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Emanuel Merdinger Papers

Identifier: MSS 0355

Scope and Content

This collection includes various papers collected and produced by Emanuel Merdinger throughout his life. The majority of the papers consist of correspondence, manuscripts, and lecture notes pertaining to Dr. Merdinger's academic and diplomatic career. Also included are a lifelong collection of newspaper clippings of his own opinion pieces on various topics in different languages, as well as reports of his activities. As the enclosed diploma demonstrates, the Orlando Sentinel recognized him for the quality of his many opinion letters over the years. UF President Marston gave Dr. Merdinger the Distinguished Member of the Presidents Council plaque in 1981, which is included in the collection. A separate folder holds the photocopies of these clippings (with the exception of complete newspaper pages) for the convenient use of the researcher. In addition, there are two of his diplomas, records of his life in Ferrara, and his European school IDs. Several short notes and messages in Russian from 1944, the period which he spent in Russia, are also included. A Jewish New Year's card from his wife is enclosed with his correspondence along with several postcards sent to him from Romania in 1989. Finally, Dr. Merdinger left an unpublished autobiography, which also includes his translation of his correspondences with Albert Speer, the former Nazi official. One copy of the autobiography is included in the collection, while another is available in the Judaica Suite.


  • Creation: 1928-1997
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1947-1983


Language of Materials

Includes materials written in English, Romanian, Bulgarian, Italian, French, and German.


Due to possible privacy concerns with this collection, researchers should consult with Dr. Rebecca Jefferson, Head of the Price Library of Judaica (352-273-2650), to access the records.

Biographical/Historical Note

Emanuel Merdinger was born on March 29, 1906 in Suceava, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today in Romania. He completed an M.S. degree in pharmacology from the German University of Prague in 1931, then begun graduate studies at the University of Ferrara in Italy. In Ferrara, Dr. Merdinger managed to complete a PhD in Pharmacy and, a year later, in Chemistry. In 1935, he began teaching chemistry in the University of Ferrara's School of Engineering. In 1938 Dr. Merdinger lost his position at the university and taught at a private Jewish school.

At the outbreak of WWII, he offered his services to the French army through the French Consulate in Ferrara, but was caught by the Fascist Police and harassed until he was sent to a concentration camp in the District of Vinnytsia, Ukraine. He was liberated by the Russian army in 1944 and stayed in Russia as a government toxicologist for another 11 months before returning to his post at the University of Ferrara.

In 1947 he immigrated to the United States through the help of his sister living there. He obtained a position at Roosevelt University, the first during his long academic career in the U.S. There he also met his wife, Raidie Poole, who at the time worked as the university nurse. He held several high ranking posts at the Illinois State Academy of Science in the early 1970s. In 1976 he moved to Gainesville and worked for the U.S. Agricultural Laboratory. In 1978, he became a professor at UF and taught there until 1991. His contribution to the University was recognized by the University president. He served as the National Academy of Sciences exchange scientist to Romania (1971, 1972, and 1975) and Bulgaria (1974-1975). Dr. Merdinger was Professor Emeritus of the University of Florida until his death on December 12, 1997.


0.59 Linear feet (2 box and 1 oversize folder)


Emanuel Merdinger (1906-1997) was a chemist, Holocaust survivor, and professor. This collection includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, school IDs, diplomas, and an autobiography. The autobiography contains the English translation of the letters Merdinger exchanged with Albert Speer, a former high ranking Nazi official.


This collection is arranged chronologically and topically. One Bulgarian fairy tale book for children was removed from the collection and added to the Baldwin Children's Collection.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

The Merdinger Papers was recently donated to the Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica by Stephen M. and Renne A. Sperling and Family.

Alternative formats

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

A Guide to the Emanuel Merdinger Papers
Finding aid created by Oren Okhovat and Katalin Franciska Rac
April 2016
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