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A Guide to the Emanuel Merdinger Papers

Finding aid created by Oren Okhovat and Katalin Franciska Rac

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
April 2016


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Merdinger, Emanuel
Title: Emanuel Merdinger Papers
Dates: 1928-1997
Bulk dates: 1947-1983
Abstract: Emanuel Merdinger (1906-1997) was a chemist, Holocaust survivor, and professor. This collection includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, school IDs, diplomas, and an autobiography. Among these records is a series of letters exchanged with Albert Speer, a former high ranking Nazi official.
Extent: 0.59 Linear feet. 2 boxes and 1 oversize folder.
Identification: MSS 0355
Language(s): Includes materials written in English, Romanian/Moldavian/Moldovan, Bulgarian, Italian, French, and German.
Access: Researchers should consult with Special Collections staff before using the collection because there are access restrictions. See the Access note for more information.
Online ContentItems from this collection have been digitized and are available online in the UF Digital Collections. For more information please see the note below.

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.


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 and a series of letters exchanged with former high ranking Nazi official, Albert Speer, in which Dr. Merdinger expresses his forgiveness in light of Speer's public display of repentance. Finally, Dr. Merdinger left an unpublished autobiography, which also includes complete translations of his correspondences with Speer. One copy is included in the collection, while another is available in the Judaica Suite.


Arrangement

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.


Access or Use Restrictions

Access

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.


Administrative Information

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.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Emanuel Merdinger Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

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.


Contents List

Box Folder
11 European school IDs. 1928, 1930
12 Ferrara papers. 1928, 1932, 1939, 1944-1947, 1954-1955, 1963-1967
Box
OS1 High school and university diplomas. 1928, 1931
Box Folder
13 Correspondence. 1940, 1943, 1947-1950, 1954, 1960-1962, 1967-1973, 1981-1985, 1988-1989
14 Russian papers. 1944
15 Newspaper clippings. 1945, 1957, 1965-1984
16 Photocopies of newspaper clippings (2016). undated
17 Lecture notes and manuscripts. 1947, 1968, undated
18 Abstract for academic journal publication. undated
19 Conference programs and invitations. 1967-1968, 1970, 1989
110 Autobiography and addendum. 1997, undated
Box
2 Distinguished Member of the Presidents Council plaque. 1981

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Chemistry
Education, Higher
Emigration and immigration
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
Jews, Romanian
Jews--Migrations
Pharmacy



For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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