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Melvin and Pauline Valk Papers

Identifier: MSS 0595

Scope and Content

The Melvin and Pauline Valk Papers houses the personal and professional papers of Melvin E Valk. This collection, which dates from 1825 to 2012 (Bulk dates 1911-2012), consists of the Valk’s personal and professional correspondence (1937-2002), academic writings on German language and literature (literary translations appear to have been done by Melvin and Pauline) (1937-1976), research and notes relating to both of their family histories (1825-2012), personal diaries (all written by Pauline including a 1931-1932 diary when she was studying abroad in Germany) (1929-1996), a large collection of postcards (1929-1974), photographs of Melvin and many of his family members (including photographs of Melvin's cousin Edgar and his wife Margaret. Including a photograph of Melvin and Egar in uniform while they were in England during WW2.) (1911-1987), and professional documents that relate to Melvin’s work as a professor and a researcher for the Office of War Information (1945-1975).


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1911 - 2012
  • Creation: 1825 - 2012


Language of Materials

Includes materials written in English and German.


The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Melvin Valk was a professor of German for the Universities of Alabama (1937-1947) and Florida (1957-1977). He was born in 1911 in Brooklyn, New York. In 1918, Melvin went to Germany (Hamburg), after his mother died in the flu epidemic and lived there until returning to the states for graduate school. Many of his relatives were later forced to flee Germany to escape the holocaust. He worked for Allied forces during World War 2 in the Office of War Information, where he reported on the German public’s attitude towards the war, propaganda, the Nazi party, and Adolf Hitler. His wife Pauline, also a scholar of German and amateur poet, taught for a decade at St John’s Junior College. Melvin passed away in 2006. Pauline Valk (maiden name Long) was born in Saranac Lake, New York.


3.22 Linear Feet (8 boxes)


Correspondence, academic writings, family histories, diaries, postcards, photographs, and other papers produced by former UF Professor, Melvin Valk and his wife Pauline.


The papers are organized into five series and five subseries. These include Correspondence (sub: personal and professional), Academic (sub: translation), Personal (sub: Diary, Postcards, Family History), Professional, and Photograph. Each series is arranged chronologically.


University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

Donated by James Melvin Valk, Judy P. Valk, and Anne M. Valk.

Related Materials

An oral history interview of Melvin Valk with the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program is available here.


A Guide to the Melvin and Pauline Valk Papers
Finding aid created by David Carnell
June 2022
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