
Coffey, John G.
1 1
Colegrove, Kenneth
1 1
Coleman Todd, Inc.
1 1
College Life Insurance Co. of America (John Burkhart)
1 1
Collins, Corinne R.
1 1
Connoly, Charles H.
1 1
Craigmile, David F.
1 1
Crain, Lucille Cardin see: The Educational Reviewer
1 1
Cramer, William J.
1 1
Davidson, Donald
1 1
Dental Digest
1 2
Devin Adair Co.
1 3
Dohrenwend, Otto E.
1 3
Donner, Robert
1 3
Eastman, Max
1 3
Edel, William W.
1 3
Educations Information, Inc. (C.O. Garshwiler)
1 3
The Educational Reviewer (Lucille Cardin Crain)
1 3
Fairbank, Robert
1 3
Falmouth Publishing House
1 3
Fellers, Nancy Jane
1 3
For America (Bonner Fellers)
1 3
The Foundation for Economic Education, Inc.
1 3
The Freeman (Forrest Davis)
1 3
Fuller, Harry J.
1 3
Gallagher, Vernon F.
1 3
Goethe, C.M
1 3
The Golden Quill Press
1 3
Gordon, Amy P.
1 3
Gres, Alfred
1 4
Halsey, James H.
1 4
Hamilton, Leon David
1 4
Harlan, Roger K.
1 4
Harris, Frank
1 4
Helm, Wilbur
1 4
Haerz, Robert
1 4
Higgins, John Lee
1 4
Hildreth, Horace
1 4
Hofmann, Bernard
1 4
Hoge, James B.
1 4
Human Events
1 4
Hunter, Edward
1 4
Hyde, Margaret
1 5
Jacobs, E.L
1 5
Johnson, Philip
1 5
Jones, Dorothy
1 5
Jones, Mark
1 5
Jones, Thomas E.
1 5
Josephy F. Wagner, Inc. (James J. Madigan)
1 5
Keller, James
1 5
Kelly, Robert L.
1 5
Kerst, H. L.
1 5
Kiley, John
1 5
Kircher, Charlanne
1 5
LaFrance, A. Ward
1 5
Lasky, Victor
1 5
Leaderman, Maurice
1 5
Leetch, Madalen
1 5
LeFevre, Robert
1 5
Legion Magazine (Joseph C. Keely)
1 5
Lilly Endowment, Inc. (G. Harold Duling)
1 5
Lyle, David
1 5
Lytle, David J.
1 6
Macauley, C.A
1 6
MacDonald, D.V
1 6
McDonald, E.
1 6
McDonald, Philip
1 6
McGriff, Floyd
1 6
McNeill, J.D., Jr
1 6
Marvin, Burdette K.
1 6
Menjou, Adolphe
1 6
Miller, Russ
1 6
Mohr, Walter H.
1 6
Moore, Frank M.
1 6
Mundt, Karl E.
1 6
National Council for American Education (Allen A. Zoll)
1 6
National Economic Council, Inc.
1 6
National Military Industrial Conference
1 6
O’Drudy, Leo K.
1 6
The Odyssey Press, Inc.
1 6
O’Leary, Arthur T.
1 6
Opitz, Edmund A.
1 6
Owens, Robert E.
1 6
Page, Myriam
1 6
Palmer, Edgar
1 6
Pennington, Levi T.
1 6
Petty, Hen H.
1 6
Philbrick, Herbert A.
1 6
Pollard, L.K
1 6
Pons, Ralph M.
1 6
Price, Frances
1 6
Racht, Leon
1 6
Regan, Muriel B.
1 6
Robbins, J.W
1 6
Robnett, George W.
1 6
Roggenbrod, Roland
1 7
Root, E. Merrill--Letters to his family, 1917-1967, including his letters from France
1 8
Root, E. Merrill--Letters receiving no responses, to:
1 8
Bolling, Landrum
1 8
Hendricks, Flora and Walter
1 8
Howell
1 8
Metcalf, Robert M., Jr
1 8
Morris, Homer
1 8
Sterling, Pres
1 8
Wetzel, John C.
1 9
Root, Mr. and Mrs. E. Tallmage--Letters received, 1918
1 10
Root, E. Tallmage
1 10
Ross, T. J.
1 10
Rudd, Augustin G.
1 10
Runyon, Frederick O.
1 10
Schneider, William R.
1 10
Scott, R.K. (America's Future)
1 10
Shackford, John B.
1 10
Shepherd, Geoffrey W.
1 10
Sherman, Lewis
1 10
Singer, Gregg C.
1 10
Smal-Stocki, Roman
1 10
Smith, Leonard K.
1 10
Stark, Douglas H.
1 10
Streiff, Abraham
1 10
Students for America (Bob Munger)
1 10
Svoboda, F.J
1 10
Swomley, John M., Jr
1 10
Thwaite, Dorothy
1 10
Trent, Lucia
1 10
Trohan, Walter
1 10
Uruita, Wilson C.
1 10
U.S.A. (Alica Widener)
1 10
Walsh, Charles A.
1 10
Welch, Robert
1 10
Westbrook, Ira E.
1 10
Wicher, George F.
1 10
Wiley, Pliny A.
1 10
William Volker Charities Fund
1 10
Williams, Stella E.
1 10
Wise, Paul E.
1 10
Wittmer, Felix
1 10
Wright, Harry N.
1 10
Zeiss, Carl H.

