Florence Coardy Merriam Papers, 1926-1993

Overview of the Collection

Merriam, Florence Coardy.
Florence Coardy Merriam Papers
1926-1993 (inclusive)
3.5 linear feet of shelf space, (5 boxes)
Collection Number
Cage 858 (collection)
Papers and scrapbooks from Florence Coardy Merriam, a northwest-based singer. Included is the manuscript of her book, Dust and Leaves, and the script and music for an original army camp musical, As You Were.
Washington State University Libraries' Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC)
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Terrell Library Suite 12
Pullman, WA
Telephone: 509-335-6691
Access Restrictions

This collection is open and available for research use.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Florence Coardy was born March 8, 1906 in Ingram, Wisconsin, but grew up in Portland OR and then Spokane, WA. She begin solo contralto performances at the age of 16, and within a few years had success touring and performing in the northwest. She married Willis B. Merriam on August 11, 1928 and they had two sons, Don and Robert. She earned a Bachelor of Education from the Cheney Normal School (later Eastern Washington University), and a Bachelor of Music in 1932 from the University of Washington. She participated in transcontinental tours in 1937 and 1939, and in 1940 she became locally known as the “Lullaby Lady” from her performances on Spokane’s KHQ radio programs. When her husband became Geography chair at the Oregon College of Education (later Western Oregon University) from 1940-1945, she became chair of Applied Music there. During World War II Florence served as Assistant Director at the Army Service Club at Camp Adair, OR, and at Muroc Army Air Base in California. During this time she wrote the music for an original camp musical, As You Were.

In 1945 Florence’s husband accepted a position at Washington State College (later Washington State University) in Pullman, WA. Shortly thereafter, Florence founded and directed The Music Makers, a semi-professional northwest touring choir, which also included a men’s choir, The Squires, and a women’s choir, The Merry Wives. She also gave concerts, and taught voice, piano, and organ, and wrote newspaper articles and a book based on her Camp Adair experiences, Dust and Leaves. She passed away on January 26th, 2005, in Pullman.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of papers and scrapbooks from Florence Merriam’s life, focusing on her career in music and arts. Notable is her work as an Assistant Director at an Army Service Club during World War II, and included in the collection are scripts, original music, and audio recordings from an original army camp musical she wrote the music for.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions apply.

Preferred Citation

[Item Description] Florence Coardy Merriam Papers, 1926-1993

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Materials are arranged into two basic series, with a few subseries. Florence Merriam’s personal papers and similar materials are broken into one subject-based series, with her manuscripts at the end of that series, followed by various oversized materials. The second series is her scrapbooks, which are organized chronologically.

Acquisition Information

The papers of Florence Coardy Merriam were donated to the Washington State University Libraries’ Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC) on January 17, 2002, and accessioned as MS2002-02. They were soon placed on the shelves, unprocessed, as PC 114, and in November of 2016 they were processed by University Archivist Mark O’English and permanently housed as Cage 858.

Processing Note

While the scrapbooks were retained in their original order and housing, the remainder of the collection was reorganized into a subject-based system and rehoused.

Separated Materials

One copy of Florence Merriam’s published book, Dust and Leaves, was removed from this collection and placed in MASC’s stacks. It can be found there at call number PS3563.E725 D8 1961.

Related Materials

The papers of Merriam’s husband, Willis Merriam, a WSU geography professor, are held at WSU MASC as unprocessed collection MS1987-17.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Personal PapersReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
1 1
Camp Adair, documents, 1943-1944
1 2
Camp Adair, photographs, 1943-1944
1 3
Certificates and memberships, 1931-1978
1 4
Clippings, Merriam children, 1956
1 5
Clippings, Florence's performances, 1965-1966
1 6
Concert and theatre programs, 1938-1963
1 7
Concert, Walla Walla Veterans Hospital benefit, 1949-1950
1 8
Music Makers, clippings, 1950-1957
1 9
Music Makers, photographs, 1950s
1 10
Newspaper articles, written by Florence, 1962-1973
1 11
Photographs, Chimes of Normandy, 1927
1 12
16mm film, undated
1 13
Songs of Oregon Normal School, 1926
1 14
Manuscript, Dust and Leaves (published 1961). Includes related correspondence and photographs, 1944-1969
1 15
Manuscripts, The Christmas Story: Origin and Development (self-published, undated). Includes research articles, 1955-1978, and Christmas postcards).
Original musical, As You Were, 1944
Box Folder
2 1
Copyright notices
2 2
Music. Three 7-inch 45 rpm audio records
2 3
2 4
Scripts and dialog
2 5
Sets. 3 colored drawings
2 6
Stagings. Camp Adair (north of Corvallis, OR), Muroc Army Air Field (Los Angeles, CA), and 70th Division F.A. (Yakima, WA)
Box Folder
3 1
Music (sheet), original compositions, 1939 and undated
3 2
Music (sheet), As You Were orchestration, 1944
3 3
The Music Makers, concert posters, 1952-1959
3 4
Performance materials, Junior Miss Pageant, 1966
3 5
Touring, promotional materials, undated

ScrapbooksReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
3 6
4 1
4 2
5 1
5 2
5 3
5 4
5 5
5 6

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top