A Finding Aid to the Francis Sumner Merritt Papers, circa 1930-1980, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.merrfran
Creators:
Merritt, Francis Sumner, 1913-2000
Dates:
circa 1930-1980
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
5.7 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of painter and arts administrator Francis Sumner Merritt measure 5.7 linear feet and date from circa 1930 to 1980. The bulk of the papers document his career as the founding director of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. Included are biographical materials, personal correspondence, writings and notes, professional files on Haystack and other institutions, printed material, and photographs.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of painter and arts administrator Francis Sumner Merritt measure 5.7 linear feet and date from circa 1930 to 1980. The bulk of the papers document his career as the founding director of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. Included are biographical materials, personal correspondence, writings and notes, professional files on Haystack and other institutions, printed material, and photographs.
Biographical materials contain scattered records relating to Merritt's personal life and career including a scrapbook and a print by Fiske Boyd. Professional files create the bulk of the papers and focus on Merritt's arts administration career at Haystack and other institutions including the Flint Institute of Art and Bradford Junior College. Among the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts material are planning materials, correspondence with many craft artists, financial records, student information, printed material, photographs for various sessions held at the school, and one sound recording concerning a trip to Nigeria.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 6 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1936-1977 (Box 1; 0.1 linear feet)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1930-1978 (Box 1; 0.6 linear feet)
  • Series 3: Writings and Notes, circa 1940s-1978 (Box 1; 0.3 linear feet)
  • Series 4: Professional Files, 1940s-1980 (Box 1-5, 8; 4.1 linear feet)
  • Series 5: Printed Material, 1939-1976 (Box 6-7; 0.4 linear feet)
  • Series 6: Photographs, 1949-1970s (Box 7; 0.2 linear feet)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Francis Sumner Merritt (1913-2000) was a painter, designer, and arts administrator. He was the first director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine.
Merritt was born in 1913 in Danvers, Massachusetts. He studied art at multiple schools, including Yale University School of Fine Arts and was a printmaker and painter. In addition to his art, Merritt taught painting at Colby Junior College, the Cranbrook Summer Institute, and Bradford Junior College. Merritt began his arts administrative career as director of the Flint Institute of Art in Detroit, Michigan. He was brought on to be the first director at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine. In this position, he encouraged the international study of craft.
Francis Merritt was married to Priscilla Merritt, with whom he had two sons. He died in Belfast, Maine in 2000.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Jayna Josefson in 2019.
Existence and Location of Copies
The collection is available on 35 mm microfilm reels 5099-5106 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the material described in the container inventory does not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.
Author
Jayna M. Josefson
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Francis Sumner Merritt donated his papers in two accessions in 1980 and 1994.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Francis Sumner Merritt Papers, circa 1930-1980. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate copies requires advance notice.

Related Materials
Also found in the Archives of American Art are the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts records, 1950-1969, and an oral history interview of Francis Sumner Merritt conducted 1979 May 25-June 25, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
American studio craft movement Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Arts administrators -- Maine -- Deer Isle Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- Maine -- Deer Isle Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Flint Institute of Arts Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Boyd, Fiske, 1895-1975 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bradford Junior College Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/