Series II:  ManuscriptsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
2 1-2
Collectivism on the Campus, TMs, 598 pp
2 3
Untitled articles (4)

Series III:  Poetry, tearsheetsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
2 4
"American Hard Hats." American Opinion
October 1970
2 4
"Caryatides." The World Tomorrow
May, 1928
2 4
"Easter of the Soul." The American Friend
March 14, 1940
2 4
"The Footprints of Lightning"
2 4
"Invitation to Life"
2 4
"The Month of Doors." Friends Intelligencer
January 7, 1950
2 4
"The Nativity." York County Coast Star
December 21, 1977
2 4
"Oasis"
2 4
"Our Castle in Spain"
2 4
"Strollers on Eternity"
2 4
"Suicide: Out of a Job." The World Tomorrow
February, 1922
2 4
"The Teacher." The American Friend
June 10, 1948
2 4
"The Unregimented Heart." The Freeman
August 13, 1951
2 4
"Verses for Timidity"
2 5
Abe Lincoln, by Robert Sherwood, a review by Root, Earlham Post
February 13, 1945
2 5
"A Criticism of my Critics"
2 5
"The Culture of the Left." Human Events
February 4, 1953
2 5
"The Eternal Christmas." Human Events
December 21, 1957
2 5
"Just How Red is the Little Red Schoolhouse?" Surplus Record
April 1953
2 5
"A McGuffey Reader in Every School." Christian Economics
February 20, 1962
2 5
"The Mightiest Battle in History." Christian Economics
January 6, 1959
2 5
"The Nature of Poetry." The Earlhamite
March 1930
2 5
"Our Left-Handed Colleges." Christian Economics
February 10, 1953
2 5
"Poetry is the Seventh Day." The American Friend
September 15, 1949
2 5
"The Propaganda Program of Our Academic Hucksters." The American Legion Magazine
December 1952
2 5
"The Road to Golgotha." The Friend
January 24, 1952
2 5
"The Sickness of Our Schools: Progressive Education and How to Cure It." Human events
September 15, 1958
2 5
World Resources, Western Hemisphere, by Robert N. Saveland, a review by Root, Textbook Evaluation Report

Series IV:  Poetry and articles in magazines and pamphletsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
3 1
"The Art of the Sun." Technocracy, December 1939, pp. 8-11
3 1
"The Culture of Abundance." Technocracy, April 1939, pp. 8-14
3 1
"Edgar Allan Poe and the American Spirit." The Earlhamite, December 1930, pp. 6-8
3 1
"The Evil One." American Opinion, October 1973, pp. 69-76
3 1
"The High Road." American Opinion, May 1978, pp. 31-36
3 1
"In Him We Live." Quaker Life, March 1968, p. 79
3 1
"The Isle of the Dead" and "Butterfly Poem." Ye Anglican, 1939, pp. 38 and 42
3 1
"Loyalty." American Opinion, December 1971, pp. 49-62
3 2
"The Modern Miss Watson." U.S.A., July 30, 1956, pp. 114-116
3 2
"Please Tell Me What Art Is." The Review of the News, October 11, 1972, pp. 31-42
3 2
"O, Come All Ye Faithful!" American Opinion, December 1973
3 2
"The Old Wolf." Blue Book, July 1951, pp. 62-70
3 2
"Subversion in the Schools." Tax Fax No. 37., ca. 1962
3 2
"Vietnam." American Opinion, February 1966, pp. 31-40
3 2
"What Conservatives Are For." American Opinion, November 1973
3 2
"What McGuffey's Readers Read." The Review of the News, January 17, 1973
3 2
"Wrong Turn." American Opinion, October 1978, pp. 45-55
3 3
The Attack on Your Mind
3 3
The Last Time I Played Football
3 3
The Nature of Laughter
3 3
To Socialism By Way of Advanced Education
3 3
Who Is the Conservative?
3 3
Your Mind
3 4
Programs, speaker itineraries, announcements of lectures

Series V:  Articles about RootReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
3 5
Nelson, Jack and Gene Roberts. "The Successes and Setbacks of E. Merrill Root." Chicago Sun-Times, April 28, 1963
3 5
Pohl, Frederick Julius. "E. Merrill Root."
3 5
Furnas, P.W. "Ed. Merrill Root, Writer." Present-Day American Literature, May 1930, pp. 148-157
3 5
Stanley, Scott, Jr. "E. Merrill Root." American Opinion, December 1973
4 1
Reviews of Root's works
4 2
Scrapbook of reviews (dismantled)

Series VI:  MiscellaneousReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
4 3
Textbook publishing houses' defenses against Brainwashing in the High Schools
4 4
Business papers, addresses, memorabilia
4 5
Earlham College memorabilia
4 6
John Birch Society memorabilia
4 7
Collected conservative literature
4 8
Cassette of Root reading his poetry

Series VII:  FilmReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box
4
Film: "Facts Forum: UNESCO Good or Bad Influence"
November 1, 1955

Series VIII:  Photograph (PH057), 1946-1983Return to Top

0.01 linear feet
Root, Edward Merrill, 1895-1973
Description Dates
PH057_01: …Island, childhood paradise [damaged]
1.0 photographic print
View of New England coastal home with dock, summerhouse, and outbuildings.
9 x 11 inches
not yet assigned

BroadsideReturn to Top

1.0 item

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • American poetry--20th century
  • Anti-communist movements--United States
  • Communism in education--United States
  • Conservatism--United States
  • Conservative literature--United States
  • Conservatives--United States--Correspondence
  • Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Literature
  • Moving Images
  • Poets, American--20th century
  • Political Campaigns
  • Right-wing extremists--United States--Correspondence
  • Textbooks--Censorship
  • Personal Names :
  • Root, E. Merrill (Edward Merrill), 1895-1973--Correspondence
  • Corporate Names :
  • Earlham College
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Broadsides
  • Photographs
  • Sound recordings
  • Tear sheets