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Merle B. Shaw Papers

Identifier: SpC MS 0460

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of drafts and published articles reflecting Shaw's long career in the Paper Section of the National Bureau of Standards. The papers were unarranged at the start of processing so the processing archivist imposed an order on the materials. The collection opens with a small group of general materials from Shaw's career, including his thesis, copies of talks he gave on papermaking, research articles by Shaw and others, and a bound volume of Shaw's scientific papers, 1919-1950. Former colleagues at the Bureau of Standards presented this volume to him in 1951. The bulk of the collection is made up of Shaw's files on various research topics with which he was involved. The emphasis is on use of alternative materials to make paper, paper used in currency, and strength and durability of papers for various uses. The files are arranged in rough chronological order and follow the order of the list of articles written by Shaw contained in Folder 5. The files contain research proposals for publication by the Bureau of Standards, research authorization requests, drafts of articles by Shaw, published articles on the topic, and correspondence among colleagues. Some files contain samples of papers, experimental papermaking materials, and photographs.


  • Creation: 1914-1975
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1922-1950


Restrictions on Access

Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.

Use Restrictions

Information on literary rights available in the Library.

Biographical Note

The collection contains research materials and papers of Merle B. Shaw, a paper technologist whose career was spent at the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C.

Merle B. Shaw was born in Windham, Maine, in 1891. He graduated in 1910 from Windham High School and in 1911 from North Yarmouth Academy. He then enrolled in the University of Maine at Orono, graduating with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1915. He first worked in Massachusetts on heavy chemicals, TNT, and other explosive materials. He then went to Columbia University to work briefly with Professor Ralph H. McKee, a former head of the Chemistry Department at the University of Maine, on various war problems.

Shaw served in the Chemical Warfare Service in World War I, working on poison gases and in ordnance on explosives. Following his discharge from the Army, he went to work in 1919 for the National Bureau of Standards in Washington. There he worked for the rest of his career in the Paper Section, doing research on paper and paper products. He was especially involved in developing paper for use in currency and research on paper resistance to wear and weather exposure, especially in war maps for use in World War II. He was the author or co-author of numerous articles published by the Bureau of Standards or in paper trade journals.

Merle Shaw retired from the Bureau in 1949. He returned to Maine in 1975 and died in 1977.


1 cubic foot (1 box)

Language of Materials



Research materials and papers of Merle B. Shaw, a paper technologist whose career was spent at the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C.

Conservation Note

The collection has been re-housed in acid-free folders and an acid-free record carton. Documents have been surface cleaned as needed and metal fasteners removed/ Photographs have been housed in polypropelene sleeves and remain with the relevant documents.

Guide to the Merle B. Shaw Papers
Box And Folder List Available
April 2004
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for uncoded script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Repository

5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States