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Harry Merritt Papers

Identifier: MSS 0431

Scope and Content

The Harry Merritt Papers house the design commissions and student studio projects taught by Harry Cline Merritt Jr. This collection, which dates from 1954 to 2015, consists of originals and copies of architectural drawings, sketches, photographs, and correspondence, evidencing the prolific design and instructional influence of Merritt as a practicing architect and professor of architecture while at the University of Florida.

The collection is arranged first by type of material: architectural drawings, smaller papers, slides, photographs, and negatives. The materials are then arranged by project, project type, and location.

This collection is unique in that it evidences a large portion of the work of an architect and professor at the University of Florida. This is the only current collection of Merritt’s work, whose designs have been proven as significant examples of the Modern Movement as by a 2015 nomination of one of his residences to the National Register of Historic Places. While this collection is not comprehensive, the designs that are present demonstrate Merritt’s regionalist architecture and provide a glimpse of the prolific impact of his work. Additionally, writings in this collection provide insight into Merritt’s design philosophy. Researchers interested in mid-century architecture, regionalist designs, Florida architecture, and the University of Florida School of Architecture will find this collection a valuable resource.


  • Creation: 1929-2016
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1954-2015



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Harry Cline Merritt Jr. was born on December 8, 1929 in Wilmington, North Carolina. In 1951 he received his Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Clemson University. From 1951 to 1953 he served as a First Lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers, stationed in Korea. In 1955 he received his Master of Architecture from Harvard University. During this time Harry married his wife Joyce and would go on to be married for 55 years and have five children. After graduating and working for architect Gene Leedy in Winter Haven, Merritt was recruited by Dean Turpin Bannister to teach architecture at the University of Florida. Merritt went on to teach at the University of Florida from 1960 to 1995 and saw the realization of many of his designs in areas such as Gainesville, He passed away on April 7, 2016 in Beals Island, Maine.


12 Linear Feet (28 Boxes)

Language of Materials



Architectural drawings created by architect Harry Cline Merritt Jr. These include perspectives, process drawings, and construction documents for residences, churches, and commercial buildings in Florida, Maine, Virginia, North Carolina, and Japan. This collection also includes slides from several student studio projects taught by Merritt while at the University of Florida.


The collection is arranged into multiple series: rolled architectural drawings, flat sketches and drawings, written papers, slides, photographs, and negatives. The materials are then arranged by project, project type, and location.

The "Rolled Architectural Drawings" series includes perspectives, sketches, and construction documents for over fifty design projects.

The "Flat Sketches and Drawings" series consists of drawings for projects later in his career, including a residence in Alaska.

The "Written Papers" series includes further information on projects later in his career, typed speeches, typed letters to former student Charles Benninger, and plans for an emergency shelter project sent to former President Carter.

The "Slides" series includes images of built projects and some taught projects in the first box and a variety of taught projects in the second box.

The "Photographs" series includes printed photographs of several residences and travel photographs. This group also includes photo negatives of Cedar Key projects, and travel.


University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

The collection was acquired as two separate donations that were combined. Harry Merritt donated a small set of drawings in 2011. The second part of the collection was donated in 2017 by the non-profit, Gainesville Modern, which received the materials from Merritt.

Alternative Format Available

Digital reproductions of selected items in this collection are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC) and as an Online Exhibit. Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of the UFDC digital objects.

A Guide to the Harry Merritt Papers
Finding aid created by Clarissa Carr
May 2018
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America